Car Review: Honda Accord Coupé Touring V6 2016
L’elegante Coupé a trazione anteriore, venduta non in Europa, è l’ultima proposta di Honda nel segmento delle coupé medie superiori, sempre meno richiesto dal mercato.
- Motore V6 potente e morbido.
- Estetica d’effetto.
- Interni confortevoli e ben rifiniti.
- Abitabilità posteriore.
- Bagagliaio spazioso.
- Dinamica di guida da berlina famigliare, più che da Coupé.
- Touchscreen strumentazione con comandi non particolarmente reattivi.
- Consumi medio di carburante non particolarmente bassi.
- Posizionamento del tasto hazard ergonomicamente sbagliata.
Honda must have a secret. It’s Accord Coupe remains the only front-wheel-drive, mid-size coupe available on the market. It has outlived, among others, the Toyota Solara, Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger Coupe, and, most recently, the Nissan Altima Coupe. In what was already a niche market, the Honda Accord Coupe can say it sits in a class all its own – a true living rarity.
But the question remains: why? Why has the two-door version of Honda’s best-selling sedan continued to live on while other family sedan-based coupes have dropped like flies? And who, exactly, is buying this vehicle when other, more powerful rear-wheel-drive coupes could be had for similar money?
First introduced in 1990, the Accord Coupe found an audience, and continues to find an audience, as it offers the same comfortable driving experience as the sedan, but with the much sleeker, eye-friendly proportions of a two-door. The 2016 version stays true to the formula, with an emphasis on amped-up styling this year. Make no mistake, this is no bulbous Solara.
From certain angles, you’d swear you were looking at a Mercedes C-Class Coupe, that is, until you spot the H badge on the new chrome-happy grille. Among other changes to the Coupe’s look for this mid-cycle refresh are sleeker LED headlights and taillights, a revised lower air intake and LED fog lights, and a larger, more sculpted rear bumper. The styling tweaks, along with the Coupe’s contoured body lines, give it much more road presence. Our top-line Touring V6 tester’s attractive 19-inch wheels complete the sporty look. There’s a reason Honda charges more for this six-speed-auto-equipped model ($36,830 before freight and PDI) than the similarly spec’d Touring V6 sedan ($35,790) – there’s a premium to be paid on looks alone.
Thankfully, equipped with the V6 engine, the Coupe has the chops to back up its aggressive appearance. The 3.5-litre naturally aspirated i-VTEC V6, the same engine from last year, produces a robust 278 horsepower and 252 lb.-ft. of torque. Not quite on par with a V8-equipped Ford Mustang GT, but it offers more than enough oomph for daily driving. The car’s drive-by-wire throttle input is very responsive and the engine has no trouble getting the car off the line in a hurry. Hitting the gas encourages a satisfying growl from the V6, which sounds fuller than other turbocharged four-cylinders, and low-end grunt comes on quickly, carrying smoothly to the mid-range with enthusiasm. Fuel economy, as you’d expect with a V6, is not stellar, but it’s also not outright punitive. The V6 is rated at 11.4 L/100 km in the city and 7.3 on the highway. I averaged a fair 9.8 L/100 km over a span of about 750 kilometres.
In the Touring V6, a six-speed manual (another rarity these days) can be had for a grand less than the auto-equipped model, but the tester’s six-speed automatic transmission was a smooth shifting affair. Paddle shifters are also available in this trim, and I made good use of them throughout the week. It helped pull more performance out of the mill when needed, and made highway passing way more fun. In a straight line, the Coupe, like its sedan brother, feels very poised and confident.
Unfortunately, and this is the same fault that befell the Accord’s defunct rivals, there is not much to differentiate the two-door’s driving dynamics from the sedan. While the suspension setup (MacPherson struts up front, multi-link independent suspension in the back) feels adequately firm, it’s still tuned primarily for family-hauling comfort. The car feels heavy when cornering or navigating a twisty stretch of road, leading to ponderous handling that could stand to be tighter. There is also some nosedive evident when hitting the brakes. And, finally, torque steer can rear its ugly front-wheel-driven head when accelerating hard from a stop. On the plus side, the electric power steering in the Accord Coupe is well weighted and gives good feedback from the road.
The 2016 Accord Coupe comes in four trims — EX, EX-Honda Sensing, Touring, Touring V6 — and starts at $27,090 for the base EX model. The V6 engine can only be had in this fully loaded model, which also features a handsome dual exhaust with chrome tips, while the same 2.4-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder found in the sedan (185 hp and 181 lb.-ft.) is standard on the other three trims. The V6 can also be had in the sedan, but you can only get it with the optional manual in the Coupe.
So, what do you get in the loaded Touring V6? Just about anything you can name. There are heated perforated leather seats, with a 10-way power adjustable driver’s chair and two memory settings, Bluetooth, a power moonroof, dual-screen display, wireless phone charging, navigation, and a multi-angle rearview camera. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also supported, and I found the system a breeze to use. Simply plug your phone in the USB port and use voice controls to make phone calls, get directions, play music and send messages. There’s also active safety tech like forward collision warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and Honda’s very useful LaneWatch blind spot display, which sends a video feed of the car’s passenger side to the upper 7.7-inch screen. With higher and higher beltlines reducing modern cars’ field of view, every vehicle should adopt similar technology.
Controls are easy to use and decipher, save for a few annoyances. For instance, the gimmicky touchscreen volume control, like some of the other touchscreen functions, was laggy and not very responsive. I defaulted to using the physical volume control on the steering wheel, which saved a lot of hassle. Also, the placement of the hazard lights button (directly below the touchscreen) is awkward, to say the least. Frequently, I’d inadvertently press the button as I rested my hand on it while operating the screen.
Elsewhere in the cabin, materials feel high quality, but there is an overabundance of black and grey, with the seats, centre console and its glossy plastic trim sharing the same drab colour theme. The seats, however, are well bolstered and there’s a lot of space to move around up front. And, unlike some other mid-size muscle coupes, there’s actually room in the back for two average sized adults, although it’s still a royal pain to get in and out of. Leg room in the back is 855 millimetres, compared to 977 mm in the sedan. Similarly, the trunk space is surprisingly generous at 379 litres compared to 439 in the sedan, and more space can be opened up by dropping the rear seats. Overall, it’s a very quiet and comfortable interior, with a surprising amount of room on tap for a coupe.
But is all of this worth that $36,830 price tag? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. It’s true you can get more power and a more dynamic drive for close to the same amount of money if you look to the midsize, RWD coupe segment. For instance, the Dodge Challenger SXT Plus starts at $35,795 and comes with a 305-horsepower 3.6-litre V6. The aforementioned Mustang GT starts at $38,398 and pumps out a whopping 435 hp from its 5.0-litre V8 engine. Meanwhile, a similarly equipped Hyundai Genesis Coupe, with a 348-hp 3.8-litre V6, starts at $39,249. But these cars don’t have the same level of comfort, usable space, and, dare say, looks of the Accord Coupe, not to mention all the available tech and active safety systems. Perhaps Honda would do well to offer the V6 in the base EX trim, allowing buyers to get the fun engine, and the manual transmission, without some of the costly extras.
As it stands, the Honda Accord Coupe doesn’t handle quite as sporty as it looks, but it does just about everything else well, striking a good balance between power, comfort and practicality in a stylish two-door body. And that, perhaps more than anything, is the secret to this car’s continued existence.