Car Review

Marcedez-Benz, Honda 

With no rear-drive hardware to accommodate, as in the Mustang and the Camaro, the Honda has 13 cubic feet of trunk space and a much more generous back seat that actually is habitable for adult humans. The front half of the coupe’s cabin is largely the same as the four-door’s, with comfortable seats and generally pleasant materials. We wish Honda would fit a larger, high-res display with a digital speedometer in the instrument cluster. Instead, the company puts two large screens atop one another in the center stack, both of which can control certain audio, navigation, and vehicle settings. It’s a clumsy, redundant setup in practice, with the lower unit a touchscreen and the upper largely operated via steering-wheel controls.

But letting the car do all the work simply isn’t as much fun as shifting for yourself, especially given the manual Accord’s light and progressive clutch and the rewarding, snickety-snick action of its shifter. In contrast, the automatic feels dull and relatively slow to change gears, even when using the steering-wheel-mounted paddles. (We still wouldn’t mind those paddles in the V-6 sedan, however, where they’re unavailable.) Dropping the shifter into Sport mode brings a more aggressive programming that holds gears longer, but it often still has to hunt for the best ratio.

Although the Accord coupe’s electrically assisted steering is precise and notably firmer than the four-door’s, being based on a front-drive family sedan means that our test car carried 63 percent of its mass over the front axle. This leads to lots of safe, predictable understeer during spirited cornering, meaning the Accord coupe is more of a grand touring machine. The Touring’s 19-inch wheels (18s are standard on lesser trims) and Michelin Primacy all-season tires offer modest grip—0.85 g of lateral stick and a 70-to-zero-mph stopping distance of 172 feet. The big wheels feel heavy and disturb the Accord’s otherwise exemplary composure over rough pavement.

Many of the virtues that make the Honda Accord a 10Best Cars–worthy family sedan also allow it to be a refined-yet-affordable mid-size coupe—it’s also the last family-sedan nameplate to be offered in a two-door variant. Granted, there are plenty of more-exciting two-door options available in the Honda’s price range, from the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro to the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86. But the Accord stands apart for being less overtly sporty, as well as for its front-wheel drive. Our previous exposure to the 2016 Accord coupe has been limited to a V-6–powered EX-L version with a six-speed manual gearbox; in this review we examine how the top-spec Touring model and its standard automatic transmission affect the experience.

While pricing for the four-cylinder Accord coupe starts at $24,710, V-6s begin at $31,860 with the EX-L trim, which comes nicely equipped with leather, heated front seats, passive entry, a power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 360-watt audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and much more; the automatic transmission is a no-cost option. The range-topping Touring raises the MSRP to $35,060 and adds LED headlights, navigation, and Honda’s full lineup of driver-assistance technologies—adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and assist, and forward-collision warning and mitigation—several of which aren’t yet available on other, similarly priced coupes.

2016 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 Automatic

Our observed average of 22 mpg is less than the EPA’s combined rating of 25 mpg, yet it’s likely more representative of what real owners would achieve than the 19 mpg we recorded while flogging the manual car. For comparison, we’ve seen 22 mpg from Ford Mustangs with both the more powerful 3.7-liter V-6 and the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four.

Relinquish Control

The Accord coupe’s sedan origins also show in its handsome, reserved styling, which is rendered more sharply here than in its more practical sibling, yet the car produces less fanfare in traffic than most other two-doors.

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As a practical, understated sporty car, the Accord V-6 offers plenty of value for most coupe buyers, even if Honda won’t let you pair the manual with navigation and most of the driver aids. Yet, only about five percent of the 350,000-plus Accords sold in 2015 were two-doors, which is a pittance compared with the volumes for pony cars. While that makes this coupe relatively exclusive, virtually all of its performance and general goodness can be had in the Accord sedan, along with the utility of four doors. Remove the one feature that differentiates the two-door V-6 Accord—the satisfaction of a row-your-own manual transmission—and the automatic coupe is really just a quick, but less useful, version of a sedan we really love.

Family Ties

Honda updated the styling and features of the Accord range for 2016, but engine choices carry over: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, and an optional 3.5-liter V-6 producing 278 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. Two-door models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission regardless of engine choice, and a continuously variable automatic is an option with the four-cylinder. The V-6­–only Touring coupe, which is new to the lineup for 2016, is available only with a conventional six-speed automatic, the same as all six-cylinder sedans.

The Touring’s automatic transmission and its extra equipment made our test example about 150 pounds heavier than the manual V-6 version. Despite the additional mass, this 3545-pound coupe was quicker, partially owing to being easier to launch than its manual sibling. It’s nearly as quick as the six-cylinder versions of the Chevy Camaro and the Ford Mustang, with our test car requiring 5.6 seconds to reach 60 mph versus the manual’s 5.8. Both coupes recorded the same 14.2-second pass through the quarter-mile. A flashing traction-control indicator—or abundant wheelspin if you deactivate traction control—always accompanies full-throttle getaways.

Sensible Yet Sleepy