San Francisco: While it bears a striking resemblance to the four-door Honda Accord, the
two-door Accord actually shares no body panels with the sedan. Instead, it offers a sleek,
sporty look that almost hides its practicality.
Quality is apparent in the coupe's rattle-free,
good-looking interior, where high-class materials and fancy options can make it feel
almost like a luxury car. The only drawback is a back seat that isn't quite as roomy as
that in the four-door Accord.
Honda's previous-generation Accord was nearly faultless, as
far as four-door cars go. It had a quiet ride, magnificent engine, comfortable cabin, and
affordable price, so we couldn't find anything to complain about - except, perhaps, that
it was a dull, bread-and-butter family sedan. So what could make it better? Edginess,
The latest Accord is still remarkably sensible and refined,
but it adds a little zest to give it a slightly more exciting - and almost sporty -
personality. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the two-door Accord coupe with Honda's
fabulous V6 engine.
The coupe version has everything that makes the four-door
sedan a winner, like a roomy cabin, nimble handling, and a reputation for reliability. But
the two-door design takes the Accord's practicality and wraps it in a sleek, athletic body
that looks slightly sportier than the family-friendly sedan.
Strangely, while the coupe bears a close resemblance to the
four-door Accord, it doesn't share a single body panel with it. Instead, the two-door
version has a sloping roof, vaguely muscular fenders, a pointy nose, and a surprisingly
Mercedes-like rear end.
Since the coupe has just two doors, it's obviously less
practical than the popular Accord sedan, although its front seats are as comfortable and
generous as those in the four-door version. The back seat, however, is fairly difficult to
climb into and feels more cramped than that in the sedan, thanks to the curvy body that
looks good but limits headroom.
Thankfully, driving the coupe is just as pleasant as driving
the sedan. Even with a four-cylinder engine, the Accord accelerates with gusto and stops
But a 3.0-liter V6 is a better choice, assuming you're
willing to pay about $3,000 for it. While pricey, the V6 makes a smooth 240 horsepower and
still gets 30 miles per gallon on the highway thanks to its high-tech variable valve
Honda also offers new standard features for some models,
adding to an already long list of amenities. XM Satellite Radio is now standard equipment
for the EX V6 models ($26,500), and side curtain airbags are available as an option. In
addition, an "intelligent" dual-zone climate control system comes free when you
buy the Honda navigation system.
Other Accord coupe versions include the LX ($19,400) and EX
($21,900), both of which come with the four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual
transmission. An automatic gearbox is $800 more.
One of the most impressive options is a voice-recognition
system that can control virtually every system in the car, from climate control to the
satellite radio. Just say what you want the Accord to do, like, "Passenger side
temperature 72 degrees," and the car responds perfectly. It's easy to learn and
convenient to use.
The Accord's only real downside is that it can get rather
pricey when you start to add options. Our fully loaded test car, with leather seats, a
navigation system, voice recognition, and the V6 engine, cost close to $30,000. A few
thousand more would buy an entry-level luxury car.
Then again, why would anyone want to pay more for a luxury
car, other than to impress the Joneses? A well-equipped Accord has everything more
expensive cars do, like well-engineered refinement, a relaxing cabin, strapping
performance, and a legendary reputation for quality. That's remarkable, no matter how
mundane the badge.
Put simply, the latest Accord is as close to perfection as
mass-produced cars have ever been. Why buy it? It's sensible like the Accord sedan, but it
has a sportier two-door look with clean, athletic styling and impressive performance. By Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
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