I was pleasantly surprised by the manual Accord coupe. It’s a good example of Honda’s knack for building vehicles that appeal to the mainstream consumer but still offer a bit of enjoyment for the enthusiast. The light steering is effortless in daily driving but it also provides enough feedback to be rewarding on the curvy stuff. Even with 271 hp, the 3.5-liter V-6 doesn’t often overpower the front tires but it’s also no slouch. Plus, it sounds great. Start off slow and you’ll hear a nice muffled growl; floor it and that faint noise builds into a roar by the time it reaches redline. The six-speed manual and the clutch pedal require more effort than I expect from a Honda — particularly the heavy clutch — but it wouldn’t stop me from choosing the manual if I were going to buy an Accord coupe.
From behind the wheel, there’s an overall feeling of lightness to the Accord coupe that makes it an easy car to enjoy. It may not be a proper sports car, but it’s a good option for those who are ready to move on from their sporty compact but aren’t yet willing to commit to a sedate mid-size sedan.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
The Honda Accord is something of a dark horse candidate if you’re looking for a sporty, comfortable, and relatively affordable coupe. What never ceases to amaze me is just how FAST the Accord is when tied to a six-speed manual. How fast? Try 5.7 seconds from 0-60 mph and 14-flat through the quarter-mile, according to our sister magazine Motor Trend. If you’re in an older Mustang or Camaro and see one of these pull up next to you at a light, don’t laugh. Power delivery is silky smooth, with just the right amount of V-6 growl. The gearbox isn’t quite up to Honda’s best-in-the-business standards, but is still very precise and smooth in its action.
The Accord reminds you it’s not a sports car in corners. Yes, it’s still better than most other front-wheel-drive mid-size cars, but it’s nowhere near as sharp as the rear-wheel-drive two-doors in this price range.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
My esteemed colleagues fervently believe that a manual transmission is always better than an automatic, citing ‘driver involvement’ as the evidence. I lack that conviction. If I am to be involved with a system controlled by three pedals and a shifter for an extended period — i.e. throughout the ownership experience — I expect it to work properly. While the Accord coupe’s engine is well behaved and its shifter slices the H-pattern into manageable bits, this Honda has one fatal flaw: It doesn’t pass the acid test I apply to all stick-shift test cars. This is something anyone can try at home. On a road free of traffic, select an upper gear — say third — at a modest speed — say 25 mph. Keep a sharp eye on the tach needle while flooring the throttle. Then you quickly depress the clutch while abruptly lifting off the gas. Ideally, the tach needle rises only a few rpm. In the Accord’s case, the jump ranged between 1000 and 1500 rpm. This procedure proves that the Accord’s throttle hangs open for an instant after pedal pressure is removed. And that when you tell it to slow down — because your radar detector beeped, you’ve encountered a patch of slick pavement, or you’ve underestimated the severity of a bend — this coupe is lackadaisical about responding. For that reason, I suggest you skip the stick if an Accord coupe is on your shopping list.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor
Oh my! Clearly the ornery Mr. Sherman hadn’t driven a 2011 Ford Mustang with a V-6 and a stick shift before he wrote the above rant about the Accord’s hanging throttle. The Honda’s throttle response didn’t seem odd to me, but I definitely was thrown off by the Ford’s lazy behavior.
Anyway, I thought our Accord coupe test car had a lovely powertrain with a strong engine and a slick gearbox. Like Jen, though, I was a bit disappointed to find that the stick shift lacks Honda’s typical near-perfection, but my main complaint is that the throws are a bit long for my liking. I also agree with Jen that the 271-hp V-6 is fun to exercise, although it can lead to a bit of torque steer or unplanned wheel spin if you’re injudicious with the gas pedal. Nonetheless, I think the Accord coupe is fun to drive and should be more than adequate to meet the needs of enthusiasts who like to drive quickly every day but wouldn’t actually ever drive on a racetrack.
I’m not in love with the styling of the Accord coupe, but — as the former owner of a stick-shift 2003 Dodge Stratus R/T coupe — I’m glad that there’s still at least some demand for big, halfway luxurious, reasonably sporty, and moderately affordable coupes. Indeed, the Accord has a fairly spacious back seat and a large trunk, and the interior is put together nicely. The multimedia interface is overflowing with buttons, however, and the CD changer is in the trunk. What year is it again?
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
The Honda Accord certainly isn’t a sporty coupe, but the nature of a coupe body makes a lot of people expect all coupes to be sportier than their sedan brethren. Throw in the notion of a manual transmission and expectations skew even more towards sporty. If you manage to keep your expectations in line with reality, the Accord Coupe is a solid choice.
Honda’s smart, inoffensive looks; virtually bulletproof reliability record; and strong resale values are the real reasons to buy an Accord of any variety. Driving the Accord is a bit nicer than most other mid-size competitors, but it’s still the typical comfort-oriented approach that dominates this segment. The navigation interface and display screen could use an update (the Hyundai Sonata offers a better looking navigation unit) and that’s about the only area of the car that needs improvement.
The Accord remains one of the safest bets in the mid-size category. Less boring than a Toyota, nicer than an Altima, and the Honda brand still has more prestige than Ford or Hyundai. And people buying mid-size cars pretty much always want a safe bet.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Producer
The Accord coupe is a car that is moderately stylish, and, thanks to its six-speed manual, has a modicum of sportiness. In addition, because it’s a Honda, it will give you the peace of mind that comes with a reputation for reliability and good resale value. Having said that, I’m still not sold on this coupe version of what is among the most mainstream of family cars. Driving the Accord coupe doesn’t feel that much different from driving the sedan, so why give up two doors that provide easy rear seat access and a couple cubic feet of cargo space? Of course, you also lose about 150 pounds from the V-6 sedan, which is never a bad thing. And, if you want a V-6 and a manual transmission, the coupe is the only Accord that fits the bill, making it a logical choice for those who prize a sportier profile and a three-pedal transmission over the practicalities of a family sedan.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
2010 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 coupe
Base price (with destination): $30,055
Price as tested: $32,055
3.5-liter V-6 engine
6-speed manual transmission
Dynamic stability control
Dynamic traction control
4-wheel disc brakes
10-way power driver’s seat
Heated front seats
Automatic climate control
Tire pressure monitoring system
270-watt AM/FM stereo CD/MP3 player audio system
Auxiliary audio input
Options on this vehicle:
Navigation — $2000
Key options not on vehicle:
Auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass — $307
17 / 25 / 20 mpg
Size: 3.5L 24-valve V-6
Horsepower: 271 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 251 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Curb weight: 3401 lb
18-inch aluminum wheels
P235/45R-18 Michelin Pilot Sports all-season tires
Competitors: Nissan Altima Coupe