Over the last few years, Honda has hinted at a revival of some of its past glory. The upcoming Civic Si and Type R, as well as the NSX, prove that Honda is producing fun cars again. Yet, it’s the manual 2016 Accord Coupe V-6 that cements our opinion. It has enough character — and oomph — to carry Honda’s performance credibility by itself. It’s a car that deserves more press, adoration, and we can’t help but love it.
This car’s only negatives are the seat and seating position. The power-adjustable front seat cushioning is soft and comfortable on long drives; however, the actual seat sits far too high off the car’s floor plan for taller individuals. Drivers of “vertically abnormal” height have to heavily angle the seat back, nearly 60 degrees, as you’ll knock your head on the roof every time the car hits a bump.
Furthermore, the height of the seat makes it impossible to get your legs comfortable in relation to the depth of the dash. It extends too far towards the floor, and you end up sitting like you’re on a horse, bow-legged. If Honda were to drop the seat 2 to 3 inches — which it can most definitely do — both issues would be solved.
Even though the seat and seating position aren’t perfect, the rest of the car makes up for this unfortunate error.
The characterful, high-revving, naturally aspirated V-6 is an inspiration. The 3.5-liter engine develops just 278 hp @ 6,200 rpm and 251 lb-ft of torque at 5,300 rpm, but by reaching into higher registers — nearly 7,500 rpm — you can get this car to sing and pull. Of course, there is a four-cylinder coupled to a CVT transmission option that undoubtedly gets better gas mileage — we saw an average of just 20 mpg — but this car needs the V-6 to feel alive.
Coupled to the superb V-6 is a six-speed manual transmission that engages the driver, unlike many of its economy car brethren. The tall shift lever is heavy and gives shifts a nearly bolt-action quality. The manual transmission’s ratios are long, which is both great in traffic and while highway cruising. At 70 mph, it’s barely ticking over 2,000 rpm, letting you cruise without the range anxiety that comes with smaller displacement four-cylinder engines attached to miniscule fuel tanks.
There’s a slight amount of torque steer when launching the Accord in first gear. However, clutch in and drop it into second, and driver and passengers ride a wave of torque. Keep shifting and you’ll quickly find yourself in contention with the long arm of the law as the squishy tires and soft suspension setup doesn’t always communicate just how fast you’re going. This does provide a relaxed ride, but as the suspension plants the car through corners and loads up predictably, it will allow some hooliganism as the driver can induce some mild lift-off oversteer.
Steering is unnaturally heavy from the car’s electric power steering unit. It’s not tiring nor does it feel broken, it just feels too heavy for the consumer to whom this car is being marketed.
Inside, the gauges and infotainment units are clear, concise, and feel at one with the car’s character, implying a subtle sportiness. The exterior of the Accord Coupe hasn’t changed drastically since its relaunch five years ago. Some subtle refreshes in the front and rear have allowed the Accord Coupe to age gracefully. If we had one gripe about the look, it would be the overuse of chrome around the grille, headlights, and around the side windows. It’s gaudy and cheapens the car’s lines.
The 2016 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 may not be the most striking car in Honda’s fleet — which goes to the outrageously flared and choppy Civic Type R — or the fastest — the NSX — it’s definitely a performance offering. The V-6 and the six-speed manual transmission are sublime, connecting the driver to the car, and the performance offered outweighs its pedestrian history. Although its price is close to what the new Civic Type R will likely be, starting just over $32,000, the V-6 Accord Coupe is a great sleeper car for those not needing the pomp and circumstance of a Type R, but desperately want the speed.
2016 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe Specifications
|Engine:||3.5L SOHC 24-valve V-6/278 hp @ 6,200 rpm, 251 lb-ft @ 5,300 rpm|
|Layout:||2-door, 5-passenger, front-engine FWD coupe|
|EPA Mileage:||18/28 (city/highway)|
|L x W x H:||189.5 x 73.0 x 56.5 in|