This Accord surprised me the minute I walked up to it, because I discovered a six-speed manual sprouting from the center console. Imagine my shock once I actually fired it up. The combination of front-wheel drive, a V-6, and the "Accord" nameplate may not sound like an ideal recipe for a sports coupe, but it is -- and I'm hard pressed to think of any other affordable two-door cars I've driven recently that I enjoyed so much.
Most of my joy, it seems, lies with the powertrain. Honda's 3.5-liter V-6 has long been a favorite of mine -- it's smooth, chock full of power, and pulls until the cows come home. Mate that to a silky smooth six-speed manual, and it's only more engaging. Handling seemed crisp and relatively neutral for a front-drive car, but when you do encounter slick roads, torque steer quickly reminds you which wheels do the real work.
My only gripes lie with the infotainment system -- at $32,000, you'd think Honda would provide drivers with a little more sophisticated display, a user-friendly interface (the dual knobs on the center stack continually confused me), and at the very least, a USB audio input (for the record, our $18,000 Fit Sport with navigation has such a feature).
Evan McCausland, Web Producer