by: Aman Sundher
The Honda Accord first came out in 1976 and just had its 40th birthday. Like most 40 year olds, the Accord seems to be having a bit of a mid-life crisis, and this Honda now has 19 inch wheels, LED headlights and nearly 300hp. Now, I realize most people see the Accord as nothing more than an affordable family car, and I can’t blame them. It has been the benchmark midsize family sedan and on the Car and Driver 10 Best List a record 30 times. But something about this 9th generation Accord is different, and it’s something good.
The exterior of the Accord has been completely updated. Nearly everyone who saw the car thought it was a new Acura 2-door, thanks to the gorgeous LED headlight assemblies. Not only do they look great, they have excellent visibility. And thanks to the Auto high beam-dim feature, you’re less likely to be part of the “every Honda driver drives with the High beams on” stereotype. All joking aside, the car does look amazing. A gas station attendant asked me where I bought my 19” wheels and didn’t believe me when I told him they were factory. The twin exhaust and LED taillights look very sporty as well. Everything Honda has done to update the exterior is completely out of the norm, and it works.
The interior too looks fantastic at first glance. Twin screens in the center of the dash work well together. The gauge cluster is sporty but very functional and the starter button is red – my favorite. Keeping up with the Tech Savvy customer base, there are several exterior cameras and even a charging pad in the center console. I tried to figure out how to make it work for my phone, but quickly gave up and just used a USB cable. The seats are very comfortable and have lots of adjustment, but unless you’re a gymnast it’s impossible to grab the seatbelt with your left hand; aahh, nuances of a Coupe with large doors. As nice and sophisticated as the interior is, it does still feel like it was built on a budget. The steering wheel buttons feel cheap and thin and the heated seat controls look like an afterthought just randomly placed on the center console not matching anything. There is a wind noise in the cabin, which is surprising as most other Hondas I’ve driven are much better now. Even the fancy carbon dash panel is paper thin and sounds hollow. That being said, at half of the cost of a luxury coupe, there isn’t really that much to complain about.
The rate Honda is going with all of the technical gimmicks, I swear all cars will be driving themselves sooner than later. Honda has equipped the accord with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Warning and Collision Mitigation Braking System. This is all well and good, until the Collision Mitigation Braking system decides that a cone on the corner of Knight Street is a car, slams on the brakes in the middle of an intersection, and gives you a wicked bruise on your collar bone. Yes, that happened, and yes, it hurt. That one hiccup aside, the Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist System work fantastic on the highway. You honestly only really have to pay attention to which exit you’re taking and the car practically keeps itself on the road.
For the latest generation of the Accord, Honda has completely redesigned the front suspension. Taking the MacPherson strut design from the Acura TLX and finally getting rid of the old double wishbone suspension has made a world of difference. Coupled with improved chassis stiffness and a front strut bar, the car feels more planted and capable than ever. Despite the fact that the Accord Coupe tips the scales at 3500 pounds, it inspires a sense of confidence that no previous generation really had. The 3.5L V6 pumps out 278 horsepower and 252 pound feet of torque, which is more than enough to get you in trouble and put a smile on your face. Yet somehow, it manages to sound absolutely dreadful! I actually had to pop the hood open to make sure there wasn’t a whiney little four cylinder tucked under there. The higher the RPM, the more it sounded like it was going to spin itself to pieces. Nothing an intake or exhaust modification can’t fix, but a little bit of spice from the factory would go a long way.
For a fraction of the cost of a German coupe, the Accord is one heck of a bargain, but for the right buyer. No, it’s not a German Coupe, but a modest version of one that can keep most buyers happy. Fully loaded with all the bells and whistles, the Accord Coupe is still only around the $40K mark. Honda has always been great value for money and now pushing into the luxury coupe market, they could really be a force to be reckoned with.