Posted Dec 21st 2012 2:58PM
One of the first cars I reviewed for Autoblog was – say it with me now – a 2010 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L V6 w/Navi 6MT, perhaps the rarest of all modern Accord models. I mean, think about it: Of all the different Accord variants on the road, how many are coupes? And how many of those have the larger V6 engine? And how many of those are fully loaded with leather, navigation and all the trimmings? And finally, how many of those have option sheets where the only box that isn't checked is the automatic transmission?
That has to be something like one percent of one per cent, right?
So when Honda started rolling its all-new 2013 Accord into the test fleet, I was happy to hear that yet another Coupe EX-L V6 w/Navi 6MT model was available out of the Detroit pool. And while this really isn't the car that serves as the control for judging the entire Accord line, it's still one heck of a sweetheart.
It's the Journalist Special all over again.
- This thing is quick. Honda's revised Earth Dreams 3.5-litre V6 produces 278 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque in this application, and that's plenty in a car that weighs in at just 3,400 pounds (1,542 kg). Honda does not release performance data, but instrumented buff-book testing has revealed 0-60 mph (96 km/h) times as low as 5.6 seconds. For reference, that's three-tenths of a second quicker than the bonkers Ford Focus ST.
- Straight-line acceleration isn't the only bit of behind-the-wheel joy here. The steering is nicely weighted with plenty of feedback, the chassis is well-tuned to handle the V6 grunt (though you can get the front wheels to spin on hard launches), and the whole package feels tossable and nimble. As Executive Editor Chris Paukert said to me, it's sort of like a lux'd-out latter-day Honda Prelude. Or to my mind, a more civilized, grown-up version of the current Civic Si.
- Accord V6 sedans aren't available with the six-speed manual transmission found here in the coupe, and for those who do opt for it, they're in for a treat. Quick shifts are easy to knock off thanks to pleasantly short throws and well-placed pedals with a nicely weighted clutch.
- I've really warmed to the Accord's new styling... mostly. The front fascia with its LED running lamps is an attractive, aggressive sight, and I like the profile stance with the handsome 18-inch alloy wheels of this test car, but I'm not too keen on those small faux air vents with reflector strips that are housed above the dual exhaust pipes. The chrome trim on the bottom of the rear bumper could certainly go away, too.
- There's a lot to like inside the Accord, too. Everything in the cabin feels solid and well-built, and the overall design is fresh and modern. I don't quite get the whole dual-screen center console design, and I'm still not a big fan of Honda's new Lane Watch blind spot monitoring system. Yeah, it's cool, but it'd be even cooler if it showed the driver's side trouble spots. Even with the camera in place, I still find myself using the mirrors.
- The 2013 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L V6 Navi 6MT starts at $35,390. It's a fantastic car, this Accord Coupe, and for the enthusiast who wants a sort of sporty, larger, surprisingly luxurious coupe, you could certainly do worse. That said, we imagine this build combination will account for maybe one per cent of all Accord sales, and at the end of the day, it's a $35k Honda coupe. Fun and stylish, for sure, but a car that is seemingly destined to be more commonly spotted with manufacturer plates than hard tags.