Some cars just seem to earn themselves a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts despite themselves.

Some cars just seem to earn themselves a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts despite themselves.  By rights, most who enjoy spirited motoring don’t put a lot of stock in sporty-ish cars directing their power through the front wheels and sized for comfortable grand touring.  And yet, Honda’s Accord Coupe with a V6 has been a highly regarded sweetheart for many years, and our test car here, is poised to continue that love affair.

The look of the car alone is surely enough to win over many buyers of this mid-size coupe.

For 2016 the Accord line up (both coupe and sedan) have undergone a comprehensive refresh, keeping their styling fashionable and their technology class-leading.  In fact, finished in glossy metallic black paint as our test car is, the look of the car alone is surely enough to win over many buyers of this mid-size coupe.  It looks low and mean, especially from the front with more LEDs than a modern Christmas tree (headlights, daytime running lights and fog lights are all of the fashionable bright white, energy-efficient nature).  The new-for-2016 19-inch five-spoke wheels are a great addition and really set off the sporty look of the Accord.

Inside there’s plenty to celebrate, too, including supportive and comfortable leather bucket seats that are heated and perforated, but not cooled.  That said, those long of leg may find the passenger seat too low and lacking under-thigh support as my travel companion did.

Ergonomically the Accord is well sorted for the most part.  Primary gauges are large overlapping circles with crisp white numerals on a black background, just as they ought to be.  The dual zone climate controls are operated by large, easy-to-use buttons separate from the infotainment system, and the steering wheel contains its own logical set of switchgear operating a number of driver-critical controls.

The big news inside the Accord this year is its new infotainment system.  Replacing last year’s two-screen-plus-rotary-knob affair is a new two-screen set up that fills essentially the same space.  The upper screen offers up trip computer and audio information, while the lower touch screen now handles most of the graphic heavy lifting, including the navigation map that looks more slick and contemporary than it did last year.  There’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – two very welcome additions.  As an iPhone user, I put the CarPlay functionality to the test and can report that it operated smoothly for me.

One infuriating step back on this new system is the removal of a proper volume knob from last year’s set up, now being replaced by the touch-panel volume control found on every other contemporary Honda.  During a chilly early-spring test session, my gloved fingers couldn’t effectively operate the system causing considerable frustration at the drive-through window when trying to place my order over the blaring music.  The sound quality of the system is mediocre anyway, so maybe it’s best to keep the volume low and enjoy the mechanical sounds instead.

Looking for the sedan? Test Drive: 2016 Honda Accord Sedan Touring

The material choices throughout the interior are first rate, with plenty of soft touch plastics and impressive fitment of components.  One note:  the glossy black plastic on the console is an absolute dust magnet, and if I’m going to be picky, I’d also ask for a heated steering wheel, a feature not available on the Accord.

Rear seat accommodations are never top priority for coupe buyers and while a bit tricky to access, the Accord’s rear seat is more capacious and comfortable than most of its competitor’s vestigial rear seats.  Its trunk, too, is a wholly decent size, offering up 379 L of useful volume.

Honda has made a serious commitment to active safety features in an attempt to do everything they can to keep motorists safe.  Available on all but the entry-level Accord Coupe is the Honda Sensing suite of active safety technology that bundles collision mitigation, lane departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems, altogether.  As commendable as it is that Honda offers these functions, it’s downright remarkable that they’re in a car hovering just over $35,000.  And this of course complements the expected passive safety components that have helped make most cars impressively safe places these days.  Bravo Honda.

One last impressive bit of kit offered at this price point is the auto high beam functionality of those spectacular LED headlights.

But it’s not gizmos and high tech gadgetry that’s endeared the Accord Coupe to buyers (and would-be buyers) over the generations; it’s the sweetheart engine.  Here, while an industry-wide movement toward smaller, turbocharged engines takes over, the Accord soldiers on with a pair of naturally aspirated offerings.  The base engine – a four cylinder – is an adequate and efficient choice, but it’s the V6 found in our test car that deserves attention.

Displacing 3.5 litres, the 24-valve V6 (with i-VTEC of course) puts out 278 hp at 6,200 rpm and 252 lb-ft of torque at 4,900 rpm.  Those are a fairly lofty set of revs required to get that power and twist when compared to contemporary boosted engines, but what those digits don’t tell is how smooth this mill is reaching the revs.  Plus, with such a sweet singing voice, it makes chasing the upper reaches of the tachometer a legitimate part of the joy of driving this car. Although power is down compared to, say a V6 Mustang or Camaro – both similarly priced two-door coupes – the Accord Coupe V6 is still rewardingly swift.

There’s a big, green ECO button that makes the car feel sluggish with lazier throttle response and shifting, but seemed to have little-to-no effect on the average fuel consumption reading.  During a week of plenty of highway and city driving, our Accord achieved an overall fuel average of 9.6 l/100 km.   Officially our Accord Coupe V6 is rated at 11.3 l/100 km in the city and 7.0 l/100 km on the highway, with a combined average of 9.4.  Considering the test car wore winter tires, and this reviewer’s heavy right foot, achieving the government estimates should be easily attainable.

The other half of the Accord V6 Coupe’s drivetrain that has continued to win enthusiasts over the years is its precise-shifting six-speed manual transmission.  Recalling a long history of making crisp and butter-smooth gearboxes in their sporty machines, Honda continues the tradition with the Accord Coupe V6.

But not this one.  Alas, our test car was fitted with the six-speed automatic that diminishes the car’s sporting nature in a big way.  Under normal operation, it does a fine job of going about its business, striving for maximum efficiency by stepping up through the ratios as quickly as is reasonable to keep the engine turning at languid revs.  When asked to get things rockin’, the downshifts come reluctantly unless “S” mode is chosen on the gear selector and the steering wheel–mounted paddles are put to use.  At highway speed our test car would occasionally hunt between fifth and sixth gear – a trait usually only found in cars with eight or nine-speeds these days.

If you have any proficiency with a manual transmission, or even a passing fancy to learn, do yourself a favour, pocket the extra thousand bucks and order your Accord Coupe with the stick-shift.  Considering how few great stick shifts remain today, Honda deserves to be rewarded with a few extra sales for still making one available.

Regardless of which transmission is specified, the Accord Coupe V6’s suspension and steering is the same.  The electrically assisted steering provides decent heft and reasonable feedback, though it’s not true sports car quick.  Likewise, the handling is competent, but the Accord feels like a big car and does roll and pitch enough to warrant declaring it a grand touring car instead of a sports car (which, by the way, nobody claims it is).

The brakes, on the other hand, do a pretty convincing job of sports-car performance with strong initial bite and solid, linear modulation under both moderate and heavy braking.

With sporty coupes (particularly front-wheel-drive ones) slipping further into marketplace obscurity these days, there isn’t much promise that the Accord will continue into future generations in coupe format, much less with that legendary, smooth-revving V6 and a manual transmission.  And when declining sales finally do sign the model’s death warrant, there’ll be a group of us enthusiasts who appreciate our sporty cars with a bit of practicality that’ll mourn its loss.

The Accord Coupe V6 remains as it has been, a very fashionable, well-built and rewarding machine.  Now with its impressive suite of technology, it becomes both safer and an even better value than ever before.  Those shopping for a sporty coupe priced in the mid-30,000’s, owe it to themselves to check the Accord out before they’re gone.

Warranty:
3 years/60,000 km; 5 years/100,000 km powertrain; 5 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 3 years/unlimited distance roadside assistance

Competitors:
Chevrolet Camaro V6
Ford Mustang Ecoboost
Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Specifications

Model Tested 2016 Honda Accord Coupe V6 Touring   Destination Fee $1,695
Base Price $36,990   Price as Tested $38,785
A/C Tax  
Optional Equipment
None