Thumbs Up: Usable back seat, Acura quality with a Honda price tag
Thumbs Down: Stops just short of being a driver’s car
Buy This Car If: You need sedan-like room but prefer a coupe body style
Honda has completely revamped its Accord lineup for 2013, and an all-new Accord Coupe is among the models. While that may have been met with some indifference in the past, the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe is a surprisingly capable car that looks great both inside and out. In fact, the only thing we can’t figure out about the new Accord Coupe, especially in higher-trim versions, is why it’s sporting a Honda badge and not an Acura logo.
In the past, there was clearer differentiation between Honda and its luxury brand, Acura. While you could still buy well-equipped cars from Honda, they stopped short of being luxurious. That’s simply not the case with the Accord Coupe EX-L V-6 with Navigation, which comes to market with surprisingly good leather seats, a passenger-side blind spot camera system, lane departure warning, a rearview camera system, active noise cancellation, dual-zone automatic climate control and a host of other features previously reserved for luxury cars. While we’d stop short of calling the car’s $33,140 as-equipped sticker price inexpensive, it is surprisingly low for the amount of content offered.
Acura’s cars have always been entertaining to drive, but the same thing can be said of the new Accord Coupe, too. Yes, it’s nose-heavy and shod with run-of-the-mill all-season tires, but it will still exceed the handling expectations of most buyers. Steering is precise enough and nicely weighted, and there’s surprisingly little body roll in corners, at least driving the kind of speeds that allow one to remain a licensed driver. It’s no sport coupe, to be sure, but we’d be more than willing to drive one cross-country well above posted speed limits.
We think it looks good, too. Its angular front styling conveys a sense of speed and purpose, even when the car is parked. The large lower intake gives the Accord Coupe a sporting demeanor, as do the fog light surrounds shaped to look like brake cooling ducts. Though thick chrome generally isn’t our preferred style, the meaty chrome grille trim on the Accord Coupe doesn’t detract from the car’s looks.
In profile, the same can be said about the brightwork surrounding the daylight opening. It’s tastefully narrow until it thickens at the C-pillar, giving the coupe a needed bit of bling. We like the parallel character lines, too, which sweep from the front fender, across the door, before terminating ahead of the rear wheel.
The Coupe’s rear lines are equally pleasing, and we like the subtle deck lid spoiler and faux cooling vents integrated into the rear bumper. We’re less sure about the chrome trim strip that spans the bumper below the license plate, though; while the rear of the Accord Coupe needs something to dress it up, this oddly-sized and oddly-located bit of brightwork isn’t, in our opinion, the right answer.
Inside, we’re encouraged by the absence of faux-luxury or faux-sport trim. There isn’t a scrap of fake wood or simulated carbon fiber to be found; instead, the dash is a pleasing blend of patterned plastic with metallic trim, topped in soft-touch vinyl. Controls for audio and navigation are clear and easy to access, and the large navigation screen is presented as close to eye level as possible.
We love the Accord Coupe’s instrumentation, too, as it delivers every bit of information we need in a clear format without distracting us. Front and center is an oversized speedometer with an inset driver information display. Flanking the speedometer is a tachometer (on the left) and a fuel gauge / temperature gauge (on the right). Trimming the speedometer are a pair of light bars that glow green (in Eco mode) when the car is being driven in an environmentally-friendly manner, giving those concerned with fuel economy active coaching.
We’d call the front seats as good as any we’ve experienced in an Acura model, and that’s saying a lot. In fact, we’d pick them over the front chairs in the Acura ILX, which (to be fair) is aimed at a slightly different demographic and price point. They’re comfortable, supportive and sized just right for a wide range of drivers, and the coupe is roomy enough that front seat passengers won’t complain about head room or leg room.
Second row accommodations aren’t quite as luxurious, but those below six-feet in height will find the outboard seating to be satisfactory. Unlike other coupes we can name (the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro, for example), the Accord Coupe’s back seat offers up a reasonable amount of legroom, too. Getting in or out is still more challenging than with a sedan, but the Accord Coupe is certainly a car we could live with as a daily driver and occasional passenger hauler.
While the base engine in the Accord Coupe is a 2.4-liter inline four, our Honda-supplied press fleet model came with the optional 3.5-liter V-6. In Accord Coupe trim, its rated at 278 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque, and available with either a six-speed manual (like our car) or a six-speed automatic. Acceleration in more than adequate, with the run from 0-60 mph taking just 6.1 seconds. We’re fans of the entertaining and smooth-shifting manual transmission, but those seeking optimal fuel economy will want to choose the automatic. Our manual gearbox V-6 Accord gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined (28 highway, 18 city), but the automatic-equipped car delivers 25 mpg combined (34 highway, 21 mpg city).
On the road, the Accord Coupe serves up a comfortable, if firm, ride. Acceleration isn’t sports-car quick, but it is better than the average grocery-getter, and so is handling. Pushed hard in a corner, the all-season radial tires will wave the white flag long before any of the Coupe’s suspension components, and as we mentioned earlier there’s surprisingly little body roll in corners. Turn-in is quick enough for a car without “Sport” in its name, and there’s even a reasonable amount of steering feel (and a nice weight to the steering). The brakes worked well enough under any conditions we tested them, and our overall impression is that the Accord Coupe has significantly higher limits than most buyers will ever probe. It won’t be a lot of fun on track days thanks to it’s heavy front-end weight bias and durable tires, but that’s not the car’s mission. As a practical and attractive daily driver, the Accord Coupe has the benefit of delivering more entertainment value than most cars in its segment.
Our press fleet 2013 Honda Accord Coupe was delivered in EX-L trim, with the V-6 engine and the navigation system. The as-equipped price was $33,140.00, including a destination charge of $790.
For comparison, a similarly-equipped Nissan Altima Coupe (available only with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine) would sticker at $33,850, while a comparable (but higher-performance) Hyundai Genesis Coupe would list for $33,225.