A trip to the movie theaters reminded me why I hate Hondas. And you must be thinking, “Why is that? What the heck did the movies ever do to ruin Hondas for you?” While you read this either sitting on your lazy bum on the computer, or on your iPad or whatever you may use, I’ll let you in on some contextual details that might make more sense of where I’m going.
I went with some friends to see the latest installment to the Fast and the Furious franchise: Fast Five. Now, I am not kidding when I say this, but the local movie theater’s parking lot looked like something that would resemble a poor man’s Hot Import Night. It was ghastly, what with enough fart cans and giant fiberglass wings to probably fill the theater seats. And lo and behold, what other badge did majority of the cars don than the encapsulated capital “H.”
But that’s really all I hate about Hondas. Other than that, I have great respect for them, which is why I sprung to lease my own 2011 Honda Accord V6 Coupe with a six-speed manual. And despite this respect, I was still a bit apprehensive about my purchase. I’ve brought this up to some of my fellow friends and many of them told me to wait and see, “you’ll catch the Honda bug.” What Honda bug do they speak of? Can my ownership change things up for me? Well, let’s find out.
Note: If you weren’t paying attention to the last paragraph, this vehicle was not provided to us by Honda for testing and is my own personal daily driver.
2011 Honda Accord V6 Coupe Specifications:
- Base Price: $29,430.
- Price As Tested: $30,619.
- Engine: 3.5-Liter V6 VTEC SOHC 24-Valve – 271hp / 254 lb-ft of torque.
- Transmission: 6-Speed Manual or 5-Speed Automatic.
- 0 to 60 mph: 5.5 seconds.
- Top Speed: 134 mph (electronically limited).
- Curb Weight: 3,410 lbs.
- Fuel-economy (city/highway): 17/26 mpg (city/highway) w/ 6-speed manual; 19/29 w/ 5-speed automatic.
All Photos Copyright © Nikolina Kostrevski – egmCarTech.
[quote float=”right”]From nearly every angle, the new Honda Accord Coupe looks nothing but spectacular…[/quote] Starting off with the looks, the Accord Coupe, unlike its sister sedan, was destined to be a handsome car from the get-go. When the concept first debuted, I was immediately swept away. There are some differences between the concept and the production model, but the major proportions were maintained. The bulbous, yet rounded off nose, the ascending shoulderline and the large wheel wells soften the front overhang- a trait usually associated with front-wheel driven cars. The stance is wide and aggressive, while being sleek with a raked, sloping roofline a la shooting-brake. From nearly every angle, the new Honda Accord Coupe looks nothing but spectacular. It used to be where the Accords were so softly and anonymously designed that whenever you saw one, they were as boring as Toyotas were to look at. It was like expecting the girl next door coming over and asking for a cup of sugar, only to come face to face with an elderly woman politely asking for you to try her strawberry rhubarb pies. But no, with this new Accord, even after four years in production, still looks fresh and changes out the elderly woman for Mila Kunis.
What also should be noted is that there are minor exterior changes from the 2007-2010 models: the front and rear fascias were redone with the front featuring protruding foglights. The rear taillights were reworked to protrude outward to the sides and to be honest, the pre-facelifted models look a little more sleek. Also included are new five-spoke 18-inch rims, which are the largest rims fitted to any Honda this side of the Pacific from the factory.
On the inside, things are just as good. Ergonomics are first rate. Sure there are quite a bit of buttons on the center console, but all of them are clearly labeled, very easy to learn and well within reach. The Honda La-Z-Boys are a little flat for my taste but then again, I’m coming from the warm, hugging feeling of Jaguar’s seats in their old X308 XJ8. Either way, they get the job done by being comfortable and supportive. As for the materials, Honda has made sure not to subject itself to the drop in interior build quality like Toyota has. As a result, build quality is very good and it seems like Honda logically placed the soft-to-the-touch materials where the occupants would find themselves reaching the most. While some of the other plastics are hard to the touch, they’re left for the surfaces less frequented by human skin and look like they’re built to last. And thankfully, they don’t look as hard as they feel. It’s also very spacious on the inside with plenty of room to fit four full-sized adults reasonably well. The trunk is massive so you can also haul their luggage and if in need, you can fold the rear seats down. So, how does it drive?
[quote float=”left”]With a 0-60 time clocked in at the factory of 5.5 seconds, the Accord V6 is no slouch either…[/quote] Let’s talk power. The 2011 Honda Accord Coupe can be had with either a 190hp/162 lb-ft 2.4L DOHC 16v iVTEC four-banger or the top dog 3.5L SOHC 24v VTEC V6, which churns out a very impressive 271hp and 254 lb-ft of torque. Both can be mated to either a five-speed automatic or manual for the four-banger, and a five-speed auto and a six-speed close ratio manual for the V6 (what I have). Power delivery is absolutely seamless and instantaneous with horsepower peaking at 6200RPM and 5000RPM for the torque. Whether you’re cruising on the highway in top gear or bombing your favorite back roads, that V6 always has its reserves ready to go making for a very versatile engine and even a near-V8 experience. Combined with Honda’s slick and firm shifting manual and you can tell Honda definitely kept the enthusiast in mind. It is VERY engaging without any sacrifice in refinement. With a 0-60 time clocked in at the factory of 5.5 seconds, the Accord V6 is no slouch either. And it won’t penalize you at the pumps too poorly either with EPA estimates pegged at 17/26 mpg city and highway. I’ve been observing an average combined cycle of around 18-20 mpg but admittedly, that’s from the way I drive. But even with a fair amount moderately spirited driving, you can still manage up to 375 miles out of one tank. Sure the 2011 Honda Accord V6 Coupe has plenty of power, but what about the handling?
Already, you might be thinking that 271hp is way too much for a front-wheel drive car. But actually you’d be surprised! Only uneven and slick surfaces remind you that the front wheels are doing both jobs of power delivery and direction changing. Speaking of which, Honda’s tight ratio power-assisted steering paired with their double wishbone suspension up front, fully-independent multi-link rear and a very stiff chassis yields excellent results. The ride is firm but very compliant and absorbs road imperfections like a champ with only slight noises from the bumps. High-speed stability is exceptional for this segment and with its refined power and drivetrain, makes for a very comfortable and quiet highway cruiser for the price. Feel like taking the slightly longer and windier way home? Have the utter urge to bomb that jug handle that leads to your residence? Not a problem. While its sister sedan can tip the scales at 3,600lbs, the coupe’s two-less doors allows for a near 200lb drop at 3,410 lb, which makes for a huge difference. Handling is excellent with enough composure and body control to make you think that this is by no means a front-wheel driven car. Turn in is sharp and steering feel is typical first-rate Honda but it isn’t as eager as Accords of the past. And the chassis is absolutely sublime making me think that if Honda were to chop the top, the rigidity will still be enough to make it a sporty and handsome convertible. If I were to equate the driving experience to that of a similar benchmark, the first thing that comes to mind was the last generation Acura 3.2CL Type-S, minus its trick helical limited-slip differential. Driving the 2011 Honda Accord V6 Coupe close to 9/10s would reveal its front-wheel quirks, but if it had a trick diff like the Acura, it would undoubtedly increase that threshold. The standard stability and traction control do a good job keeping slip up front to a minimum both in a straight line and in a corner. Disable it and understeer is the name of the game when you go above those 9/10s. While this is no S2000, the handling limits are well out of reach for even the above average driver. Man, I’m starting to get the idea of this “Honda bug.”
Pricing & Equipment:
How about price and equipment? As usual, the Accord is very well packaged with lots of standard equipment such as a six-disc in-dash changer with Bluetooth and auxiliary and USB connectivity, an upgraded radio with a XM capability and a rear-deck mounted subwoofer, driver and passenger two-mode heated seats, one-touch open and close windows all around, automatic headlights and a power-adjustable driver seat with two memory modes just to name a few. Thankfully, Honda doesn’t charge extra for either the manual or the automatic. My coupe came basically equipped without sat-nav and the performance HFP-package, which seem to be the only extra packages worth mentioning for an otherwise already solidly equipped car. Unfortunately though, the 2011 Honda Accord V6 Coupe gets very close to the price range of the famous domestic pony, the RWD V6 Mustang similarly equipped, which also received a new, more powerful V6. And if you add the sat-nav and HFP package, that can get even closer to the stunning new 5.0 GT Mustang.
[quote float=”right”]…the 2011 Accord V6 Coupe is a stylish, handsome, well-mannered and well-equipped sports coupe that is fast, fun to drive, practical, economical, cheap…[/quote] Nonetheless, I can see what my friends were speaking of when they said that the “Honda” bug would hit me. Long gone were the thoughts that I would be associated with the Fast and the Furious crowd because plain and simply, the 2011 Accord V6 Coupe is a stylish, handsome, well-mannered and well-equipped sports coupe that is fast, fun to drive, practical, economical, cheap to run and dirt reliable. Sure there are other alternatives that may drive better or offer a more unique experience. But as a whole package, no other alternative can match the balance in performance, economy and practicality like the Honda Accord Coupe can. Because it makes so much sense, it makes up for the quirky front-wheel drive characteristics. It’s no wonder that they’ve been the longest running contender on Car and Driver’s respected “10 Best List,” because the Accord very well damn deserves it.
PS: Stay tuned as I will continue to provide coverage for my Honda in egmCarTech’s first ever long-term review.
Review: 2011 Honda Accord V6 Coupe:
– By: Chris Chin
All Photos Copyright © Nikolina Kostrevski – egmCarTech.