Honda Accord Coupe V6 — An alternative to the pony cars

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

For those looking for a performance-infused sports coupe, but who aren't awed by the current crop of retro "pony cars" need look no further than the 2016 Honda Accord Coupe with the V-6 engine. The coupe — along with the sedan — was restyled in 2013 and Honda has updated it for 2016. In six-cylinder guise it delivers sparkling performance and handling on a par with the six-cylinder offerings from Mustang, Camaro and Challenger, but in a more sophisticated package.

And if you opt for the new top-of-the-line Touring Edition you will not only get outstanding performance, but all the good stuff Honda has available this year including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as the new Amplitude Reactive Suspension and the Honda Sensing package that includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation, and lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.

Although the design updates are minimal the Accord gets a new grille and a more expressive front fascia. The standard LED headlights that come with the Touring model are just the right touch and give the Accord a striking resemblance to Honda's upscale Acura vehicles.

We are of the opinion that the styling direction actually works better with two doors than with four. And we think the refreshed 2016 Accord sports a more pleasing look than last year. If the new stance sparks increased interest in the two-door, it will give people a chance to discover its solid-build quality, its outstanding driving demeanor, its upscale leather upholstery, decent gas mileage, excellent sightlines compared to the pony-car coupes, and livable — if a bit tight — rear-seat room for two adults. As a bonus, the V-6 provides off-the-line performance to put a smile on your face.

Both the coupe and sedan come with two engine offerings — a solid-feeling four-cylinder and a 278-horsepower V-6 — in five trim levels — LX, (LX-S coupe), Sport, EX, EX-L and the range-topping Touring. Starting price for the coupe including destination charge is $24,710 for the six-speed manual. (Note: A manual transmission is offered only in coupe format). The coupe tops out at $35,060 for the well-equipped V-6 Touring.

Fuel economy is excellent with the 2.4-liter, 185-horsepower 4-cylinder mated to a continuously variable transmission measured at 27 mpg city, 37 highway and 31 overall. The 3.5-liter V-6 mated to the six-speed automatic is 21-city, 32-highway and 25 overall.

Although Honda has added considerable technology for 2016, the engine and transmission choices remain the same as previous years. And that's OK by us especially with the V-6, which feels strong when paired to Honda's six-speed automatic. The front-drive coupe is quick off the line with almost no torque steer measured at 5.6 seconds from 0-to-60. That's on a par with the six-cylinder editions of the Mustang and Camaro. Keeping the pedal to the metal, the Accord can finish off a quarter mile in 14 seconds at 103 mph.

The Accord coupe is actually 2.2 inches shorter than the sedan with a two-inch shorter wheelbase, giving the two-door better balance and superior handling traits that come through increased body rigidity, retuned steering that is precise and firmer than the four-door sedan, and new adaptive dampers on the Touring model.

Active Noise Control (ANC) and Active Sound Control (ASC) are standard across the Accord model range. Honda says additional noise reduction is derived from careful tailoring of the underbody and suspension systems. But even with these measures, we found there was considerable road noise at interstate speeds in our Touring coupe test car. Perhaps this was due in part to the Touring's 19-inch wheels and Michelin Primacy all-season tires.

The cabin design carries over from last year and this is a good thing. Materials are excellent and storage areas are ample including a large armrest bin. There's a flat storage area forward of the shifter and a new, enclosed bin above a USB port for a smartphone. We like the two large screen-design atop one another in the center stack, both of which can control certain audio, navigation, and vehicle settings. The front seats offer good leg room, and headroom is adequate.

All trims with the exception of LX and Sport get a new "Display Audio" touchscreen that controls everything, as there are no accompanying buttons, or much to our annoyance, a volume knob. The finger touch volume control is the worst design on the market. We offer thanks to the designers who put a redundant volume control on the steering wheel.

Base price: $24,710; as driven, $35,060
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6
Horsepower: 278 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque: 252 foot-pounds @ 4,900 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: front wheel
Seating: 2/2
Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
Length: 192.5 inches
Curb weight: 3,605 pounds
Turning circle: 39.6 feet
Luggage capacity: 15.8 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 17.2 gallons (regular)
EPA seating: 21 city, 32 highway, 25 overall
0-60: 5.6 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: BMW 3-Series, Chevrolet Camaro V-6, Cadillac ATS Coupe

The Good
• Energetic, fuel-efficient V-6
• High-quality interior
• Responsive handling

The Bad
• Noisy at interstate speeds

The Ugly
• Poor audio volume control design