2008 Honda Accord Coupe V6 | road test

Posted on Aug 12, 2008 by

Having
a variant alongside the mainstream four-door sedan jazzes up
the line-up for any car manufacturer and the Germans have been doing
so with much ado all these years and with great success. The Japanese
have not lagged behind in any way – take the case of the Camry
Solara, Accord coupe or for that matter the Altima coupe. The coupe
versions made buyers of the four-door sedan feel less like they’re
settling in for a family car and more like they’re getting something
sporty on the sly! Although, both the cars were from the same parts
bin, the game plan played well for most manufacturers with younger
DINK (Double Income No Kids) families opting for the coupe while the
more mature family man with 1-2 kids settling in for the sedan
counterpart of the same car.

Although
Toyota sells the Camry-coupe ‘Solara’ in the US, it’s still yet to
see the sun in this part of the world. Nissan on the other hand has
brought in the coupe variant of the Altima this year into the Middle
East with powertrain offerings in both four- and six-cylinders. The
’s had the Accord coupe offered here in the region for quite
sometime, although that stopped briefly in between. The previous
model-year Accord did not have a coupe variant available here in the
Middle East. So, Honda included a coupe model to the Middle East
portfolio when it gave the Accord a clean-sheet makeover for the 2008
model year and I got to sample this one in the V6 guise.

The
Accord coupe test car provided to us by Honda Middle East was a
well-equipped model with the 3.5-litre V6 power plant under its
belly, 5-speed automatic transmission, leather upholstery and a host
of luxury oddments that’s standard in this category of cars.

Unlike
Nissan’s Altima coupe where it deviates a lot in terms of design
direction from that of the sedan, the Accord coupe in its
metallic-grey paint job was more at home when compared to its sedan
counterpart. It bears all the classic coupe proportions – a long
hood, chopped off tail section and shorter wheelbase. The high-waist
line together with the pronounced lines running from the front tyre
footwells all the way to the rear boot lid give it what we would like
to call ‘understated sleekness’. Simply put, this coupe could stand
tyre-to-tyre with some luxury car models available in the market
presently.

The
current model is Honda’s eighth generation Accord and the sedan model
has moved up from being a mid-size to – barely – full size
(2799mm). But that’s not the case with its sportier alter ego and the
Accord coupe is retained in the mid-size coupe category (2741mm).
Though the coupe, typically, is shorter and smaller inside than the
sedan, and remains a mid-size car, it still benefits from the
upsizing. The front seats are expansive while the rear seats are
roomy enough for two average sized adults – and that is if you are
nimble enough to get there! The doors are large for easy ingress and
egress, but are susceptible to dings and nudges while parking and
exiting from tight parking spots – like the ones mostly found in
Dubai!

Move
inside and you are immediately welcomed with an array of big, chunky
switches and knobs – a refreshing change from what is the norm of
the day. And by norm of the day, we mean trying to key-in a myriad of
functions via a joystick built into a knob, as in the case of the
German trio – BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The use of big, bold
buttons with a single straight-forward function brings in ease of
use as well as easy accessibility. The overall appeal may not be very
upmarket and trendy, but it definitely serves the purpose and for a
newcomer it takes hardly any time to get around with the controls
useability. If you are one of those who would like to flaunt your new
set of wheels among your friends, the way Honda interior designers
have presented the interior does send out a powerful message: Take a
look at all the techno-wizardry built into my set of wheels!

 

 

Having
owned a silver 1998 coupe (2.4-litre 4-cylinder) for
almost a year and a half, getting comfortable with the 2008 Accord
coupe was not much of a deal for me. The layouts and controls were
easy on the eye and user friendly. The car sits lower compared to
Nissan’s Altima coupe (what by far is the main contender in this
segment at this point of time) and provides for a bit of that
boy-racer look and feel to the whole set-up. We would have liked to
have had a manual transmission in this one, but unfortunately Honda
doesn’t bring them here and so buyers have to be contented with a
standard 5-speed automatic box.

Turn
the ignition on and you are immediately reminded that it is a another
of those super-smooth Honda engines that is powering this one. The
3.5-litre V6 features Honda’s latest VCM (Variable Cylinder
Management) that shuts off a bank of cylinders to save on gas. The
shift from the 6-cylinder to 4-cylinder is hardly noticeable and the
same goes to the other way around with power coming in at the
slightest flick of the gas pedal. A small green light inside the
odometer tells you what mode you are on.

Nail
the throttle and you could hear the muted rumbling of the V6 from the
twin exhausts (the 4-cylinder gets only one). This one can pass on as
a four-cylinder easily with the saving grace being the V6 decals on
the bootlid. Floor the gas pedal/accelarator and the engine reacts to
inputs quite instantaneously. The vehicle shoots forward with a verve
matching the engine’s liveliness. The V6 has enough low-speed torque
to drive smoothly and pull when the demand for passing arises –
especially in a city like Dubai where engine size outshines anything
else!

The
271bhp V6 does 0-100km in 5.7 seconds and that’s ridiculously fast
for a practical, mid-size car. It would have outrun most Porsches at
this speed if Honda had that nailed some fifteen years ago! But that
doesn’t stop this six-cylinder coupe from making any heads turn. For
such a car, a 5.7 second acceleration figure is fast to its current
segment standards. But the biggest problem area is not the speed but
the feeling of being floaty and imprecise at that speed and that
awful amount of understeer that creeps in when you try to slow down –
not something that would go down well among buyers looking for that
sporty indent in their coupe. But still, the Accord coupe V6 will
definitely get you where you want to go quickly and safely and with a
tinge of understated class.

The
Accord coupe V6 is a simple, no-frill car with a solid engineering,
reasonable handling, excellent build quality and an adequate sized
interior for two-plus-two. With the Accord coupe, you could enjoy the
excitement of snapping around a corner and immediately chase that
with a feeling of being able to plod along as if you were out for a
lazy Friday afternoon drive. Buyers looking for a satisfying blend of
ride comfort and decent handling, as well as sharp looks, plenty of
standard features and unexpected room inside, could have trouble
finding a candidate as strong as the Accord coupe!

Technical Specifications

Body Style : Coupe
Price : Dhs 117,000 (3.5L V6) / Dhs. 95,000 (2.4L 4-Cylinder)
Engine : 3.5-litre V6
Power : 271Bhp @ 6200 rpm
Torque : 340Nm @ 5000 rpm
Transmission : 5-speed Automatic

* Prices are indicative and may vary at the time of purchase. All prices are ex-Dubai showrooms. Please check with your local dealer for current prices and offers.

 

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