If the rest of 2008 goes this well, I think I’ll spend the whole year here. The all-new for ‘08 Accord that we recently sampled in sporty coupe form proves that Honda gives up very little in the premium sporty coupe marketplace.
Honestly, this car’s biggest problem is the fact that it’s called an Accord, which has long been a synonym for “appliance.” This new coupe has more in common with a BMW 3-Series than a refrigerator.
Externally, it’s one of the more attractive sporty coupes we’ve seen in quite some time–if you took the badges off you could probably convince someone it was an Aston-Martin without too much trouble.
Inside, the layout and ergonomics are dead-on, although some of the controls are starting to look a little dated. Maybe something as simple as a font change would update the look a bit. At any rate, most everything is logically placed. Even with the super-complicated nav system and climate control, we didn’t have too much trouble figuring out which buttons to hit.
Dynamically, the car is just a joy. While the days of lightweight sports coupes are pretty much over, the Accord is far more nimble than its 3400-plus lb. curb weight would lead you to believe. It actually feels a great deal like a 3-Series, which is high praise for any car with sporty intentions. The wishbone front and multilink rear suspension make for a very responsive and stable chassis. It feels like a nice, predictable, sporty FWD car that you can easily drive at 10/10ths without wearing yourself out.
Honestly, if it wasn’t called an Accord it would probably be more of a candidate for track days and HPDEs. With 268hp and a slick, firm-shifting six-speed, the car gets out of its own way pretty well. Particularly impressive is the midrange. If you don’t want to use the entire rev range, don’t worry. The Accord sweeps through the mid portion of the tach with ample thrust. The six-speed model lists a high-performance intake manifold among its standard features, which is not listed for the automatic-equipped V6, although Honda lists both models with the same 268hp and 248 ft./lbs. of torque. The six-speed model is also listed as slightly thirstier than the automatic-equipped car, which features variable cylinder management. All 2008 Accords are ULEV-2 rated.
Standard tires are 235/45-18s on alloy wheels, wrapped around 11.8-inch vented front and 11.1-inch solid rear disc brakes.
Living with the coupe is basically as easy as living with any other Honda, in that everything just works the way you’d expect it to. Being a coupe, the doors are a bit longish but certainly not into Camaro territory. The trunk is surprisingly big for a coupe at almost 12 cubic feet–only about 15 percent smaller than the trunk in the four-door Accord. The opening is a bit small and high, but the rear end looks cool and we’ll happily take the tradeoff.
All that power in the sweet six-speed does come at a bit of a price, though–both on the sticker and at the pump. The six-speed coupe is pretty much only available loaded, which easily pushes the sticker price north of $34,000. It’s a Honda, though, so you’re probably going to hold onto a lot of that value as the car ages.
It’s also mileage champ, as we managed about 23-24 mpg in mixed driving.
Honestly, the Accord coupe is a bit of an enigma. It belongs on anyone’s short list who is also looking at cars like the Infiniti G37 Coupe, or even the 300ZX. It’s even got the ‘nads to run with cars like the 3-Series (maybe not the twin-turbo version, but pretty darn close). It’s the FWD alternative to all of those excellent RWD sporty coupes, and a fine alternative at that.