HFP kit adds street style, but takes nothing away from this satisfying coupe

2011 Honda Accord Coupe HFP(Photo: Justin Couture)

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What is it?
It's Honda's idea of a modern personal luxury sports coupe, albeit decked out with boy-racer components from its official Factory Performance division. Limited to 200 units for Canada for 2011, it's sure to be an uncommon sight on Canadian roads.

What's new?
Honda has been offering HFP components in Canada for years now, and offers a full three-year warranty on all components. However, the Accord Coupe marks the first time that Honda has released an entire vehicle under the HFP brand name. The package combines the most popular baubles, including a full skirt package, bronze 19-inch wheels, and HFP springs and dampers that lower the ride height by 15 mm. Available exclusively on the EX-L V6 Navi model, and in any colour you like (so long as it's black), the only real choice you have is whether you want a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.

What's it like to drive?
Because the HFP package is centered on looks, it drives pretty much the same as the standard Coupe. However, this no bad thing as the Accord is one of the great unrecognized cars around. The lowered suspension kit and 19-inch wheels give it a purposeful look, though the styling kit looks a bit aftermarket. Somehow, we think this is what Honda was shooting for.

On the contrary, the car feels anything but aftermarket. The ride, though a bit stiffer, isn't punishing, and the steering is still nicely balanced if a bit low on feel, and heavy at parking speeds. We've got no complaints for the drivetrain department — the 3.5-litre V6 is siren-smooth, and the six-speed stick-shift has a crisp action. This car is quite brisk, so it isn't as if it's wanting for more power. The engine, however, could use a more tuneful exhaust note to complement its sportier looks, something an HFP exhaust and air intake could certainly fix.

Should you buy one?
At a cost of $2,000, the HFP package represents good value if you were thinking of upgrading the standard car's wheels and tires; look at it from this perspective, and the upgraded suspension and body kit are freebies. However, if you're not keen on any one part of the HFP kit, we'd recommend sticking with the standard EX-L V6 Coupe with navigation. As a fast, smooth, luxurious coupe, it's pretty hard to top. It's an Acura in every way but its name.

2011 Honda Accord Coupe HFP
Base price / as-tested: $37,890 / $37,890
Type of vehicle: FWD, midsize coupe
Engine: 3.5 L, 24-valve, SOHC V6
Power/Torque: 271 hp / 254 lb.-ft.
Transmission: Six-speed manual (opt. five-speed automatic)
Fuel consumption (city/hwy/as-tested): 11.9 / 7.6 / 12.1 L/100 km
Competition: Audi A5, BMW 3 Series Coupe, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Nissan Altima Coupe

QUICK SPIN SUMMARY

PROS
Slick looks
Effortless performance
Rides well, despite the lowered suspension

CONS
No choice in colour
More soulful exhaust note needed
Limited to EX-L Navi model