2013 Honda Accord Coupe V6 road test
The ultimate expression of Accord's fun-to-drive revival
There are coupes and then there are coupes. The Subaru BRZ, for example, is a coupe. So is the Porsche Cayman. Both are also sports cars — wonderful sports cars, the both of them. Then again, what about, say, the late and unlamented Chevrolet Monte Carlo? Your eyes might convince you it was a coupe, but you wouldn't need to spend long behind the wheel of a Monte Carlo to recognise its true nature — a two-door version of the Impala sedan.
Which brings us to the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe. It certainly looks the part, but it's based on a sedan that, in recent years, has lost its one-time lustre as the driver's choice among family cars. So, is the new Accord Coupe a sports car, a two-door sedan, or something in-between?
Well, not having driven them all, we can't be sure that every Accord Coupe variant is a driver's car. But we're optimistic. After all, even the sedan has regained a lot of its playful spirit for 2013, and the coupe is smaller, lower and lighter than the four-door.
What we can say with certainty is that the V6 version under examination here is a coupe that loves to play; heck, it does so with the energy and the enthusiasm of a Labrador puppy.
There are tamer alternatives
If you prefer a less boisterous ride, there are options. The 2013 Coupe is offered to Canadians in three flavours: four-cylinder EX or EX-L Navi each with a choice of six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmissions; or V6 EX-L Navi with six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
Pricing starts at $26,290 for the EX model, rising to $35,390 for this EX-L Navi (same price for manual or automatic). As the trim designation implies, our test subject is comprehensively equipped, not only with L-for-leather and navigation, but also proximity entry, push-button start, back-up camera, text and e-mail capability, power moonroof, LED projector beam headlamps, and dual-zone climate control. Notable safety amenities include lane-watch blind-spot monitor, forward collision warning, and lane-departure warning. (With few exceptions, everything that's standard with the V6 is also present on the four-cylinder EX-L Navi.)
Among mass-market nameplates the Accord V6 Coupe has little direct competition, especially since the 2013 Nissan Altima Coupe now comes only as a four-cylinder. Similar money will buy you V6 or even V8 versions of the Detroit muscle coupes, or a Hyundai Genesis V6 Coupe, but those rear-wheel drivers speak to a different audience.
Much the same applies to other possibilities like the BMW 128i, or Chrysler 200 Hardtop Convertible. Nothing else matches the Accord's combination of coupe style with real-world-useable seating for up to three rear passengers. And only the Challenger has a larger trunk.
Six on a stick: Get it here
The combo of V6 and six-speed-stick is unique to the Coupe (sedan V6s are automatic only) and was installed on our interesting Tiger Eye Pearl test sample. That specification certainly pushed our buttons, though it wasn't really representative of what most Accord Coupsters actually drive. Historically, almost two thirds of Coupes are four-cylinder models, and among the V6 minority, manual transmissions are an even smaller minority — about 27 per cent in 2010 and 2011.
Our test gear credits the V6 stick with a 0-100-km/h time of 6.7 seconds, which is plenty quick but still doesn't do justice to how rapid the car feels. A bunch of things all converge to enhance and maximise the perceived and useable performance on the road: the overall gearing is quite low, so there's no need to constantly row the shifter; crisp throttle response ensures the engine snaps to attention right now! when you crack open the throttle; and the engine spreads its power generously across the rev range, all the way from idle to 6,800-rpm.
In this era of mighty-mite four-cylinder turbos, Honda's brawny V6 is a refreshing endorsement of the old saying, "there ain't no replacement for cubic displacement."