The Honda Accord
sedan always has been among the most sporty mid-size four-door models, but the best driving kicks are provided by the Accord
The four-door Accord
outsells the two-door model and long has been among the top-selling sedans in America. But the coupe is practical in that it offers the same high refinement of the sedan and good interior room.
The front-drive coupe is offered with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower or a 3-liter 240-horsepower V-6.
Base prices range from $19,775 for the entry LX coupe with a four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual gearbox to $28,800 for the equipment-loaded EX V-6 coupe with leather upholstery and a navigation system.
The EX can be had for the $28,800 price with either a super-slick six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission.
coupes are well equipped. The entry EX version has standard items including air conditioning, cruise control, tilt-telescopic wheel, AM/FM stereo with CD player and power windows and locks. The higher-line EX versions add items including a standard power sunroof, six-disc CD changer and larger alloy wheels.
All coupes now are offered with side curtain and front side air bags.
The ticket to the most driving fun is provided when the V-6 is hooked to the close-ratio six-speed manual, which works with a light, short-throw clutch.
However, a downshift to fourth gear is needed on the highway for quick 65-75 mph passing times. Sixth gear is an overdrive gear that provides lazy high-speed passing, but allows the V-6 to loaf at 2,200 rpm at 70 mph.
The four-cylinder engine with the five-speed manual transmission provides lively performance -- but not the neck-snapping acceleration of the V-6 with the six-speed unit.
coupe engines also can be had with a smooth five-speed automatic transmission, which costs extra with some trim levels. That transmission is responsive but lacks a manual shift gate and slows acceleration a bit.
Estimated fuel economy is best with the four-cylinder, dual-overhead-camshaft engine: 26 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway with the manual gearbox and 24 and 34 with the automatic transmission. Figures with the single-overhead-camshaft V-6 are 20 city and 30 highway with the manual and just a tad more at 21 and 30 with the automatic.
coupe is slightly smaller than the Accord
sedan. It rides on a 105.1-inch wheelbase (distance between axles), compared to 107.9 inches for the sedan, and that helps give the sedan a little better ride and more room.
The coupe has fairly compact exterior dimensions; it's 187.6 inches long, compared with 189.5 inches for the sedan, which is 1.4 inches higher than the coupe.
The 2,994-3,265-pound coupe is slightly lighter than the sedan, which helps the two-door deliver better acceleration and handling.
Long doors make it awkward to get in and out of the rear of the coupe in tight parking spots. Getting past the front seats when entering or leaving the coupe calls for extra agility even in spacious areas, but there's decent room for two 6-footers in the rear.
The front bucket seats are supportive, and the large self-illuminating gauges include a tachometer. Major controls are large enough for a driver to easily work, and cupholders are conveniently located. However, it's difficult to reach for the seatbelts before fastening them.
The trunk has a rather high opening, but is large. Cargo room can be increased by flipping the split (60-40) rear seatbacks forward. They sit flat, but their remote releases call for a long reach into the trunk. Also, the pass-through opening from the trunk to the rear seat is only moderately large.
The coupe looks considerably sportier than the sedan. It doesn't have a rakish body, but its smooth lines should stay in style for a long time. It can be argued that the coupe looks slicker than Honda
's two-seat S2000 sports car.
My test EX Accord
V-6 manual-transmission coupe felt much like a sports car, with quick steering with the right amount of power assist and very responsive handling. The sharpest moves are provided by the 17-inch alloy wheels for the EX with the V-6 and manual gearbox. Other Accord
coupes have 15- and 16-inch wheels. The ride is comfortable even on rough roads. Braking is good, with a pedal that has the same smooth operation as other major controls.
coupe has the same higher-than-average reliability and resale value as the Accord
sedan. It's a good choice for those who don't need the extra practicality of four doors.
2005 HONDA ACCORD COUPE
Sporty. Fast with V-6. Sharp handling. Nice ride.
Awkward rear entry and exit. High trunk opening. Long doors. Long reach for seatback releases.