Let’s face it. New cars are becoming less exciting to drive by the year. Advancements in technology may be making cars safer, faster, and more efficient (which we can’t argue with) but the driver is increasingly being taken out of the equation. “Autonomous” this, “driver assist” that. For better or worse, people don’t drive cars anymore, software drives cars. The 2017 Accord Coupe V6 is different.
You could argue that the Accord is not different, and you’d be right. There is software galore in the Accord’s powerful yet efficient 3.5L Earth Dreams V6. Also, the Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) proved to be an effective and intelligent system under forceful braking on slippery Seattle surfaces. The point here, however, is what Honda has managed to accomplish while still incorporating cutting edge software and driver assists. They have built an engaging and fun driver’s coupe, not another zombie-fied people carrier. By modern standards, the 2017 Accord Coupe V6 feels almost analog and we love that. Here are four reasons why we think it’s one of the best cars of the year:
1. That V6
From the air intake to the exhaust tips and everything in between, the Accord’s power plant is mechanical harmony. Capable of 278hp at 6500rpm, the Accord V6 may not love to rev by earlier VTEC standards but we find ourselves near redline frequently because of how willing and able the six-cylinder is. We hit 60mph in just under 6 seconds while enjoying the musical exhaust note – a silky smooth rasp only Honda can play. Tinkered with by the Honda Factory Performance (HFP) team, this Accord’s engine sounds and breathes like a finely tuned instrument. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t brake for no reason other than to listen to throttle blips for downshifts. OK, so average fuel economy was only around 19mpg but you would be hard pressed to find, even among today’s countless offerings, a turbo-charged four that’s as good as this.
2. It Comes In a Manual
We can all agree that the manual transmission has been relegated to a certain kind of buyer. Control freaks? Maybe. Purists and enthusiasts? Definitely. Maybe I’m a bit of both but either way, I liken the driving experience of a manual transmission-ed car to dancing or playing an instrument. In the Accord Coupe, destinations become secondary to the driving experience; this is quite a feat by a modern car. You find yourself driving just to drive. To enjoy the sound of RPM undulation, the feel of shifting, and the dance with three pedals. As an automatic, the Accord V6 would be just another smooth, quick coupe (albeit, a good looking one, but we’ll get to that later). In this 6-speed manual variant, the car becomes kinetic art. Both instrument and dance partner. Throw length is just right and shift feel is fluid yet weighty - a gearbox that is just as rewarding as the engine it’s attached to. By offering a manual option, Honda offers soul as well.
3. Safety First
Most of us were taught to shoulder check during lane changes. I, on the other hand, have always believed that shoulder checks are dangerous. Over the years, I have ridden shotgun with one too many drivers who nearly hit the car in front of them or drift out of lane because of shoulder checking. Honda’s LaneWatch™ technology eliminates, or, at least minimizes the need for shoulder checking by activating the passenger mirror’s camera whenever the right turn signal is toggled. It’s a neat safety feature that more manufactures should implement. My only gripe with the technology is that it neglects the driver-side mirror; Honda claims it would be counter-intuitive to look at the Display Audio screen to the right of the driver while making a left turn.
While we’re on the topic of cameras, Honda also offers a multi-angle rear view camera which offers a comprehensive look at what’s behind you. Coupes generally lack visibility but that is certainly not the case with this Accord.
The Honda Sensing™ features include adaptive cruise, lane keeping and early collision warning, all of which function more as supplements and less as nannies. When activated, the features do just enough to keep you out of trouble, just as the EBD did under hard braking in the wet.
Oh, and did I mention the Accord Coupe is 5-star rated by NHTSA and an IIHS Top Safety Pick?
4. It's a Looker
The Accord Coupe’s styling can almost be described as the meeting point between aggressive and subtle. Depending on the color and wheel combo, sophisticated as well. Both interior and exterior lines flow agreeably. The car is proportionate and nothing seems aesthetically out of place. In this Still Night Pearl and 19” HFP Diamond-Cut Alloy wheel combo, along with the accessory Aero Kit and Decklid Spoiler, the Accord leans more towards the sporty side. No matter how one chooses to describe the Accord Coupe’s styling, it’s likely that the word “winner” will be included in said description.
Honda has taken a risk by offering a V6 coupe with a manual transmission when market trends demand otherwise. However, they are better for it. While still offering on-par and competitive vehicles with the general market, Honda also offers the V6 Coupe to those outliers who prefer more heart and soul.
Engine – 3.5L SOHC 24-Valve i-VTEC V6
Drivetrain – FWD
Horsepower – 278 @ 6500 RPM
Torque – 252 @ 4900 RPM
Transmission – 6-Speed Manual
Weight – 3523 lbs
Starting Price - $24,125; Tested at $32,010