In TTAC’s long-term fleet, for instance, there’s Jack Baruth’s own 2014 Accord Coupe V6 6MT. In the TTAC audience’s fleet, there are more Honda Accords than any other car. Furthermore, Honda revealed earlier this month the all-new, 10th-generation 2018 Honda Accord.
First we learned the naturally aspirated V6 engine would no longer be part of the Accord’s lineup. Then we discovered that the Accord coupe, responsible for only around 5 percent of total Accord sales, would be the last player to leave the mainstream two-door midsize car category.
On Friday, as we reported the enticing deals American Honda is offering on 5,000 remaining Accord coupes, a discussion ensued at TTAC’s digital HQ. It was decided that — as a memorial, as a final send-off, as a fond farewell — we should drive one of these final ninth-generation Accord coupes.
So I made a call.
Obviously, sourcing a 2017 Honda Accord coupe from the North American press fleet was a no-go, particularly in this rural part of Prince Edward Island, 1,100 miles from Honda Canada’s Markham, Ontario, headquarters and 3,600 miles from American Honda’s Torrance, California home base.
Fortunately, I have friends who own the local Honda dealer — Centennial Honda in Summerside, PEI.
First question: do you have any remaining Accord coupes? They have one, the last new Accord coupe Centennial Honda will ever see.
Second question: Can I drive it? At my leisure.
Third question: Does it have a V6? Hot diggity dog, it do.
Fourth question: Three pedals? No, this car did not have Honda’s six-speed manual transmission, which would have dropped its price by CAD $1,000.
Minutes later, Friday afternoon saw me in the driver’s seat of a CAD $39,085 Honda Accord Coupe Touring V6, the equivalent of a U.S.-market $35,350 Accord Coupe Touring.
I’m away from Centennial, onto South Drive, and turning quickly toward Linkletter in order to escape the snarl of big city traffic about an hour after the plan was originally devised. From the first turn you’re sensing proper heft — not a feeling of excessive girth, just solid, solidified solidity. Don’t go into the experience expecting Civic-like litheness — the Accord coupe is a properly big car: 190 inches long and 73 inches wide.It all pays off inside, however, where rear seat access isn’t really all that awkward and, aside from the removal of the Accord sedan’s middle perch, legroom is sufficient as well. A trunk with 13.4 cubic foot makes the Accord coupe a car with which a family of four could easily live.
Families of four, of course, don’t drive Accord coupes in 2017. They drive Nissan Rogues and Toyota RAV4s and Honda CR-Vs, far from the possibility of major-league V6 horsepower and torque. In the coupe, Honda’s Accord emits plenty of noise, enough to feel like you’re not driving a regular humdrum family sedan. Paired to a six-speed automatic, the 3.5-liter 278-horsepower V6 produces its power with wonderful progression.
While so many modern 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinders are like slowly letting water pour out of a bucket and then simply dumping out that bucket from 2,000-4,500 rpm, the Accord’s 3.5-liter V6 is a cresting wave, timed to reach its peak under full throttle at 6,200 rpm and then find the next gear. That progressive delivery limits torque steer, somewhat, though you can turn the Accord V6 coupe into an unruly performer if you choose to.
The Accord is well-behaved in most other aspects, too. The ride is firm enough to feel athletic, soft enough to be compliant. The weighty steering is odd at first but ends up suiting the characteristics of the car. Once the road gets twisty, there’s a great sense of control even if the Accord won’t juke and jive through S-turns with the precision of a Civic Si. Just because there are only two doors and more than four-cylinders doesn’t make the Accord Touring a sports car. It’s more car than that. It’s a family car with sportiness, a sporty car with familial capabilities.
And it’s not the Accord your neighbors or co-workers bought.
At its origin in 1989, there was no point in the Accord coupe being perceived as a sporting car. This was simply an Accord with two fewer doors — Honda had the Prelude to serve other duties, eventually adding cars such as the Acura Integra to the mix, as well.
After seven generations of Accord coupes, the Prelude and Integra are gone, the Honda Civic coupe has grown to feature a useable rear seat, and Honda believes the 2018 Accord sedan has the roofline and personality to capture many would-be Accord coupe buyers. Even if there are other avenues that would-be buyer can go down, the Accord coupe’s discontinuation is nevertheless a shame. Not because I was going to buy one, not because you were necessarily going to buy one, but because an Accord coupe sent an entirely different message than an Accord sedan or a Prelude.
The Accord coupe buyer is a serious, rational, reasonable car buyer for sure. After all, it’s an Accord she’s after. But an Accord sedan is too normal, too conventional, too much like something her father would drive. She’s also not the sort of person who’s going to enlarge a Prelude’s rear wing or put a diffuser on the back of an Acura RSX. The Accord coupe is fun, but not immature. Different, but not different merely for the sake of being different. A serious car that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Alas, such a specific niche is not large enough to hold many buyers, so the three-decade run of the Honda Accord coupe now comes to an end.
After Honda dealers like Centennial sell their last copies. At a hefty discount.
[Images: © Timothy Cain]