Honda Accord Coupe Review

I've got a friend I've known for 21 years. We've always talked cars, as most guys do (especially, I guess, when one of the guys writes about them). He's owned classic Chevys from the 1940s, a couple of 70s and 80s Mazda RX-7s and most recently has been the owner (along with his wife) of his-n-hers Lexuses.

So imagine my surprise when he said "You know what I really want? The new Accord." I must've looked stunned, because he quickly added "The coupe. It's really hot-looking."

Now understand: I've been recommending Hondas in general and Accords in particular to friends for about 25 years now. It's my standard "you can't go wrong" recommendation. It's the car I recommended to my own mother. She took my advice and owned the same one for the final 17 years of her life. It's now in the posession of some of our dearest friends, whose teenage son and daughter are driving it. It shares the driveway with two Honda Odysseys, both the end result of conversations that began with "Mike, what kind of car should we buy?"

But this guy doesn't fit the profile at all. Or so I thought. Turns out he had seen the new Accord Coupe in person while I'd only seen photos. And the photos don't do it justice. This is way more than just a two-door version of the Accord sedan. It has a stunning visual presence...and the performance and features to back it up.

Performance first: A 3.5 liter SOHC 24-Valve VTEC V6 makes 268 horsepower. The EXL we tested comes with a 6-speed manual transmission standard, and Honda had the good sense not to check the automatic option box for this particular press fleet car. Honda has long made wonderful, precise stick shifts (some automakers' units still suffer in comparison to the four-speed in the '84 Civic that I put 144,000 miles on over 14 years before handing it off to the same friends who have Mom's old Accord). If anything, it's silkier than ever.

Features? Well, the EXL V6's $28,310 base price buys leather, a 270-watt AM/FM/mp3-capable 6-CD changer and a premium audio system with 7 speakers. Oh, yeah...XM Satellite Radio, too. Plus 18" alloy wheels, power everything and a moonroof. All standard. In fact, our tester had no options...add in $635 for destination and handling and the bottom line for this killer package was $28,945.

My friend was right. Line the new Accord Coupe up against anything else with this kind of performance and content, and the Accord looks better and better.

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