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Motoring: Accord takes some getting used to

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | December 4th, 2006

Over the years, I have come to expect certain things from Hondas. They are all well made, they hold their value very well in the market, and they are fun to drive.

The Accord coupe however, only scores well on the first two points.

Yes, the Accord is well made, in fact it is better made than cars costing twice as much, so you won't complain about the quality.

Yes, it will retain most of its value if you decide to sell it a few years down the road too, so it makes a sensible economic buy.

But I'm afraid this is not a driver's car. I had what should have been the best of the bunch, a V6-powered coupe with a six-speed manual transmission. What could possibly go wrong? What else could you wish for especially since I was driving with 244 hp.

Well for starters, I hated the clutch, it felt like a dry sponge and felt like it had no correlation with the gearbox. Yes, this had a six-speed manual, but while this unit is precise, it feels very heavy and thus doesn't work well with the light clutch. The heavy flywheel doesn't help here either.

Making things worse was the unwillingness of the engine. This is a powerful engine, but it doesn't feel strong and doesn't feel like it wants to be rushed. However, when you spend enough time with it, you learn it likes a good old spanking to keep an exciting pace.

Yes, it took me some time to get used to it, find its favoured torque curve and get some enjoyment out of it, but in all honesty, it requires just too much work.

It doesn't win you over in the handling department either. This is a heavy car at 1498 kg and it shows when you throw it into a corner. The lack of steering feel doesn't help either.

So, the Accord Coupe is not a sports car in a straight line, nor is it one in the corners. So what is it then?

This is the perfect car for a young executive who does a lot of highway driving and wants to arrive in comfort, and doesn't want a teenager special coupe, which might be a bit embarrassing for certain people.

So, this is a visually appealing car for those who like to travel in comfort. At most times, you feel nothing in this car. It seems to me the car was engineered by an anaesthesiologist because your body feels numb and devoid of any sensation while driving.

I guess at this point, the only other good thing I can mention is that it is quite fuel-efficient. I averaged about 10-litres/100km.

Pricing is not bad, but not outstanding either. A base four-cylinder coupe is yours from $26,500. My EX V6 MT test car was valued at $34,900. Yes, for that you got leather, heated seats, power everything, including sunroof, and a great stereo.

So, would I buy one? I am afraid this car is not for me. I much rather save myself some money and buy a Civic Si coupe instead. If I were spending about $35,000 for a car, I'd have a Subaru Impreza WRX anyday.
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