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Motoring: Honda makes impressive strides

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | January 14th, 2008

The previous Honda Accord Coupe was a fine vehicle. It was well made, it looked good and it was reliable.

However, it had a problem, and a big one in my book, it just wasn't exciting to drive.

So has Honda cured that issue with the Accord Coupe now, does this new car drive as good as it looks?

Well this new Accord Coupe would have to be really exciting to drive because I think this new model looks spectacular. Sure from some angles it looks too chunky and it is rather big in some dimensions, but the overall effect is fantastic. This is easily the best-looking Accord ever made, even if Honda designers did get inspiration from some other car designs. Like the taillights for instance, they look like they are fashioned after the 2002 Audi A4 lights. The C-pillar is almost an exact copy of the C-pillar of an Aston Martin DB9 and the nose is quite similar to the new Mitsubishi Lancer. By the way, the new Accord sedan looks a lot like the BMW 5-series. But that is ok, a good design is a good design and I like this one.

The same goes for the interior, I love the way it looks. This Accord's interior is very modern and can be equipped with all the latest gadgets, including a navigation system. Plus every other kind of luxury you can think of for this kind of money, you will get it, and maybe some you weren't expecting.

So it is very well appointed and it's a looker, but how does it drive?

Well that was my issue with the last Accord Coupe. In fact, exactly a year ago, I had the old Accord Coupe with the V6 engine and the six-speed manual gearbox. This year I got the new Accord Coupe in the same configuration, meaning V6 with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The problem I had with the old Accord Coupe was that the clutch and gearbox felt very disconnected and getting the most out of the old engine required a lot of hard work. Plus its handling was not very good at all.

The new Accord Coupe is totally reinvented. First of all, the engine revs much nicer and more willingly and now thanks to added power, 268 hp to be exact from its new 3.5-litre, VTEC, V6. Then we have its improved new clutch and six-speed gearbox, so now you can enjoy using all its power.

I did have one issue with my test car as third-gear was a pain to engage at times. It was the only gear that ever gave me any grief. I don't know if that is a generic problem or was it a one off, but that is the only thing that spoiled the fun a bit.

Another area this car impressed me in was the handling. The Accord is typically just a soft tourer, but not only is this new car more comfortable than the old one it has much better handling too. Honestly, I went on drives just for the sake of driving. This car is fun to drive, and I loved the noise too, the VTEC growls when pushed and the acceleration is really impressive (0-100km/h in six seconds).

So a car that is good to look at, very practical (not only is the interior very roomy but the trunk is huge), very comfortable, handles well and goes like a charging bull, what more can you ask for from a car?

Even the price is great. Base price is just under $28,000 for the four-cylinder model, while my loaded test car in the EX-L V6 NAVI trim package is still a deal at $38,290. That is honestly a lot of car for the money and makes the choice between the VW Eos, the Mazda RX8 and this new Honda Accord Coupe V6 a very hard one for the under $40,000 category.

This segment of the market just got a whole lot more exciting thanks to Honda.
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