Honda has updated its enduring Accord Coupe for 2016, with the top-line Touring trim adapting particularly well to the brand’s edgy new design language. It’s certainly an attention getter with a unique dark chrome grille, high-tech LED headlamps, a sharply angled lower fascia with integrated LED fog lights, a sweptback roofline, a short rear deck capped by a spoiler, tidy LED taillights, and a chiseled rear bumper highlighted by vertical reflectors on black mesh vent-like trim at each corner, plus a long chrome strip visually connecting the dramatic oval tailpipes.
The entire design comes together for a forward-looking performance flagship with a sensual yet powerful presence that’s made even more alluring thanks to machine-finished 19” alloy wheels with black painted pockets.
Inside, the 2016 Honda Accord Coupe Touring V6 looks just as modern, albeit doused in plenty of near-premium luxury. It doesn’t quite go to the level that Acura might if it were still building its lovely Legend Coupe or CL; Honda chose not to wrap the roof pillars in fabric or finish the lower dash and door panels in soft-touch materials. That being said, the dramatically shaped dash top is made from a very high-quality, pliable synthetic that travels right across the door uppers. Each door insert is nicely trimmed out, too, with padded and stitched leatherette folding into the armrest, the same application benefiting the centre armrest. The rest of the Accord Coupe’s cabin is covered in matte-finished, durable-looking, harder plastics.
Spiffing things up are pseudo engine-turned metallic inlays across the instrument panel and doors as well as a slightly lighter metal-look trim under the latter, which curves downward to dress up the door pulls. While this is all tastefully executed, Honda went a bit overboard with black lacquered plastic. It looks just fine on the steering wheel spokes, the centre vents, plus around the infotainment and dual-zone automatic HVAC interfaces, but it’s too much of a dust, dirt, grime, and scratch magnet when applied to the bottom portion of the centre stack and across the entire lower console. My tester was seriously scratched up on these surfaces, not to mention the chromed plastic around the cup holders. And speaking of shiny black surfaces scratching easily, the otherwise gorgeous Crystal Black Pearl exterior paint was a mess after only 7,192 kilometres. Such a shame, and reason enough never to purchase a black car.
Let’s go back inside the 2016 Honda Accord Coupe where the primary gauges are mostly analog, which made the Monday morning when I picked it up feel like a throwback Thursday, especially after spending time in the literally brilliant new Civic Coupe Touring. That Civic is a segment leader in this respect, although the entire industry is on the verge of going purely digital. The Accord’s gauges look good, mind you, with a centre-mounted speedometer that sticks out at least an inch from the other gauges before getting carved out inside to show small mph digits around a monochromatic trip computer at centre. This carryover display incorporates the odometer, temperature, fuel range, and other functions.
Over on the centre stack, just to the right of a bright red engine start/stop button, Honda has adopted the dual infotainment display setup like Acura, which allows simultaneous use of features such as monitoring audio up top and navigation mapping on the lower touchscreen. The top display is managed by steering wheel controls, first a menu button and then by one with a pages graphic that lets you scroll through various functions such as navigation, vehicle settings, etcetera, after which you can use the 4-way dial controller to dig deeper. It’s more of a large multi-info display with the lower screen for full use of navigation, phone, audio, HondaLink, and auto settings systems, all enhanced with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for more seamless integration with your smartphone.
Of note, the remaining steering wheel switchgear includes audio, phone, and voice commands to the left and cruise controls to the right. Not missing a beat, Honda also includes a wireless charger at the base of the centre stack just ahead of the shift lever.
I’ve mentioned some of this top-line Touring V6 model’s features already, but I should touch on a few others before moving on. Additional items exclusive to this trim include Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management system for the engine when hooked up to the automatic transmission, active engine mounts to enhance refinement, and amplitude-reactive dampers to improve the ride and handling. Meanwhile, automatic models also get remote start in addition to Honda Sensing features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking, and lane departure warning with mitigation via lane keeping assist, all helping the 2016 Honda Accord Coupe Touring earn a coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating (all trims get five stars across all NHTSA crash test categories, too).
The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual, incidentally, a sure sign that Honda hasn’t lost its performance edge even in this personal luxury coupe segment, while other features that get pulled up from lesser trims to this top-tier Touring V6 include auto-on/off LED headlamps with auto high beams, LED front turn signals, side mirror-mounted LED turn signals, proximity entry with push-button ignition, rain-sensing wipers, a leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Honda’s fabulous LaneWatch blind spot display, a multi-angle rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and streaming audio, a 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support and memory, heated front seats, perforated leather upholstery, the infotainment system mentioned earlier with text and email capability, Wi-Fi tethering, Siri Eyes Free, two USB ports, a 360W stereo with seven speakers including a subwoofer, HD and satellite radio, active noise cancellation, and much more.
The seats in the new Honda Accord Coupe live up to the brand’s usual high standard for overall comfort with an emphasis on good lower back support, although there’s not a lot of lateral bolstering to keep the driver from sliding around when slinging it hard through tight, fast-paced corners.
The available 3.5L V6 is an absolute jewel of an engine providing 278 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque, while its $1,000 optional 6-speed autobox benefits from paddle shifters that effectively increase the car’s fun factor. This particular unit delivers fairly quick shifts when its lever is pulled all the way back into “S” mode.
The car stays flat through sharp, quick corners, too, reacting better than expected despite a ride that comes close to pampering on less than ideal city streets. The Touring upgrades mentioned earlier improve on the Accord Coupe’s inherently well-balanced MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension setup that even benefits from a strut tower brace under the hood.
Obviously, driving aggressively won’t get you close to the 2016 Honda Accord Coupe Touring V6’s claimed 5-cycle EnerGuide fuel economy rating of 11.4L/100km city and 7.3L/100km highway, but slotting the gearbox into “D”, pressing the green, dash-mounted “ECON” button, and going lighter on the throttle works wonders to eke out the best possible mileage. By the way, these numbers aren’t that much higher than the manually shifted, 181-horsepower, 4-cylinder base coupe’s 10.3 and 7.2, respectively, although the V6 starts to pale when compared to that engine’s optional CVT that does somewhat better with ratings of 9.1L/100km city and 6.8L/100km highway.
All this performance and luxury in a car that offers loads of room up front and fits fairly large adults in the rear, my 5’8” medium-build frame leaving about 3-4” in front of my knees, plenty of room for my feet, approximately the same 3-4” above my head, and no shortage of space on either side. Honda doesn’t provide a rear centre armrest, but rather armrests that are fixed to the side panels, albeit hard plastic ones. The other rear panels are hard plastic as well, so it’s not exactly a luxurious experience for those sitting in the back. And while the rear seatback folds forward for hauling more cargo than the 379L trunk can handle, it’s not split so you can’t put a child in back and all your ski gear to one side.
Really, though, it’s tough to complain as the 2016 Honda Accord Coupe Touring V6 provides a wonderfully rare combination of performance and luxury in a fabulous-looking package for just $35,990 plus freight and dealer fees, which is very low considering that all of its rivals hail from premium brands and therefore cost tens of thousands more when similarly equipped. It might wear less prestigious Honda badging, but this car certainly lives up to the Acura Legend Coupe.