Rewind a few years to the nineties and Honda was one of the marques you would look to for a car that would raise the pulse a little. The NSX was an absolute legend, the Civic-Type R was a must-drive, and the S2000 was hugely popular.
Sadly, since those days the word ‘sedate’ rather than ‘sassy’ is more likely to be associated with the Japanese manufacturer since it turned its attention to mass produced family cars which are reliable, half decent to look at but generally lack excitement.
Thankfully, that is all about to change as Honda goes back to the future with the new NSX which looks absolutely fantastic but nobody knows when that will turn up in the Middle East and anyway most of them are already sold so there will be a long waiting list.
In the meantime, if I was to choose one Honda which does have a bit of attitude it would be the Accord, a car that has been around since 1976 and yet has lost none of its appeal, accounting for a huge percentage of the marque’s sales, along with the Civic which has recently been redesigned and looks destined for more success in the mass market.
The Honda Accord Coupe has also been given some cosmetic surgery and I have to say that the designers have done a terrific job, giving this car a refreshing sporty and extremely cool appearance.
The car has a new front which adds a bit of aggression and the stylish LED lights and DRLs give it a sophisticated look. The side profile hasn’t changed much since the last revamp but there is a new rear with a ‘ducktail’ spoiler which again adds a little attitude with duel exhaust pipes adding the final touch to a really smart car.
It sits on very agreeable 18-inch wheels and the overall effect is a car that looks far more expensive than it actually is so, from an exterior design point of view, this new Accord Coupe is a triumph and I would go as far to say that, in its class, it really does set a new standard.
The interior is also pleasing to the eye and Honda have clearly given priority to comfort and ergonomics. Our test car had fabulous dual-tone leather seats which were extremely comfortable with plenty of leg room and headroom. There was also acres of space in the back for passengers.
The instrument cluster is typical Honda with the speedometer taking pride of place over the rev counter (I would rather it was the other way around but that’s a small point), the leather steering wheel is attractive although there are a few too many buttons for my taste, and everything is easily accessible for the driver. This car also has two screens, one at the very back of the dash and a colour touch-screen below it at the top of the centre console. At first glance this appears to be a great idea with one screen for satellite navigation and the other for everything else you might like to view.
Sadly, it is not quite a simple as that and it all becomes a little confusing when you occasionally get the same information on both screens and you end up not know which one to look at. I didn’t find it intuitive to use but I guess it is something you would get used to.
The infotainment system itself is generally good as is the other technology that comes with this car in the form of the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assists.
Apart from the driver assists you find on most modern cars these days it also has what I think is a really good system in that when you indicate right it activates a camera on the wing mirror which gives you a clear view of what is coming up on the inside.
The car I tested was the V6 model which is powered by a 3.5-litre engine with 278bhp and 342nm of torque married to a six speed automatic gearbox with paddleshifts which puts the power down to the front wheels.
The acceleration wasn’t quite as good as I expected but nevertheless it has a 0-100kmh time of around six seconds and makes a nice noise while doing so. The handling is excellent with hardly any bodyroll going through bends and the comfort factor is extremely high and the more I drove this car the more I liked it.
It looks great, is comfortable to drive, is fast enough for everyone except performance car junkies like me, and offers excellent value for money with an advertised starting price for the Coupe of Dh99,900.
There is a choice of two engines, a 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit with 185bhp and a CVT transmission or a 3.5-litre V6 which is a little more expensive but still very good value for money and is definitely the one I would choose.
So, overall, the Honda Accord Coupe continues to fly the flag as the marque’s coolest looking and most rewarding car to drive until, fingers crossed, that delicious NSX breaks cover here in the UAE.
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