By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
If, as the saying goes, ?practice makes perfect? the 2016 Honda Accord is darn close to perfect after nearly 40 years and nine generations of production. Add to that Honda?s obsession with innovation and simplicity and you have one of the best mid-size cars built.
Through the generations the Accord has grown and matured since becoming the first Japanese car to be manufactured in the U.S. in 1982 in East Liberty, Ohio. Today the Accord is built in three north American plants which together have produced more than 10 million Accords for the U.S and global market.
The latest iteration, the ninth generation, was totally reengineered for the 2013 model year and for 2016 it?s been updated with a stylish new design, improved technologies and a more ridged body and chassis. There is an Accord for nearly every mid-size car shopper with the Sedan available in six trim levels plus two Hybrid sedan versions and five variations of the Accord Coupe.
We reviewed the 2015 Accord Hybrid after a road trip (https://ourautoexpert.com/2015-honda-accord-hybrid-road-trip/) earlier this year. More recently, we drove cars that represented two ends of the Accord spectrum, the 2016 Honda Accord 4-Door Sport with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT plus the 2016 Honda Accord 2-door Coupe EX-L with V-6 engine and six-speed manual transmission.
The Accord Sport is one step up from the base LX model and adds more ?sporty? features, like dual exhaust, LED daytime running lights, low profile spoiler and wide 19-inch tires. Our test car was also equipped with the available new Honda Sensing? which is one of the most advanced driver assistance safety systems in this class. Honda Sensing adds Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Road Departure Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control. The cruise control system alone is often a $500 to $1,000 option on many cars, so getting the whole safety package for $1,000 makes it an outstanding value in our book.
Design changes for 2016 give the Accord a more mature and sporty look with a stylized front fascia, new Honda family grille, large horizontal taillights and a new selection of aluminum wheels. The sedan also has a new more dimensional aluminum hood, replacing the previous steel hood.
The Sport?s interior entirely new interior has a high-quality, uncluttered look with all equipment we take for granted like power windows, cruise control along with many other standard features. The cloth seats are nicely bolstered but heated seats are not available with cloth.
Connectivity includes auxiliary input, Bluetooth, with HandsFreeLink?, and Streaming Audio, Pandora? and SMS Text Message all controlled through a 7.7-inch high resolution screen at the top of the center stack.
The LX and Sport models have easy-to-use buttons and knobs to control the audio, phone and vehicle settings, but the upper level models have a nice looking touch screen, but we find touch controls, like for volume and tuning difficult to use. The redundant steering-wheel controls are a more user-friendly control option.
A 189-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder Earth Dreams engine powers the LX, Sport, EX and EX-L models, while the EX-L V-6 and Touring models have a 3.5-liter V-6 as standard fare. The four-cylinder engine is a DOHC i-VTEC with direct injection. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) as an option. The CVT has a manual shift mode and the Sport model we drove even has Paddle Shifters. All cars also have Active Noise Cancellation and Sound Control, Hill Start Assist and require no schedule tune-ups until 100,000 miles.
The four-cylinder sedan feels quicker than we expected and according to the magazine guys with the testing equipment, it makes a 0 to 60 mph run in 7.6 seconds. The EPA rates fuel economy at 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined. We averaged 29.6 mpg during a week of mixed driving conditions according to the trip computer. We normally eschew CVTs, but this one is not bad and it produces a positive feeling when accelerating and not like some that feel like stretching rubber bands. The paddle shifter on the Sport model allowed us to downshift to control speed with engine braking while driving through the curvy mountain roads.
If you haven?t been in an Accord since one of the earlier models, you?ll be surprised by how roomy the interior is and how well it handles. It has a generous amount of leg, head and shoulder room and comfortable seating for five adults. The trunk is a spacious 15.8 cubic feet.
The 2016 Honda Accord Sedan pricing starts at $23,040, including the destination charge, for a LX with the four-cylinder engine and manual transmission. The CVT adds $1,000. The top model, the Accord Touring sedan with the V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission is priced at $35,515 with the only options being some upscale wheels and a few accessories. Our Sport test vehicle was priced at $26,785.
2016 Honda EX-L V-6 Coupe
Hats off to Honda for offering the Accord V-6 Coupe with a manual transmission. That?s especially surprising because only about five percent of the Accords sold are coupes. When you factor in that typically only about five percent of the new cars sold have a manual transmission, the number of Honda Coupes sold with manual transmission is a very, very small percentage, and hardly worth the effort.
Nevertheless, the 2016 Honda EX-L V-6 Coupe is an exciting car to drive ? we might not rank it at the same level as more notable sport coupes, but for a front-wheel drive, it?s impressive. The Accord Coupe is the last of the sedan/coupe configured cars built and is more driver/passenger-friendly than the purpose-built coupes like Mustangs and Camaros.
The 278-hp 3.5-liter V-6 Earth Dreams i-VTEC engine pulls the shapely two-door from 0 to 60 mph in a brisk 5.6 seconds –with the automatic transmission ? the manual is a bit slower at 5.8 seconds. While that might not be quite at the same level as the rear-drive competitors it is still quick, fun-to-drive and it has one of the smoothest shifting six-speed manuals in the business. For buyers who don?t want a clutch, Honda offers their excellent six-speed automatic with paddle shifters as a no cost option on the V-6 model and that?s what most owners select. The V-6 manual combination gets in EPA rating of 18 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. We averaged 23.4 mpg during our drive time.
From our standpoint, the downside of the EX-L, with either transmission, is there is no navigation offered. To get navigation in EX-L you must order the automatic with the optional Honda Sensing?, which would be our first choice, anyway.
The verdict on Honda Accord V-6 Coupe is mostly about positives. The handling is excellent for a front-wheel drive, it stays well-planted on corners and the brakes are strong. Even with the powerful V-6 engine we didn?t feel any torque steer and the electric-assist steering has good road feel. It is a very quick and civilized coupe?a perfect sporty couple car or even a coupe that can even work for a small family.
Speaking of family, the rear seat carries two adults comfortably and a third in the tighter middle position. Access is as good as it gets for a two door, which is to say ? ingress and egress is still challenging. The trunk is better than most at 13.7 cubic feet.
Pricing for the 2016 Honda Accord Coupe starts at $23,710, including the destination charge, for the LX-S and goes up to $35,060 for the fully-loaded Touring V-6. The EX-L model has one obscure and interesting package called the HFP Package for $4,495. This adds a full package of dealer installed Honda Factory Performance components including a Sport Suspension which lowers the car, special 19-inch wheels, deck lid spoiler, front, side and rear underbody spoilers, and HFP badging.
The 2016 Honda Accords might not have the exotic appearance of some cars, nor the over-the-top performance, but overall it?s tough to find a sedan or coupe that offers the value and driving fun of Honda?s flagship sedan and coupe.