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2009 Honda Accord Coupe ReviewThe Good
The surprisingly roomy 2009 Honda Accord Coupe moves fast with its powerful V6 engine and sporty handling and is backed by Honda's reputation for a reliable build as well as good fuel economy and resale value.The Bad
Despite its sleek aggressive looks, the '09 Accord Coupe lacks rear-wheel drive and remains a sport-tuned version of the Accord sedan, and its busy center stack overcomplicates an otherwise refined interior.
The CarGurus View
Taking over where the Prelude left off, the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe turns the staid and conservative sedan into a fun and dynamic racer wannabe, without sacrificing reliability or fuel efficiency. Without rear-wheel drive, it can't truly be deemed a sports car, but this sexy coupe should provide plenty of weekend excitement to the work-weary commuter. The Accord practicality of a roomy cabin and trunk gets a touch of upscale comfort with the Coupe's refined and high-grade interior.
At a Glance
The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe sees no changes at all after its 2008 makeover. This sporty, aggressive coupe distinguishes itself from its more sedate sedan sibling with a steeply sloping windshield, longer nose, and slightly smaller dimensions for tighter, more performance-oriented handling. Riding on a sport-tuned four-wheel independent suspension, the 2009 Accord Coupe combines high-end sophistication with precise cornering, satisfying power, and an affordable pricetag. And underlying it all is Honda's reputation for reliability, longevity, and excellent resale value.
The '09 Coupe measures 3 inches shorter in length and nearly 2 inches shorter in height than the sedan. Not surprisingly, due to the sloping roofline, interior headroom and rear visibility emerge as minor downsides for owners. The front-wheel-drive coupe is available as a four-cylinder LX-S, EX, EX-L, or the V6-equipped EX-L V6, whose engine adds more horsepower to its already strong output. All trims feature power accessories, tilt and telescopic steering, cruise control, and a 6-CD changer with MP3 playback. Moving up to the high-end EX trims adds a sunroof, a heated power driver's seat, and, in the "L" trims, leather upholstery.
Though not a true sports performer, the Coupe does handle more tightly and sprightly than the sedan, while still offering the same roominess, comfort, and interior refinement. Its energetic available V6 and driving dynamics should satisfy the weekday commuter who wants to let loose on the weekend, and its distinct styling frees it from the more conservative stylings of the family-oriented sedan.
LX-S, EX, and EX-L trims come standard with a 2.4-liter, DOHC four-cylinder i-VTEC engine that delivers 190 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, matched to either a 5-speed automatic or 5-speed manual. Its 22/31 mpg disappoints some drivers, while others are pleased at its high ratings for a coupe. The much faster 3.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC V6 engine, an option only for the EX-L, uses either a 5-speed automatic or close-ratio 6-speed manual to put out 271 hp and 254 lb-ft of torque. Except when paired with the manual, this engine features the fuel-efficient Variable Cylinder Management, which deactivates either two or three cylinders when they're not needed.
Acceleration power reigns with the energetic V6, and the smooth-shifting short-throw manual transmission makes better use of this engine than the automatic, able to spread torque across a broader power range. With 0-60 times of 5.3 seconds, the 2009 Accord Coupe beats the Altima coupe by 0.2 seconds, and its cylinder deactivation system ensures fuel economy nearly comparable to that of the four-cylinder, averaging 19/29 mpg. For everyday commuters, the inline four performs sufficiently and satisfyingly, but it exhibits more whine and struggle on the highway compared to the V6.
Ride & Handling
Owners and critics praise the sport-like handling and tight cornering abilities of the '09 Accord Coupe, which is helped by its four-wheel independent double wishbone front and multilink rear suspension. Cornering dynamics and minimized body roll can be attributed to a low center of gravity – a result of the lower placement of both the engine and gas tank. The steering wheel feels nicely weighted and accurate, delivering a satisfying amount of driver-road interaction.
The firmer suspension improves handling overall, but translates into a rougher ride for passengers, with road impact intruding into the cabin. Most trims ride on 17-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires, but the EX-L V6 boosts its wheels to 18-inchers. Road grip feels solid, but any true sport pretensions become limited by the '09 Accord Coupe's lack of rear-wheel drive. A professional review of the similar 2008 model reports a loss of traction when cornering at high speeds. The heaviness of the coupe (3,200 pounds) also limits sports car-type agility and maneuverability, especially in tight turns. Brakes perform adequately, but emit some squeal, and several test drivers find them spongy.
Active engine mounts for the V6 are designed to reduce noise and vibration, and generally critics and owners agree that the V6-equipped coupes perform smoothly and comfortably. The four-cylinder, while behaving well in the city, can be noisy on the highway. Road noise remains a major drawback for the '09 Accord Coupe. A raked windshield provides good visibility out front, but a small rear window and sloping roofline cause blind spots out the back.
Cabin & Comfort
It may be called a coupe, but the midsize '09 Accord Coupe offers front passengers plenty of room to stretch out with its 42 inches of legroom, and tall drivers will not feel cramped under its 39 inches of headroom. Rear passengers, on the other hand, should be limited to children. Although legroom improved last year, it still measures a knee-cramping 33 inches, and the sloping roofline measures 36 inches, 3 inches less than in the sedan.
Rear seats in the Coupe do not split-fold, but flip forward to expand the 12-cubic-foot trunk, surprisingly spacious for a coupe. A wide trunk pass-through is also standard. Interior storage remains adequate, with a center console that divides into several compartments and provides an MP3 jack and 12-volt power source. Owners find the seats generally comfortable, although some test drivers say the leather upholstery starts to feel too firm and rigid on long trips.
The steering wheel tilts and telescopes in all trims, and the controls lie within easy reach of the driver. The Accord organizes the controls by category, with operational buttons up top and information buttons below. In addition, it gives different colors to the climate and audio controls. While convenient in theory, the '09 Coupe maintains the cluttered look of the sedan, bundling all the controls and buttons on top of each other, which many owners find confusing and distracting at first. Overall, both critics and owners agree that the interior materials are of a high quality and lend an air of refinement and luxury to the driving experience.
The '09 Coupe comes nicely equipped, although higher-end trims have significantly higher prices, approaching those of the sexier BMW 1-Series. The base LX-S features power windows, locks, and mirrors, cruise control, remote entry, wheel-mounted audio controls, and a CD/MP3 player. The EX adds a sunroof, heated mirrors, and an upgraded sound system, while the interior gets blue ambient lighting and wood trim that adds a more upscale look. The top-line EX-L features heated leather seats, leather trim on the steering wheel, and an 8-way power driver's seat. On EX-Ls equipped with the V6 engine, chrome dual exhaust tips, an aluminum shifter, foglights, and larger 18-inch wheels add sporty touches.
Maintaining Honda's reputation for safety, all trims of the 2009 Accord Coupe feature 4-wheel disc and ABS brakes with both electronic brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution. The Coupe earns five stars for front and side rear impact and rollovers and four stars for front-side impacts, thanks to a long list of standard features that include traction and stability control, active front head restraints, and dual-stage front-side airbags and side curtain airbags for both rows. Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE), also minimizes collision impacts by distributing the force of a crash over a wider area. Also part of the standard package are a tire monitor, daytime running lights, and automatic headlamps.
What Owners Think
Owners of the 2009 Accord Coupe go crazy over its road-burning V6 power and acceleration, coupled with a smooth and tight handling that provides a sport-like ride. Owners also like the roomy cabin and trunk, but mostly seem to buy the Coupe for its looks, which they describe as aggressive, stylish, and sophisticated. According to several drivers, the sexy styling draws many compliments and envious looks out on the road. Drivers also appreciate that they don't have to sacrifice good fuel economy for superior performance and handling.
On the downside, reviews from various websites dislike the intrusive road and wind noise and the disappointing sound system. They find the clustered stack of buttons on the dash confusing at first and dangerously distracting for the driver. While many praise the mileage ratings, several owners wish for a slight improvement.
Few CarGurus drivers have reviewed the 2009 Accord Coupe, but initial opinions seem very favorable, with high marks going to its acceleration power and fuel economy. The Coupe hits the road fast, but also smoothly.
by Ann Jackman
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