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CarGurus Expert ReviewThe Good
With a strong V6, quick handling and a level of finish that exceeds its price, the 2011 Honda Accord Coupe is still a great value.The Bad
A noisy base engine, a twitchy demeanor and a seemingly total lack of sound insulation are the low points of the 2011 Accord Coupe.
The CarGurus View
The Accord Coupe has always been put at a disadvantage against its more practical and refined brother, the sedan. Still, it’s offered a bit of extra sportiness for those who were willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort and convenience. For 2011 it’s beginning to look a bit dated, but still offers a great value from a solid platform.
At a Glance
With massaged styling and some new features, the Accord Coupe tries to hang onto its position in the industry in 2011. This 2-door, front-wheel-drive coupe is leveraged as the sporty entrant in the Accord lineup, offering 4- and 6-cylinder powertrain options just like the sedan. Here, several small changes make for a mid-cycle refresh that includes visual changes to the rear taillamps and V6 wheel designs, as well as a new front grille that seems to recall the Crosstour.
Inside, changes continue but seem to point out the strides competitors have made against the Accord. Here, the Accord receives a USB iPod interface, something that has been standard for most competitors for years. In a similar vein, a navigation system will cost you $2,000 extra in a 2011 Accord Coupe, a shockingly luxury treatment for what is fast becoming an expected feature.
In fact, the luxury trims are definitely favored with the Accord, and here V6 EX-L trims get steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters as well as a two-position memory system for the driver. Trims with cloth upholstery will get fabric upgrades this year, and all models get slight instrument and interior changes – mostly centered around button shifting.
Both powerplants for the Accord Coupe are aluminum blocks with cast-iron cylinder sleeves, providing low weight with high durability. The 2.4-liter inline 4 that powers the Accord in standard form offers a stout 190-hp from its DOHC, roller-rocker design. Peak power comes way up at 7,000 rpm for horses, while 162 lb-ft of torque show up at 4,400. While not underpowered, the 2.4 is certainly unrefined, with a rough idle and an unbalanced nature that throws reverberations throughout the rev range.
The better option is the 271-hp, 3.5-liter V6. Its peak horsepower arrives at 6,200 rpm, with 254 lb-ft of torque available at 5,000 rpm. The 3.5 is very simply stronger in all situations, especially passing, but more importantly it’s a more behaved engine with none of the rough edges or harsh nature of the 2.4.
All Accords start with a 5-speed automatic transmission, with 4-cylinder trims getting the option of a 5-speed manual. The EX-L when equipped with a V6 also gets the option of a 6-speed manual, as well as the steering-wheel paddle shifters with the automatic. Four-cylinder Accords can expect 22/31 mpg with the 5-speed manual and 23/34 with the automatic, whereas the V6 delivers 17/25 and 19/30 with the manual and automatic, respectively. Honda has made strides to reduce internal engine friction and even revised its automatic gear ratios for improved fuel economy, which have resulted in this not-modest increase over 2010’s numbers of 21/31 and 19/28 for the 4- and 6-cylinder engines equipped with the 5-speed automatic.
Ride & Handling
It’s a shame we can’t pick and choose the Accord we want. Four-cylinder trims are more composed and refined with regard to overall ride quality and comfort due to smaller wheels with larger side profiles, but are plagued with a coarse engine. It’s a shame, as the V6 is simply a more enjoyable option, without even taking its extra power into account, but it’s shocking the difference the larger 18-inch alloy wheels make versus the 17-inch stockers, especially in bump absorption. However, the 18-inch units also impart some extra confidence and grip in turns, so your preferences shall dictate.
Cabin & Comfort
With only small changes to the layout and a cloth material change, the 2011 Accord interior will look very similar to 2010. This is good, as the Accord has had a convenient and quality interior for years. 2011’s changes may be small, but they’re just another step forward in a proven design. Some button consolidation would help things in the future, but for now things are well in hand. Comfort is high as well, even here in the Coupe. Don’t fool yourself into thinking the backseat is adult-size by any means, but it’s the biggest the Accord Coupe has ever been. Still, best to be left to cargo and kids.
The Accord Coupe gets unique interior trim to differentiate it as sportier than its Sedan cousin, and it works here. The weak point by far is the amount of road and wheel noise that penetrates into the cabin at all speeds. Engine noise is worst with the crude 4-cylinder, and wheel noise increases with the V6’s 18-inch wheels. It's a no-win situation.
Thankfully, Honda has avoided treating its safety features like their luxury counterparts, and all Accord Coupe trims are identically equipped when it comes to safety. Traction and stability control are standard, as well as four-wheel antilock discs with brake assist. Daytime running lights also grace the entire lineup, as well as six standard airbags.
This attention to safety has paid off, too. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the 2011 Honda Accord Coupe its highest accolades, scoring the Accord 5 stars in all three of its new, more rigorous testing procedures - the only vehicle to do so.
What Owners Think
Visual changes for the 2011 Honda Accord are too minimal to be especially divisive, although some feel the Crosstour-inspired fascia is a downgrade here. Layout changes for the controls are welcome, though, placing some frequently used buttons closer to the driver. While the Accord Coupe offers handling that surpasses most of its competitors, the ride is too choppy and twitchy, especially with the 18-inch wheels. Road and wheel noise are joined by excessive engine noise with the base engine as well, and all this severely takes away from overall enjoyment. Still, the Accord is a great value with some small issues that can be easily combated by jumping up to the sedan.
by Michael Perkins
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