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Expect a sporty look and feel, as well as a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder powerplant to go along with an available V6, terrific safety scores and the usual assortment of quality cabin goodies in the new 2012 Honda Accord Coupe.The Bad
Rear-seat head- and legroom takes a beating in this 2-door Accord, while neither acceleration nor braking power proves the equal of many competitors.
The CarGurus View
Though suffering lately from a general decline in its near-untouchable status, the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe nevertheless offers a reasonably priced alternative to the stodgy family sedan. Retaining much of the dependability, safety consciousness and styling of its 4-door siblings, this snazzy 2-door also comes with some surprisingly adept moves. Those looking for a commuter car with attitude…and reputation…could do worse.
At a Glance
After a couple of tweaks last year, the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe pretty much stands pat, adding only a standard USB port throughout the lineup. Alas, the once hugely popular 5-passenger Accord lineup has stumbled a bit lately, with a number of reviews panning the sedan version’s relatively dated design, chintzier (though still roomy) cabins, lack of options and less-than-thrill-inspiring powertrains. The Accord Coupe, unfortunately, comes in for its share of knocks simply by association, but its sportier, swoopier look belies a more practical nature than most family- or commuter-oriented coupes. This is not to say that Honda’s best-selling midsize sedan, and by association, its 2-door sibling, has fallen on hard times; it's just that, to hear many in the media tell it, this icon is not the paragon it once was.
In any case, with a more rakish roofline, sleek sides and a racy rear profile, the Accord Coupe also distinguishes itself from its 4-door kinfolk in being a tad shorter overall and having a 2-inch shorter wheelbase. This makes what is a fairly roomy rear seat in the sedan shrink down to kids' size in the coupe, but handling is described by the majority of reviewers as stronger in the 2-door. Once more, the Accord Coupe lineup boasts 4 trims, the base LX-S, the midlevel EX, the top-shelf EXL-L and the over-the-top EX-L V6. Both EX-L trims are additionally available with standard hard-drive-based navigation systems, thus becoming the EX-L with Navigation and the EX-L V6 with Navigation sub-trims. The three lower trims get an inline 4-cylinder engine (I4) and either a 5-speed manual transmission or an available 5-speed automatic, while the EX-L V6 sports, obviously, a V6 powerplant and either the standard 5-speed shiftable automatic or a more athletic 6-speed stick shift. No all-wheel-drive (AWD) availability is offered to backup the standard the front-wheel-drive (FWD) configuration. Rumors are circulating, meanwhile, that next year’s edition of the Accord and Accord Coupe will be offered in a plug-in hybrid version as part of a lineup-wide reworking, but that’s then and this is now.
Honda once more remains committed to its custom of offering additional equipment only by stepping up to higher trims. While this may be a bit of arrogance on the company's part, it does tend to save customers from allowing their fancies to run away with their wallets. Cargo space in the Accord Coupe is once again adequate for 2012 at nearly 12 cubic feet, but a number of reviewers are less than pleased with the smallish trunk opening, which makes loading and unloading a bit awkward at times.
Finally, competition for Honda’s nifty 2-door comes almost exclusively from Nissan’s Altima Coupe. Though sportier in appearance, Nissan’s entry is described by most reviewers as lacking the Accord Coupe’s overall refinement. Of course, Toyota’s snazzy Camry, as well as Ford’s heady Fusion, Kia’s surprising Optima, Hyundai’s impressive Sonata and Volkswagen’s pretty Passat…sedans all…may be worth a tire kick or two when thinking about the next family car. But for those who want just a bit more pizzazz in their commute or a tad more whiz in their trip to the mall, the Accord Coupe should fit the bill and the budget quite well.
Benefitting from a few nips and tucks in the 2011 model year, the 2.4-liter I4 engine powering the 2012 LX-S, EX and EX-L puts out 190 hp at 7,000 rpm and 162 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Managing these ponies is a standard 5-speed manual transmission in the LX-S and EX or a standard 5-speed automatic transmission in the EX-L. The automatic is once again optional for the two lower trims. Variable valve timing (VVT), meantime, keeps mileage at a respectable 23 mpg city/32 highway with the stick shift and 22/33 with the automatic. Testing found an average 0-60 time of 9.1 seconds in an I4-equipped Accord sedan, thus times in the 2-door edition should be marginally faster, though not exactly neck-snapping.
Shelling out some extra cash begets a 3.5-liter VVT V6 powerplant that’s delivered standard in the 2012 Accord EX-L V6 trim. Under the tutelage of either the shiftable 5-speed automatic or the available 6-speed manual transmission, the six-banger will pound down 271 hp at 6,200 rpm and 251 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. Estimated mileage in the automatic-equipped EX-L V6 is 19/29, and for those with the 6-speed manual, 17/26. Those trims equipped with the automatic transmission also get variable cylinder management (VCM), where a number of cylinders are shut down at cruising speed for added fuel efficiency. Testing of the V6-powered Accord Coupe with the 6-speed stick had it going from 0-60 in 6.3 seconds, still not breathtaking but certainly more than adequate for ordinary commuting.
Reviewers describe power in the I4 as about average and up to most highway ebb and flow. The V6, naturally, gets high marks from reviewers for its steady reserve of merging and passing élan. While the I4 is almost universally condemned by reviewers as rough at idle and loud in acceleration, the V6 draws oodles of kudos for its noteworthy power and refinement. Reviewers note that both manual transmissions are quicker from a stop than the 5-speed automatic…no surprise there…and shifting, especially in the 6-speed, is accomplished smoothly, precisely and with glitch-free clutch engagement.
Ride & Handling
The 2012 Accord Coupe, it must be understood, will never compete with, say, a Bentley, ride-wise. But Honda’s snazzy 2-door, with its 4-wheel independent suspension boasting a double-wishbone front end and multi-link rear, along with stabilizer bars both front and rear, controls most smaller road deficiencies quite admirably. A few reviewers do notice some unnerving harshness, however, over harsher roads, though one or two admit that it’s not especially bothersome. The three lower Accord Coupe trims are delivered with 17-inch alloy wheels, while the EX-L V6 boasts standard 18-inch alloy wheels. The larger wheels and tires on the V6-equipped trims will add some noticeable firmness to the drive, therefore, expect ride comfort to degrade even further, though many reviewers point out that added cornering prowess makes up quite nicely for some minor shaking. Steering has traditionally been on the light side in the Accord Coupe but, according to most reviews, it remains reasonably true, and the sportier chassis allows this less weighty 2-door to make take tighter turns a little quicker than its 4-door siblings, with body lean well modulated and virtually no tire squall. Finally, braking is described by most reviewers as barely adequate, at best, while a few additionally complain that the brakes tend toward an annoying squeak when wet.
Overall, reviewers consider Honda’s midsize coupe to deliver fairly substantial ride comfort from top to bottom of the trim lineup. Refinement, a solid feel and some nifty moves will remind drivers that this heady 2-door is an Accord with an attitude.
Cabin & Comfort
Standard amenities for the base 2012 Accord LX-S (the “S” standing for Sport) include cloth upholstery, a folding rear seatback, remote power door locks, power windows and mirrors, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Steering-wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls are complemented by manual air conditioning, front and rear floor mats and a 160-watt audio system boasting a 6-CD changer, 6 speakers and the new-for-2012 standard USB connection.
The EX, meantime, adds on a standard power sunroof, simulated alloy dash trim and a 270-watt stereo, subwoofer and auxiliary iPod integration. Finally, phone pre-wiring is integrated with Bluetooth hands-free communications technology.
Look for leather upholstery and standard heated front seats in the EX-L (the “L” denotes Luxury), as well as an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, driver memory settings, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and leather and simulated alloy cabin trim accents. Satellite radio comes standard with the EX-L trim, while the EX-L with Navigation sub-trim comes with…you guessed it…a standard satellite-based navigation system. Going a bit beyond, the EX-L V6 (and EX-L V6 with Navigation) throws a rear spoiler and universal remote garage door opener into the mix.
Honda accessorizes all trims with side, front and rear spoilers, upgraded wheels, splash guards, body side moldings and, for each EX-L V6 trim, a sport suspension kit. The mid-level EX is also eligible for 18-inch chromed or painted alloy wheels.
Though most reviewers are suitably impressed with the Accord Coupe’s spacious cabin, there is some mention that too many buttons and switches spoil what could be a downright svelte center stack. Some climate controls remain, according to most reviewers, just out of easy reach, though virtually all reviewers agree that overall, controls have a quality feel, gauges are large and easy to read, and cabin accents are appropriately sporty. Alas, the one-piece folding rear seatback doesn’t sit particularly well with a number of reviewers, thoughts being that half a useable backseat, though essentially child-sized, is better than none. Visibility is generally good, say reviewers, though the distinctly sloping roofline can complicate sightlines to each rear corner.
Traditionally a leader in safety technology and equipment, Honda delivers each 2012 Accord Coupe with 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS) bolstered by emergency braking assist and electronic brakeforce distribution. Traction and stability control, of course, also remain standard. Front and rear head airbags, meanwhile, are complemented by dual front-mounted side airbags and active front headrests, while daytime running lights are standard across the lineup. The EX-L V6 comes with standard front fog/driving lights that are optional for the EX and I4-equipped EX-L, while the EX and above offer standard dusk-sensing headlights. Finally, both the I4-powered EX-L’s and their V6 counterparts are delivered with a remote antitheft alarm.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has tested the Accord Coupe only for rollover safety and anoints this snazzy 2-door with 5 stars in this category, its highest rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) endows the entire Accord lineup with its highest score of Good in front and side crash tests, as well as roof-strength testing.
What Owners Think
Reflecting the opinion of more than a few reviewers that Honda’s 2012 Accord lineup, including the Accord Coupe, might have lost a bit of its edge, a host of owners compare this year’s trims with bygone versions and find much to be desired in the latest edition. The cramped rear seats in the Coupe are an issue for many, with tight headroom in sunroof-equipped trims also making things difficult for taller front-seat occupants. Seat support garners some dropped thumbs, as do a few glitches noted in the 5-speed stick-shift, especially between second and third gear. Handling is noted by a few folks to be a tad pokey for what’s billed as a sport coupe, while squeaky brakes and severe side window streaking are mentioned as worth looking into. By far the most common complaint, however, is the unconscionably loud road noise that drives many occupants to distraction. Blame is placed on everything from poor tire selection to a woeful lack of sound insulation, not to mention dealer arrogance and corporate neglect.
Despite some slight blemishes to its once sterling reputation, Honda's Accord Coupe continues to gather a ton of admirers who laud its sporty look, superlative safety scores, potent engines—even the I4—and its generally comfortable feel on the road. The I4, furthermore, comes in for its share of attaboys for fuel miserliness, while the base audio system and roomy front seats also garner hearty high-fives. Finally, the available 6-speed manual transmission that can be loaded into the EX-L V6 gets high marks from owners for its ultra-smooth performance and alacrity off the line, while the V6 itself is described by a number of owners as having plenty of street-legal power.
Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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