2008 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L V6 Review


by Marc Bouchard,

Prior to its market introduction, the all-new 2008 Honda Accord made many skeptics out of auto journalists (myself included). After all, you can't redesign such a popular car with so many qualities without potentially alienating some fans.

The new lines are a definite improvement over the old ones.

Still, there were a couple of aspects that needed to be improved, such as sportiness. Most will agree that the Accord did not offer the most spirited driving experience in the world. Therefore, the new generation had quite a challenge to overcome: achieving the same high standards while adding a bit more passion.

Revamped styling
The sedan got a totally different makeover than the coupe. But since the former has been the subject of many reviews by our staff, I'll be focusing on the latter.

Upon close inspection, I was amazed to see how much the 2008 Honda Accord marks a radical departure from its predecessor. The new lines are a definite improvement over the old ones.

Some might question the company's decision to stretch the exterior dimensions as much as it did. The coupe is now 79-mm longer, 38-mm wider and 17-mm taller. Of course, the wheelbase has also been extended (+64 mm).

Yet, the car looks sportier and more streamlined, with emphasized roof arches and a long hood for added presence on the road. The rear end is not quite as well executed, although the large taillights add a touch of refinement to the package.

Model behavior
That being said, looks and presence are not the main reasons why buyers opt for the Accord Coupe. And although the fully redesigned interior proves modern and nicely laid out, with comfortable, easily-adjustable front buckets, rear passengers still have to make a number of sacrifices -- as in any self-respecting coupe.

Rather, the increased performance delivered by the V6-powered coupe is the top selling argument here. From that standpoint, there are no doubts in my mind that the new model meets expectations.

The interior has been completely redesigned, modern and well equipped.

Of course, you could make do with the small 4-cylinder mill producing 190 horsepower, but the top-of-the-line EX-L V6 model (as tested), which uses a different version of the sedan's 268-hp engine, offers a lot more low-end grunt (max torque is rated at 248 lb-ft).

The top-of-the-line EX-L V6 model (as tested) uses a different version of the sedan's 268-hp engine.

Almost German-like
I can hear German car purists get all riled up. "Those who dare to compare a Honda with a German ought to be silenced" is what they're probably saying. That's because they haven't tried the 2008 Accord Coupe.

It may not handle as remarkably, but the improvement over the previous generation is so great that the gap is no longer that noticeable. The steering is very precise and predictable, allowing the driver to maintain a near-perfect trajectory in all circumstances.

While accelerations are not as breathtaking as one might be led to believe, the Accord Coupe unhesitatingly shows just how powerful it can be during passing maneuvers and top-speed driving.

The 6-speed manual transmission is pleasant to work with, although the third gear has a tendency to flat-out disobey at times, causing some jerky action during quick shifts. A 5-speed autobox is optionally available should you prefer to let the car do the work.

Fuel economy seemed a bit disappointing despite Honda's Advanced Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology. While I was careful not to be overly aggressive during my test week, I couldn't manage a better result than 13.2 L/100 km (combined city-highway).

New and improved
In the end, I ask the question: is the new 2008 Honda Accord -- coupe or sedan -- different enough to convince those who had never considered buying a Honda? I must say I have a few doubts. Don't get me wrong, it's a quality automobile in every respect. However, it's still missing a little bit of "oompf", if you know what I mean. Too bad because it really deserves all your attention.

That being said, looks and presence are not the main reasons why buyers opt for the Accord Coupe.