Honda Accord EX V-6 6MT Review

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman

For nearly two decades, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have been duking-it-out at the top of America's sales chart. Honda's recipe for mid-size success is as simple as it is effective: it's big inside, it doesn't cost much, it doesn't look like crap, it doesn't break down and it's worth something when you buy a new one. Yes but– to an enthusiast, the startlingly unobjectionable Accord is white bread slathered in non-fat margarine. Well it was. This year, those wild and crazy guys at Honda have decided to offer an Accord with a six-speed manual and a slightly more powerful VTEC V6. The results are pretty damn groovy.

For some time now, Honda as Acura has been building the best-looking BMWs on the road. More specifically, the TL and TSX are handsome three-box sedans that combine aesthetic solidity with sporting intent. The latest Accord is cut from the same cloth. The Accord's family face may be automotive elevator music, but its stance and proportions are the class of the field. The Accord's detailing– or lack thereof– helps protect and project its wonderfully reserved elegance. In fact, when viewed from the side, the Accord boasts all the up-market European panache that continental importers have pissed-away in their mindless pursuit of modernity.

The Accord's backseat has plenty of room for three full-sized Europhiles. Continuing the "what's Olde is new" theme, the leather seats feel as if they were transplanted from a mid-80's S-Class. The chairs may not provide enough lateral support for proper hoonage, but there's enough bolstering for Accord-owning alphas to comfortably cruise that little bit faster than the wife normally allows. The dash is stark yet handsome; restrained yet fully-functional. All the major controls are large, logical and haptically happening. While you'll never mistake an Accord for an Audi, it still feels a good model cycle ahead of brittle, sharp-edged domestic competition. Especially when you grab the Accord's stick…

The Honda's steel and leather shifter is the sort of device you'd expect in a fully-modded street racer: slim, solid and oh-so-functional. Most manual selectors ask drivers to move their arm and flex their back muscles. Here you simply position your limb on the Accord's cow-clad armrest and snick through all six gears with your fingertips. 'Snick' isn't even the right word; it takes longer to say than do. By the same token, the Accord's clutch is more of a button than a lever. It took me three days to figure out how to stall it.

With a stick and clutch of this caliber (no pun intended) you'd expect the car to get a freak on. Roger that. Thanks to a unibody stiffer than three fingers of Bookers, the Accord's ride is taut but never abusive. Unfortunately, with 244 horses trying to squeeze through the front gate, torque steer is a major issue. And I reckon steering should be light at low speeds and heavy on high. (Honda got it backwards.) Still, the Accord enjoys diving into corners, turning-in without hesitation and gripping without complaint (until it does). It's like a Labrador puppy: joyfully enthusiastic, even if its reflexes aren't quite fully developed. In the same sense, the stoppers are a bit dim-witted. The first inch of brake travel yields… nothing. And then the Accord's biggish discs (11.1' up front, 10.2') suddenly bite.

Car & Driver claims Honda's family four-door sprints from rest to 60mph in just under six seconds. Credit the Accord's trim curb weight and relatively potent 3.0-liter six– best savored at or near max power (6244 rpm). With two-hundred and eleven lbs. feet of twist @ 5000 rpm, enthusiastic drivers must ascend to the penthouse on a regular basis. No chore there; Honda's VTEC mill spins to redline like an industrial blender. Again, the Accord's heart is in the right place; even with the nanny-state in session (VSP), you can still chirp the tires if you get the launch parameters just right.

On a particularly curve-laden stretch of the 210 north of LA, I played around with an M3 convertible. Slamming from 70 mph to more than 95? No prob. The Accord was able to match all his reckless maneuvers with ease. And relish. After a few miles the Bimmer became embarrassed about an economy sedan nipping at its heels and left me for dead. Nevertheless, not only was I able to keep up with a man in the midst of a mid-life crisis, but I thought to do so. How many other sensible midsize automobiles inspire that kind of irresponsibility?

The next gen Honda Accord offers the average Joe both a roomy ride to schlep the kids and a well-sorted sports sedan that's up for a little motorized madness once the buggers are in school– all without breaking the bank. Honda, eh?

Jonny Lieberman
Jonny Lieberman

Cleanup driver for Team Black Metal V8olvo.

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  • Theswedishtiger Theswedishtiger on Mar 18, 2008

    I own one of these, and I am very happy with it. Because I purchased it with $29k miles on it, I obtained it for $15k so value for money was not an issue. What I truly like about this vehicle, versus my wifes BMW 535i is that her car takes concentration, all the time, mine rewards you when you want to concentrate and at the end of a long drive I feel satisfied, not tired.

  • EChid EChid on Jul 28, 2010

    I would love to own one of these.

  • Scott So they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars and they are promising us a “Cheaper EV”? I wonder how that will look and feel? They killed the Fiesta because they claimed that they couldn’t make a profit on them and when I bought the first one in late 2010 they couldn’t deliver the accessories I wanted for it! Then I bought a 2016 Fiesta ST and again couldn’t get the accessories for it I wanted. They claimed that the components were going to be available, eventually. So they lost on that one as well! I don’t care about what they say anymore. I’ve moved on to another brand.
  • Michael S6 CX 70 or 90 will not be on my buying list. Drove a rental base CX 90 and it was noisy and the engine noise was not pleasant. Ride was rough for a family SUV. Mazda has to understand that what is good for Miata isn't what we expect in semi luxury SUV. My wife's 2012 Buick Enclave has much better Ride and noise level albeit at worse gas millage. Had difficulty pairing my phone with Apple CarPlay
  • Michael S6 What is the metric conversion between one million barrels and the number of votes he expects to buy.
  • NJRide This could give Infiniti dealers an extra product maybe make it a sub brand
  • Lou_BC Mr. Posky outraged over an old guy passing er releasing some gas. How are those sedan sales going?