2014 Honda Accord V6 Coupe 6MT Long-Term Test: 37,000 Miles and Counting

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

Just slightly over twenty-nine months since taking delivery of my 2014 Accord V6 Coupe 6MT and I’m already out of warranty. That’s not strictly true; there’s still powertrain coverage until the 50,000-mile mark. Certain items, like seatbelts and airbags and catalytic converters, will be replaced on Honda’s time for the rest of this decade, if not longer. But that 3/36,000 bumper-to-bumper honeymoon period of being able to take the car to the dealer for noises and clunks and little broken parts? As my future third wife, Este, would say — those days are gone.

The odometer ticked over into the (not-really-that) danger(ous) zone during the transit drive back from the AER race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. My current wife, the infamous Danger Girl, took the car to New Jersey so she could learn the track in a street car before taking her stint in Saturday’s endurance race.

That’s right: Mrs. Baruth now has more wheel-to-wheel competition experience than the entire full-time staff at Motor Trend. (Cue the video of Reese Witherspoon saying: “ Like, it’s hard?“)

This was her first time driving the Accord in anger, but it was the fifth different track the big Honda’s circled in the past couple of years. In truth, my warranty was probably compromised the minute I showed TTAC readers a picture of the car with numbers on the door. Regardless, the party’s definitely over now, so I decided there was no harm in driving the car down to South Carolina for my son’s golf camp this week and seeing what kind of fuel economy I could wring out of the now thoroughly broken in 3.5-liter V6.

Alright. Let’s cut the cutesy stuff and get right to what, come Festivus time, is known as “the airing of grievances”.

It was recently alleged by one of our more caustic commenters that I was personally afraid to criticize the Accord’s brakes. That’s not quite true. I’m just not willing to brand them as unfit for normal, everyday use. If you’re “warping the rotors” in your Accord on the street, then you’re almost certainly driving the car well outside the bounds of what’s legal or even sensible to do. My car has an 11.5-inch front disc. That’s slightly under one inch less diameter than you got with an E36 M3, just to put things in perspective. We’re not talking about a Fox-body 5.0 with drum rear brakes.

Still, Honda’s taken some action to address these complaints for 2016, upgrading the four-cylinder Sport and the six-cylinder auto-only Touring to a 12.3-inch front disc. Note that the EX-L V6 coupe did not get the new stoppers. If you really want bigger brakes on your coupe, however, it’s only going to cost you about $400 to swap the calipers. It’s almost certainly a waste of time and money on your part if you’re not regularly going to the track.

If you are tracking your Accord, however … well, it’s still going to be a waste of time and money on your part because nobody, and I mean nobody, makes performance pads for either set of calipers. The stock pads and rotors are strictly a three-lap affair, immediately reaching temperatures high enough to boil Motul 600 fluid. As a track car, every Accord ever made is seriously under-braked and this one is no different. The nice people at Carbotech can do performance pads for you, but it takes a few months and, as of now, I’m still waiting for them to get back to me with an exact delivery date. Another alternative: spend $3,500 on a set of Brembo GT calipers and rotors. The cheapest way to handle it: learn to bleed your brakes in-between sessions and manage your brake temperature. Doing so will also save you the cost of upgrading to the 19-inch wheels you’ll need to clear the Brembo calipers.

Speaking of wheels: The B&B were absolutely merciless when it came to the “Sport Edition” winter wheels that I put on the Accord last year. So for this summer I thought I’d try something a bit more upscale. I bought the O.Z. Racing Omnia, an entry-level, made-in-Italy wheel that gives up a little style (and about a pound of weight savings) to its Ultraleggera and Superleggera brethren in exchange for a significant price break. The tires are the Cooper Zeon RS-3 G1 all-seasons, which are on loan from Cooper. Expect a review on these tires, and how they survived a few sessions at NJMP’s “bowl” final turn, in the near future.

After a few years working at and around the Honda company town of Marysville, Ohio, I’ve concluded that there are two things that American Honda is absolutely unable to do:

  1. Provide a decent employee meal in the executive/office-worker building;
  2. Paint a car.

The sheer havoc wreaked on my Accord’s nose by the past 37,000 miles hasn’t done anything to change my opinion. I once owned a Mercedes-Benz with 247,000 miles and no repaint history that had fewer chips down to the primer. If you’re wondering how Honda provides this much car for the same price as a Malibu Premier, running your fingers along the leading edge of my car’s hood will help you come up with at least a partial answer to that question.

Also less than outstanding: the plasticky perforated leather of the front seats. No amount of conscientious cleaning or constant conditioning can prevent the surfaces from creasing and fading. I suppose it’s all part of the master plan to get you to buy a four-cylinder Acura TLX instead. I pride myself on my ability to keep an automotive interiors looking new, having lease-returned everything from a Range Rover 4.0S to a B5 Volkswagen Passat without so much as a shiny spot on the armrests, but the Accord’s innate cheapness has already triumphed over my best efforts.

So those are my complaints, in no particular order. Weighed against the Honda’s unquestionable merits, they don’t amount to much. Over the course of 700 miles between Ohio and South Carolina, the Accord returned 32.3 miles per gallon running at 80 miles per hour on the flat freeways north of Charlotte, and even managed to show 28.2 mpg averaging close to 90 mph on the hills and curves of the West Virginia Turnpike. The engine remains a standard by which every passenger-car mill short of a Coyote 5.0 can be measured. The interior is supremely comfortable, even over long trips. The ergonomics are impeccable. Most importantly — or perhaps least importantly, depending on your temperament — the big coupe is effortlessly fast enough to outpace all but the most outrageous SUVs and luxury sedans, giving the Accord V6 driver full command of his own traffic situation.

It’s a car that I would buy again without hesitation. As the B&B know, I’ve toyed with the idea of trading this one in for a brand-new one, particularly since Honda is about to discontinue the V6 and/or the manual transmission, which leads me to perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Accord V6: resale value. When I bought the car in early February of 2014, I only put tax and title down, and I financed the balance over 60 months. At the moment, I owe $15,600 or thereabouts on that loan. Kelley Blue Book thinks the Private Party value is $19,346, but I’m thinking I could do a little better than that; manual-transmission Hondas always fetch good money if you’re patient. Needless to say, I’ve never had this kind of equity in any new German or British car at this point in the purchase cycle. It’s enough to make you slowly, grudgingly understand why people won’t consider anything but a Honda.

Far from perfect, the ninth-generation Accord nevertheless represents a significant improvement over its bloated, anodyne predecessor. It also represents a return, however brief, to the fundamental values that made Honda the darling of the smart set 35 years ago. The warranty sucks, the paint is thin, the leather is embarrassingly bad. So what. It’s a great car, and I continue to recommend it to all of you.

[Images: © 2016 Jack Baruth/The Truth About Cars]

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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  • Felix Hoenikker Felix Hoenikker on Jul 28, 2016

    I have a 14 L Accord four cyl/CVT bought new. It now has a little over 16K miles. The only work I had done is two oil changes at the dealer. I choose the base model because the mid level trim levels had things I didn't want such as a moon roof and/or navigation or leather seats. All trims come with automatic climate control and an 8 inch screen. Also, I could get 65 series tires on 16" wheels. I dislike low profile tires (anything below 60 series) immensely for daily driving. The cloth seats are very comfortable especially after the car has sat in the sun. The cloth does seem thin, but so far it still looks new with no wear spots. However, the floor mats are already showing wear on the drivers side. I'm going to replace them with something more robust. The carpeting also seems on the thin side. The AM/FM CD with four speakers is nothing to write home about, but gets the job done. If I make any upgrades, it would be replacing the speakers with better ones. Now comes the part that will send some members of the B$B into a Luddite tizzy. The best thing about the four cylinder Accord is the CVT tranny. I never had an automatic on a four cylinder car that I liked before buying the Accord..The Honda CVT is smooth and has absolutely no rubber banding. I had rented other cars with CVTs in the past and was not impressed with their drive-ability aside from their fuel economy. I also cross shopped the Accord against the Altima which wasn't bad, but not in the same league with the Accord power train. Same with the Mazda 6 six speed auto which had a habit of not being in the correct gear (as judged by me) a good portion of the time. Same for the Ford Fusion with either the turbo or NA 2.5L engines. The NA Fusion was the worst at shifting in stop and go traffic. The Honda CVT really shines here as it always seems to be in the right gear ratio. My only concern is the long term durability of the CVT that I won't know for quite some time as I only put about 5K miles a year on the car now that I'm not commuting anymore. I also like the feel of the electric steering on the Accord. So go ahead and flame away. Finally, the brakes seem very grabby in an over boosted sense. If I don't drive the car for a few days, I have to re-acclimate myself to the touchy brakes over the first five times I touch the brake pedal. Nothing else is our fleet has this much brake boost.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Jul 28, 2016

      The EX trim has a few more doodads and a sunroof. The LX-grade cloth isn't quite as thick-feeling, but Honda cloth usually wears like iron, so you should have no problems. See my reply above regarding the "carpet." And the CVT is as good as any conventional automatic, without the upshifts. 2013 units were a little shaky, but Honda stepped up to the plate and stood behind them.

  • Igve2shtz Igve2shtz on Aug 04, 2016

    EBC makes brake pads for the Accord V6 with 11.5" calipers in Green (street), Red (fast street) and Yellow (race) versions... and also upgraded rotors in 11.5" diameters. Happy trails!

  • Vatchy And how is the government going to recoup the losses from gas taxes and EV incentives? They are going to find another way to tax us. Maybe by attaching a GPS device to every car and charging by the mile.
  • Kwik_Shift And the so-called GND / TGR experts were so sure of themselves.
  • Verbal It seems there is an increasing number of cases where the factories send out software updates to fix their products in the customer fleet. Either their software engineers don't know what they're doing, or the factories are using their customers as beta testers, or both.
  • Kwik_Shift "But wait...there's more!"
  • Buickman Corruption vs Ineptitude.