2014 Honda Accord V6 Coupe 6MT Long-Term Test: 37,000 Miles and Counting
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:
- Provide a decent employee meal in the executive/office-worker building;
- 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]
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