2009 Honda Accord Coupe Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
July 20, 2009

Though it might not be the most exciting coupe, strong V-6 performance, good fuel economy, and a great interior make the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe one of TheCarConnection.com's top-rated vehicles for 2009.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Honda Accord Coupe in order to give you an expert opinion in this Bottom Line. The auto experts at TheCarConnection.com also researched available road tests on the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe to help you find opposing viewpoints and other helpful observations.

Criticizing a car with decent looks, good fuel economy, impressive performance, and a great reputation for satisfaction is difficult, and the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe meets all those criteria. Considering that the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is one of the most satisfying vehicles you can own, TheCarConnection.com's editors struggled to find some dislikes.

The Accord Coupe received a brand-new look last year and completely different body panels from the four-door. The coupe looks to be in a constant state of motion because of the bold character line sweeping from front wheels to rear lamps and the sexy curve of its roof, which also imbue the Accord Coupe with a sleek, modern profile. The new Accord's cockpit is definitely among the best, too; the dashboard is laid out in a sort of dual-cockpit mode, and gauges and controls are particularly well placed.

The base 2009 Honda Accord Coupe comes standard with a 190-hp inline four and a choice of five-speed manual or automatic. The upgraded engine is a beefy, 3.5-liter V-6. It hits a solid 268 horsepower and comes with either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. Honda's powertrains are gems, and the V-6 Coupe is a particularly happy performer, with acceleration times of about eight seconds to 60 mph and 19/28 mpg fuel economy (the four-cylinder gets 22/31 mpg).

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Honda engineers have lowered the Accord Coupe's center of gravity. And not leaving well enough alone, engineers also modified the double-wishbone front suspension geometry, while choosing a multilink setup for the rear. Combined with standard 18-inch wheels, the result is a very supple suspension package that seems to soak up bumps almost imperceptibly, without numbing its road feel. The variable gear ratio steering is precise and supple, with a clear, on-center feel.

The 2009 Accord Coupe has seats that are both sporty and comfortable over long distances, and they feature an expanded range of motion. The larger cabin doesn't mean backseats are more easily accessible, but there is more space between front-seat occupants and a larger center armrest. The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is available with XM Satellite Radio, a navigation system, and Bluetooth.

The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and NHTSA rates it at five stars for crash protection, save for a four-star rating for passenger side impacts. Anti-lock brakes, six airbags, and active head restraints are standard.

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2009 Honda Accord Coupe

Styling

The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is one of the most refined-looking Accords ever, with new bold styling that distinguishes it from Accords of the past.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe's aggressive look pleases most tastemakers.

At a quick glance, the Accord Coupe does look big, but it's more of an illusion caused by the taller, longer nose. Also notably larger are the wheels; the four-cylinder models now have 17-inch wheels, while the V-6 version gets bigger 18-inch hoops. Popular Mechanics notes that the Accord Coupe's footprint is 3 inches longer, 1.5 inches wider, and a full inch taller, which makes it roomier and more comfortable, but it's still small enough to carry the designation of being a compact car.

Cars.com notes the Coupe's “chiseled look that's highlighted in front by a narrow mesh grille and bulging front fenders." Both Cars.com and Edmunds point out that the Coupe's hindquarters, with a distinctive kink in the C-pillar and taillights that wrap around the side of the body, are reminiscent of the BMW 5-Series.

Edmunds goes on to report that the 2009 Accord Coupe "is a genuine attention-grabber, in a sporty kind of way—something no previous version of the Accord Coupe could be accused of." Jalopnik is not as enthusiastic about the Coupe's exterior or interior esthetics, saying, "In places the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is woefully bland, in others awkwardly edgy." While they claim that the interior is "positively posh," they're not too crazy about the grayish plastic dashboard and "cornucopia" of buttons, which are "awkwardly unintuitive" and clash with the nice leather.

Motor Trend likes the look of the seamless matte finish and silver gray plastics and says that "the new Accord's dash displays are MacBook Pro all the way." The reviewer also favors the Accord Coupe's cabin: "Honda has always done tight panels and high quality surfaces, but with the new Accord Coupe they've really outdone themselves."

For the first time ever, the Honda Accord Coupe enjoys a unique look. The two-door is markedly sleeker, with a sexy curve to the roof, and the bold character line, sweeping from front wheels to rear lamps, gives the coupe a sense of constant motion. The new Accord's cockpit is definitely among the best, too—the dashboard is laid out in a sort of dual-cockpit mode, and gauges and controls are particularly well placed.

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2009 Honda Accord Coupe

Performance

A wide range of reviewers, along with those at TheCarConnection.com, believe the new 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is one of the best compact coupes to drive, whether in four- or six-cylinder guise.

The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe offers class-leading performance and handling. Popular Mechanics believes that Honda will probably sell more Accord Coupes with the 190-hp four-cylinder engine, and those who opt for this package will be pleased with the engine's silky smooth operation and seamless power delivery. They also praise the Accord Coupe for its miserly fuel consumption, saying the four-cylinder Accord has "simply excellent fuel economy for a car this size." The base 2009 Honda Accord Coupe features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out an impressive 190 hp and an estimated 21/31 mpg.

The optional 3.5-liter V-6 with 268 hp will be on the top of the list for those who crave more performance, but despite the huge power increase, the V-6 isn't much thirstier at the gas pump. Thanks to Honda's Variable Cylinder Management system that shuts down cylinders when they're not needed, the V-6 earns an estimated 19/29 mpg. TheCarConnection.com finds that the majority of reviewers praise its smooth power delivery, silky smooth six-speed shifter, and sports-car-like handling.

Car and Driver believes that the Honda Accord Coupe is a better machine than its chief competitor, the Nissan Altima. "It's certainly fast," the reviewer notes, and even though the Accord Coupe has fewer ponies under the hood, it's quicker and has a "slick and easy to use" six-speed gearbox. Motor Trend reports that the 268-hp Accord Coupe EX-L they tested "drives like a dream." It also has 248-pound feet of torque, "and yet at WOT, there's no wheelspin or torque steer.”

The V-6 Accord Coupe exhibits good acceleration, "but it doesn't blow you away with its power the way the Toyota Avalon's V-6 can,” reports Cars.com, which praises the V-6's smooth power, but knocks off a few points because "it doesn't feel as strong as its 268 horsepower rating would suggest.”

The 2009 Accord Coupe handles very well, too. Edmunds compares the Accord Coupe's performance to that of the discontinued Acura CL Type-S. The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe has more power, however, and the six-speed shifter and clutch mechanism "feels exactly the same" as the Acura's. They report that six-speed shifter also shares the CL's notchy feel, "and the clutch take-up is abrupt, making an Accord Coupe with its powertrain difficult to drive smoothly." They have no gripes about the Accord Coupe's power and report that even though it "is narrowly outgunned by the 270-hp Altima Coupe," the Honda's engine is "far smoother" than the Altima's VQ-Series V-6.

Though bigger, the new Accord has a lower center of gravity, thanks to Honda engineers. They've modified the double-wishbone front suspension geometry and gone with a multilink rear. The result is a very supple suspension package that seems to soak up bumps almost imperceptibly, without numbing its road feel. The new, variable gear ration steering is precise and supple, with a clear, on-center feel. At Honda, 2009 brings the Coupe standard 18-inch wheels, too.

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2009 Honda Accord Coupe

Comfort & Quality

A legacy of class-leading quality and comfort is upheld in the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe.

The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is roomier and more comfortable than its predecessor, but rear seating access and legroom remain only acceptable.

Edmunds reports that "the Accord feels as it always has, like a very high-quality mid-size, mid-price vehicle" but wishes Honda would have carried over the previous Accord Coupe's touch-screen navigation system; the new nav system has an "iDrive-like" control knob and more than 30 buttons surrounding it, which makes the system "intimidating." Car and Driver has very few complaints about the Accord Coupe but notes "we'd like to see more differentiation in the cabin from the Accord sedan." Cars.com praises the Accord Coupe's cabin for its tight fit and finish and use of high-quality materials that rival those found in Honda's luxury brand, Acura.

The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe's front seats are more comfortable and supportive than in previous Accords. "There's ample headroom and legroom, even for taller adults,” says ConsumerGuide. Climbing in and out of the cabin is easier, thanks to the larger door openings and higher roof. Rear legroom has increased as well, "though seating is still best left to children."

Road & Track praises the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe's high-quality materials and fit and finish. "The cabin has an upscale Acura aura that comes from finely tailored sport bucket seats, a choice of silver or wood accents, a coupe-only three-spoke steering wheel and Honda's straightforward controls and instrumentation." They also note that the driver and front passenger sit farther apart with a wider center console between them, and the dash arrangement makes the driver and the shotgun passenger feel as if they're in separate compartments.

Popular Mechanics commends Honda for including an active noise-canceling exhaust system and active motor mounts that keep the exhaust notes down to a minimum inside the cabin and smooth out any vibration.

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2009 Honda Accord Coupe

Safety

The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is among the leaders in terms of safety.

The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and NHTSA rates it at five stars for crash protection, save for a four-star rating for passenger side impacts.

The new airbag system has two chambers: one for the pelvis area and another for the torso. Honda claims this new airbag system minimizes potential injuries when the Accord is struck by a large SUV or pickup. Popular Mechanics notes that in the Honda, 2009 brings "enough airbags to cushion the fall of the Holy Roman Empire," and they refer to the new dual-chamber, side impact airbags as a "safety breakthrough."

Among the numerous standard safety features of the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe are side curtain airbags, Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability system, all-disc anti-lock brakes, and active front head restraints.

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2009 Honda Accord Coupe

Features

You can have it pretty much any way you like it; the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe has a long list of both standard and optional features.

The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is well appointed in base trim, and it has enough optional electronic gadgets to impress even the most dyed-in-the-wool techies, though some may find the navigation fiddly.

According to Cars.com, cloth seats are standard, but the EX-L model adds leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt and telescoping functions and audio buttons. Other standard features include air conditioning, cruise control, lighted vanity mirrors, and a CD stereo with an MP3 jack. The list of options includes Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, XM Satellite Radio, and a premium audio system with a subwoofer that will meet the demands of most audiophiles.

Automobile.com notes that with the 2009 Accord Coupe, Honda is squarely aiming at young buyers with its impressive "mix of high-tech features," including bigger wheels and an optional subwoofer.

Edmunds questions whether replacing the well-loved and easy-to-operate touch-screen nav system in favor of an "iDrive-like control knob" is considered progress. They also note that the cluster of more than 30 buttons surrounding the control knob "is intimidating." ConsumerGuide agrees and points out that the deeply recessed screen obscures the sight lines, and "the display can be washed out in certain light conditions"

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9.2
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Expert Rating
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Styling 8
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 10
Features 10
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