2008 Honda Accord Coupe

9.2
2008 Honda Accord Coupe

The Basics:

The car enthusiasts at TheCarConnection.com researched a wide range of road tests of the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe to compile this review. TheCarConnection.com’s experts also drove the new Honda Accord Coupe to help you decide which reviews to trust where opinions differ, and to give you more information that can help you make the right buying decision.

The 2008 Honda Accord Coupe is one of the most satisfying vehicles you can own, which makes it more difficult for TheCarConnection.com's car experts to fill out the "dislikes" section above. How do you criticize a car with good looks, good fuel economy and performance, and a great reputation for satisfaction?

Whether you're looking for a comfy commuter in the $20,000 range or a luxurious, powerful $30,000 family sedan, the newly redesigned 2008 Honda Accord should be on your shortlist.

The Accord Coupe is new for 2008, and it's difficult to find much wrong with the new model. For the first time ever, it gets a unique look and completely different body panels from the four-door. 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.

The top engine in the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe 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. The base car gets a 190-hp in-line four and a choice of five-speed manual or automatic. Honda's powertrains are gems, and the V-6 Coupe is a particularly happy performer, with acceleration times of about 8 seconds to 60 mph and 19/28 mpg fuel economy (the four-cylinder gets 22/31 mpg).

Though bigger, the new Accord's center of gravity is lower, 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. The Coupe has standard 18-inch wheels, too.

The new car comes with sportier seats, but ones that are quite comfortable over long distances. Among other advantages, they feature an expanded range of motion. The larger cabin means more space between front-seat occupants, filled with a larger center armrest. The backseats aren't easy to get in, but are reasonable for short trips for two adults. The 2008 Honda Accord Coupe is available with XM Satellite Radio, a navigation system, and Bluetooth.

Anti-lock brakes, six airbags, and active head restraints are standard. The 2008 Honda Accord Coupe is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and the NHTSA rates it at five stars for crash protection, save for a four-star rating for passenger side impacts.

Most automotive magazines and consumer auto Web sites agree that at Honda, 2008 has brought out the most refined Accord Coupe ever, with new bold styling that distinguishes it from Accords of the past.

The new 2008 Honda Accord Coupe has a larger footprint than the outgoing model. Popular Mechanics notes that it's 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. 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.

Cars.com and Edmunds both 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 2008 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." Cars.com notes that at Honda, 2008 brings a Coupe with “a chiseled look that's highlighted in front by a narrow mesh grille and bulging front fenders."

Jalopnik is not as enthusiastic about the Coupe's exterior or interior esthetics, saying, "In places the 2008 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 disagrees about 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." They like the look of the seamless matte finish and silver gray plastics and go on to say that "the new Accord's dash displays are MacBook Pro all the way."

TheCarConnection.com’s editors don’t find much wrong with the new Honda; 2008 brings, for the first time ever, a unique look and completely different body panels for the two-door. 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.

The base 2008 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.

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 2008 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 is the most powerful Accord to date; TheCarConnection.com found that the majority of reviewers praise its smooth power delivery, silky smooth six-speed shifter, and sportscarlike handling. Car and Driver believes that the Honda Accord Coupe is a better machine than its No. 1 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.”

Cars.com 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 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."

Edmunds compares the Accord Coupe's performance to that of the discontinued Acura CL Type-S. The 2008 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.

TheCarConnection.com believes the new 2008 Honda Accord Coupe is one of the best compact coupes to drive, in four- or six-cylinder guise. It handles very well, too. 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, 2008 brings the Coupe standard 18-inch wheels, too.

A legacy of class-leading quality and comfort is held up in the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe.

ConsumerGuideAuto says the 2008 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." 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."

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. Edmunds reports that "the Accord feels as it always has, like a very high-quality mid-size, mid-price vehicle" but wishes that 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."

As with most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, Road & Track praises the 2008 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.

TheCarConnection.com drove a 2008 Honda Accord Coupe with all the trimmings and came away quite impressed at the comfort of the front seats. Among other advantages, they feature an expanded range of motion. The larger cabin means more space between front-seat occupants, filled with a larger center armrest. The backseats aren't easy to get in, but are reasonable for short trips for two adults. However, our test car had a noticeable rattle in the passenger seatback that proved that no car, even one as reliably well assembled as the Honda Accord, is without flaw.

Among the numerous standard safety features of the 2008 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.

Popular Mechanics notes that in the Honda, 2008 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." 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.

The 2008 Honda Accord Coupe is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and the NHTSA rates it at five stars for crash protection, save for a four-star rating for passenger side impacts.

The reviews read by TheCarConnection.com all praised the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe for its long list of standard and optional features.

Automobile.com notes that with the 2008 Accord Coupe, Honda is squarely aiming at young buyers with its impressive "mix of high-tech features," bigger wheels, and optional subwoofer. 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 CD stereo with a 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.

Also on the option list is a new navigation system that is among the few options that met with less than favorable reviews. 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 that surround the control knob "is intimidating." ConsumerGuideAuto.com agrees and points out that the deeply recessed screen obscures the sight lines, and "the display can be washed out in certain light conditions"

Buying Tips:


The 2008 Honda Accord Coupe is a sought-after car with great resale value. City commuters will be happy with the four-cylinder version, while the V-6 cars with leather and navigation systems will easily cross the $30,000 line. In either case, spending a little more at the dealer should pay off in a higher resale value later on in the car's life. Honda's navigation system is one of the most easily understood systems available.

Other Choices:

  • 2008 Toyota Camry Solara
  • 2008 Nissan Altima

Reason Why:

The Honda Accord Coupe's most direct competitors are two other coupes derived from front-drive, Japanese-brand sedans. The Toyota Camry Solara is based on the four-door Camry, and has much softer handling than the Accord Coupe. It's due to be replaced after the 2008 model year. The Nissan Altima Coupe is a new entry in the market, and sports four- and six-cylinder engines and a profile that reminds TheCarConnection.com's editors of the late Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

The Bottom Line:

The 2008 Honda Accord Coupe blends great looks with strong V-6 performance and good fuel economy, making it one of TheCarConnection.com’s top-rated vehicles.

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