By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/14/2011
It wasn't all that long ago that a sporty, affordable coupe was as easy to find as leaves in a forest. But, the rise of the 4-door sports car (think Subaru WRX and Dodge Charger) has left only a scattering of coupes from which to choose. Among the remaining lot are some revived 1960s-era muscle car names from Ford, Chevy and Dodge, and one very unlikely candidate, the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe. With the Toyota Camry Coupe long gone, only Nissan's Altima Coupe and the Hyundai Genesis stand as rivals to the popular Honda. Sharing its mechanicals and interior bits with the well-regarded Honda Accord Sedan, the sporty coupe wears its own unique skin giving it a style and attitude all its own.
The 2012 Honda Accord Coupe successfully plays a dual role as a sporty, fun-to-drive coupe that can also be a comfortable daily driver with room for four adults. The Accord Coupe is no Porsche Boxster, mind you, but it is no slouch, either. And, the Accord Coupe is one of the few remaining cars to offer a manual transmission regardless of trim or engine choice.
If you're looking for a car you can really push to the limits, you might be happier behind the wheel of a Hyundai Genesis Coupe or VW GTI rather than the 2012 Accord Coupe. Those seeking a more macho image might look to the Chevy Camaro or Ford Mustang GT.
The only notable change for the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe is the addition of a USB audio interface port to the standard equipment list.
Thanks to its slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length, the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe feels far more lively in the twisties than does its Sedan counterpart. Carrying a bit less weight and a more aggressive suspension, wheel and tire setup, the Accord Coupe for 2012 is a lively performer, but it doesn't possess BMW or GTI-like handling. The standard Accord 4-cylinder engine has more than enough power for everyday driving needs, and with highway fuel economy figures in the low 30s, it is certainly easy enough to live with. But, for those who expect their coupes to deliver more than just an average driving experience, Honda's V6 is the engine of choice. Teamed with the standard 6-speed manual, our EX-L V6 produced quick off-the-line starts and never failed to please when asked to pass slower moving cars. However, while all of our test drivers agree a manual transmission fits the Accord Coupe's sporty nature, we were disappointed by the gear-to-gear exchanges that felt somewhat imprecise. The Accord Coupe's independent suspension, on the other hand, is firm enough to deliver a responsive level of handling without sacrificing ride quality.
Designers tend to take more chances with the styling of coupes than with sedans; they can make the roofline rakish, because they know there's seldom anyone sitting in back. As a result, the 2012 Accord Coupe's design is a lot edgier than that of the Sedan and, from the wedge-like front end to the refined rear view, Honda's Accord Coupe is easy on the eyes.
Looking sporty is good, but having enough power to back up the looks is even better – especially in the coupe category, where performance can be relatively more important. Honda's 3.5-liter V6 has a silky power flow that adds greatly to the 2012 Accord's driving enjoyment.
If you're all about a quality interior with impeccable fit and finish, the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe won't disappoint. The dash design incorporates a dual-level effect with an elongated U-shaped center stack that houses the audio and ventilation controls. Somewhat confusing at first are the numerous buttons inside the stack, along with a large central control knob and big LCD display screen that doubles at the dock for the optional navigation screen. The most important functions, however, are logically arranged and placed close to the driver's right hand. The Accord Coupe's thick-grip 3-spoke steering wheel also contains redundant controls for the audio, as well as paddle shifters on cars equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission. As for comfort, the Accord Coupe's front seats are extremely well proportioned, with nice long bottom cushions and supportive side bolster that won't pinch larger occupants. The 2012 Accord Coupe's rear seat is also quite accommodating, although it takes a bit of maneuvering to reach it. The Coupe's trunk measure a respectable 11.9 cubic feet, but can be expanded via the folding rear seatbacks.
Externally, about the only thing the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe shares with its Sedan twin is the nameplate affixed to the trunk. Actually, the side mirrors and door handles are interchangeable, but we doubt anyone will notice. With its dynamic front end punctuated by a recessed grille and thin headlights that flow onto the fenders, the Accord Coupe looks quite cool. V6 models take the treatment a step further by adding projector-beam headlamps and polished 18-inch alloy wheels. The Accord Coupe's designers gave it a long, low look that makes the car appear much smaller than it actually is, an illusion that quickly dissolves once you step inside the Accord Coupe's spacious cockpit.
The 2012 Honda Accord LX-S Coupe includes air conditioning, cruise control, auto-off headlights, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, remote trunk release, and power functions for the windows, locks and mirrors. A 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed manual transmission are also standard. All sound systems in the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe have steering wheel-mounted controls, MP3 playback capability, a 6-disc CD changer and auxiliary and USB input ports. Safety equipment includes electronic stability control, plus front, front-side and side-curtain airbags. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is standard on all trims except the EX-L with the 6-speed manual transmission. ANC monitors low-frequency noise entering the cabin (such as a "boomy" exhaust note) and sends an audio signal to cancel out the noise.
Honda offers only a handful of dealer-installed options; all other features are bundled by trim. The optional navigation system on the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L features voice activation, as well as information from the Zagat Survey guide for restaurants, hotels and attractions. The 8-inch screen is an easy read and the unit itself is straightforward in operation. And to up the sporty quotient, 18-inch wheels are standard on the EX-L V6, while a power glass moonroof, heated side mirrors and Bluetooth are standard on EX trims.
All three trim levels (LX-S, EX, EX-L) of the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe offer a 190-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine matched with either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. In addition, the automatic-equipped EX-L offers a 3.5-liter V6 with an updated version of Honda's Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology that saves fuel by allowing the engine to run on 6, 4 or 3 cylinders, according to demand. When paired with the available 6-speed manual, the engine loses VCM and gains increased low- and mid-range power, making it the most powerful engine ever offered in a Honda (even though the peak horsepower and torque figures are the same).
2.4-liter in-line 4
190 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 (manual), 22/33 (automatic)
271 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm (manual transmission)
271 horsepower @ 6,000-6,200 rpm (automatic transmission)
254 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm (manual)
254 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm (automatic)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (manual), 19/29 (automatic)
The 2012 Honda Accord Coupe starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $24,000 for the LX-S trim level with the 4-cylinder engine and ranges to roughly $33,000 for a loaded V6 model in the top-of-the-line EX-L series. Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price – the prices that consumers are typically paying for these models – runs slightly less than the MSRP. Two of the 2012 Accord Coupe's prime competitors are the 2012 Hyundai Genesis and the Nissan Altima coupes. The average transaction prices for the Genesis start a little lower than the Accord for the base model and extend higher than the Accord for top trim levels. When comparably equipped, the Altima Coupe typically sells for slightly more than either the Genesis or the Accord. The Honda and Nissan coupes have almost identically good projected resale values over time, while the values for the Hyundai Genesis Coupe are marginally lower.