reprinted from chicagonow.com/drive-he-said

When the local supermarket announces it’s axing the only affordable house-branded alternative to pricey Ben & Jerry’s pistachio ice cream panic sets in.

Yet few lamented the passing of the Nissan Altima Coupe and Toyota Solara.

“Drive…He Said” thinks maybe those brands didn’t have their hearts in it.

Among volume carmakers, at least Honda has dug in its heels on the sedan-based 2-door coupe. The comely 2-door version of this year’s re-made Civic sedan is on its way.

The brand’s latest revision of the Accord family sedan made a splash 3 years ago to wide acclaim. Four-cylinder Accords have been tested to fire off sub 8 second runs to 60 mph.

WHAT: 2016 Honda Accord Coupe V6 Touring.

Take the latest iteration of the highly acclaimed and 2nd most popular front-drive family sedan sold in North America, the 9th generation FF platform Honda Accord. Cut out 2 back doors. Make the two remaining front doors huge. 2016 variants mark the mid-cycle refresh.

WHAT (A) DIFFERENCE:

Over The Sedan: Accord Coupe is a few inches shorter than the town-car like sedan mostly in wheelbase.

In Looks: New thinner, wider, blackened grille swaps old “U” theme for wings. Thinner & wider theme continues to head & tail light housings. Lower front fascia, lower body cladding and faux corner black mesh vents lend assertiveness. Better integrated trunk-lid spoiler. Smoke-tinted mammoth 19″ alloy wheels brood with their glossy black painted spokes. White LED headlamp DRLs are as nice as on any Acura.

WHY: Because Honda knows coupes say “STYLE

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since late fall 2015

WHERE: Honda new car dealers

WHERE MADE: Marysville, Ohio, U.S.A.

HOW STRONG: Possibly the last chance to score a real V6 in this segment. Unlike the current rage of turbo-fours, the VTEC SOHC gas V6 engine (dubbed “EarthDreams”) power isn’t abrupt then petering out. In sport mode 6-speed slushbox holds gears ’til red-line.

HOW LIMBER: Quick electric assist steering rack could use greater heft; Helm tugs and tires wander near triple digit speeds. Springing is pliable enough to prevent the overboard 19″ alloys and 40-aspect ratio tires from thwacking backsides, allowing some brake dive; Super heinous road divots impart enough pounding; Initial braking is tepid, but sizeable rotors are fade immune.

HOW FAR: Cylinder de-activation (from 6 to 3) actually works: Accord Coupe’s V6 with 6 speed automatic scores 24 mpg. That’s 35% > than a comparably weighing & accelerating 2003 Infiniti G35 V6 coupe w/ a 5-speed slushbox.

HOW BIG: Front row accommodations = the commodious Accord sedan’s. No fancy power sliding front seats here; However, delving into back of the Accord Coupe isn’t as contortioning as getting into the Ford Mustang’s Porta Potty nether-area; Moon roof sliding over roof = not encroaching on cabin headroom;

HOW LITTLE: Way more interior space than your average rear-drive Pony Car. With a smaller footprint.

HOW USEFUL: You’ll never find a trunk this voluminous in a Dodge Challenger; Doors hold ubiquitous beverage bottle & then some; 2nd row outboard arm rest have aft beverage / doo-dad channel; 2 x USB and 2 x 12V ports inside bottom center stack bin and front center armrest.

HOW SAFE: 8 airbags, extensive use of high tensile steel; exclusive LaneWatch is a boon to anyone in the bike lanes. HondaSense (standard on Touring trim) begets bevy of driver assist technology: Radar adaptive cruise control, Forward Collision avoidance braking, BLIS, LDW, Park Assist w/ rear camera, Rear Cross traffic warning.

HOW FRIENDLY: Driver slides a bit on a power adjusting bolstered too wide berth; Equally over-sized: Large tilt steering wheel low on reach adjustment sized; Matte back plastic shift paddles aren’t so ostentatious; Perforated seat leather certainly is not the Nappa or sateen type; Blessed be glossy piano black appliques for they are not pretentious!

Concise yet informative interconnecting 3 dial analog gauge cluster; Trip display smack dab in the center of the sizeable speedo is bright white LCD; Night gauge backlighting = bright white and red on black. Red & black hues filling top and lower center stack LCD displays are a bit devilish. Top unit parrots trip and entertainment info; Below, 7″ capacitive touch screen is the portal to GPS SD navigation, infotainment and apps; Contrasting red-stitching on the leather wrapped helm; Soft touch materials where fingers and elbows will venture; Pebble grain trying to mask coarse hard black plastic elsewhere.

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: Adjusting audio volume on the knob-less capacitive tablet-style LCD infotainment screen is akin to putting pen to paper…in a moving car. Navigation 3-D bird’s eye graphics are better at night; Not sure who makes Honda’s audio systems but subtle highs become crisp despite over-emphasized bass. In case Android Auto and Apple Car Play aren’t enough, there’s a dedicated Pandora app and Sirius-XM subscription services.

HOW MUCH: $34,225 for a Accord Coupe V6 Touring 6 speed automatic. Honda trims are all mono-spec and the top Touring trim wants for little. For those on a tighter budget the 189 horsepressure inline-4 Accord LX-S 6 spd. manual bases for < $24K.

WHAT’S MISSING: Besides two rear doors? Infotainment head unit in DIRE need of rotary volume knob!

ANY COMPETITION: Honda Accord Coupe is the sole surviving front-drive family sedan based 2-door. Kia’s compact-based Forte Koup trails the Accord Coupe in space, refinement, OOMPH and an “E.” A comparably-equipped rear-drive Hyundai Genesis Coupe V6 8-spd automatic would run about even money. But Hyundai is an uncommodious upstart boy-racer to Honda’s civilized touring coupe.