The 2011 Honda Accord Coupé
You needn't be a rich kid to have fun behind the wheel. You can be a bit older, and middle class too, as Sony Thomas realises after driving the 2011
Honda Accord Coupé.
Mid-life crisis. This awkward stage of self-doubt can hit a man quite unexpectedly. If you're not prepared enough to cope with it, it can wreak havoc in your life. Dressing like you're two decades younger, wearing a flashy cap to hide that receding hairline, and trying to get into the hippest club in town could be relatively easy.
But to get your hands on a stylish coupé that'll make you look good behind its wheel as well as give vent to your new-found urge to drive fast is a bit more complicated. Especially if you're stuck in a middle management level in your Forties and are just about managing a middle class lifestyle.
Although research shows that Japanese men hardly go through this phase in life, surprisingly, the best answer to this problem seems to be from Japan. Good looking, powerful, safe, practical and above all, reasonably priced, the 2011 Honda Accord 3.5 EX could just be what the doctor ordered
The latest model of the two-door version of Honda's best-selling saloon isn't radically different from the previous year's model. In fact, the changes are mild and nothing more than a mid-life botox job. The honeycomb grille from the previous model gives way to one with a bolder chrome strip on top and a horizontal slat in the middle giving the front a sleeker, more elegant look. The front fascia gets subtle aerodynamic alterations and a slightly larger lower air intake. The side profile remains pretty much the same but for the new five-spoke 18in alloy rims, while the taillights get a more chiselled look with an edge that sticks out from the sides and follows the crease on the rear bumper.
Inside, the Accord Coupé remains as roomy and pleasant as ever with exemplary build quality and choice of materials that are on a par with cars costing twice as much. Creature comforts include plush leather seats that are electronically adjustable on the driver's side, a six-CD changer coupled to a 360W amplifier, and a Bluetooth hands-free phone system that can be controlled from the multi-function steering wheel. The backseats are spacious enough to seat two adults comfortably, getting in and out from there being the only problem.
Nothing has changed under the bonnet, with the tried and tested 3.5-litre V6 finding a home there. The powerhouse that also does service in the saloon packs 271 horses and is remarkably torquey. Throttle response is instantaneous, and considering this is a front-wheel drive car, there's amazingly negligible torque steer. In S mode, with steering-mounted paddle shifters controlling the five-speed auto ‘box, the Accord Coupé affords a fun driving experience that belies its modest price tag. In fact, the car is much more engaging than the Dh190K-plus Cadillac CTS Coupé we had as our long-termer until last week.
The vehicle stability assist feature and the independent multi-link suspension make it so sure-footed that you'll soon make it a habit of chucking the car around roundabouts and interchanges at high speed. Thanks to variable cylinder management that shuts down up to three cylinders at cruising speeds, the Accord Coupé's V6 unit is remarkably fuel efficient as well.
At Dh116,000, the 2011 Honda Accord 3.5 EX is a steal. It looks great, seats four, drives extremely well, and is safe with airbags all around. It even has a pretty large boot. Satellite navigation is an option for Dh10K extra, which is a waste in this, ahem, excellently signposted country. And the best bit about the Accord Coupé is that once you get over your current phase, you can always give it to your wife and she'll love you even more for that. Hair or no hair!
Model Accord Coupé 3.5 EX
Engine 3.5-litre V6
Transmission Five-speed auto, FWD
Max power 271bhp @ 6,200rpm
Max torque 339Nm @ 5,000rpm
Top speed NA
Price Dh116,000 as tested
Plus Great fun-to-price ratio, practical and safe too
Minus Sat-nav is an expensive option