Pros: Value, comfortable, quiet, fast for 4-cylinder and good fuel economy, safe
Cons: Generic styling, handling is not very sporty
Every time I drive my mother's 2006 Accord, I am reminded about what a great car company Honda is and how unrefined in comparison my 2004 Infiniti G35 seems. I have also driven the 2007 4-door Accord to Yosemite (800 miles total) and averaged 33.4 mpg in mixed 80-85 mph freeway / 30-55 mph mountain driving while being able to spend 5 hours in the seat in a row with no sign of strain.
Being able to cover over 500 miles on one 17-gallon tank of regular gas is impressive not only because the gas in California is currently $3.35-3.50, but also because you do not have to stop often to fill up and you feel better about your carbon footprint.
All this as well as current ridiculously low prices on the Accord made me look into the 2007 Accord Coupe. This review is based on extensively test-driving the 2007 Honda Accord EX Coupe as well as on the ownership experience of the 2007 and 2006 Honda Accord VP (both 4-door models).
One thing to mention is there were no significant changes from the 2006 to 2007 model year as Honda prepares to release an all-new, more aggressively-styled 2008 model. Hopefully with A-VTEC technology.
I personally own two cars: the 2004 Infiniti G35 and the 2006 Accord VP sedan, which my mother drives. My understanding of the virtues of the Accord was enhanced by owning it. Before buying it, I considered the Hyundai Sonata, Camry and other models. But I am glad that I chose the Accord and seeing that the prices for 2007 model are currently very low (due to the upcoming release of the all-new 2008 model) and after test driving the 4-cylinder 2007 Accord LX and the 2007 Civic LX, I believe it is a better choice than the aforementioned cars. At least for some people. And there is another factor to consider: neither Hyundai nor Toyota has coupe versions of their Sonata and Camry (Solara is based on the previous generation Camry). And if you want a good-looking Accord, the 2-door version is definitely a better choice.
I did not consider 6-cylinder models since I am interested in fuel economy and better weight distribution. Also, front wheel drive cars with an excess of 240 hp are not my cup of tea (although you do get wider tires with 6-cylinder models). I also was interested in manual transmission-equipped Accord. All this narrowed my choices to the Accord 2.4 LX Coupe or the Accord 2.4 EX Coupe.
As a basis for comparison I can use my current car (2004 Infiniti G35) as well as my mother's previous car (2000 Mitsubishi Galant ES) and some other cars I drove recently, including 2005 Toyota Camry.
The Honda Accord in its current form was introduced for 2003 model year and is in its last year before being replaced by an all-new model. It was mildly restyled for 2006 model year, including LED taillights, restyled front fascia and includes Maintenance Minder system.
The 2007 Honda Accord Coupe features air conditioning, power locks, mirrors and windows, remote keyless entry, panic alarm, remote window opening, 4-cylinder 166-hp engine and either a 5-speed manual transmission or (in AT-equipped trim) a 5-speed automatic transmission.
The coupes ride on 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/60R16 tires. All Accords have ABS, front, side and head curtain airbags. New for the 2006 model year was the Maintenance Minder system that monitors the oil life and shows it to you in percents at a push of a button. It also tells you when you need to change oil and go for other service based on driving conditions.
The 4-cylinder Accords are rated to deliver 24 mpg city / 34 mpg highway with auto transmission, 26/34 with manual. The back seats fold to increase usable trunk space, the steering wheel tilts, telescopes. And it has cruise control buttons and buttons to control audio system.
The car has a remote control that lets you lock and unlock doors, remotely lower all windows, activate panic alarm, open the trunk. The fuel door locks and is unlocked by a mechanical lever from the inside. The car has a locking glove box, sliding dual-compartment front armrest, a couple of storage consoles in front.
The car has daytime running lights, dome light and vanity mirrors in both visors. The taillights are long lasting and quick-illuminating LED.
Buying several cars over a course of the last 5 years, I discovered that you can generally get a price that is about $500 less than the price shown by CarsDirect. The 2007 Honda Accord 2.4 LX Coupe with manual transmission is currently $17,842 on CD, which is probably negotiable down to $17.3-17.4K and the EX is $19,827, which should go down to about $19.3K with negotiation. The prices are with cloth seats; you can add leather to the EX model for about $1.5K and the navigation system for $1.8K.
The EX Coupe adds some features to the LX model’s: power and heated seats, sunroof, 6-CD in-dash changer instead of a single-disc model. I do not care much for sunroofs, expensive navigation systems (my Garmin works fine), leather (yes, it looks better, but it gets hot in summer and cold in winter), but I like power seats and 6-CD in-dash changers. So I selected an Accord EX with no options and test drove it extensively.
About the Car
I like the way the 2-door accords look much better than the look of the 4-door variants. The car is roomy with excellent fit and finish. The fabric seems durable and the controls are within easy reach. The driver seat has easy to use adjustments (power in EX). The seats are comfortable: more so than the seats of the 2000 Mitsubishi Galant (one of the cars I used to have) and even than my Infiniti G35. The driver seat has very good lateral support and is Euro-firm without being too firm.
The gearbox shifter is very precise and the clutch is easy to modulate. I drive stick only occasionally, but had no problem with this model, unlike some other cars where the clutch engages abruptly and at the top of its travel.
The Accord has an A/C that works very well and features air filtration. There are seatback map pockets and the carpeted floor mats are standard. The trunk has a large opening and the rear seats fold.
I like the feature that lets you open the windows by just pushing and holding the "unlock" button on the remote. But to close the windows, you have to actually insert the key into the driver-side door keyhole and twist it once (to lock the doors), then twist and hold do make the windows close.
The engine compartment is neatly organized with easy access to all fluids. The lid, when open, is held by a prop rod. The headlights work well at night and the daytime running light feature makes the car more visible on the road around the clock.
The gauges are very legible and controls are easy to use with good tactile feel. And for some strange reason I love the fact that at any time you can press the button that switches between the trip odometers a couple of times and see the remaining oil life in percents.
It says "100%" for the first 10% of oil life, 90% for 90-80% and so on. Once it reaches "15%", it is time to replace oil. The speed with which it declines depends on how the car is driven, which should reduce the trips to the dealership and the oil consumption. After all, motor oil is made of mineral oil, just as the gasoline.
The 6-CD changer is easy to use and its sound quality through its 6 speakers is good, definitely better than that of the 2006 Accord VP sedan’s (2 speakers of seemingly inferior quality).
The car is relatively quiet and the road irregularities are felt rather than heard. The tire noise from the car does not reach the cabin and on the freeway you hear other car's tire noise rather than your car's.
The steering feels like it very well lubricated. It is well-weighted, requiring more effort than that of the Camry, which is a good thing. It is more sensitive off-center than either of the two. And it transmits back get the right amount of the road feel.
The brakes are easy to modulate and ABS is a welcome feature. The tires however are a bit too narrow (205mm) for a sporty car and the grip they deliver is not very impressive. The chassis itself provides good foundation with very predictable handling that overall inspires confidence. But the limits are not very high.
On a positive note, I am sure the Accord itself is capable of better performance once the better (and wider) tires are installed. It is still not a sporty vehicle, but much better than Sonata and Camry which I drove.
The Accord is not only quiet, but it feels very stable at any speed (at least at any speed that does not exceed 90 mph, I have not gone faster than that). The 5-speed manual transmission has well-spaced ratios, but I wish there was a sixth gear for even better fuel economy at freeway cruising.
Accords are known, among other things, for good fuel economy. The 4-cylinder auto is rated 24/34 MPG and the manual version is 26/34 mpg (2007-year ratings). The auto model that I have so far produced 26-28 mpg with a lot of city driving and the 2007 Accord 2.4 auto produced 33.4 mpg on a 800-mile trip to Yosemite with a lot of 80mph and mixed-speed mountain driving. I expect the manual transmission-equipped car to do even better, which is excellent for a car of this power size and capability.
The acceleration is very good for a 4-cylinder car, significantly faster than my 2000 Galant and slightly faster than the 2005 Camry's. This is not only my impression - according to Car and Driver as well as other reports, the Accord is faster than Camry as well as 4-cylinder Hyundai Sonata.
The engine is smooth and has only a very slight rough edge to it at full-throttle acceleration at over 5,000 rpm.
I personally drive a 2004 Infiniti G35 and still enjoy my turn at the wheel of the Accord. Might sound strange, but I like its efficiency, its clear and bright gauges, its planted feel and comfortable seat. This car feels solid. Surprisingly, the seats are better than my Infiniti's, the gauge legibility is better and the car overall feels more refined. Heresy! An Accord more refined than a near-luxury G35. I really feel this way.
In particular, the G35 lets more vibration from the engine into the cabin through the steering wheel, pedals and floorboard and the shifter. Also, the steering wheel lets too much vibration from the road imperfections in. I do need the "road feel" to the extent it helps me figure out what is happening under the wheels, but this is too much information. The Accord, on the other hand, filters out the engine vibrations and the small road imperfections. And its engine sounds more refined too.
Also, I have to change oil in my G35 every 3,750 miles whereas Accord calculates and tells you when to change its oil (first oil change seem to be requested around 5K, then intervals lengthen. Which approach sounds more like economy car to you?
Getting back to subjective feelings: although the brakes feel strong and progressive and the handling is very predictable, numbers for Car and Driver do not lie. The stopping distances are rather long comparing to some other cars in the class and the skidpad grip numbers behave the same.
Why You Might Want To Wait
If saving money is not the most important objective, you might want to wait until the 2008 Accord comes out. Although the current Accord is currently cheap and is a good car, the new model will most likely feature Honda’s A-VTEC, which should improve fuel economy and power another 10-13%, at least in 4-cylinder form. And the looks will become less generic and more aggressive.
I decided that although I like the car overall, I will keep driving my G35 for now and see if anything better comes along. Refinement, fuel economy and low depreciation are all good things, but cornering and braking are important to me as well. And let’s not forget acceleration. Once you experience a RWD car with over 260 hp, it is difficult to compromise. But I will keep trying. My G35 returns 20 mpg on average and I hate to damage the environment and send my money to countries where it is used to harm us.
I like the Honda Accord coupe and recommend it to anyone. It is comfortable, practical and performs well. But if you need a truly sporty ride, look elsewhere.