2008 Honda Accord Coupe Review

2008 Honda Accord Coupe V6
4.4 GOOD
Pros
  • Very attractive, inside and out
  • Fun, sporty drive
  • Comfortable and practical
Cons
  • Confusing instrument panel
  • A little on the pricey side


It was one year ago, almost to the day, that Honda unveiled a new direction they’re taking with the popular Accord. They chose a 2-door coupe to showcase the new design (because coupes are always more attractive than their 4-door counterparts,) but the sedan was being redesigned as well. The Accord Coupe Concept unveiled at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show received a lot of positive attention, and it really shows in the final production version – they didn’t change much at all from the concept, only a few details.

We had the chance to test out the new Accord Coupe for a few days, and although the weather was less than ideal, we couldn’t wait to get this thing on the road.

Our model was the EX-L V6, which came in the flagship Belize Blue Pearl paint – the perfect color for this car. The 3.5L i-VTEC V6 boasts a healthy 268 horsepower and 248 ft/lbs of torque, and our model was mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. You can opt for a 6-speed manual (with no change in cost,) and you’ll gain a High-Performance Intake Manifold, but lose the Variable Cylinder Management System, which is why the automatic actually gets better fuel economy than the manual (19/28 instead of the manual’s 17/25 mpg.) The Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) shuts down up to three cylinders as your driving becomes more conservative.

Interior

2008 Honda Accord Coupe interior

The interior of the Accord is very attractive with the charcoal leather, almost like you’re stepping into a concept car; a refreshing look you’ll be happy with years down the road. That’s more than I can say about the Accord’s arch-rival – the Nissan Altima – but that’s for a different article.

Inside, the Accord has all of what you would expect in a modern mid-size car: dual-climate control, available navigation and bluetooth connectivity, auto up/down windows – along with a few other “cool” features: blue ambient console lighting, speed-sensitive volume control, Radio Data System, and integrated XM Satellite radio (requires monthly fee.)

Driving

2008 Honda Accord Coupe gauge cluster

The new Accord is a great driver. The suspension, (double wishbone front and independent rear) is never too rough or too soft. The steering is tight but smooth, and it has plenty of power available. It really is a perfect blend of sporty and practical. Driven in heavy rain or snow (that crappy weather I was talking about,) the stability and traction control is flawless; it’s just as easy to drive in adverse weather as it is when it’s dry.

The seats are comfortable, and with the 8-way adjustable seats and tilt & telescoping steering wheel, even a big 6’4″ fella like myself finds himself comfortable. When you’re in a spirited driving mood, the 268 horsepower engine provides a low, subtle rumbling sound that you don’t normally get with a car in this class. The coupe is altogether very easy to drive, and there isn’t much of a learning curve. Everything seems very logically placed and easy to find.

Exterior

2008 Honda Accord Coupe tail end

The fact that an onlooker told me the car looks like a BMW should be enough. The Honda Accord, which has previously been known to be bland, has really made an improvement with the 2008 models, coupe and sedan alike. It should also be noted that there is almost nothing in common between the sedan and coupe exterior, which is how it should be. 18″ alloy wheels are standard on the EX-L V6 trim, and 17″ wheels on the rest (16″ on the LX sedan) shows that Honda is really going for a more premium car this time around.

There was more than one occasion in which I’d park the car in a lot and come back to somebody looking it over. “Looks like a BMW,” I was told – “That’s a Honda?!” Practical but aggressive, I believe this is the first Honda Accord that is officially a head-turner.

Complaints

2008 Honda Accord Coupe front

As much as I like the car, there are a few things that bothered me about it. While slowing to stop, the car feels like it shifts into first gear too soon, and while going at slower speeds, the shifting is a bit jerky at times. It’s not a major issue, but certainly something you’ll have to get used to. The car also torque steers a bit, but you only notice it when really stepping on it from a stop; not a problem for most people. Another minor complaint is the unresponsiveness of the throttle. When you’re about to pass someone and need some quick power, it takes a second for the engine to kick in once you punch the gas pedal.

My main complaint about the interior was the shift knob; you activate most cars’ automatic shift levers by grabbing the knob, pulling in the button (to release the lock) much like you’d pull a trigger, then shifting into Drive. With the Accord’s shift knob, you actually have to pull up on the button instead of in, making it slightly awkward each time you need to get into or out of Park. A few other weird things about the Accord’s interior include the dashboard button layout. The modern car’s dashboard already looks like that of a commercial jet with so many features, but Honda’s gone and made every button look nearly identical in size and shape, making it difficult to quickly change a radio station or turn your heat up while driving.

The side mirror controls on the door are also placed in a strange position. They must have run out of space, because they placed the controls for the side mirrors directly behind the main door handle, forcing me to squeeze my hand in there or pull my little finger back to get to the controls. This may not be as much of an issue for women or smaller men; our photographer Christine had no problems with it.

Bottom Line

2008 Honda Accord Coupe rear

The all-new 2008 Honda Accord really is a step above previous models, but still brings you the same all-around value and convenience that has made the Accord one of the most popular mid-sized cars available. Even though it’s on the pricey side (you can’t get a V6 Coupe for under $28,310 MSRP,) the flawless blend of sportiness and practicality make the 2008 Accord Coupe a good value. If you’re on a tighter budget and don’t mind the less powerful 190 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, you can save a few thousand dollars, but keep in mind you’ll only have the 17″ alloy wheels, and you’ll also have to give up the fog lights, spoiler, and dual exhaust.

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About The Author

I founded Automoblog.net in May of 2006 to share my love of cars. My favorites include the Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 VT and Koenigsegg CCX, and I think the Ferrari 360 Spider is still one of the sexiest cars in existence. For “normal” cars, I like imports - Nissan, Audi, Subaru... I love my Pearl Yellow (don't judge) 1990 Nissan 300ZX TT and plan to get it to around 550 HP one day. I'm also an avid world traveler and love rock climbing.

13 Comments on "2008 Honda Accord Coupe Review"

  1. Hi ninjatales. No, ours was the automatic, but I'd be interested in driving the manual for a comparison. Personally, I like the larger wheels as long as they don't look awkward on the car, and I thought these 18" looked pretty good on it.

  2. I have one. Don't like the drivers seat. My back is killing me! The lumbar support wants me to sit ramrod straight! Not much adjustment to fix this problem. I should have gotten the Sebring. The controls are too fussy. Difficult to use while driving. Anybody want to swap-a-lease? Looks great, though…

  3. Hi starzzguitar, thanks for the comment. I didn't have a problem with the drivers seat, but I only drove it for a few days. I understand what you mean by the controls being fussy though, it's hard to manipulate stuff while driving.

  4. Demonblade

    Nice review Chris. From what I got out of it, the gist is that it looks good, drives good, gets good mileage, and is an all around good car to have. That's great, but that's what is said of basically every Honda, Toyota, Nissan, whatever. My point is, Honda, though a good car manufacturer, still only makes average cars, with average looks, and average everything. This is also true of every Japanese car manufacturer, and that's partly why I have this ever present aversion to any Japanese car. They are no different from each other, and that has affected the American car companies as well. However, I do see hope in the form of the Nissan GT-R, Cadillac CTS, Chevy Camaro, and a precious score of others that dare to be different, and thus beyond the competition.

    Oh, and starzzguitar? Not to be crude, but the Accord is a hell of lot better than the Sebring 'cause while the Accord isn't all that special, the Sebring downright sucks.

  5. Justin

    from the beginning i was obssessed with the flagship EX-L V6: it's got a nice balace of specs for a FWD coupe…or for a sedan for that matter (i.e Chevy impala SS is a VERY unbalanced car, but seems to have good specs). But when i considered all the drivetrains out there, Front wheel drive is for two purposes: ease in manufaturing and mpg benifits. FWD wasn't intended for the sport setting, even though with current technology its pretty easy to attain it (i.e Civic Si or acura TL-s). As referred to when analysing nissan's VQ engine paired with their various layouts, FWD and RWD can have the same engine (same displacement and valvetrain) but with one being longitudinal and the other lateral, and different transmisions and differentials for the most part. the 350Z and the Nissan Altima are those examples…

    …so after this analysis, i realized that any FWD car (or FWD based AWD/4WD system for that matter) i purchase should be modest, but not over the edge in their hp and ft-lbs of torque. I LOVE sports cars, but of all the success in that market, RWD and rear wheel based AWD are the only genuine drivetrains that can really yield the massive power from 250+ engines without seeing adverse effects of tourque steer and under/oversteer and various dynamic flaws. of course steering (electric versus conventional hydralic), tires, balance of weight, yaw, size, frame torsion, tranny/shifter and other crap greatly contribute to sportiness and performance, it's HOW you lay down your rubber, not HOW MUCH POWER can lay down your rubber that contributes to your performance factor.

    …but don't think i hate FWD. I used to drive a 1996 Honda Accord DX. It's dieing, but don't think i won't stop loving it…SOHC V-TEC is what powers all the 130+ horses and 130+ foot pounds of torque there…this is why i am a fan of the DOHC iV-TEC on all the 2.4 liter I4 in the accord's lower models. Those engines are WELLLLL refined and won't torque steer unless you push them. V6 power is meant for RWD i think and if Honda could make a G37, 335i, IS350 fighter it would have to be RWD (think the looks of the new accord coupe but with the drivetrain and balance of the S2000 and the engine in the acura MDX)…not the TSX or the TL that seem to fit this caste.

    FWD can be exciting…but not exillarating. Honda is probably the only dealer that almost exlusively does FWD and AWD based on FWD automobiles in the auto market today…and this is why they are so incredibly reliable…they are veterans in this section. They make a decent FWD car, and some of there model's even have some steroidal performance….nice!

    But if you're lookiong for that perfect mix of luxury, reliability, performance, safety and very little adverse effects, look at the inline 4 EX-L honda Accord Coupe….it out guns its rivals in the I4 sect and has nice standard features. My only honest complaint is the curve weight and size it is plagued with…but luxury and performance ever so often like to oppose each other, so what can you say. :) it's got incredible value

  6. starzzguitar

    Okay, I was kidding about how I should have gotten the new Sebring instead of the Honda Coupe. Really. But you know what? The driver's seat is still killing me and I always can't wait to get out of the car. In this car, you do have to hang on to keep it straight when you step on it, as in most front wheel drive cars. Also, I can blow away any car, Mercedes, BMW, what have you very easily whenever I want. But that SEAT! Help!

  7. carl

    Starzzguitar, are you serious? Is it really THAT fast? I might expect it to out-run a bottom end BMW, but last time I checked there were a few other cars under 30k that did 60 in 6. Anyways, the only not-so-good thing I've heard/read about the new v6 accord coupe is that it has a bit of a delay before it takes off. I'd imagine it's got something to do with the VCM. Regardless of weather it's the VCM or transmission itself, you'd probably get the 6 speed manual if you were serious about pushing it. You'd get lower mileage, but you'd probably get the 4 cylinder if you were worried about gas.

    Thanks for all the info. I think I'm gunna get one when I get back.

  8. starzzguitar

    Okay, now after a few months the drivers seat is starting to soften up. They need to use that cushy soft leather instead of the plastic like hard leather in the future. I have not noticed any delay when stepping on the gas. I would also like to add that this car is bigger and wider than it looks, watch the front "fenders" when parking. This is not your grandpa's Honda, baby, no way. Beamers beware. Get the loaded one.

  9. Justin

    Look up the 0-60 times for the 5AT and the 6Mt…

    As Honda stated, the VCM creates a a more shallow torque curve (aka peak torque takes longer to reach), thus allowing for better fuel economy and the reliability of atheir VCM system…

    The intake on the 6MT should be pretty nice for a stock V6…(see the new comercials they have…), plus there are no VCM components…so there is a nice steep torque curve on the 6Mt…

    from what i've heard…the 6Mt can run about a .2 or .4 seconds slower than a stock Mustang GT….look up the numbers…

    Can't wait to see the new NSX btw

  10. Stuart

    After 36000 miles in 2 years, I can't wait to get rid of my 2008 Accord V6. The VCM/transmission surges and shifting are more than annoying. In heavy traffic, not knowing when your car is going to suddenly surge is dangerous. When you need to get on the expressway or pass in heavy traffic, delay in response is critical. Honda is in denial about VCM problems. If you search the internet, you will find many complaints.

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