by Larry Lark, Herald Special Sections Writer
All I needed was a race track.
A recent test drive placed me behind the wheel of the 2017 Honda Accord V6 EX-L Coupe with limited-edition Honda Factory Performance package.
The HFP package features 19-inch alloy wheels; deck lid spoiler; front sport suspension that lowers its height by 15mm to increase the car’s drivability, distinctive red floor mats and HFP badging on each side and the trunk
This sporty family car – that seats five – is powered by a 3.5-liter, SOHC, 24-valve, V6 engine and mated to a six-speed manual transmission. That’s right. Your eyes are not playing tricks. An old-school manual. Gotta like it.
The combination allows the Honda EX-L Coupe to behave like a sports car, when the driver wants to let their hair down. The engine generates 270-horsepower, plenty of power to get into trouble, yet still rates at 28 miles per gallon as rated by the EPA.
“The new Accord Coupe V6 is already a natural on twisty roads, but the HFP package really takes it to a new level,” said Lee Niffenegger, program senior engineer at Honda Performance Development. “With a lowered ride height, sport suspension and more performance-oriented tires, the HFP kit definitely provides more controlled body motions and enhanced stability.”
The Accord name is basically the gold standard in the midsize family car market. It’s been around for almost 40 years and has been built in America since 1982. As one important bellwether of its success, the Accord has been named to Car and Driver magazine’s “10 Best” list a record 29 times, a feat unmatched by any other automobile of any type.
The V6 Coupe certainly looks the part of a sports car. The exterior boasts a more sporting and aggressive front and rear fasciae, a new grille, restyled headlights and taillights and a snazzy Still Night Blue bright blue coat of paint.
My EX-L tester came equipped with a host of standard equipment designed to spoil and provide safety for your family. Creature comforts include pushbutton start, moonroof, leather-trimmed and heated front seats; the driver’s with lumbar support, AM/FM/XM/CD audio system with seven speakers, rearview camera, cruise control, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth and USB ports.
On the safety side of the ledger, the EX-L includes vehicle stability assist, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, side-impact door beams, LED taillights and fog lamps, heated and powered mirrors and an alarm system.
The 2016 Accord is expected to receive the highest safety ratings – a 5-star overall vehicle score from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and a “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, including a good rating in all crash modes.
The trunk was up to the task. It provided enough room for three full-size golf bags on a trip to the Hawks Prairie Links course, with room for rain gear, shoes and incidentals.
Available, but not on my tester were a navigation system, collision mitigation braking system, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist system, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control.
2017 HONDA ACCORD V6 EX-L COUPE
BASE PRICE: $31,178
AS TESTED: $32,010
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. Prices may vary at local dealerships.