THE RIDE: Two-door, four-passenger 2008 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 coupe.
DOWN THE ROAD: The eighth-generation Accord has been redesigned inside and out for the better. There is an increase of 3.1 inches in overall length, 1.5 inches in width, 0.7 inches in height and 2.7 inches in wheelbase over its predecessor. The ride in the front-wheel-drive coupe is what's expected of any Honda: impressive, smooth, reliable, quick and fun.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.5-liter SOHC V-6 engine produces a healthy 268 horsepower (up by 24 from the previous version) at 6000 rpm and 248 pounds-feet of torque at 5000 rpm. It is equipped with a Variable Cylinder Management system, which shuts off three of the six cylinders to save fuel. The 5-speed automatic transmission shifts effortlessly. The variable-gear ratio and assist rack-and-pinion power steering ensures an accurate on-center feel. Handling the suspension is a double wishbone in the front and a rear multilink with stabilizer bars. Keeping a tight rein on the breezy ride are 11.8-inch front ventilated and 11.1-inch rear solid disc brakes.
LOOK & FEEL: The aggressive front and rear fascias of the coupe boast a six-point recessed grille with a three-dimensional bar, projector-beam headlights, rear deck lid spoiler and dual chrome exhausts and door handles. The snug cabin is large with well-bolstered leather seats and a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel. Nothing's out of place on the instrument panel, which has round analog speedometer and tachometer gauges, encircled by fuel and temperature readings. The aluminum shifter knob decorated with leather offers a solid grip to boost the confidence of the driver, who enjoys an eight-way power seat. Also standard in the EX-L V-6 coupe are dual-zone automatic climate control, 270-watt stereo, exterior temperature gauge, front heated seats, tilt and telescoping wheel and a navigation system.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, Electronic Brake Distribution with brake assist, Vehicle Stability Assist, active front head restraints, three-point seatbelts, front seatbelt load pretensioners and limiters, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.
OUT THE DOOR: $30,510, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P235/45 R18 all season; wheelbase, 107.9 inches; length, 190.9 inches; weight, 3,297 pounds; fuel capacity, 18.8 gallons; highway, 28 mpg; city, 19 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: As I noted earlier, the redesigned Accord coupe is bigger and better in almost every respect than its predecessor. A 24 hp boost, coupled with introduction of the Vehicle Cylinder Management system, is a fuel saver as oil prices continue to rise. Plus, a receptive power train, outstanding handling and bold looks make this an Accord you want to drive straight home from the local dealer.