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2007 Honda Accord EX V6 6-Speed Review


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD
WITH CAREY RUSS

2007 Honda Accord EX V6 6-Speed Review

While after a significant restyle for 2006 there are no real changes to the Honda Accord for 2007, and the next generation will debut for the 2008 model year, the car is still worthy of a look. Proven technology by this point, the Accord is Honda's most popular model in the U.S., one of the perpetually best-selling mid-size sedans, and a benchmark in the class for good reasons. It's solidly built, spacious, comfortable, frugal on fuel, and a good value, all very logical attributes.

And, for the emotional side, for people to whom driving is a pleasurable activity, not merely a chore, the Accord is the only major player in the family sedan class with a V6 model available with a manual transmission, and a six-speed at that. If not quite a "sports sedan" by the strictest definition, the Accord V6 6-speed is sportier than any of its main competitors, and allows a degree of driver involvement that has been designed out of most mainstream cars today.

As in the other 2007 V6 Accord models, the LX, EX, and Special Edition (SE), which are offered only with a five-speed automatic transmission, the EX 6-speed drives its front wheels with power from a 3.0-liter engine. That was the de facto standard displacement for the class for many years, and while competitors' engines have gotten larger, the Honda, with 244 horsepower, can hold its own against them quite well, thank you - and the stick allows the driver to take advantage of that power in the best way. Shift at higher revs for the best performance, or shift lower for maximum fuel efficiency. Either way, the Accord's engine is willing and responsive.

Modern automatics are very, very good, but for the driver who actually wants maximum control over the car, and who gets pleasure from the human/mechanical coordination necessary to do that, even a manual-shift automatic won't do. If life circumstances dictate a mid-size sedan, life as the enthusiast knows it is not necessarily over. With its quick but not overly-assisted steering, supple suspension, and manual transmission, the Honda Accord EX 6-Speed is the perfect antidote to the common mid-size sedan.

APPEARANCE: Small details can have a large effect. The Accord's 2006 restyle did wonders in visually reducing its apparent weight, especially at the rear where the full-width taillight appliqué of the 2003 to `05 models and a center stop light mounted in the rear window gave way to separate LED taillights mounted at the rear edge of the trunk - which necessitated a new trunk, new fenders, and a new rear window, all much sleeker than before. The grille and front bumper also had seemingly minor revisions that gave a further improvement to the Accord's looks. The 6-Speed has different 17-inch alloy wheels than the other V6 models.

COMFORT: In EX trim, the Accord's interior design, leather upholstery, and navigation system (which, technically, with either transmission, makes it a separate model at a $2,000 premium) give it an upscale specification. Good soundproofing further improves the ambiance, and the 6-speed model's ``carbon fiber-look'' trim around the window lifts on the doors and on the instrument panel and console give it an appropriately sporty look. Details make the difference, and details like interior door panels scooped to further improve elbow room are welcome. Bright, back-lit instruments are easy to see in all light, and heated, power-adjustable seats and a steering wheel manually-adjustable for both tilt and reach allow all drivers to find a perfect driving position. A tilt-and-slide glass sunroof adds light. There are plenty of useful interior storage spaces, including a dual-layer console box/armrest with a power point in the lower section and a cord pass-through to the top for phone charging and a very useful storage box at the bottom of the center stack. All doors have storage pockets with bottle holders. With the navigation system, audio and all climate system controls except temperature are controlled through the touch screen at the top of the center stack. Fortunately, the interface is simple and intuitive interface, and has voice control. The rear seat has plenty of room for real humans, and the trunk is huge, with a locking ski pass though.

SAFETY: All Honda Accords have dual-stage front airbags, front side airbags with a passenger-side occupant detection system, side curtain airbags, daytime running lights, and antilock brakes, which, in V6 models, are four-wheel discs. All V6 models have standard Vehicle Stability Assist. The Accord has a five-star frontal impact rating from the U.S. Government and a ``Best Pick'' rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

RIDE AND HANDLING: With the specification of 17-inch alloy wheels and low-profile, 50-series tires last year, V6 Accords got firmer suspension bushings and shock damping rates. The changes were not massive, but they do result in improved steering response, from the shorter tire sidewalls, and an incremental improvement in suspension control. In no way could it be considered stiff, as comfort is still important, but it is a more European than American suspension tuning. It works well, combining a comfortable ride with good cornering ability for a fun-to-drive character that is missing from most popular mid-size sedans.

PERFORMANCE: Although Honda's VTEC variable valve timing system gives the Accord V6 good low- and mid-range power, the engine still likes to rev, as can be seen from the 5000-rpm torque peak, where 211 lb-ft are produced. Peak horsepower, 244, is at 6250 rpm, and being a Honda engine, it's quite happy revving. The automatic is more likely to shift at lower engine speeds, missing the bulk of the power. With the manual, the driver can keep the engine spinning for power, or improve fuel economy by short-shifting. Shift action is quick and smooth, adding enjoyment. Unlike most more expensive sports sedans, the Accord V6 feeds on regular unleaded gasoline, not premium. EPA fuel economy is 21mpg city, 30 highway, and with little regard to saving gas I got 23.

CONCLUSIONS: The Honda Accord EX V6 6-Speed combines the practicality of a midsize family sedan with sporty verve

SPECIFICATIONS
2007 Honda Accord EX 6-Speed

Base Price			$ 29,400
Price As Tested			$ 29,995
Engine Type			single overhead cam 24-valve aluminum
				 alloy V6 with VTEC variable valve
				 timing
Engine Size			3.0 liters / 183 cu. in.
Horsepower			244 @ 6250 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)			211 @ 5000 rpm
Transmission			6-speed manual
Wheelbase / Length		107.9 in. / 191.1 in.
Curb Weight			3371 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower		13.8
Fuel Capacity			17.1 gal.
Fuel Requirement		87 octane unleaded regular gasoline
Tires				P215/50 VR17 Michelin XSE Pilot mxm4
Brakes, front/rear		vented disc / solid disc, ABS, EBD,
				 traction control, and VSC standard
Suspension, front/rear		independent double wishbone /
				  independent multilink
Drivetrain			transverse front engine,
				 front-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE
EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon
    city / highway / observed		21 / 30 / 23
0 to 60 mph				6.5  sec

OPTIONS AND CHARGES
The Accord EX 6-Speed is $27,400. 
The Accord EX 6-Speed with satellite navigation system (my test car) is a separate model with an MSRP of $29,400. 
Destination Charge			$ 595