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Ace of Base: 2017 Honda Accord Coupe LX-S

2017 Honda Accord Coupe

When planning the ninth-generation Accord, Honda knew it pushed the boundaries of size and good taste a little too far. The eighth-generation Accord became a caricature of its former self, scampering as it did into full-size territory by swelling to 195 inches in length.

This particular Ace of Base candidate reminds me of Mitsubishi. Why, you might ask? Well …

Honda affords Accord Coupe buyers a single $0 hue not found on the grayscale; Still Night sounds like it should be a shade of black, but it’s a very nice shade of deep blue. This misdirection no doubt causes headaches for harried sales managers who are furtively filling out inventory order forms while swilling a cup of rancid coffee from the half-broken machine in the service department. It’s at this juncture that Mitsubishi comes into play.

Long-time TTAC readers may recall my sojourn into auto sales, holding court about a dozen or so years ago at the smaller of two Ford stores in my former town. What I haven’t mentioned (I’m not even sure our managing ed. knows about this) is, for a short time prior to my tenure at Ford, I was one of two salesmen at a brand new Mitsubishi store, circa 2003.

Yes, dear reader, I joyfully convinced many people to sign five- and six-year notes on Diamond-Star wheels. 

One customer brokered a deal for a special-order Eclipse GT, replete with its 3.0-liter V6 engine and all the toys. It would take weeks for it to arrive at our far-flung dealership, which was physically closer to Ireland than to the Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois. Unbeknownst to all, the hapless sales manager, when placing the order, selected Steel Blue Pearl instead of Torch Steel Blue Pearl. Go ahead, click on the link to see the vast gulf between the two colors. I’ll wait. 

I know, right? It beggars belief that the marketing mavens at Mitsubishi would stick two extremely similar names on two wholly different colors.

When the Eclipse finally arrived on the back of a car carrier, the sales manager’s jaw dropped like a barometer on a stormy Sunday. The customer was understandably outraged, yet inexplicably re-ordered his Eclipse in the proper shade, standing over the sales manager’s shoulder while he punched in the data (and trust me, he was punching stuff by this time). This left us with an Eclipse featuring a sky-high MSRP draped in a weird color, completely unsaleable, essentially welded to the showroom floor for the rest of its mechanical life. This, naturally, was the salesman’s problem.

But I digress. Honda has managed to stuff its base model Accord Coupe with content. A steering wheel that adjusts for reach and rake, snazzy 17-inch alloys, and marriage-saving dual climate control are all along for the ride. Six airbags keep all hands safe in the event of a vehicular calamity.

Base-model shoppers again find themselves benefitting from economies of scale, as it’s no doubt cheaper for the good folks at Honda to equip every Accord Coupe with power options and cruise control and not design and manufacture distinct door cards and steering wheels for different models. The sound system is good, packed as it is with six speakers and Bluetooth. Mercifully, Honda’s current predilection with maddeningly invisible-to-the-touch sliders for volume control does not appear here.

At a price of $24,025, shoppers can expect to find a tasty six-speed manual transmission and the well liked but unfortunately named Earth Dreams inline-four making a respectable 185 horsepower. Skip the optional CVT — it’s an $850 ticket to Mediocrity, with overnight stops in Boringtown and NoFunsVille. 

Everyone knows the coupe is available with a silky V6, but the larger gas-burner adds a lot of heft, most of it placed squarely over the front wheels. A full 63 percent of the V6 model’s 3,500 pounds bears down on the two front rollers, while the four-cylinder six-speed manual weighs in at under 3,200 pounds with a better 60/40 weight distribution. The Earth Dreams four-pot swills regular fuel at an EPA measured rate of 32 miles per gallon on the highway.

Ninety-five cubic feet of passenger volume ensures there’s plenty of room up front for two Large Persons and enough space in the back for three people to sit and complain. Drivers who are long of beam will appreciate the lack of sunroof in the LX-S, freeing up two inches of headroom and adding two cubic feet of passenger volume compared to its glass-topped EX and Touring brethren. Confounding, the LX-S has a bigger trunk (by nearly a third of a cubic foot) than its better-equipped brothers. Use the extra space to store all the dollar bills you saved by buying the base model.

Color names be damned, a manual shift, four-cylinder Accord Coupe meets my criteria for Ace of Base. It should meet yours, too.

Not every vehicle at the Mr. Noodles end of the price spectrum has aced it. The ones which have? They help make our automotive landscape a lot better. Naturally, feel free to roast our selection and let us know if there are other models you’d like included in this series.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars.

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