SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- While Toyota may have axed the Solara as the two-door version of its Camry, citing slow demand for mid-sized coupes, Honda will continue to build a coupe version of the Accord.
"The segment is getting smaller," said Shoji Matsui, the Accord's chief engineer. "We made this for us. We wanted a passionate and adult coupe."
Matsui admitted his team struggled developing a coupe and sedan at the same time while changing so many key components.
The Accord Coupe is more than just a body style derivative. All four-cylinder automatic coupes using a continuously variable transmission offer paddle shifters.
A six-speed manual is offered for both four- and six-cylinder versions. Both engines are from the new Earth Dreams family with direct injection and variable cam and valve timing. The V-6 offers a six-speed automatic. The V-6 exhaust sound has been tuned for a sportier note. Larger 17-inch wheels are standard.
"It's a purely image, fun car," said Art St. Cyr, American Honda Motor Co.'s vice president for product planning and logistics. "It reinforces what we do at Honda. It encourages people to have fun. This is not just an appliance."
The coupe goes on sale Oct. 15. All coupes will be made at the Marysville, Ohio, factory. The coupe is expected to represent about 15 percent of total Accord sales, or about 50,000 units annually.