Staid sedan becomes sporty



In response to arch-rival Toyota Camry’s sportier image, the Honda Accord now comes with the never before offered 6-speed manual transmission hooked up to a V6 engine


It’s hard to imagine from this sedan’s clean, crisp lines that 2007 is the fifth model year for the current-generation Honda Accord. So you know a complete redesign can’t be too far down the road.


But, for now, since its Camry arch-rival from Toyota is presenting a little sportier image, Honda has responded with a powertrain option never before offered on an

Accord sedan — a 6-speed manual transmission hooked up to a V6 engine. Too bad it’s only available on the top-line EX-L trim grade, though another new feature for 2007 is a navigation system, available on EX-L models and the Accord Hybrid version.

While the Honda V6’s 244 horsepower is bettered by the outputs delivered by some rivals’ larger 3.5-litre V6s and 6-speed or CVT automatics, the Accord’s 3.0-litre unit still offers unrivalled refinement. And, in its own way, so does the base 2.4-litre, 4-cylinder engine powering the entry-level DX-G, SE and EX-L.

A big reason for the Accord’s continuing popularity is the variety of models available to satisfy a wide range of transportation budgets.

If an economical 2.4-litre, 4-cylinder engine meets your needs, you can choose the Accord DX-G with 166 hp and 5-speed manual transmission starting at $24,800. Moving up a step, the Accord SE is $26,500 with the manual “box.” There’s also the EX-L Navi at $30,500 with the 5-speed manual shifter. Opting for a 5-speed automatic adds $1,200 in either case.

If V6 power is what you want, then your starting point is the $30,500 SE V6, which comes only with the 5-speed automatic. The EX V6, at $34,200, and EX V6 Navi ($36,700) are also available only with automatic transmissions. Topping the price range is the Accord Hybrid at $38,090, but bear in mind the space occupied by the electric batteries shrinks the available trunk space by about 20 per cent — and you lose the convenience of folding back seats.

But for those who enjoy spirited driving, the EX V6 with 6-speed manual at $34,900 is the place to start.

As the top of the range, the EX V6 sedan is well equipped with bigger 17-inch wheels and tires, disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution, speed-sensing variable-assist power steering, as well as stability and traction control systems. Not to be overlooked these days is that it also runs on less costly regular gas.

The Aveo boasts ample interior room and clever storage features in the front console.

One of the new features on the Accord is a navigation system, available on the EX-L models and the Accord Hybrid version.

Inside, you’ll find every conceivable convenience and comfort item, from sumptuous leather upholstery to climate control, power everything and a premium audio system with six-disc, in-dash CD changer and six speakers.

The gauges are easy to read at a glance, though the layout of some secondary controls is a bit confusing.

On the move, the sedan cruises along effortlessly and quietly, with quicker acceleration available as needed via the slick-acting 6-speed transmission. Add in sure-footed handling and a buttery smooth ride for good measure and you have the complete “fun-to-drive” package.

‘07 Honda Accord EX V6

Type: Mid-size 5-passenger sedan FWD

Price: $34,900

Engine: 3.0-litre V6 DOHC

Horsepower: 244 @ 6250 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 211 @ 5000 rpm

Highlights: Polished powertrain, accommodating interior, fun of 6-speed shifting, solidly built, comfortable and refined.