Refreshed 2016 Accord Coupe or Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost?
From the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro to cars from Dodge, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, and Scion, the market is full of rear-wheel-drive two-doors that won’t break the budget. Could the Honda Accord coupe fit into this picture? Long after Chevrolet, Nissan, and Toyota discontinued their midsize front-drive coupes, Honda, which doesn’t have a rear-drive car like those automakers (Toyota has the Scion FR-S), continues to sell a two-door Accord. We recently drove the 2016 Honda Accord coupe, a car that for 2016 gets more curb appeal and technology to accompany its available V-6 and six-speed manual transmission.
When optioned similarly, the Ford Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost and Honda Accord V-6 coupes compete in the same price range and offer more power and style than the average car. So which would you rather have? Find out where each car has its advantages, and be sure to tell us what you’d choose, too.
Why Go Accord Coupe? It Could Win a Race Against a More Powerful Mustang 2.3
The rear-drive Ford Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost produces 310 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four, but that’s on 93-octane fuel, and straight-line performance is closer than you might think. The front-wheel-drive 2016 Honda Accord coupe can be upgraded from its standard four-cylinder engine to a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 that’s good for 278 hp and 251-252 lb-ft (the automatic makes 1 lb-ft more), and both cars offer six-speed manuals and autos. Twice we’ve track-tested a pre-refresh Accord coupe with the V-6 and a six-speed manual, with the 0-60 mph sprint done in 5.4 and 5.6 seconds. In Motor Trend testing, the 2015 Mustang 2.3 hit 60 in 5.6 seconds with the six-speed manual or automatic.
Why Go Accord Coupe? 45-65 MPH Acceleration
Through the quarter mile, the two six-cylinder Accord coupes we tested finished in 13.9-14.0 seconds, both at 101.4 mph. The Mustang 2.3 followed just behind, at 14.1 seconds at 97.8 mph with the automatic and 14.4 seconds at 97.4 mph for the manual. And in 45-65 mph testing, the Accord coupe beat the Mustang with a time of 2.7 seconds versus the Mustang’s 2.9 with the auto and 3.4 with the manual. The Accord coupe with its available 19-inch wheels couldn’t exactly be called a sleeper, but it’s bound to catch less attention than the Mustang.
Why Go Accord Coupe? Active Safety Tech
The Ford Mustang offers adaptive cruise control, and a collision avoidance system increases brake-assist sensitivity if it detects an obstacle ahead, but the 2016 Honda Accord V-6 coupe can be had with Honda Sensing. That suite of safety tech includes everything from adaptive cruise control (no, it won’t work in stop-and-go traffic) to a Collision Mitigation Braking System and a Road Departure Mitigation System. Those two systems can act on your behalf by tugging at the steering wheel or applying the brakes if you don’t react in time.
Why Go Accord? Refined and Quiet Ride
After driving the 2016 Honda Accord Coupe in Touring V-6 form, we appreciated the ride quality with its new amplitude reactive dampers. Add to that the quieter-than-before interior and you’ve got a coupe that, though no luxury car, drives well when you’re moving at a relaxed pace (the six-speed automatic delays just a tad at wide-open throttle), even on the Touring’s standard 19-inch wheels.
Why Go Accord Coupe? Less Expensive to Insure
It’s too early to predict insurance costs on the refreshed Honda, but thanks to data from IntelliChoice, we can tell you the 2015 Accord EX-L coupe with a V-6 with either transmission is cheaper to insure than a similarly priced Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost in Premium form. Although the savings going for the Accord aren’t enormous, those who would rather choose a base-model Mustang GT over a well-equipped Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost might see even higher insurance costs.
Why get a Mustang instead? Keep reading …
Why Go Mustang? Handling
For handling on winding roads, we enjoyed the 2015 Ford Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost.
“In real-world driving, where turn radii, elevation, and surfaces change,” we said in a First Test review, “the Mustang was more enjoyable. Jump on a sweeping on-ramp, feed in boost while you dial in that nicely weighted steering, and it’s easy—and fun—to push yourself and the car harder.”
The 2016 Accord coupe’s steering is also nicely weighted, but there’s not much feel. The Mustang 2.3 auto and manual finished the Motor Trend figure-eight course in 25.5 seconds at 0.80 g (average) and 25.0 seconds at 0.85 g (average), respectively. Those times were noticeably better than the two manual-transmission 2013 Accord coupes we tested with the V-6: 27.0 seconds at 0.66 g and 0.68 g (average).
Why Go Mustang? 2.3 EcoBoost Manual-Transmission Fuel Economy
When it comes to EPA-rated fuel economy, the 2015 Mustang 2.3 wins in fuel economy for manual transmission cars. Its 22/31 mpg city/highway beats the 2016 Accord coupe’s anticipated 18/28 mpg (again, with the V-6). With automatics, both cars get 21/32 mpg, but the Accord does have about 50 miles of extra driving range thanks to its larger fuel tank.
Why Go Mustang? Greater Cachet
The Mustang nameplate has been around for more than half a century, and there’s a reason we recently named it to our list of the top 10 greatest American cars of all time. Also, while the Accord coupe lineup stops with the V-6, the Mustang continues with the GT V-8 that starts at the top of the 2.3 EcoBoost model’s range and moves up all the way to the new GT350R model. Simply knowing that you’re driving a car that serves as the basis for those more powerful flagship models might just tip the decision toward the Ford. When you’re already choosing a less practical coupe over a sedan, emotional appeal is going to be part of the buying decision, and the Ford will win here every time.
Why Go Mustang? Cool Details
The Ford ups the cool factor in other ways besides its Mustang badge. The car features ambient lighting that can illuminate in a number of different colors depending on your mood. Then there’s the Pony Projection Light, which shines a Mustang badge on the ground below the side mirrors, and the car comes with LED sequential taillights. Gimmicky? Yes, but still a cool detail some owners may enjoy for years after leaving the dealership.
Why Go Mustang? More Ways to Make It Your Own
Because the Mustang is an image-building car for Ford, the automaker provides a huge number of ways to customize—more so than the Accord coupe. Aside from having more exterior color options, the Mustang offers interior options beyond beige and black, such as Dark Saddle and Red Line. And that’s to say nothing of the available Recaro seats in cloth or leather.
So tell us: Which car would you get as your daily driver?