The Tail of the Dragon on US129 has become a standard element of the TOV's road tests. As you'll see in the video segment below, we do our first run of the day at the Dragon with Shawn doing in-car commentary on the Accord Coupe 6MT. Tuan's driving up ahead in the TSX, setting a safe, but spirited pace and being mindful of oncoming traffic so that Shawn can focus on the handling of the "car under test". Jeff is driving the S2000 "camera" car, following the Accord.
Below, we'll summarize our comments on the car for those that do not have the bandwdith to download some of these video files.
Shawn starts out by immediately squealing the tires! He explains that the Michelins on the Accord are adequate, but on the sealed asphalt road of US129, they squeal like crazy even though we are not at the very limits of the car. We couldn't help but think that the J30 engine could easily overpower the tires.
Getting back into the groove of the Dragon, we begin to push a little harder and Shawn notices that on the tighter turns, the Accord spins its inside tire. This is where we miss the LSD that was present in the CL-S 6MT. However, on medium-slow corners, the Accord felt surprisingly balanced as the J30 engine powered its way out of the corner.
Shawn writes: "The chassis is pretty composed, more so than the CL-S6 (even without the LSD in the Accord). However, compared to the TSX, it feels heavier and less willing, especially in the transitions. Typical for the different intended markets of the cars."
As expected, understeer is the definite steady state characteristic of the Accord. However, Shawn was surprised to find some rotation when he was hustling to keep up with the TSX in successive corners, Shawn writes in his log book: "Oooh, bump oversteer! On a particularly grippy stretch of pavement, a mid-corner bump actually got the tail out, but it was easily brought back in."
The car does feel very heavy and it looks large too. The Accord will be more at home on the wide open curves of the Cherohala Skyway than on the tighter twisties of the Tail of the Dragon. On one curve where I overcooked a turn, the car was very benign. There was no sudden twitchiness. The car just pushed until it regained its composure and then turned in like normal.
The brakes seem to feel adequate. They are not fading as badly as the CL-S6 did on us. We experienced some shuddering when cold, but the brakes then worked fine once it was warmed up on the Dragon. No doubt this car has been driven very hard by many journalists before we got our hands on it.
Going back to the engine, the awesome J30 engine continues to make us smile. Its power makes the Accord a point and shoot car. You just muscle your way into and out of a turn and keep it on boil to the next turn. This is a very different approach as you'll see when write about the TSX next.
The rev limiter kicks in way too soon on this car. All three of us found the fuel cut-off quite a few times. The engine does not feel like it's losing much power towards the redline and so we think there is additional RPMs to be found in this motor.
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Shawn describes the Tail of the Dragon (Highway US129) for those that are unfamiliar with it
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Accord Driving Impressions on the Tail of the Dragon, Part 1
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Accord Driving Impressions on the Tail of the Dragon, Part 2
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