Throughout our time with the 2014 Honda Accord coupe, we’ve wished for a bit more suspension damping and better tires. As it happens, Honda offers both those things in the form of the 2014 Honda Accord HFP. HFP, or Honda Factory Performance, denotes a dealer-installed sport package for the Accord V-6. It includes larger 19-inch wheels shod in Michelin Super Sport summer tires, stiffer dampers and lowering springs, and a host of visual modifications. We asked Honda to send us one to compare with our Four Seasons Accord.

The HFP package hasn't slammed the Accord to the point of uselessness or made the ride Nissan GT-R uncomfortable.

We couldn’t have asked for a closer comparison. The Honda Accord HFP we received is the Ashley to our Mary-Kate, wearing the same paint and featuring identical interior equipment. That made it very easy to spot the visual modifications: polished 19-inch wheels, body extensions, and a small decklid spoiler. The new springs lower the ride by 0.6 inches. Oh, and the floormats are red. Some staffers thought this was all rather, shall we say, Pontiac-like. “The body kit and red floormats are silly and a waste of money,” said associate Web editor Jake Holmes. Others welcomed the dress-up as further distancing the Accord coupe from the ubiquitous sedan. “Parked side-by-side with the Four Seasons Honda Accord, the HFP variant does look a lot cooler,” said deputy editor Joe DeMatio.

The suspension modifications don’t transform the way the Accord drives but they tame some of its bad behavior. It no longer flops through turns, and it corners at higher speeds before giving way to understeer. The modifications inevitably exact a penalty in ride quality, but most of us found the trade-off acceptable. “The HFP package hasn't slammed the Accord to the point of uselessness or made the ride Nissan GT-R uncomfortable,” said Holmes. This Accord also feels faster than ours in a straight line, even though it receives no engine modifications, because the sticky Michelins are actually able to translate the horsepower into acceleration, rather than wheelspin. You’ll still need to keep a firm hand on the tiller, since, as DeMatio noted, “there’s torque steer for days.”

Unfortunately, that’s the most involvement you’ll feel through the wheel. The adjectives we’ve used to describe the steering feel on our Four Seasons Accord -- “overboosted,” “vague,” “terrible” -- apply in equal measure to the HFP Accord.

Overall, we like some of the elements of the Accord HFP but had hoped for more comprehensive fixes from a package that, at $4620 before installation, would raise the price of our car to an eye-watering $37,810. Perhaps we need to accept that our Four Seasons 2014 Honda Accord Coupe, despite its powerful engine and sweet-shifting manual, is simply not a sports car.

On the plus side, driving the fresh HFP highlighted how well our Four Seasons Accord has held up. The long-termer feels nearly as tight and as quiet as the HFP despite having more than 17,500 miles on the odometer. Our Honda dealer recently performed a routine oil change and brake inspection. We also asked the dealer to look at the brakes, which some editors said were chattering during high-speed stops. The service reps said they were unable to replicate.

BODY STYLE2-door coupe




AS TESTED$33,190

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