First impressions are that the body style looks a bit like someone had hit the last generation Buick Riviera with shrink ray. All the glass fits right to the body, small even gaps between panels, an improved bar of soap, and quite aerodynamic, but lacking pizzazz.
The interior is nice with gauges that are easy to read, controls that fall perfectly into hand, seats that are handsome, but not particularly comfortable, and a slight unevenness in panel fit. Something that is only notable in this Honda because GM and Mazda and even Chrysler have improved their standard offerings to such a great degree that Toyota and Hondas interiors flaws seem more obvious.
The engine, transmission, suspension and handling have to be benchmarks for their class. Nothing else out there in the 3.5 liter V-6 range is as quiet, and powerful from the first touch of the pedal through flying uphill with on-ramp acceleration. And the perfect snick-snick shifts from gear to gear into sixth are very satisfying. The big, fast biting 4-wheel disk brakes haul the car down beautifully and without complaint. The ride and handling compromise is also superb. Few bumps get through, but grip is tenacious thanks to the sport-tuned double wishbone suspension.
The power and control are always there, give this car an A for on the road dynamics. An A+ for the Ultra Low Emissions Rating, and a B for the EPA ratings of 20 City and 30 Highway that yielded 22 mpg around town and 24 mpg on the highway in real use.
There is almost no road feel through the steering wheel. In fact Honda has a done a superb job of completely isolating the driver from the road. The XM Radio with satellite navigation is fun if a bit distracting. But the speakers are some of the worst I've strained to listen to in a long time, just plain muddy when listening to jazz. The A-pillars on either side of the windshield are fat sausages that block the full range of view up front, as do the B-pillars behind the door and the HUGE C-Pillar that leaves a gapping blind spot. Why ? In two words, air bags. The English have done some of the only side by side, model to model comparisons on air bags starting ten years ago. And the results have not changed one whit since then. Driver's side airbags consistently show a 30% reduction in injury rates and are effective almost no matter what the severity. Passenger side airbags showed 1% reduction in injury rates, and the rest of the side curtain, knee level and what have you are not even statistically significant. Sure side curtain airbags show 45% fewer deaths from high speed side impacts, but those are really quite rare in the real world. But air bags are the latest fad, and there you have it. Fads aside something that interferes with your being able to see is a much bigger problem to have to deal with than the very small possibility of a high speed side impact.
Hondas have a long history of dependability, low costs of operation and high resale values. And if it wasn't for the fact that low roofline coupes are pretty hard on your back when loading and unloading kids then this car would be a pretty good option. It will be very interesting to see if the sedan version of the car has the same dynamic qualities.