September 30, 2008
I drove up our long-term 2008 Honda Accord EX-L V6 up to Napa, CA on Sunday -- and unfortunately not for the usual, winery-touring reasons. When it was time to come home yesterday afternoon, I knew I couldn't squander another lovely fall day on the I-780, I-680 and I-580. So I picked my way though mid-afternoon San Francisco traffic to California Highway 35, aka Skyline Boulevard.
Although there are a lot of cool, gnarly little roads branching off Skyline (which does have a view of the Silicon Valley skyline), the boulevard itself is only moderately curvy, which was ideal for our '08 Accord, which has taken some criticism for its size (extra large).
I really enjoyed the drive. Within the limits imposed by the all-season tires, the chassis feels good -- stiff, balanced, predictable. The steering provides some feedback (and you get some through the driver seat as well) and it feels quite accurate: Getting the Accord set up for corners is quite easy.
September 15, 2008
So I had our long-term Honda Accord EX-L V6 over the weekend, and it got me to thinking: Since when did the Accord become an also-ran?
I grew up on Accords -- my parents had a '94 EX and a '98 LX -- and back then, the Accord was clearly the family sedan to have if you liked to drive (save perhaps for the Nissan Maxima SE). A decade later, the Accord ranks a distant fourth in the fun-to-drive category, by my count, trailing the Altima, Mazda 6 and Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan, in that order. Shoot, if the Hyundai Sonata SE had less novocain in its steering, the Accord would fall to fifth.
One might suspect that the Accord has compensated for its loss of sportiness by morphing into a Camry clone. But it hasn't. It's still got a flinty ride over broken pavement, and there's still more road noise than I'd like. As for our long-termer's V6, it's a fuel-swilling laggard (21.1 mpg lifetime average vs. Camry's 24.9, 0-60 in 7.5 seconds) that pales in comparison to the Camry's sublime six.
Unlike some of my colleagues, I love the seats -- wish I could take 'em with me from car to car. And the steering feel is above-average (though I'd take the Altima's spot-on rack in a heartbeat). But other than that, I think the only advantage the Accord enjoys anymore is its reputation for reliability.
Am I imagining things, or has this car lost its mojo?
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 17,583 miles
June 03, 2008
Just kidding. Actually, you're taking me and J-Riz to Trump National Golf Club in Palos Verdes. We got word last week that a couple spots had opened up in Monday's 19th annual L.A. Automotive Open scramble tournament (benefiting the National Jewish Medical and Research Center), and one look at the pictures on Trump National's website convinced us that it would be well worth the vacation day.
For all you curious golfers out there, the course is about what you'd expect from The Donald. It's immaculately maintained and ridiculously scenic (not surprising since it's perched right on the edge of the Pacific), but there are some kitschy elements as well, like the -- count 'em -- two man-made miniature-golf-style waterfalls out on the course, or the in-cart GPS system's dubious claim that this is the number one course in California. As for Team Edmunds, we shot a tidy four-under 67 for the day. Pretty respectable, I think, given that we were the only twosome in the tournament, which meant we each hit two balls every time (and were thus on the verge of fatigue-induced indifference for the last few holes).
And the Accord? It's gotten way too big for my taste, but every time I drive it I'm impressed anew by its wonderful steering (as was Erin awhile back). Not too light, surprisingly communicative for a family sedan, effort builds nicely as cornering angles sharpen, and it tracks like the proverbial bloodhound on the highway. Here's a controversial claim for you -- having driven the Accord and the new Jag XF Supercharged back-to-back today, I think the Accord's steering gives up nothing to the Jag's. Needless to say, the Accord blows away its new TSX cousin in this department.
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 13,196 miles
May 09, 2008
This was my first time in the 2008 Honda Accord sedan, and it was generally what I expected. Simple, functional, not-so-flashy, not-so-sporty.
The ride was smooth enough but I kept wanting a little something from the engine for passing, etc. that it was never able to deliver. It isn't gravely underpowered but it would be nice to have a little more back-up the times I needed it. It is a V6.
I was more excited about the interior, which I think manages to keep things simple while looking pretty stylish. The controls are a bit too clustered together to the point of confusing, but once you get used to it, the center console is very easy to navigate.
My single biggest gripe is the seats. To me, they felt inordinately stiff and non-comforting. And I don't mean this in a racing seat way. More in an old VW seat that needs more padding kind of way. If this car was a 1998 instead of 2008, it would be a forgivable, but I think most any new car should feel relatively comfortable after a single night of driving.
Glenn McClanan, Broadband Video Producer, Edmunds.com @ 11,770 miles
April 21, 2008
"It's NOT a TOO-mah!"<
Well, alright. But how else to explain the protruding headlights on the current-gen Accord? Does anyone think this was a good stylistic move? I grimace every time I see an Accord from this angle...
What is going on here?
Otherwise, I really like this car. Steering feel and accuracy are spot-on, body motions are nicely controlled, and the mandatory slushbox is smooth and responsive. This is a family sedan for people who like to drive, even if the V6's lack of low-end torque and uninspiring fuel economy make a compelling argument for sticking with either of the available fours. Too bad Honda still insists on letting an intrusive amount of road noise filter into the cabin -- Honda aficionados will tell you this is part of driver involvement, but to me it just seems unrefined. The ride's pretty flinty over pockmarked pavement as well; I don't mind so much, but the average family sedan buyer might.
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 10,751 miles
April 08, 2008
I get a lot of satisfaction out of driving our 2008 Honda Accord EX-L V6. Partly, this is because its personality and cabin layout bear many similarities to the previous Accord, which I also liked. My favorite detail is the amazing feeling of spaciousness when you're seated in the cockpit -- something that no other manufacturer has quite managed to copy over the years.
Larger physical dimensions undoubtedly help out the current-gen Accord in this regard, but all that extra weight shouldn't be good for the driving experience.
Yet, somehow it's not a problem at all. The Accord turns in more crisply than ever before and has excellent steering feel. I never liked the highway ride of previous Accords, but this one has an excellent blend of comfort and control -- something like a premium-brand sedan.
Here's the thing, though. I think the car loses some of its Accordness when loaded with a V6, leather and navigation. It gets expensive, obviously, and for no good reason when the base 177-hp four-cylinder engine is so capable. (Yeah, we only got a 9.3-second 0-60 and a 17.1-second quarter-mile out of an LX-P tester, but it felt quicker than the numbers.) Plus, I think the cloth seats are more comfortable.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor
March 10, 2008
There was one moment this weekend that was emblematic of what I like best about our Honda Accord.
I was waiting to make a right turn that would take me east on Olympic Boulevard. Coming at me from the west of said boulevard was a phalanx of cars, bearing down with the speed and urgency of fighter jets. I had a choice to make.
Should I wait a few minutes for the deluge of cars to pass? Or did I have enough juice on tap to make the turn and gain speed quickly enough so as not to disrupt the flow of traffic?
Well, when the car is our Accord V6, replete with 268 horsepower and 248 foot-pounds of torque, juice, I had learned, is never a problem. So I mashed the gas pedal and went for it, and the Accord rose to the challenge. An ordinary family sedan wouldn't inspire that kind of confidence, but with cars like the Accord, the 270-hp Altima V6 and the 268-hp Camry V6, the family sedan segment simply isn't that ordinary anymore.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
January 22, 2008
On my way home Friday, I got a speeding ticket in the Accord. I wasn't really driving very fast but I was in a residential zone and so I was flagged.
It's easy to drive over the limit in the Accord without realizing it. It's so quiet and comfortable and smooth on the road, that you don't get a sense of how fast you are really going... The 268-hp V6 combined with the five-speed automatic transmission gets going pretty darn quick. It only takes 7 seconds to get from zero to 60 mph. I was only moving at 42 mph.
Since that incident, I've been adhering to a strict observance of the speed limits. A lot of Los Angeles is marked at 30 mph. You wouldn't know it by the way people drive in this town. It's kind of fun maintaining the proper speed limit at all times. Other drivers get really bewildered and rebellious.
Actually, it's very difficult to drive at only 30 mph, especially with other frustrated and angry drivers flying past you and honking, especially on a road with "highway" in its name. It's not Pacific Coast HIGHWAY's fault that urban planners went wild and allowed developers to build strip malls on every inch of the HIGHWAY right up to the curb. So we have to drive at 30 mph in case someone wants to pull into one of the five CVSs I pass on the way home.
But anyway, am I bitter? No. I will only grow into a better driver from this experience, as long as I don't get rear ended by all of those other drivers who haven't been stopped by the coppers yet.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 7,035 miles
January 21, 2008
The day an automaker redesigns a midsize family sedan and declares it to be, "Less roomy, less powerful and less luxurious!" is the day that I expect to read a Rolling Stone "Top 50 Albums Of All Time" story and find "Frampton Comes Alive!" in the top 10.
So it's of little surprise that the redesigned 2008 Honda Accord is indeed roomier, more powerful and more luxurious. But I wonder how much bigger can it get? Out of curiosity, I compared the size of the new Accord to that of the Toyota Avalon. Houston, we have a problem.
The Accord has a 110.2-inch wheelbase, a 194.1-inch length and a 72.7-inch width. People who remember previous Accords as being "right-sized" cars might find these numbers to be uncomfortably close to the Avalon's, which check in at 111, 197.6 and 72.8, respectively.
Thankfully, the new Accord still drives like an Accord, albeit a bigger one. The steering, handling and power are all pleasing. And the increase in size has made the interior even roomier. No question, it's another home run from Honda.
But if it gets any bigger or heavier on the next redesign, the Accord might as well be Honda's Avalon, with the Civic taking up the midsize spot and the Fit being the "old Civic."
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
January 14, 2008
It's a bit curious that Honda chose not to offer a manual shift mode for the new Accord's automatic transmission. It's an increasingly common feature, even for family sedans. I don't use manual shift control very often but I found myself wanting it in the Accord over the weekend when tackling some hills.
Otherwise, our Accord's five-speed automatic is a model of efficient and well-timed shifts.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6686 miles
November 26, 2007
"VCM" is Honda's acronym for their cylinder deactivation system, a mode which is intended to reduce fuel consumption during light-load operation. When active, the V6 switches to three- (or four-) cylinder mode and illuminates an "ECO" light on the tach.
We'll see how effective it is as the miles pile on, but I observed the ECO light coming on quite a bit during routine driving. The switchover to and from ECO mode isn't quite imperceptible.
It's certainly more noticeable than the last VCM-equipped Odyssey we tested. On balance, the Accord's transitions are about as seamless as those observed in our cylinder deactivation-havin' long-term Tahoe.
Oh, I tried to shoot a photo of the ECO light when parked, but it doesn't illuminate when the key is on and the engine's off, so imagine it right below the tach needle.
And no way was I going to attempt to snap a pic while driving. Driving and shooting is dangerous. Just ask Scott Oldham.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 3,954 miles
November 20, 2007
We've added a 2008 Honda Accord EX-L V6 to our fleet and I was lucky enough to take it down to San Diego to see my beloved Indianapolis Colts lose a close one to Adam Vinatieri and their own special teams. Or rather, if you're my girlfriend, spend a romantic weekend at the enchanting Hotel Del Coronado.
The new Accord is quite an accomplishment. It maintains a feeling of nimbleness, while also motoring down Interstate 5 with big-car authority and having room for five people.
I've said before that our long-term Altima was my favorite amongst our many fleet members, but I think the Accord has just barely nipped its crown. It may not be quite as fun to drive, but it's certainly no slouch, and it's hard not to love a car that's so tremendously well-rounded. Plus, it costs less than the Nissan and I think it looks better, too.
From the Del Coronado to Qualcomm Stadium and elsewhere, the Accord was a perfect road trip companion -- I think it's going to be a good year. Stay tuned for Part 2 when I feature the Accord's tremendous nav system in detail (with video!).
James Riswick, Associate Editor @ 3,792 miles