October 30, 2008
Honda has spent 30 years quietly perfecting the midsize family sedan. Through eight generations, some Accords have had three doors and some Accords have had three speeds, yet all have shared Honda's unique appreciation for practical, efficient mobility. The Accord first came to North America in 1976, and the car earned such a popular reputation for quality and dependability that it began to be built here in 1982 as well.
The Honda Accord secured a spot as the top-selling Japanese sedan in this country shortly after its introduction and has never looked back, even after the Camry ultimately outpaced it in sales. It is the definition of what Americans want in a midsize family sedan, combining Japanese-style reliability with American-style comfort in a package that looks European. And its functional, reliable and affordable nature has earned it lasting popularity, even though style and flash have never been part of the package.
Why We Bought It
For 2008 Honda threatened to add an element of style to the new Accord. A change to a formula so predictable that we have practically set our watches to it for decades. We couldn't pass on the opportunity to test a long-term 2008 Honda Accord EX-L V6. After all, it is one of the important reference points in the American car market. So we ordered one up.
All aspects of the Accord have grown for this new-generation car. Interior and exterior dimensions grew, as did engine size and output for both four- and six-cylinder versions. The new 3.5-liter V6 in our EX-L generates 268 horsepower, a substantial improvement that kept pace with the other power increases we've seen in the midsize sedan segment.
Our long-term test fleet further influenced our decision to add the Honda. We had already had a Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry in the garage. First drive and full test impressions sized up the Accord as a compromise between its closest competitors. The Altima was biased toward a sportier ride, while the Camry followed the path of most comfort. Could the Accord establish an effective middle ground between the two?
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 26, 2008
There's something that just doesn't make sense about our Long Term Accord. It has tons of tech - satellite radio, Bluetooth, navigation, CD changer and voice commands for lots of features. It even has a calculator and a unit converter (pictured) for distance, temperature and automotive measurements. However, it does not have real time traffic on the nav screen - NOT GOOD.
It just doesn't make sense; everything is already in place - XM radio and a nav screen. I need Nav Traffic A LOT more than I need a unit converter. Acuras have the feature, this loaded Accord should too.
Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ 18,000 miles
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
September 10, 2008
I've noticed recently that when driving our long-term 2008 Honda Accord over broken or rough pavement, a buzzy rattle would crop up. It would go quiet when the road smoothed out.
A brief investigation this morning revealed that the large plastic panel behind the rear headrests is the culprit.
Any other Accord drivers experiencing this?
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 17,649 miles.
August 27, 2008
"Man this is a big car."
Every time I pull our long-term Honda Accord into my nightly parking space, I seem to utter, or at least think these words. True enough, the Accord I drove home last night is literally a vast departure from the 1991 Accord EX-R my father drove home every night from '90-'94. This is also a point that countless readers have mentioned about this latest Accord, damning it for moving away from its roots.
But then I climb in the enormous back seat and look into the enormous trunk. Or I behold all the luxurious bells and whistles Honda has added to make this EX-L V6 a junior Acura. For most families, there is no doubt that this is a better car than its predecessors. It still drives beautifully, too. It's not as sporty as the Altima or Mazda 6, but it does find a middle ground between those sporty models and a Camry-like barge that I think appeals to many buyers.
For me, however, I agree that this Accord isn't the car it once was. Something this big just can't be that fun. So let me bounce an idea off you. Although shorter in overall length than my dad's old Accord, today's Civic has about the same wheelbase, it's wider, it's taller and heck, it's four-cylinder engine makes the same horsepower. In other words, today's Civic is yesterday's Accord. Today's Accord is yesterday's, well, Honda Avalon.
So how about a Civic V6 instead? Something along the lines of 210 hp, with cylinder deactivation to help limit fuel consumption. Sure, this is extremely unlikely -- especially in today's world. But for those like me who value the manueverability and agility of a smaller vehicle, with ample V6 power, I think a Civic V6 makes sense. I'd much rather own/drive that than our jumbo Accord. What say you?
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 16,725 miles
August 20, 2008
I, like most other folks, am a complete Olympics freak. I had just been on a week long trip back East and had missed a lot of the competitions. This past weekend was my chance to check them out on a sustained basis.
I got the keys for the Accord and made a b-line for my house. Thankfully I only live and mile and a half from the office so I didn't miss much. I fully admit it, I wanted to see anything. I watched
Ping Pong Table Tennis for hours. Don't knock it, it was the only games on at the moment and I didn't care. An American was playing and I was into it.
The Accord remained parked for the weekend. It was only when I had to come back on Monday morning that I had touched it again. Immediately I noticed that center dash. Wow! What a mess of buttons! Nothing like our Fit. Granted the Fit was an econo box, but it's a great example of clean and efficient.
August 01, 2008
I guess I got a bit spoiled driving our long-term 2007 Nissan Altima -- it had a backup camera. This might seem like a gimmicky feature to have, but today's newer sedans, with their thick C-pillars and high rear decks, can have rear visibility just as poor as a crossover SUV's. A backup camera can be a nice addition.
July 28, 2008
As cool as it is to impress the neighbors with the G8's smoky burnouts or attack a mountain road in the WRX STi for an early morning drive, sometimes it's nice to get into a car that doesn't require much mental effort. Our long-term Honda Accord is just such a car.
It's roomy. It's comfortable (the recent seat entry notwithstanding). Everything from the controls to the engine operate with a smooth fluidity. And in terms of entertainment, it has all I'd ever want thanks to a very nice audio system with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio input.
Other than the mild annoyance created by the fiddly center-stack controls, this is a car that you can just put in "Drive" and go. And so far, we've logged more than 15,000 miles without any unexpected reliability issues.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,675 miles
July 24, 2008
The Accord chills in the shade in front of the iconic windmill and "comic foreground" photo-op of two guys splitting peas at Pea Soup Anderson's restaurant in Santa Nella.
Took our long-term Honda Accord to the San Francisco Bay Area recently for a joint family trip/bachelorette party. Though I had a bevy of long-term crossovers at my disposal, I decided our small family (two adults, one toddler) could probably manage with a sedan, so I went with the Accord. For the most part, it worked out fine, but it wasn't the perfect I-5 road trip vehicle we had been hoping for.
Before we got on the road, I read Dan Edmunds' post about the Accord's seat comfort, furrowed my brow and then tried to be cautiously optimistic about the potential long-haul comfort of the driver and front-passenger seats. My heinie is sad to report that Dan was right. Though my husband and I were both able to find comfortable driving positions, the rock-hard seat did lead to severe cases of dead butt unless we did seated gluteal isometrics and took frequent breaks (fortunately, a given when traveling with a small child). We both experienced quite a bit of lower back numbness, as well. The fixed upper lumbar support was also problematic for my husband, who prefers zero support in that area, but I found it just fine.
The back seat had plenty of room for the kid's gigantic, but beloved, Recaro Como car seat plus all of our road trip junk (snacks, cooler with drinks, pillows, toys, books). However, with the car seat secured in the center seating position, it was a bit tight when either my husband or I sat back there with her in an attempt to allay her boredom. Not impossible, but not great for longer stints, and the back seats weren't as relatively comfortable as the front ones. She ended up entertaining herself for the majority of the miles.
Significant wind and road noise made listening to anything but kids music on the audio system pointless. I know that Hondas are known for their road noise, but I didn't expect the wind noise, too. As such, we got quite familiar with our daughter's new favorite album.
Fuel economy for the 800+ mile trip (which consisted of a good deal of in-city driving, as well as the highway miles) was 24 mpg. EPA estimates for the 2008 Accord are 19 city/29 highway/22 combined.
Overall, I'm not sorry we chose the Accord for our trip (V6 power, controls were easy to use, satellite radio and auxiliary jack), but if I owned this car, I might not be too eager to take another road trip in it anytime soon.
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 12,497 miles