Honda Accord LX test drive

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I am still not used to the design of the new 2008 Accord.
Not because it is too modern, but because it looks like at least 5 different designers worked on it, and never talked to each other.

It does look more upscale than the previous generation. But when you get up close, it does get weird.
Seems like they tried to “look” upscale without really “being’ upscale.
Like some fake expensive car.


The rear view is no better. A weird mismatch of shapes that don’t really belong on the same car.
But like I said, somehow, it does look more expensive than the old one.

And it is another example of Honda’s “VW wannabe” problem. The profile seems to try to imitate the Passat.
And then it falls apart when the car turns. The front and rear don’t belong on the same car.


I liked the interior design at first.
But the more I was driving the car, the less I liked the interior. The shapes are soft and pleasing. But they also got a bit weird after a while. It also felt very cold. There is just no warmth to it (Maybe another color would help)
It’s hard to explain.

And it is a sea of hard plastics in there. They do looks good, with nice grain designs. But most of the car’s interior is hard to the touch.
Talk about hard, the lower seats are also way too hard for me. Like if the lumbar support as turned all the way out. But on my car, I couldn’t change the setting at all.


When you start the car, that’s when things are getting much better.
That engine is amazing. The base 2.4 Liter is so smooth it is really the best attribute of the car.
And 170hp is plenty for any normal driver. The EX version of the car has a 190 hp version of the same engine.
They even add some noise canceling system on the EX. My LX was already one of the quitest 4 cilynder engines I’ve ever driven.
The idle is a bit louder than the Camry, but it actually runs quieter.
There is really no need for the V6 on this car.

The one thing I didn’t like about the driving experience was the steering.
It felt too touchy and nervous. Not linear at all. It took quite a bit to get used to. And I really never enjoyed it that much.
Again, it seems that they artificially tuned it to make it feel like a sporty car, when it’s not.
It just felt weird to me.

The suspension is always comfortable. Smooth but firm. Softer than the Altima, but not as cushy as the Camry or the Passat.
The back seat, as you can see, has more than enough room for most people.

The new Accord is a good car with a great engine.
If you like the look and the interior, you’ll be a happy camper.
But I’d rather have a car that doesn’t pretend. Pretend to be expensive, upscale. Or pretend to be sporty.

Honda’s reliability, unlike some recent Toyotas, is really never questioned. So quality and resale value won’t be an issue.
But I would still look at the competition.
The Camry is smoother still, and I like the interior better.
The Passat has a much stronger personality and a much better interior. (But a questionable reliability record. Although it is much better than it used to be)
The new Malibu is still my favorite of the bunch. With a great interior, steering and perfect ride balance.
Now if you could only put the Accord engine in the Malibu….

Cars, like life, are a compromise. You just have to pick yours…

Conversation 28 comments

  1. Vince, you are spot on as usual. This is probably the most “American” Accord yet, in that it’s probably been clinicked to death. The “five designers who never talked to each other” syndrome is indicative of the American corporate culture that Honda has embraced. The outgoing Accord was much sportier with the right equipment. The ‘wedge-shaped’ profile has given way to the more ‘upright european’ profile. The new Acura TL better not sell out to this middle class, me-too design language.

    It’s actually funny – the new Malibu seems to me like it would make a better Honda Accord, and this car seems as if it would make sense as a Chevy Malibu. Agree, disagree?

    Now I just saw a Chevy Malibu commercial on TV. It’s ridiculous. Honda’s got the advantage there. Honda probably had a bigger ad budget, and then there’s that reputation. But what’s this about diesel instead of hybrid? And the FCX Clarity being a “limited-release” Oil Baron edition a-la the ill fated GM EV1? Has anyone seen the film, ‘Who Killed the Electric Car’? Achtung!

  2. I agree the styling of the new Accord looks like it was done by 5 people. Also, from what I’ve read, they are using the same interior plastics supplier as in the Civic, which is cheap and very scratch prone. I took a look at a new Malibu the other day and found it to look very sharp in black with tasteful chrome trim. Also, with the LX Accord trim, you aren’t getting much car for the money, especially compared to the Altima or Malibu.

  3. Went to the San Francisco Auto show yesterday and all the new Accords on display had power seats of which NONE were connected. So, it was impossible to set driver’s seat positioning and comfort. Talk about mega-stupid! I thought Honda was smarter than that.

    There were no Accords with manual seats there, either.

    I think the new Accord is too big–I like the size of my ’04 Accord EX-L sedan better–and my ’04 is bigger than I’d prefer.

    I agree that a V6 is unnecessary in an Accord–the 4 cylinder is plenty fast–especially considering traffic in most U.S. cities. Acceleration is quick and it’ll cruise effortlessly at 80+ MPH.

    I think that most V6 Accord buyers never bothered to test-drive the 4 and bought the V6 because they thought they “needed” it.

    Few people “need” the V6 unless they’re carrying heavy loads.

  4. Re: engines-

    I agree. Some people want to feel like they’ve “moved up” to the V6, and the “bigger car needs the bigger engine”, etc, etc. Or maybe some people feel like their manhood isn’t being fulfilled in a wimpy little four-banger, hmmm? I was in this situation when I bought my most recent car. I ended up putting aside my ‘marrones’ to get the highest-mileage AWD 4-cylinder wagon out there…that’s still big enough to fit 2 mountain bikes in the back.

    Guess what I got.

    Now, if they made an Accord Wagon, AWD…this body style might actually translate pretty well into a 5-door…I’d be all over it like [email protected]#% on velcro.

    Oh, wait. They had to go and build the CR-V and the Element. Oh, well.

  5. I really like the new Accord and selected this manufacture over the Toyota Camry. Nice interior, nicer Nav over the toyota, the leather seats are comfortable, and outside lines are more upscale than the Camry.

    If you others do not like it, go some where else. I do and many more like me will purchase this car

  6. I think it looks like Saturn LS from the back and sides. The dash in most vehicles is way too busy for me, this is no exception. Funny how the coupe works much better for this particular car. I don’t think anyone will get a pass on reliability anymore after toyotas recent meltdown.

  7. Ahh, Vince, Vince you really nailed it on the Accord. Because although they do have a good rep for reliability, they are not the only ‘reliable’ player in town.

    For one thing, the design I do agree is a step back. The front as you said is disconnected from the rest of the car and the rear tail treatment looks very similar to a Saturn Ion’s. The Accord I saw and sat in at the Miami Auto Show had a very chintzy looking and feeling interior with “rat fur” on the center console and armrest. I’m surprised none of the reviewers have mentioned this.

    The reason why the “fur” stands out is that during the ’90s this was the typical interior found in Hyundais. The plastics being so cheap and hard also surprised me as well. I kept thinking, this is a Honda?

    For the money, you’re right that there are better choices. Vince, I think that the technology is so close as far as powertrains and the way cars have improved that the reliability rep is only going to get you just so far and design is finally starting to matter to people (again).

    No doubt this car drives very well for the market it’s intended for but I beleive Honda’s prices are not as competitive. Yet, people still buy these cars by the lot full(at least for now).

    Ted

  8. I’ve driven both the V6 and the EX sedan, I have to say I don’t agree with your review at all. If you don’t like the steering, Vince, you should have test driven a Buick. I drove the new Accord back to back with the Camry SE (hated it) and the Altima SE (interior is god awful).

    The new Mazda6 will be the only worthwhile competitor to this vehicle in my book.

    MR

  9. I totally disagree with the comment about 5 designers who didn’t speak to each other. It was 7 designers.

  10. Vince, have you seen the Accord Coupe? Much nicer looking then the 4 door. I agree, the sedan is weird and non-Honda like. I have to do a double take when I see the back of the 4 door Accord because it looks like a Saturn Ion. Just weird.

  11. I just can’t get past that 1998 Saturn SL1 rear end and the hideous dash. Honda is getting fat and lazy when it comes to design.

  12. Normally when I see a new car on the road – ANY new car – I take immediate notice. This design is so dated that I have mostly never noticed it on the road. I’ve been in traffic next to a car for a while, glanced over a few times, then after a minute thought “hey, is that a new car?” This is not what I call interesting styling.

  13. “Honda Sucks!” You have to be blind! The Altima has a great shape once you get rid of all the garbage. The disigners at Nissan are trying to shove a round peg in a square hole.

  14. The Accord , base model, is OVER 20K(nearly 21K) to start. Wasn’t the 07 18K? Somewhere in the area?
    20,000+ = No Sale .
    Only Honda I am curious about is the new CR-Z, the one rumored to , not only get a hybrid engine, but a Gas Engine(watch, it’ll be toy-sized, like the Hyundai Accent-3 door- GS…barely 13 ft long).
    Make the thing the size of the current Accent 4 door, or Astra 3 door coming out( about 171 inches long)…18K, 40MPG…I’ll be there. If not… I’ll wait for the Gamma-Platformed 09(or in 09) Cobalt, see if it is worth 18K, maybe mid-30’s MPG.
    Honda = overpriced.
    Honda= No Options…buy as is, or move up 2 grand to the next level car(like Civic… want cruise? move from base model of 15,700 to 17,000+, or add sunroof? Over 19K model… no options).
    Way to send people over to Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, Ford…maybe even GM.

  15. The Accord , base model, is OVER 20K(nearly 21K) to start. Wasn’t the 07 18K? Somewhere in the area?
    20,000+ = No Sale .
    Only Honda I am curious about is the new CR-Z, the one rumored to , not only get a hybrid engine, but a Gas Engine(watch, it’ll be toy-sized, like the Hyundai Accent-3 door- GS…barely 13 ft long).
    Make the thing the size of the current Accent 4 door, or Astra 3 door coming out( about 171 inches long)…18K, 40MPG…I’ll be there. If not… I’ll wait for the Gamma-Platformed 09(or in 09) Cobalt, see if it is worth 18K, maybe mid-30’s MPG.
    Honda = overpriced.
    Honda= No Options…buy as is, or move up 2 grand to the next level car(like Civic… want cruise? move from base model of 15,700 to 17,000+, or add sunroof? Over 19K model… no options).
    Way to send people over to Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, Ford…maybe even GM.

  16. I had the displeasure of driving the “new” Accord, and I concur. The Accord is just as ugly in person as in pictures (true, the coupe is better looking, but just barely), the interior is awash in cheap, hard plastics and (at least in the one I drove) spotty build quality. Plus the drive wasn’t anything special. If Honda considers this a job well done it’s only a matter of time before their overall quality and reputation suffer as well.

  17. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Honda’s vehicles are weird inside and out. Their motors on the other hand are the best in the world. Too bad you cant get a Honda motor as an option in every other makers models.

  18. The front was designed in Hally-Fax, and the rear in Toe-Lee-dough, the in-between was made at Tonka. With a doubt one of the most confused designs of any modern automobile. The only way to describe the rear end is bad, just bad.

  19. another coream krappy car it if i ever saw one this is another piece of garbebe ge

    you d be better off driving the fcus twhy give moneney to theese peolpe the c=accord was always a vcar for losers

  20. i think that people who think the new accord looks like a bmw are referring to the c-pillar design. it actually does look like the one in any bmw sedan. anyway, i still think the rear styling is too boring. and the car is too big

    i liked driving the base passat until i learned that its turbo motor would require premium fuel and raise my insurance by 15% over a regualr gas model. so while i wanted a passat, i bought the new accord instead. sure, its ugly and somewhat boring, but that extra space makes the interior feel so roomy, the engine was amazing, and i’m all about supporting a company that is trying to help the environment.

    is it so wrong that i actually like the new accord? everyone has only negative things to say about it…

  21. jones… it’s japanese, not korean. Focus used ot be built in Mexico, until the 08 models, now built in Michigan, iirc.
    whatever. foucs is not in the accord catagory…fusion, yes, and the 4 cylinder fusion is louder than the focus,so the accord would be better, even if it cost more.
    civic versus fusion….both fun to drive, civic might get 2-3 mpg more..but ….for 17K, focus does give you the SYNC, among other things, the civic won’t, until next rework.

  22. In regards to the design, what did people expect? The last car looked like it was designed by a few different people, with the frumpy butt and all. The new rear didn’t go with it either.

    When you are behind one of these, take a closer look at the reverse lights. The chrome looks broken, or out of place. It’s like “Let’s be different and have the line go this way!”

    Take a look : http://automobiles.honda.com/images/2008/accord-sedan/exterior-gallery/gal_lg19.jpg

    However, regardless of any problems with the Accord, sales will go up. Just look at the Camry, which IMHO looks just as bad, but sells like every day is black friday.

  23. I rented an Opel Astra in Europe and drove it from Amsterdam to Paris round trip. Yes, the mileage was great and it was a comfortable car… but ergonomically was nothing like the ease of a Honda product. Ithink that the new Accord is a great car. Yes, I test drove one and Honda onece again puts everything within reach without compromise.

  24. “This is the ugliest car on the market and in no way touches the ALTIMA. Honda is finished”

    You are kidding, right? Honda is finished? This will outsell the Altima, hands down. The Altima is typical Nissan garbage with a horrid interior and awful resale coupled to a rough engine (2.5).

    Sorry.

  25. The dash, seats, exterior all scream 1985, this P.O.S. doesn’t even come close to the new Altima. I just drove both in El Monte, back to back v6 loaded. The Altima wins in every, i said “every” possible way!

  26. The boot lid looks crap. Too much bare metal. Needs bigger tail lights and some designers that know what design is.

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