If you asked us if we were a Honda family, we’d probably just shrug our shoulders in response. But the reality is, my parent’s first new car was a first generation Accord, I learned how to drive on a third generation Accord, and my father loaned me his sixth generation Accord Coupe for my honeymoon. I owned a Prelude Si in high school, and I currently lease a Civic Si. I’ve even sold Honda’s-I was a salesman at the local dealer. So, ok, maybe we are a Honda family.
Having been around Accords from its beginning as a compact, I was naturally curious to see how the latest, eighth generation Accord carried the name. Perhaps the most striking thing was the sheer size of the car. It’s no behemoth, but consider this-at a tad over 194″ the Accord sedan is about as long as the second generation Acura Legend sedan, and 2″ wider.
The last Accord was utterly forgettable in appearance, so it’s good to see Honda inject some style to the current car. Finished in Polished Metal Metallic, our car did a good job showing off the elegant character lines along the sides and hood of the car. Tasteful use of chrome added an upscale flair, but the standard 17″ alloys looked a little small on the car (you can get 18″s as a dealer accessory from Mugen). The Accord manages to be handsome and unpretentious, without being a wallflower.
Inside, the cabin is airy and spacious. As you would expect from Honda, the gauges are large, clear and easy to read at a glance. Interior fit and finish was exemplary, and everything your hand touches feels high quality. Although it was easy to find a comfortable driving position, the seats are on the firm side. Visibility is excellent all around.
Our test car was the top of the line EX with leather and navigation, so we had all the bells and whistles. The Accord’s screen for navigation and other info is placed high on the dash, and is easy to glance at, but is not a touch screen. As a result, there are quite a few buttons on the center stack. The controls for the ventilation are split in two by the audio/nav controls in the center. I’m sure this was done for symmetry, but having the controls for the A/C, fan speed and airflow direction a full arm’s length away from the driver struck me as unusual for Honda. The new Accord is the first Honda I’ve driven where a five second glance was not enough to know where every control was, and what it did.
Speaking of driving, the Accord is an excellent all-rounder. Our car had the 3.5L V-6, rated at 271hp, coupled to a smooth 5-speed automatic (if you want a standard, you need the four cylinder). The engine is completely unobtrusive, but if you stand on the throttle you are rewarded with a pretty sweet sound from the engine bay. Not a sprinter off the line, but the V-6 has excellent passing power on the highway. The steering has a nice weight to it, and does transmit some road feel. There’s a small amount of road noise, but when I’m driving a car, I don’t want to feel like I’m in an isolation chamber.
For a car this size, the Accord handles extremely well, and the brakes are enough to slow the car with confidence. But the absence of shift paddles, or even the option to manually shift the Accord at all reminds the driver he is not at the wheel of a sport sedan. As the Accord has grown over the years, it has lost some of its sportiness.Ã‚Â That role is already played by the Acura TSX, better known as the Honda Accord sold outside of North America.
For most people, the Accord is all the car you need. With a sticker price of $31,105USD, consider what you get-leather, heated power seats, moonroof, Bluetooth, nav, premium audio, dual-zone auto climate control, a cavernous interior and a powerful V-6. Couple that to class-leading quality, workmanship and reliability, and you have a winner. The Accord has changed dramatically since it first appeared in 1976, but those last three qualities are what ties Honda’s flagship sedan to that little compact hatchback from 34 years ago.