2012 Honda Accord

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Review: 2008 Honda Accord

This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2012.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 8

Bottom Line:

Honda gives the new Accord more pizzazz and practicality.
Pros:
  • Sportier styling
  • Roomier
  • More power
Cons:
  • No 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Low front susceptible to damage
  • Hard rear center seat area

The redesigned 2008 Honda Accord should be a stronger competitor to the sales leading Toyota Camry because it's sleeker, more powerful and roomier. It has become a full-size car, by EPA calculations, although it still feels like a nimble midsize auto.

The Camry has been the No. 1 auto seller in America for so long that some have forgotten that the Accord held the top spot from 1989 through 1991. It arrived as an attractive small 3-door hatchback in 1976. The first Accord sedan was introduced in 1979.

This is the eighth-generation Accord. It comes as a coupe or sedan, but most buyers want the sedan, which I tested. The new coupe has sleeker styling and is 3.2 inches shorter and 1.7 inches lower than the sedan.

New Size Classification
The sedan edges past the mid-size car classification into the EPA's full-size auto class because it's 3 inches longer at 194.1 inches, 1.1 inch wider and nearly an inch higher. Its wheelbase has been stretched 2.3 inches to 110.2 inches.

The Accord always has been more fun to drive than the Camry because it has a sportier feel. The 2008 Accord, which has high-tensile steel for greater torsional rigidity, feels much like a good European sedan. In contrast, Toyota long has opted for a smooth "American car" feel with the Camry.

European Shape
The 2008 Accord sedan has a definite European shape. For example, a "character line" that runs the length of the bodysides and a "kink" in the rear side pillars makes the sedan look somewhat like a BMW.

On the other hand, the Accord's nose is overstyled, and front-end lowness makes it susceptible to damage. The hood line looks too high from the side because the front end must meet new pedestrian-protection requirements. However, other automakers will be faced with the same requirements.

The new Accord V6 sedan, which has a lower center of gravity, has the general feel of a European sedan, with fast, nicely weighted power steering. There was virtually no body sway when speeding through curves.

Nice Ride
The firm-but-supple suspension shrugs off road imperfections partly because of a double-wishbone front suspension (a design found on race cars) and a new, compact multi-link rear suspension.

The brake pedal helps allow smooth stops, and electronic brake force distribution and brake assist features provide surer panic stops.

Assisting roadability are 16-inch wheels with 60-series tires or 17-inch wheels with 50-series tires for sedans, and 17- or 18-inch wheels for coupes, which come with 50- or 45-series tires.

Spacious Interior
There's nearly 2 more inches of room between the driver and front passenger, which contributes to a more spacious interior feel. The cockpit is very roomy, particularly in the rear seat area. There's plenty of room for three tall adults there, although a high, hard rear seat center area will make it uncomfortable for the middle occupant.

Safety items include a bunch of airbags, anti-skid system and traction control, tire pressure monitoring and anti-lock brakes.

Pricing
Sedans with 4-cylinder engines begain with the nicely equipped base LX and graduate to LX-P, EX, EXL and EXL with a navigation system. List prices for those trim levels range from $20,360 to $28,060.

Accords with a V6 always have been more costly. They range from $25,960 for the EX to $30,260 for the EX-L with a navigation system.

More Power
The sedan has three engines, which are more powerful than their predecessors, although they only require 87-octane gasoline.

There is a 3.5-liter V6 and two 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engines. The base 4-cylinder has 177 horsepower for average performance, and the other provides 190 horsepower and more punch for merging and passing.

Variable Cylinder Operation
The best performance is from the smooth 268-horsepower V6. It has a fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management feature that lets it run on three, four or six cylinders, depending on speed and load.

The sedan's 4-cylinder engines work with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automatic, which is responsive but would be more modern with six speeds.

Hybrid Dropped
The gas-electric hybrid version has been dropped, but the Accord is far from being a gas-guzzler. Estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg in the city and 31 highway with the 4-cylinder and manual gearbox and 21 and 31 with the automatic.

The sedan V6 shoots power only through the automatic transmission. That combination's economy figures are 19 city and 29 highway. (The coupe is the only Accord V6 offered with a manual transmission, which is a 6-speed unit and results in 17 city and 25 highway.)

Larger Fuel Tank
Fuel tank capacity has been increased to 18.5 gallons from 17.2 gallons, which is the most ever offered for an Accord.

Accord V6 trim levels have stylized chrome-plated exterior door handles instead of body color handles and more upscale interior materials. My test sedan's quiet interior nearly looked as if from one of Honda's higher-line Acura models.

Gauges can be easily read. While the soft-touch controls initially look complicated, a driver should soon find that they're logically placed and can be easily used. The front console cupholders are conveniently located, but their cover slightly blocks a passenger's access to them when open.

A good field of vision is provided by slender windshield pillars made of high-strength steel. Also, large outside mirrors help rear driver visibility.

Large Trunk
The spacious trunk has a low, wide opening and a fold-down lockable rear seatback that increases cargo capacity.

The new Accord is among the world's best sedans for the price, especially with the V6 engine. But it's a shame that the V6 makes the Accord too expensive for many Accord buyers.

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BB06 - 8/30/2014 1:28:51 AM