Friday, September 18, 2009

2009 Honda Accord, an AutoWeek Drivers Log

2009 Honda Accord

COPY EDITOR CYNTHIA OROSCO: This Accord is a pretty basic car, and it seems kind of pricey for being such. There is nothing wrong with the Accord, but there's nothing fabulous about it either. It made me think of a car grandparents would drive. The funky (not in a good way) cloth on the seats was off-putting, and there's lots of plastic inside. But the seats were comfy enough for running a bunch of errands.

There is a huge amount of legroom. I generally like to sit up close to the steering wheel, and, well, being short, I need to be close to reach the pedals. Even so, I felt like it was spacious; I could be close without feeling like I was kissing the windshield. Another plus was the large trunk.

There was decent power over surface streets, but there was some lag getting up to highway speed. Overall, the Accord wasn't bad, and besides grandparents, I can see families maybe liking this for the space without the huge sticker. But if you're looking for styling, this isn't it.

SENIOR WEB REPORTER GREG MIGLIORE: Ah, the Accord, one of the best-selling and least-exciting cars in America.

My experience in this sedan was completely unremarkable. It's a good machine that is thrilling in few ways, but comfortable and decent-looking for nearly all situations.

The four-banger was a little buzzy and not particularly powerful, but the mileage--especially for a bigger car--was solid. This motor does do the job most of the time, but accelerating on the freeway is a bit of a chore. The steering has some weight to it and it's a very civilized ride.

I actually think the styling is quite good. It looks upscale. Nice headlight casings and lines on the side; it's a better effort than previous models for sure and definitely is in-step with the segment.

The interior looked a little old to me. Fairly nice, but tired. It felt fine, though the seats had a weird fabric. The center console is laid out in a simple fashion, but isn't aesthetically pleasing. There's a ton of legroom in the backseat, and it's actually more comfortable than the front.

For this price, you can get cars that are lot more fun than this Accord. But that's not what everyone wants. This is a good car. There's a reason so many people buy them, it's just not really that exciting.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR WES RAYNAL: It's instructive to drive an Accord once in a while. It is, by far, the best non-German midsize sedan available, and it's good to be reminded of what that's like occasionally. I for one forgot how good an Accord is.

There is no other midsize car from the United States or Asia that compares with this car's buttoned-up chassis, its smoothness and its serenity. And I'm sorry, but despite the bloviating from the Bob Lutzes of the world about how the Detroit-based automakers are world-class competitive, neither the Chevrolet Malibu nor the Ford Fusion are in the ballpark with this car. I'm not saying those cars are crap. They're not. They're good midsize sedans and compete well with each other, but this Accord is a step ahead. Maybe several.

I guess when you combine one of the industry's best four-cylinder engines with one of the most sorted chassis, you are going to get a better than decent car. It's like driving a reduced-price Mercedes.

Honda has simply nailed the midsize sedan formula. The Accord just feels so precise and agile, the steering is on the money, the chassis' ride/handling balance is near perfect . . . I could go on, but you get the idea.

For $25,000, this car is an absolute steal. Somebody above said, “For this price, you can get cars that are lot more fun than this.” More fun? Maybe, but I doubt it. But better? No chance.

2009 Honda Accord EX Sedan

In Fleet: July 15-29

As-Tested Price: $25,115

Drivetrain: 2.4-liter I4; FWD, five-speed automatic

Output: 190 hp @ 7,000 rpm, 162 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,408 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA): 24 mpg

Options: None


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