For those seeking a modern version of the old fashioned American full-size sedan, look no further than the 2008 Honda Accord.
The car that started out as a four-door compact grew to an intermediate size and now comes in the large, economy size.
However, Accord hasn't lost a thing in the process. It still feels sportier than it should. There's no torque steer (the engine steers) when the loud pedal is nailed. And there's still no détente to stop inadvertent downshifts out of drive to D3 or so.
It takes only 7.5 seconds to get to 60 mph via a 3.5L V-6 that powered our EX-L model. This optional engine provides the most power of any Accord ever – 268 horsepower.
The brand-new engine also comes with something called variable cylinder management. All it does is let the engine run on six cylinders for power and four- and three-cylinder modes for efficiency. This comes via a five-speed automatic transmission for a stunning result. Fuel economy is 19 mpg city and 29 highway.
Those figures are even more amazing when the new Accord is considerable larger than last year. The Accord is 194.3 inches in overall length, up three inches. It's 1.1 inches wider and the wheelbase (distance between front and back axles) is 2.4 inches more, up to 110 inches.
|Honda Accord EX-L
•Engines: 2.4L I-4; 3.5L V-6
•Dimensions: 110" wheelbase; 194.3" length
•Base price: $20,360; As tested $30,895
•Fuel economy: 19/29 mpg
The tested EX-L came with a navigation system, leather-trimmed seats, an eight-way power driver seat and a front passenger seat with four-way adjustment. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes and the disc brakes get anti-locking. The driving position is excellent.
On the road, the new Accord handles big sweepers with a bit of understeer (crank in more turning) and just a hint of road feel. It doesn't carve out its own course but doesn't fight yours. It's a very neutral-handling sedan. That translates into not bothering the driver a lot and makes for a nice cross-country cruiser. The ride is firm but not bossy.
The Accord still looks like a Honda although the grille is a little more emphatic than usual. The appliance look has long vanished.
It's really hard to find fault with the new Honda Accord. Others say doors are a little tinny and trunk hinges protrude into trunk. Pah.
The only thing that needs fixing is that Honda habit of a gear selector that goes from drive to D3 with no détente. It's too easy to shift down into third without realizing it.
I've told Honda about this for years but they still don't do anything about it. All they do is make the Accord better. You'd think they'd learn.