There’s nothing wrong with a good, healthy dose of competition. And in the automotive industry, there’s no better example than in the midsize sedan category. The top three players — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — all have loyal followers, and each manufacturer works nearly continuously to outdo its competitors.
As one of the country’s most successful vehicles, Honda needs little help with the Accord. But for 2008, the Accord was redesigned and it’s a prime of example of taking a vehicle already an industry leader and making it better.
Between the coupe and sedan and seven trim options, the Accord is available with more than 30 configurations. My weekly drive was the EX-L. With its new 3.5-liter, 268-horsepower V6 engine and navigation system, it’s the most expensive non-hybrid Accord on the market at slightly more than $30,000. It had a five-speed automatic transmission. (A six-speed manual is also available.)
The new Honda is bigger and “badder” in all areas, which might mean one downside — fuel economy. But that’s not the case. The new Accord, with both four and six-cylinder engines, is at least equal or exceeds previous year models’ gas mileage averages.
How did that happen? It’s because of the Honda’s cylinder-deactivation technology. It allows the engine to run on six, four or three cylinders depending upon driving conditions to maximize fuel efficiency. The new Accord with a V6 engine now averages more than 3 mpg over last year’s V6. And the ’08 engine has 24 more horsepower.
In either coupe or sedan, the ’08 Accord continues Honda’s well-heeled reputation for an extensive standard features list and plenty of options.
The sedan is available in LX, LX-P, EX and EX-L trim levels; the coupe has LX-S, EX and EX-L]]> trims. The sedan’s base LX comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel, fold-down rear seats and a six-speaker stereo with a single CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary audio jack. The sedan’s LX-P adds 16-inch alloy wheels, auto up-down front windows and a power driver seat. The coupe’s base LX-S trim includes the LX-P’s equipment (minus the passenger-side auto-up window and power driver seat) and adds an in-dash six-CD changer.
The EX adds 17-inch wheels and a sunroof to each body style’s upgraded LX trim level. The EX sedan gains the in-dash six-CD changer, while the EX coupe gets a premium stereo system with subwoofer. The EX-L trim level adds leather upholstery, auto-on headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and satellite radio. The EX-L sedan gains the premium stereo system, the EX-L coupe gains the power driver seat.
The lone option is a navigation system available on the EX-L trim level that includes voice-activated controls and Bluetooth.
As the largest Accord ever manufactured, the ’08 edition offers 14 cubic feet of trunk space in the sedan and 11.9 cubic feet in the coupe. It’s the most of any of the major players in the midsize class, although the Altima Camry and Hyundai Sonata have very similar interior dimensions.
Like recent previous Accord editions, the 2008 version performs admirably in all areas, steering and handling to acceleration. Driving the ’08 Accord is “feel good,” driving. The car is balanced and authoritative on the road.
Safety Features — Dual front, front side and side curtain airbags.
Fuel Mileage (Estimates) — 19 mpg (city), 29 mpg (highway).
Warranty — Bumper-to-Bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles.
Base Price — $30,260.00.