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The first Honda Accord, released in 1976, had a 93.7-inch wheelbase and 68 horsepower. This latest Accord, the 7th generation, has a wheelbase nearly 17 inches longer, and 200 more horsepower. My, how you've grown. You've seen the pictures and read the releases on the new Honda Accord sedan and coupe. The only question that remains is how do they drive? Honda invited Autoblog to find out, and we weren't disappointed. Follow the jump for the rest of the story, and check out (even more) shots of the exterior and interior from the event.


First thing's first: I haven't been in an Accord since 1989. (Don't ask.) I don't think it was a 1989 model. The '08 is a lot nicer than the one I remember. According to the presentation, the Accord's most serious competitors are the Toyota Camry and the Nissan Altima. The Altima is considered more sporty, the Camry more luxurious, and the new Accord is meant to slot comfortably, and perfectly, between the two.

2008 Honda AccordWe'll start with the exterior. The Camry's latest redesign was purposeful enough that you could say it was actually styled. The Altima was done so well from the beginning that it drop-kicked the Maxima into some dark, quiet place. The Accord's new body was meant to give it some in-your-face-ness that would get the attention of the young professionals researching the segment and yet, as ever, wouldn't alienate the Accord lover. It has already received a noteworthy share of kudos and knocks, which is what happens any time a design attempts to make a statement. "Camber" was the word of the day, in reference to how the front of the car is drawn back at the headlights and the rear corners of the car gently slope into the valance. Along with the can't-be-missed side cut line and lower door line, there are quite a few instances of very subtly shaped bodywork: the merest hint of lines around the lower front fog lights and on the rear bumpers. Even the side mirror cover curves, seahorse-like, from a gently rounded top to the sculptured flick of a tail near the bottom, then curves again around the lower portion to the trim. In the flesh it's a good looking car, with silver and black suiting it exceptionally well in our opinion. It will more than hold its own with its competitors.

Inside? While all of the dimensions-interior and exterior-have grown, with the Accord's interior growth spurt by 3.3 cubic feet to 106, it's now classed as a large car by EPA standards. It was overall a fine place to be. The door panels flexed more than expected, and some cars had wider than usual gaps between the IP and the door, which could be explained by the fact that we were in a mix of production and pre-production vehicles.

We didn't spend extended stretches in them, but the seats are plenty comfy and offer all the movements your body could want. Due to the added width, the center console can practically hide bodies. Lift the cover on the armrest and at the bottom of the abyss are a 12V outlet and an auxiliary (read: iPod) jack. Even the cupholders grew. In fact, they're immense. One of Honda's PR team said she sent Slurpee cups to Japan to prove to them that, yes, we really do need cavities that can hold firehouse buckets.

Forward, there's a contoured swath of textured plastic that caps the dashboard and console. The instrument panel lurks behind an enjoyably grippable steering wheel. Everything, though, flows to the center, which is where you'll find mission control. If you don't order the navigation, a 2-color screen sits atop the center stack. It was clear and legible in nearly all lighting conditions, save for when the coastal sun shone directly on it. If you splurge for the navigation, you get a much larger screen with a color display. On that, I wish the dashboard curved outward a bit more, to keep out more glare from the sun.

Below that is knob-and-button central. It's laid out well enough, but with the buttons stretched and pulled and curved to fit the console, I found it a bit Dali-esque. However, it's solid and the buttons feel good. The first time in the car I found almost every button with just a glance. The navigation, controlled by a multi-function knob, took a second to figure out, but it won't have you reaching for the manual. Besides, the control functions are written on the dash-it doesn't get any easier.

Below that is a cubby and two little doors: one covers 12V outlet that would have been a lighter in a previous life, the other covers a hole beside which is written "This is not an ashtray." All right then.

Let's get to the kicker: how do they drive? Well. There are four engine choices depending on which Accord model you choose: two inline 4-cylinders, both 2.4-liter VTECs, one with 177 hp and 161 ft-lb, another with 190 hp and 162 ft-lb; and two V6's, a 3.5-liter with 268 hp and 248 ft-lb, one of which features Honda's Variable Cylinder Management, and one that doesn't. All of the choices are ULEV-2 and/or PZEV rated. The 4-pot mpg comes in at 21 city, 31 hwy for both versions. The 6 cylinder auto gets 19/29, and the manual-in the coupe-gets 17/25.

Speaking of gas mileage, the V6 with VCM (on the auto transmission) works in three modes: 3, 4, or all 6 cylinders. The previous generation only had two modes, 3-cylinder and 6. It also comes with an ECO light that illuminates in the tachometer when you're getting 22.5 mpg or better.

We only drove the 4-cylinder automatic, not the manual. It's quiet, and while it will get the job done, it will do so at a leisurely pace. You can push it, but the extra giddyup won't be worth the effort and revs that come with it except in the most compelling circumstances. This is your sipper, not your slayer, so enjoy it as such. The V6 is a much heartier workhorse. Standing starts, passing maneuvers, climbing, all happen with the competence of a trusted assistant: not quite fast enough to spill anything, but you know the job is getting done right, right now.

The ride is just right for the category. The sedans ride on either 16- or 17-inch wheels, the coupe gets 17- or 18-inch. The front suspension is a modified double wishbone from the previous model, and all but the base LX model get a front suspension tower brace. The rear is a new, compact multi-link with nitrogen-filled coil-over dampers. The result is potholes go barely noticed and poorly-surfaced roads don't rock the ride. A new engine mounting system reduces NVH and helps the body and engine move in greater unison, and the new variable gear steering translates inputs nicely. There's even a fair bit of sporty thrown in, with reassuring composure in turns taken at speed.


The coupe, however, is where the real action resides. The coupe isn't the sedan's sibling; it's more like the third cousin by marriage twice removed. The 6-speed manual mated to the 268 hp doesn't just transform the car, it transmogrifies it. From the first stoplight I understood why the gents who had the car before me took so long to bring it back. I think every stoplight after that had me setting off the ESC, a little yellow triangle flashing furiously as the front wheels did their best not to come unstuck. It has so much jump, in fact, that you need to hold on to the steering wheel quite firmly in order not to let the car torque steer into a regrettable sidestep.

The coupe was like driving a sedate S2000, which, in light of the S2000's frantic nature, isn't at all a letdown. And it's got a more room. And a back seat. And a trunk that fits more than a ham sandwich. Gary said that they wanted to create a driving experience that still fit with the Accord family, but was truly fun. Mission certifiably accomplished.

And though we asked, they didn't give us prices. The best we could get was a range of $20K to $30K. There is also no hybrid coming, but there is a diesel in the works. For now, I'll take a black on black coupe. And a spare set of front tires.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 78 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like the coupe, the sedan ain't too bad either. But, at first glance I thought the articles default picture was a BMW 3-Series Sedan. They look so similar at that angle. Not complaining.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You talk about how applying the gas can torque steer you into another lane, then you say it drives like a sedate S2000.

      These two things do not go together.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I bought my first Accord in 1977. Loved it, especially compared to what was available in Oz back then. Progressed through various Holden Commodores to the first Audi 100 with its moonshot gearing - 1st, 2nd, 6th. Should a got the stick. Then a Galant. Moved Stateside and got an Acura Integra followed by seven stick-shift Honda Accords - some 2 door, some 4 door. I wanted to hang out for the new model but the lease ran out too soon so I got a 2007 4dr V6 Auto. Why stick with Honda? Almost zero problems - one leaky tire on Accord # 4 and a flat battery on #6. That's it. Service is cheap - $200 max every 10K miles. Good fuel economy. Good pick-up in the manual, if you rev it. Ditto in the V6. Predictable handling. Does OK in the snow. Cruise all day at 80mph with 4 people on board. Doesn't attract attention. And the #1 reason why I always get Honda Accords? My wife won't even look at anything else. I'll be looking at the MT V6 coupe when the current lease expires.

      My one criticism of the 2008 styling - the front end looks like it came from the fugly Ridgeline.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't know why so many people are criticizing the new design. I think that this car looks really great. And I'm really discriminating with car design. To me, this is better looking than the altima, maxima, camry and mazda6. Of course, I haven't seen it in real life, so things may change.

      What's more is that they went from a 3.0l to a 3.5l V6, and offer 2 different 4cyl engine choices.

      I think that people have forgotten just how bland the current Accord is. This is something new and exciting.

        • 7 Years Ago
        u know, i was reading all these comments and your first sentence was my thoughts exactly. I think this is a great redesign for the market it's intended for (I wouldn't buy one, but I can certainly see its appeal). It's bolder and sharper. I didn't care much for the last gen Accord styling-wise, but my favorite is still the 2-gen previous Accord coupe (triangle taillights). I almost talked my dad into buying one way back when, and it still excites me when I see one today. Yeah, sentiment is weird like that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        ... new and exciting in a dysfunctionally designed way. But you're allowed to like what you like.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Honda products are great. In own a Pilot and an 4cycl Accord. Both are great fun. I also have a porsche 986 which gets put up for the northeast winters here. Nothing beats my harley but I am always surprised at how peppy the 4cycl Honda is! The honda's run forever with little maintenance requirements. No worries about RMS leaks like with the porsche, etc. Now if Honda would only put some more torque into the next generation S2000 or "S2800".........
      • 7 Years Ago
      You can always count on the anti Honda twerps spewing their venom on here. None of you have driven the car or seen it in person and not that that would matter. You have every right to comment how ugly and boring the car is. The bottom line is Honda produces a product that many like because it offers great value, features, and reliability.

      Many other car companies--hint hint American-- only wish they produced such boring cars!
      • 7 Years Ago
      This vehicle is a styling mess. It will only sell because of Honda's reputation. And for anyone that believes this coupe and sedan are attractive, you should visit your optometrist ASAP.
        Joanne Yeadon
        • 3 Months Ago

        IDIOT

        • 7 Years Ago
        Vern, you must be a bigger monkey than most think ... where did I say Honda buyers would buy because it's a Honda?

        You're as dumb and blind as those who will buy this mess of a vehicle.
      Joanne Yeadon
      • 3 Months Ago

      IDIOT

      Bryan
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow Camry headlights, the design on a Fusion grille blacked out(sedan), BMW rear end (sedan), painfully cheap looking coupe with a trucklike minigrille on the front of the coupe. What a disaster.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sheesh. The previous generation looks way better than this one. This came from the company that designed the TL and S2000?
        • 7 Years Ago
        No - it didn't. The S2000 was designed in Japan. The TL was designed at Acura's design studio in California. Honda America is totally separate as far as design goes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      COPIED A6 and SONATA without the trunk lid portions of taillights!!!!!!!

      Is it just me or does Honda copy other car manufacturers designs ?? Its funny how everyone makes fun of Hyundai for designing their cars and claim they copied this and that when in fact I only believe people say that because they are biased, and are specifically looking for similarities among designs...Anything can look like something else if you wanted it to be... Anyways Honda is ripping off Audi so badly, first off, their civic ripped the A4's taillights and put it on the civic, and now their accord cut off the rear end of an audi A6 and put it on their accord, not to mention it's similarities to the hyundai Sonata's rear end (without the tailight sections on the trunk lid) cmon people can't you see???? honda A6
      • 7 Years Ago
      the accord is like drving a seal on the beach when you know there are babes in the village. because the sharks can't get to the shore, so it's like oceans full of sebrings are more than the accord, since the accord costs so much more than even a dodge avenger. so one could postulate there are many sebrings in an accord, provided that one can get to the village fast enough to see the show.
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