+ Incredible Handling
+ Thrifty 4-Cylinder
+ Above-Average in Every Category
- Aging Design Compared to the Competition
- "Fisher-Price" Speedometer
- Automatic Robs the Driving Experience + FE
Introduction: In the essence of full disclosure, I tend to have a Honda bias; but I'll try to stay as objective as possible. The Accord has a long history of battling the Camry as the "Benchmark" of family sedans. As an intransitive verb, Merriam-Webster defines Accord as "to be consistent or in harmony". I couldn't agree more. But the same can be said about the Camry. It all really comes down to the old "Chevy vs. Ford" days: your preference. I was lucky to have gotten a Honda for a rental, as they tend to stay out of the fleet business. Judging by the dealer front license plate stashed in the trunk, it may have been a quick purchase by the agency to fill the full-size slot.
The most popular combination is the 4-cylinder automatic; which is a 5-speed teamed-up with the DOHC, 2.4L i-VTEC powerplant (The K24A8 is the toned-down K24-variant rated at 166hp. The TSX engine is essentially very similar to the K24A2: which is a higher-compression, higher redline version with about the same torque and 40 more HP).
What actually converted me from an upbringing of Honda-bashing while growing up near GM and Ford assembly plants in Ohio, was a drive of a college friend's '95 Accord EX with the manual transmission. After the first drive, I instantly knew what all the buzz was about. Attention to detail, precise steering, handling, and acceleration -- everything was on-par. This was even with about 60K miles on the clock. It seemed like the whole car was designed by one team instead of one for the engine, one for interior, exterior, and so on with a focus group determining what would sell ? none of that. When the head-gasket blew on the '90 Beretta I was driving, I promptly went and traded it on a new '97 Civic DX Base Coupe -- no options (or A/C, or PS, PW, PL, etc.). I exlpained, "Well Dad, the Civic is made outside of Columbus, Ohio". As we speak, he's thinking of getting one for himself. Anyways, the DX was driving at its purest. Whether it be a trip in town, or out on the twisties of the open road, the Civic's simple nature translated right back to the driver in a sense of organization. But enough about the Civic...
I recommend taking a trip to Wikipedia's History of the Accord. It's a Generational history of the Accord in the U.S. through the years since its debut here in 1976. As you can see, its shape and aim has gone from small, boxy, to sporty, to plump, and back to edgy -- whatever the market seems to want. What has remained true since the beginning, is its safety, efficiency, and attention to the pleasure of driving -- unlike the Camry appliances of some years. Once sales took off, Detroit has yet to catch back up. What's the secret? Many car mags have tried to quantify this exact statement. Try as you may, there will be a syntax error: the Accord is greater than the sum of its parts. What confuses me is the Accord Hybrid. Why the V-6, and why is it faster than the standard model?
On the Outside: For 2006 and 2007, the Accord's exterior has been freshened, while the majority of it remains the same elsewhere. Gone is the rounded head- and taillights, to be replaced by sharply-angled front lenses with LED brake lights. I particularly like the squarely angled tail-lights with the LEDs: very sharp.
The "Value Edition" (base) and LX models generally come standard with wheel covers and basic fare. The list of standards (and price) elevates as you go up the spectrum into the EX-L (leather), V-6, and Hybrid V-6 models (and combinations therein). Overall, the shape is familiar and easily recognizable. A coupe is available for those with a need for 2 fewer doors.
On the Inside: Being a TSX owner, I have to compare the 2 as the Acura is marketed as the European Accord. The dated nature of the larger, U.S. design is evident on the interior. The speedometer is gigantic, along with a smaller tach and essential gauges. The panel does light-up in electroluminescence day and night, which is neat. The seats are firm, but very supportive and comfortable with height adjustment. Padding for the driver's left elbow is proper, as is the tilt and telescoping wheel. The center console slides forward for the right elbow rest. This makes for a good long-distance cruising position.
Rear seat room is actually quite spacious for this size of vehicle. Steering wheel controls are intuitively placed on the nicely-sized wheel. The radio and HVAC controls are a bit scattered in the center cluster. Despite full illumination, the radio face lights-up in pale grey at night. The air-con worked well, and the radio sounded adequate, except for the reach to adjust it. A more driver-oriented cabin like the TSX would benefit this design. These are all nit-picks when compared to the bland cabin of a Ford Fusion or Dodge Charger. The fit and finish is tight and exudes quality. You know this car is going to last a long time, even as a rental.
The drive: My goodness, what a shocker. The impression at first was that of an underpowered family boat that took a lot of throttle input to maneuver around town. This car resides on the edge of two personalities: the sensible family cruiser that is spacious, easy to drive, turns-in well, and seats 4-5 rather comfortably ? to the high-performance VTEC-powered, razor sharp, high-limit Sports Sedan.
First the "Family" image: Under the hood is a sensible 4-banger that propels the automatic around town with decisive shifts here and there. Parking is easy and corners are taken without fuss. Merging onto the highway requires a lot of throttle to get the engine into its range of useable power. The trunk is spacious and holds lots of luggage, or groceries -- if you get my drift.
The other side of its personality becomes evident over bumps and undulations. The wheel tells you exactly what's going on, and how the suspension is absorbing those inconsistencies. The chassis remains in-control while you putter around, albeit rather stiff at times.
Now, take a road like Arkansas Scenic Highway 7, through Ouachita National Forest as it twists and turns up and over into switchbacks, and through the picturesque landscape.
A similar sedan such as the Hyundai Sonata rolls into bends and screams from the tires as if to you warn you ?back off already?. The Accord simply confesses that it's time to play, and off you go. In an un-efficient manner, the speed racer part of my personality gives-in, and the automatic is promptly taken out of "D" and speed is increased. In the first bend, much to my surprise, there was absolutely no body roll, tire slide, noise, vibration,
or anything -- just the intended track as dialed-in from the wheel. Push it even harder and the more you're rewarded. Keep the revs above 4000 and the traditional Honda note sings from under the hood and keeps you in the range of power to propel you out of the last 1/3 of every corner. Corners, by the way, which are rated at 30 mph are easily taken at a much faster velocity, in roadster-like fashion. What is going on here? Nevermind why -- where's the limit? I can't find it. Corner after corner, the Honda dove right in and stayed flat. Over tight hills, the suspension never became unsettled or "light". I'm afraid to say that I can't tell you if it tended to over- or understeer. I'd need more road for that conclusion. I hadn't had a smile on my face like that after driving a car since the Mustang! The penalty is a rougher ride compared to the base Camry (more Camry SE-like). After the road met the Interstate, it was life as usual, with the cruise set and the supportive seats doing their job well.
Back in town, the automatic clearly robbed the power as it took quite the input to keep up with traffic. I would call it a noticeable power deficit until the higher revs are achieved. It's at that point that acceleration moves your speed consistently upward. There's no drama, and unlike VTECs of the past where the more aggressive cam noticeably kicks-in, this one is smooth and imperceptible. Around town, the ScanGauge showed an average of 26 mpg. The highway boasted a much-better, mid-to-high 30's segment (all with A/C use). The final tally was 30.6 mpg with some spirited driving.
Safety: The LX comes equipped with some aggressive, 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes (quick actuation, but a bit vague with pedal feel), side-impact and curtain airbags, and seatbelt pre-tensioners. Crash test ratings are top-notch.
Efficiency: For its size and upper-RPM power, the highway mileage on this car is exceptional thanks to the variable valve lift. Around town, expect the lack of useable low-range torque, requiring more fuel to get things going. Add-in the A/C, and it dogs down even further. Of the many automatics tested, this one absolutely deserves a manual (which is, of course, available if you can find it). The 2.4L is also rated as a LEV-2 by the EPA. I may be going out on a dangerous limb here, but I would take the Camry I-4 engine/transmission, place it in the Accord, and you may have the perfect sedan for city torque and high-rev performance. But in conclusion, the Accord will not disappoint, as it harmonizes its practicality and sporty nature into a nice, all-around package.
Model: 2007 Honda Accord
Class Size: Mid-Size
Transmission: 5-Speed Automatic with LUTC
Engine: DOHC, 16-valve, 2.4L Inline-4 cylinder with electronically variable valve timing and lift, and variable cam timing, rated at 166 HP and 160 ft-lbs of torque
Curb Weight: 3197 lb.
EPA (Old Estimate Calcs): 24/34/28
EPA (Newly Estimated Calcs): 21/31/25
GasSavers Tested Mileage: 30.6 MPG (ScanGauge Verified)
Fuel Consumed: 7.8 gallons
Speed Avg: 45 MPH
Time of Operation: 5.3 hours
Distance Driven: 239 Miles
Ambient Outside Temp: 60-85F
FE Conclusion: The FE is actually better than vehicles much smaller. The old EPA ratings accurately represent all cycles. It's a Honda, what can I say?
For the Hypermiler: The manual-4 is a true hypermiling machine, not to say that the Auto can't be hypermiled as well. The ability to handle corners can keep the momentum going. The K-series engine has a tendency to sacrifice FE for emissions, which IMO, is a good thing. Balance between the 2 is crucial.
I have to disagree with several points in the review based on a rental for two days in the ArkLaTex area this week.
The seats are not the absolute worst, I reserve that for my wife's Odyssey, but they are not much better. The lack of thigh support coupled with the height adjustment that raises the rear at a faster rate than it raises the front (no separate front only height adjust) makes it a perfect "Nana-launcher" for the Craftmatic drivers out there. My leg muscles became so cramped that after three hours I was actually resorting to changing my leg position by having to grab ahold of my pant leg and lifting. If the seat swiveled like the late 70's GM mid-sized cars, then the ratchet height feature would have helped throw me out of the car.
The cluster illumination was far too bright. Dimming the cluster (by rotating the trip odometer reset button) dimmed the other interior illumination too much. The steering wheel cruise buttons faded to black long before the "flashlight-in-the-eyes" effect of the cluster became tolerable. It took several seconds of eyes-off-the-road before my pupils dialated enough to identify the center stack buttons for HVAC and entertainment. If you are prone to being pulled over by the police at night then the flash bulb intensity of the cluster may be a plus to prepare you for the cop's flash light in the eyes. Otherwise give me a separate intensity control.
The auto transmission has the same tendency as the significant other's Odyssey to release the lock-up sooner than I'd like. At a steady 2k rpm and 60 mph (I couldn't bring myself to drive the posted 70) the slightest incline unlocked the trans and the revs climbed to 23~2500. It got to the point that I began accelerating before hills to build some speed to delay the unlock.
There is insufficient detent between the D and the D3 setting to prevent inadvertent driving in third.
And inspite of intentionally driving with moderate frugality (no EOC, but no jack rabbit drag racing either), it returned what I consider a dismal 40 mpg. (369.1 miles on 9.15 gallons).
I was quite dissapointed and will not be considering one any time soon. I'd rather have a used Neon than one of these 07 Accords.
Something else I noticed:
The center of the driver's seat is not aligned with the steering column and the center of the wheel. Sitting square in the seat and extending both arms forward out at shoulder width places the left hand near the top of the steering wheel and the right hand over the fan speed knob.
Honda has deviously hidden this by placing the instrument cluster along this diagonal from seat center through steering wheel center meaning looking from the driver's seat position at the top of the wheel aligns with the center of the speedometer, but also with the center of the left lane about 100 feet ahead of the car.
I suppose this forced contortion is acceptable if you drive seated like a mirror image of the character played by Harrison Ford in the movie Grafitti, or drive circles at Tallegega all day, but I don't.
So, was there anything I did like about it?.......
Wait, I'm still thinking.
I agree that the seats are a bit awkward -- but seats are very individual to every driver. I have lower back problems that get aggravated with improper height and lumbar support. The firm nature of these provided excellent support, but I can see where you're coming from. Try the new Hyundai Sonata -- the tilt up/forward is more pronounced.
You are correct, the lights on the dash have no happy medium. My TSX has the same problem. It took me a couple of weeks to get adjusted to it, but it's fine now.
The transmission is your typical Honda. I suffer with one daily at home. It's designed for a "sporty" response so you can start using the engine's torque when the pedal moves significantly.
I never noticed the off-center seat. I usually drive with one hand at 9, 7, or 4-o'clock with an elbow rested (unlike the Noon many are used to). Otherwise, I'd be in knots.
The best I can get out of my TSX is 34 mpg, which a similar transmission and a built-in FE meter. It sacrifices FE for Emissions (to reduce NOx). At idle, both cars emit very little.
I admit I'm a picky car buyer. I found one model that suits me and I'm more than satisfied with it/them. I'm on my fourth. I've had two crashed into and totaled and I've gone out and bought another of the same model and year.
My work does have me flying and renting frequently. I try to rent differently each time searching for anything I like as much as my own car.
de gustibus non disputandum
There's no accounting for tastes.
The 5AT ruins our 05 EX Accord. The wife likes it. I hate it. I just don't like AT's in smaller 4 cylinder cars. Never a problem with D/D3. No problems with the dash lights. Little knob works good in ours. Seating is wonderful. Plenty of thigh support and almost to much lumbar for me. If the seating is off center so be it. I'm all over the place when I drive anyway. I change my position a lot. As for the handling. Its not a boy racer,,, but it will surprise you. Ive spent some time on the road RH77 talks about in our Accord. The car eats it up. Along with many parts of hwy 71. I can corner our Accord so hard it will lift the inside rear wheel. On the oem micky's. Our Accord has no rattles or squeaks. Many do tho. The wife gets about 33 mpg out of the I4 in mixed driving. 40 mpg isn't bad at all. Quite good for a passive driven Accord. There are not many cars the size of the Accord that can get mpg like that. Or cruse down a abandoned hwy at 100 mph and think nothing of it.
Nice Right UP
Our 5AT locks up in 5th between 45 and 47 mph. It holds lock up very well on the hwy. It takes quite the hill to unlock it or a fair amount of throttle.
09 HCHII, w/Navi
07 Mazda3 S Touring, 5MT
Mild Hypermiler or Mad Man?
Lug Nut, you have to be kidding. I have the 04 Accord. By far one of the best cars I have ever owned. I have the 4 auto trans DX. Car is comfortable, plenty fast, handles great and about 30-33 mpg. I drive it around 80 mph on the highway. It has plenty of power, even loaded. I have a very hard time driving it slow. 40 MPG and your complaining? Come on. I am all for saving fuel and that's why I bought this car for long trips. I use a scooter for everyday driving at 83-91 mpg. What is the vehicle you drive? I bet the vehicle you own can't even be bought in the U.S.
oh Lug Nut, My 04 Accord is not a diesel because their not available in the U.S. Thats too bad. The U.S. will be seeing a lot more in the next few years. Then the fuel economy wars will be on. That VW will cost you a fortune for repairs. Good motor though!