With only 955 miles on the odometer, our silver over black Accord test car still had that lovely sense of newness about it. That sense was deepened, for me, because I haven't been in an Accord for a couple of years. This year, the Accord certainly has been overshadowed by the Hyundai Sonata, but it was nice to get back into one and rediscover that it's still a very good car, although this particular iteration has been around for a while. The exterior styling has not been deemed a success -- I don't think even within Honda. There's an awkward formality to it; it doesn't quite hang together. It's not offensive, but it's not particularly fluid. The interior is a perfectly pleasant place, if a little somber; ours was all black with a little bit of silver-colored trim. However, the ergonomics are pretty much faultless. The center stack controls are very clear; our modestly priced example did not have a nav system, just a small display screen at the top of the center stack showing the clock and radio information. As far as I could tell, there was no display for climate control information, which is something you now get in a lot of cars in this class these days.
There's a nice crispness to the Accord's controls, a general feeling of quality in everything you touch and operate. The steering, the brakes, the accelerator pedal, all are refined in operation. When you gun the four-cylinder engine, it's a little more coarse than you might expect from a Honda. One of my favorite aspects about the Accord is that, in the great Honda tradition, the sightlines are fabulous. The A-pillars are not obstructed. The hood falls away nicely, giving a very commanding view of the road. The beltline is not overly high and the C-pillars are also not ridiculously big, so there's good visibility in all directions. This counts a lot in everyday driving.
In any case, this car still has a lot going for it. The front seats are good; seat bottoms are easy to adjust for good thigh support, and the gathered leather is a nice luxurious touch. It will really be interesting to see what Honda does with the next-generation Accord, as they surely will have to respond to the resounding success of the Hyundai Sonata, which is stylish and loaded with equipment.
- Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor