I also drove the Honda directly after a spell in the Sonata, and though it hardly falls on its face, neither is it better in any substantial way. Even the handling and the engine refinement -- areas where Hondas traditionally blow away the competition -- only equal the Sonata. In terms of in-car technology, Honda will need to do some serious upgrading, as what's available on the Sonata is as good or better than what one finds on most Acuras.
All this speaks a lot to the impressive strides made by Hyundai, but really, it's indicative of how far the entire segment has risen. Long gone are the days when the Accord played in a league of its own. Even traditional also-rans like Ford and Chevrolet offer serious competition. We'll learn a lot about where Honda is headed as a company by seeing how it responds to this challenge.
Having said all this, I'd hasten to add that the Accord remains high on my list of "no-brainer" car recommendations. Comfortable, good to drive, reliable, and popular on the resale market, it's the sort of car that no one will ever regret buying.
- David Zenlea, Assistant Editor