2008 Honda Accord EX

2008 Honda Accord EX

If you've grown weary of reading reviews in which automotive journalists wax endlessly about Honda's manual gearboxes, we sympathize, but we don't apologize. Once again, the Accord, which is all-new for 2008, has one of the sweetest-shifting manual transmissions on the market.

The new Chevrolet Malibu showed up the more expensive, automatic-equipped Accord EX-L V-6 in our annual All-Stars competition, but our drive in this four-cylinder EX sedan reminds us that the Ohio-built Accord is still one of the best in the segment. Sure, we wish that Honda offered individual options instead of just trim packages - for example, you can't get heated seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, or even a leather steering wheel without bumping up to the EX-L model for $2000. You'll never mistake this car for a real sport sedan, at least when it comes to handling, and it is decidedly dowdy compared with the stunning coupe version of the car.

But for just $23,695, you can get a nicely equipped sedan with a spacious and well-executed cabin and a smooth, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine that happily revs past 7000 rpm.

Honda's V-6 makes sense in the Accord coupe, but for this generation of Accord four-door, the less-expensive model is in many ways the most desirable. Get yourself a four-cylinder, stick-shift version of Honda's perennially popular sedan, and you, too, will bore family, friends, and neighbors with endless praise for your sweet-shifting Honda.

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