It may not look like a Porsche or Ferrari, but the Honda Accord sedan with a V-6 engine is all about power. And lots of it. You go Vroomgirl!
By Jeanne McDowell
THE BIG PICTURE
As sexy goes, the Honda Accord sedan is generally regarded as, well, more Steve Carrell than George Clooney, more Helen Mirren than Halle Berry. Comfortable, sensible, reliable, it’s America’s quintessential family roadster with enough safety to satisfy Grandma and a trunk that can hold as much Louis Vuitton luggage as you can afford to throw into it . . . or a couple of baby strollers.
But here’s the big surprise: With a V-6 engine, the Honda Accord morphs into something else, something this VroomGirl found irresistible — a superbly comfortable car with spacious interior, agile handling AND power. Even with a V-4 which, admittedly, tempers the vroom factor, the Accord can’t be beat in its class as THE best all-over family vehicle. There’s a reason why it has snared dozens of accolades and was named J.D. Power and Associates’ “Highest Ranked Midsize Car in Initial Quality” in their 2011 Initial Quality Study SM (IQS). But kick that engine up to a V-6, and you’ve got Steve Carrell on a case of Red Bull.
When it comes to safety — whether with a V-6 or 4 cylinder — the Honda Accord sedan is as good as it gets having earned a 5-star safety rating in each category based on the latest government standards. Standard front, front side and side curtain airbags help reduce the likelihood of injuries in a collision. The front side airbags have a large two-chamber design, and the front passenger’s side airbag uses the Occupant Position Detection System, which means it won’t be deployed if a child or smaller adult is out of position and in its path. Meanwhile, the active front head restraints help reduce the likelihood of whiplash injuries if you get slammed from the rear.
Other safety features worth noting include: Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), which keeps the car on course by sensing oversteer or understeer in an emergency situation, then adjusting brake pressure at each wheel and/or reducing engine power to help restore driver control and keep you on course, and a nifty tire pressure monitoring system that alerts the driver when tire pressure is too low (that said, never rely on it solely or in any car use it in lieu of an old-fashioned pressure check with a gauge).
With its spacious interior (technically it’s a mid-size but in actuality just a notch below full-size), comfy seats and abundance of cup holders, the Honda Accord sedan will comfortably transport a family of five across the country or a few miles down the highway. Seats are deep and well padded, and the back seat can easily adjust for a baby seat. I loaded three growing teenagers in the back and one alongside me in the passenger seat, and everybody grooved.
Speaking of grooving . . . the excellent audio system kept everyone quiet. A high-quality AM/FM radio and, even more fun, your iPod (or your kid’s) connects to a USB interface so you can control it without having to take your hands off the wheel.
L.A. (where I reside) is a car culture — sprawling freeways, rush hour traffic and an abundance of lousy drivers. But tooting along in the Honda Accord sedan down the 405 made dealing with anything — or anyone — easy. The car has enough heft (about 3,200 pounds give or take) to feel anchored and safe, which is essential for me, as I tend to be a timid driver and hate a slippery, loosey-goosey feeling at the wheel. Handling was excellent, and while the car is solid as a rock it behaves like a much smaller, leaner model and takes curves like a sports car (okay maybe not quite as agile as that Ferrari).
As for luxury and fun, there are plenty of both. A navigation system with voice recognition provides not only maps and information, but also the Zagat’s Guide. And the Hands FreeLink lets you make calls while driving.
OUR ONLY GRIPES
While the Honda Accord dashboard is cool — looks like the cockpit of a stealth fighter (or what I imagine a stealth fighter cockpit would look like) — it’s a bit overloaded with buttons and confusing symbols. If you glance down while driving, it can hold your gaze and you risk taking your eyes off the road. Recommend you study up beforehand and read your manual until you know it by heart.
Only other gripe is we wish the Honda elite had placed the steering wheel radio/music controls on the right-hand side rather than the left, as this VroomGirl is right handed (and assuming majority of drivers are).
It takes a day or two to get used to the V-6’s power if you’re accustomed to a smaller engine. But once you spend some time with it you adjust, and when the light turns green you don’t feel like you’re revving out of the gate at NASCAR. Then you can really appreciate the pure joy of having power and comfort.
Enough power to merge with confidence onto Highways
Spacious and plush interior
Less than stellar fuel economy