Honda’s dedication to the everyman’s driving machine is best emulated not in an NSX or even the upcoming Civic, but in the executive class Accord with the VTEC 3.0 liter V6.
The seventh-generation Honda Accord moves the Accord lineup to a new level of world-class style, sophistication and performance. I affectionately describe an Accord as that really cool and fun girl in high school that was always modest about how she dressed and conducted herself, was real smart but not at the top of the class, athletic but not an all-star, but very popular with everyone who knew her. The Accord is just like that, never boring, but consistent and dependable.
I drove a 1988 Honda Accord LXi in college and loved it. Sure the car wasn’t sporty or even luxurious but it still entertained me with its comfort, reliability, and determination to please. That modest Accord LXi may have had only 120hp @ 5,500rpm and 130lbs-ft. @ 4,250rpm but it never failed me. It always started with one flick of the wrist even on those cold winter mornings when you just wanted to curl up in bed (which I often did anyhow!) and stare at the fog outside the garden window. Except for two routine brake rotor and pad replacements, I had no mechanical failures at all up until the time I handed the car to my grandmother with over 160,000 miles (256,000 kilometers) on the odometer. She loved the car so much too that she reckons she would pick up another Accord when she moves back to Manila.
The LXi could cruise for hours safely at 110mph (176 km/h) which I did on a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles but eventually got busted doing 120mph (192 km/h) an hour from our destination by a highway patrol plane to add insult to injury! I did have a moonroof which didn’t leak and the motorized pop-up headlights which people thought would fail eventually also stood the test of time. I did get a couple of flat tires and some prick did try to steal my car once one evening when I went to watch a flick, but other that those insolated and inconsequential incidents the Honda Accord was rock solid.
So I do have a soft spot for an Accord, If the old car was great it’s reasonable to presume that the new one would be just simply fantastic. Tin Tin Reyes of Honda Philippines arranged for the grey Accord 3.0 liter V6 press unit for me. I could possibly be the very last guy in the motoring media to get the car which may displease a few people but I did have a different angle to the car in the first place, so I really didn’t mind having the ‘last say’.
The previous versions of the Accord all shared the same characteristics of reliability, comfort and value. The new sedan has been redesigned and reengineered to top the midsize class in all categories: engine performance, ride and handling , comfort and convenience features, safety , quality and refinement. The top of the model range Accord sedan comes with leather interior, a 5-speed automatic transmission, a moonroof , and the most important feature of all, a very sophisticated all aluminium sohc 24valve VTEC 240bhp V6 engine! The Accord’s all-new unibody design is 27 percent stiffer in torsional rigidity of the previous generation. Extensive use of high-tensile steel and advance engineering and manufacturing processes has also contributed to the Accord body’s increased strength and stiffness. This helps to improve Accord’s safetly, performance and handling. A new front sub-frame uses hydro-formed steel components. This system attaches to the body with special rubber ‘floating’ mounts that reduce noise and vibration from the engine and front suspension. It’s also design to slide the passenger compartment to deflect and better disperse crash forces in the event of frontal impact.
The 2005 Accord V6 now ha s a serious dynamic character lurking oh so stealthily like a ninja. Engineers modified the double-wishbone suspension to improve ride and handling-in particular to reduce fore-aft body motions under acceleration and deceleration and to provide flatter cornering, however the floatiness hasn’t dissappeared completely to better handle general driving activity. The suspension system has been biased toward comfort rather than sport which is appropriate. The chassis does definitely feel sportier than previous models and considerably more focused on the driving experience rather than biased to being driven in. The Accord V6 have a little more premium rubber than the previous models which is fine for the regular buyer but for the enthusiast, more aggressive damping and even more tire are needed to fully exploit the abilities of the outstanding engine. Switching to Bilstein or Koni shocks would do the trick and a 215/55ZR 16 tire on 16” x 7” wheels would also do nicely. The power rack-and-pinion steering also features new technology to provide more stability and reduced torque steer. There is still some torque steer but I find it more entertaining than an issue.
Braking has likewise been significantly enhanced, ABS with EBD are now standard equipment. They’re effective but again, better shocks and tires would transform this already fun car into a real driving tool. The interiors of the new Accords blend driver-oriented features with information-oriented technologies. Dramatically improved driver and passenger seats and more sport oriented driving position reflect the renewed effort that has gone into making the Accord the fun-to-drive standout in its class- whether you’re going cross-country or dodging taxis. Audio and climate control system have also been significantly upgraded. The V6 model provides separate temperature controls for the driver and front passenger. In addition to dual-stage front SRS airbags, side airbags are standard on the V6 model. The Honda Accord’s interior is smooth, firm and quiet. Not to many folks like the faux wood, it doesn’t bother me , I’m more concerned the fully integrated audio system ( which sounds and functions above average) and steering adjustability which are both top notch. The rear seats offer decent support, and the legroom is slightly better than the previous models but does give up an inch to the Toyota Camry which has more emphasis on passenger comfort. The Accord’s trunk is smaller than that of other mid-size sedans, but the flat trunk floor makes loading easy. In the Accord V6, it’s all about how it drives. Since this was a press unit, the car has definitely seen better days, I feel the obvious abuse, but it may be imperceptible to the regular driver. If at all the car has stood up very well after being driven by myriad of driving styles and conditions, a testament to Honda build quality. The Accord understeers moderately to heavy during very hard cornering, but you always feel secure and adjustments can be made very easily with changes to steering angle and drive-by-wire throttle. Acceleration was absolutely fantastic, 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds consistently is something to be proud of in a car costing less than P2 Million big ones. Shifting very close to where you want it to and it will allow safe redline gear holding as well without a ‘manual’function. This is one car that requires to be driven, do not bother buying the 3 liter variant if your driver be behind the wheel 60% of the time. This is an owner’s car. I have my traction and handling issues, which can be easily addressed, but the car was thoroughly fun and even quite exciting to drive up to an indicated 230 km/h top speed! Visually and for practical concerns. I wish the Accord has a low-beam HID projector headlight. Night vision could definitely be improved.
The Accord V6 is a very entertaining car that can keep you surprised and smilling for a very long time. You couldn’t possibly regret buying one for the money. Especially if your needs require space for a family of 5 with a good size trunk. Again, that engine is in itself reason alone, all else follows.