Few vehicles over the past three decades have garnered as much respect in America as the Honda Accord. It hasn't achieved this by being sporty, glamorous or sexy. Instead, it has, for every year, offered what most Americans want out of their daily transportation. Take an Accord for a test-drive, and you'll find it comfortable, roomy, intelligently engineered and easy to drive. Research it, and you'll find it backed by a solid reputation for reliability, a strong resale value and an emphasis on safety.
2008 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Coupe Shown
It is true that competing sedans or coupes hold certain advantages over the Accord. Some are faster, others are more prestigious or less expensive. What's special about the Honda Accord, though, is its completeness. It scores well in all of the categories that people expect a family-oriented sedan or coupe to cover, not just a few. When examined from a holistic standpoint, it's easy to see why this Honda car has become an automotive icon and one of our editors' top recommendations.
Current Honda Accord
The Accord has been fully redesigned for the 2008 model year. This model is bigger than previous Accord models and boasts better engine performance without any loss of fuel efficiency. It's available as a midsize coupe or sedan and a variety of trim levels to suit almost any buyer's needs. Entry-level LX models have the basic necessities while top-line EX-L models feature items like leather upholstery and an optional navigation system. All models come with a fully array of safety equipment, including side curtain airbags and stability control.
As has been the case with the past few generations of the Accord, the newest eighth-generation model comes with either a four-cylinder or V6 engine. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 177 horsepower; an upgraded version of this engine makes 190 hp. For more power, a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V6 is available. The four-cylinder engine has a five-speed manual transmission as standard and a five-speed automatic as optional. The V6 typically comes with a five-speed automatic, though V6-equipped coupes are available with a six-speed manual.
In reviews, we've found the latest Honda Accord continues to excel as a family sedan or midsize coupe. The interior is very roomy and high in quality, though some might take issue with the car's multitude of buttons on the dash. As a response to some Accords of the past, the latest model is a bit sportier to drive. We wouldn't call the Accord a sport sedan exactly, but this newfound agility is a desirable addition to the usual Accord strengths of safety, reliability and comfort.
Past Honda Accords
Unlike most things from the '70s -- disco, green shag carpeting, ugly pants -- the Honda Accord has not succumbed to being kitsch retro. It debuted in 1976 and multiple generations of success have followed since. Shoppers interested in a used Accord will likely find many seventh-generation models on dealer lots.
This Accord was sold for the 2003 to 2007 model years. As with the current model, it was available as a midsize coupe or sedan. Selecting a used Accord from this generation should be rather straightforward. Initially, there were three trim levels: DX, LX and EX. The DX was pretty frugal with features, so the better choice will be the LX or EX. Side and side-curtain airbags were typically optional on all trim levels.
Under the hood was a 160-hp 2.4-liter inline-4 or a 240-hp, 3.0-liter V6 engine. Four-cylinder engines could be had with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual was available on the V6-powered EX Coupe.
In 2005, Honda introduced the Accord Hybrid. This model's V6 gasoline/electric powertrain produced 255 hp and, in theory, the best fuel economy of the lineup. In real-world use, however, the car's fuel economy was disappointing and people balked at its higher price. Very few Accord Hybrids were sold.
The most significant changes of this generation occurred in 2006 when the Accord received freshened exterior styling and more power for both engines. Stability control also debuted this year, as did minor modifications to trim level organization. In reviews at the time, we praised the car for its roomy and stylish interior, tight build quality, smooth ride and good crash test scores. Downsides included tepid handling and mediocre brakes. All said, however, this Accord was an excellent choice for a family sedan or midsize coupe.
The sixth-generation Honda Accord is also very popular in the used car market. Available from 1998-2002, this model came in coupe or sedan body styles and had either four-cylinder or V6 power. In a nine-car comparison test conducted by our Edmunds.com editors, this car finished in 2nd place. We noted that the car was not exactly entertaining to drive but was very user-friendly and competent in all areas. Buyers should feel relatively free to look at models throughout this generation as Honda didn't make any drastic changes, though cars built after 2000 have expanded safety features.
Accords built from 1994 to 1997 should make for a smart choice for those on a budget. This model boasted the typical Accord attributes and, as a used car, should provide better than average reliability, assuming it's been properly maintained by previous owners. This generation marked the first time that Honda used its VTEC variable valve timing system. A VTEC-equipped four-cylinder engine came with the EX trim level. Accord models from 1995 and upward also had a V6 available. This generation was also the last for the rare Accord wagon.
Consumers interested in an Honda Accord but limited to a smaller budget could also check out the fourth-generation Accord, which was available starting in 1990. As there is little price difference between these cars at this point, 1992 or '93 EX or SE models are probably your best choices.