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Old 2nd November 2012, 23:37   #1
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Default 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

The History

I came down to the US in Nov 2011. Within two weeks, I knew that life here was severely restricted without a car, especially in Charlotte, NC. Plus, I was having horrible withdrawal symptoms, having stayed away from my beloved Formosa (2010 FIAT Punto MJD) for so long. Since my budget was quite low that time ($ 5K), I went in for a decently maintained Toyota Corolla '99 CE that had 97K miles on the odometer. This was in Dec 2010.

Come Sep 2012, I was now married (Apr 2012). My needs were slightly different from those a few months ago. Plus, now I was a bit more concerned about my safety too. The Corolla had served me very nicely and reliably. I had already done a couple of long distance trips with her and she never faltered even once. However, the storm season had begun in NC and her ABS used to take random vacations. After a couple of close calls which I managed to get out by sheer dumb luck, I decided that an upgrade was in order.

The decision was sealed by an incident where I was coasting to a stop at a signal and suddenly, for no particular reason, the car started skidding. Tried releasing the brakes and then reapplying, pumping them etc., but to no avail. I skidded past the stop line when I decided to take the right turn so I wouldn't have to cross the traffic (I was already in the right lane). Did the manoeuvre quickly and was promptly stopped by a police cruiser. Luckily, the cop turned out be a kind older man who understood the situation when I explained it to him. He let me off with a kind warning. I turned and saw my wife's ashen face and decided that enough was enough.

The next day, I started looking through craigslist and dealer classifieds for good used cars. Went and test drove a few Camrys, Jettas, Altimas and the like, but nothing caught my fancy. The Camry seems to float around and the steering takes it's own sweet time to wake up and listen to your commands. The Altima's steering is marginally better, but the CVT it comes with immediately makes you cringe. Sadly, none of the Jettas I tested were well maintained and their engines somehow sounded and felt a tad bit coarse. Then, one day, I saw a white 2008 Honda Accord LX advertised for $12.5 K, 77K miles. The Carfax was also squeaky clean and it was a one owner car. I immediately scheduled an appointment and went to the dealer. The car had wear and tear that I had expected on a 4 year old, but it was otherwise pretty good. I took a test drive and immediately fell in love.

Now, a point here for the enthusiasts. Even I love a Euro car that's heavy and has a very responsive steering. I drive a Punto back home! But, maintaining a Euro car like a VW is very expensive here in the US. Plus, FIAT's best (Linea, Punto, Panda etc.) aren't available here. I hate American car interiors, anyway, so the only options for me were the Japs or Koreans. Personally, I will take Jap engineering over Korean any day. Sadly, very few people drive Subarus here, else that would have been my drive.

Anyway, back to the point. I struck a deal with the dealer and got a loan approved (mistake there, but I learnt from it!). The next day, I took Senren home!

Last edited by sumobom4 : 3rd November 2012 at 01:14.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 00:08   #2
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Default re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

The Car

Now for the description of the actual car. She is a base model 2008 Accord and she looks great in white livery (according to me, at least). The Accord underwent a major change in 2008. The front was made to look more aggressive and the back was completely redesigned. The car was also made much larger than the outgoing model. The result was a slightly fat but extremely spacious (inside) car that was pretty sprightly as far as mid sizers in the US go. Senren is amongst the first of that batch.

Now, the one good thing I love about the US market is that they take safety very seriously here. ABS, VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) and 6 airbags are standard on the Accord. It comes with a decent HONDA branded music system (CD, MP3, WMA only) that sounds pretty OK to my amateur ears. I think our beloved Sir Sam Kapasi must be cringing in his heavenly abode at my ICE stupidity! Anyway, I was happy that I got an aux port for free! I am yet to use that!

And the dash! Oh what a dash! Buttons everywhere. There's a button for every type of airflow, for all music system adjustments, even one for max AC which basically combines few of the other buttons. I like to play with so many buttons!

Since this is a base model, there's no Navigation and bluetooth. I have a very good Magellan GPS for the former and don't have much use for the latter, anyway. The previous owner (a hotel chain) had put on leatherette seat covers which do lend a premium feel that's only a tad below real leather. The interiors are of ivory colour, so the cabin feels very airy and spacious. A comfortable driving position is easily achieved as the seat does everything (manual controls for me) and the steering is tilting and telescoping. Dials are extremely clear and legible and everything is within an arm's reach.

There are plenty of cubbyholes everywhere to put your stuff. The centre arm rest is also at the correct height and lends a lot of comfort on long drives. The backs of the roof mounted sun visors have vanity mirrors for both sides with lights, the ignition keyhole is lit, there are courtesy puddle lamps for the front doors, the sunglasses holder has a damped opening mechanism, the glovebox is lit, there are 2 12V sockets, steering mounted controls are standard for stereo and cruise control, key cannot be removed from the ignition slot unless car is put into park, you cannot shift out of park without pressing the brake pedal, door locks automatically when you shift out of park. Small small things, really, but they make a world of difference.

I shall now let the pictures do the talking. I have tried to capture all angles. Hope they satisfy you all.
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Last edited by sumobom4 : 3rd November 2012 at 12:35. Reason: added more features
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Old 3rd November 2012, 00:56   #3
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Default re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

The Drive

Senren comes with a 2.4 L iVTEC inline 4 engine that produces a max power output of 177 hp @ 6500 rpm and max torque of 161 lb-ft @ 4300 rpm. As you can see from the figures, it is a very rev-happy engine and is always happy when you press the gas pedal, unlike a typical Euro. Transmission is a 5 speed auto that is much better than it's mid size contemporaries, in my opinion. It is slightly sluggish in first, but starts moving with renewed vigour second gear onward. It also has a nice airplane engine-like whine which kinda makes up for the lack of turbo whistle that I had grown accustomed to in my Punto. Gear changes are decently quick (unlike a Camry, which seems to have been designed to provide minimum shift shock at the cost of shift speed). When going downhill, if I keep my foot off the gas, the transmission realises what's going on and does not upshift until I press the gas pedal - something that I like. This is quite unlike my Corolla which used to upshift at the earliest opportunity.

It started off with a mileage of 17 mpg, but that has now settled down to 21-22 mpg. Maybe, the ECU got used to my driving style. Max mileage I have got is 27 mpg on a trip to the Smokies.

Braking is pretty good and gives good confidence. All 4 brakes being discs helps. Pedal feel is also the right mix of hard and pliant.

I am honestly not quite sure what suspension gizmo wizardry goes on underneath the car floor, but I do know that the ride is very comfortable, yet I do not get the floaty feeling I get in a Hyundai or a Scorpio (no offence intended towards owners of these). The car feels quite planted even on undulating roads and Honda's artificially weighted EPS does the job well. It definitely does not even come close to matching my Punto's nirvana steering, but I will take this over the Camry or Altima (supposedly a sporty car) any day! Too bad, Mazdas and Subarus aren't easily available in Charlotte. Cornering is what one would expect in a "sporty" big sedan - the tail has a tendency of wagging just a little bit but the VSA brings it back pronto! Body roll, though present, is very slight and controlled.

Noise suppression is also better than my Punto (big surprise there!) and you get a very relaxed feeling on long drives, even as a driver. The cruise control certainly helps to keep fatigue levels down. The backseat provides stupendous comfort. This one easily beats an Ambassador - the first one I've personally sat in so far, that does! If you are a back seat rider, this car's truly a luxo barge!

Last edited by sumobom4 : 3rd November 2012 at 01:18.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 01:03   #4
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Default re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

The Conclusion

So far, I have piled on some 700 miles in 2 months. I have loved every bit of the ownership so far and Senren keeps on putting a smile on my face every time I sit inside. I know that I have gone the way of countless NRIs and got myself a desimobile, but I liked the comfort and mature driving style and went with it. Maybe I am growing up!

One day, when I get a second car, I will try for a Beemer! Until then, every morning, it's Ohayou Gozaimasu, Senren!
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Old 3rd November 2012, 14:58   #5
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Default re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing the report.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 15:48   #6
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Default re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

Did you say 77k miles? The car looks as good as new. Frankly if you had not mentioned it was pre-owned, I would have easily believed it to be a new one.

It seems to have been very well maintained, both the exteriors as well as the interiors.

How much are the Fogs? Or is it integrated into the headlamps or something? Really feel she could use some fogs and alloys as well. But then the US is a different market altogether and what appeals here need not appeal so much over there.

Enjoy the ride. Am sure she would serve you well over the years.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 17:52   #7
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Thanks revinitup. Yeah. She was quite well maintained and hence I jumped at the deal. There are no fogs on the base model and sadly, even the bumpers are different which means no aftermarket fitment. I think the Jazz has a similar problem in India. Headlights have daytime running lamps but no fogs.

No alloys for the base version either but I might get those when I have to change the Tyres.

Last edited by sumobom4 : 3rd November 2012 at 17:55.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 19:35   #8
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Default re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

The car is in top order even after munching all those miles. White sorts of gives it a very regal look. The rear looks kinda different from the Indian version with the smaller tail lamps.
Congrats for the buy.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 19:48   #9
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Default re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

Thanks utopian. I think the Indian car's rear has a red reflector strip running along the upper part of the boot lid. Maybe that's why it looks different.

Here's a pic of the Indian Accord (I think).

Pic source: techwhack.com
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Last edited by sumobom4 : 3rd November 2012 at 19:53. Reason: Added Picture
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Old 3rd November 2012, 20:20   #10
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Default re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumobom4 View Post
Thanks utopian. I think the Indian car's rear has a red reflector strip running along the upper part of the boot lid. Maybe that's why it looks different.

Here's a pic of the Indian Accord (I think).

Pic source: techwhack.com
Yes that is the Indian Accord but that is not a reflector strip. It is a light actually. I am not sure what rear fog lamps are but it is operated using the same dial that turns on the front fogs. For quite a while, I used to get confused after switching on the front fog lamps and then turning the dial the other way. I would see another indicator come on, and wonder what it was. It was only recently that I decided to look at the rear with that switched on, and discovered that it actually is a light.

I will post a pic if you want.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 20:25   #11
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Originally Posted by swarnava.m View Post
Yes that is the Indian Accord but that is not a reflector strip. It is a light actually. I am not sure what rear fog lamps are but it is operated using the same dial that turns on the front fogs. For quite a while, I used to get confused after switching on the front fog lamps and then turning the dial the other way. I would see another indicator come on, and wonder what it was. It was only recently that I decided to look at the rear with that switched on, and discovered that it actually is a light.

I will post a pic if you want.
The rear fogs are higher intensity red lamps on the rear of the car. They are used to attract attention in low visibility situations like fog, rain or even on the freeway at night.

Thanks for the information, by the way. I never knew those were actually fog lamps!
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Old 5th November 2012, 14:28   #12
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Default Re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

Congrats sumobom, that's are very well maintained Accord you've got yourself. The car seemed to have aged very well. Doubt if anyone can make out the odo is south of 50k.

Hope she serves you well for an equivalent number of years.
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Old 5th November 2012, 14:56   #13
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Default Re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

Did i read 77k Miles on the ODO my my my i thought you bought a brand new one,you truly found a very well maintained vehicle,hats off to the previous owner very good car to own and driveablity enjoy the new beast and drive safe all the best

Ramie
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Old 5th November 2012, 19:54   #14
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Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
Congrats sumobom, that's are very well maintained Accord you've got yourself. The car seemed to have aged very well. Doubt if anyone can make out the odo is south of 50k.

Hope she serves you well for an equivalent number of years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramie2400 View Post
Did i read 77k Miles on the ODO my my my i thought you bought a brand new one,you truly found a very well maintained vehicle,hats off to the previous owner very good car to own and driveablity enjoy the new beast and drive safe all the best

Ramie
Thanks, arup.misra and ramie2400. Yes, the ODO actually reads 79K now. The previous owner was a chain of hotels which is why I got the car slightly cheaper than the usual price. Granted, usage was slightly higher than the average of 15K miles per year, but I felt that hotel chains take care of their cars and totally 17K miles more than average is hardly anything in the US. This one was tagged as a Commercial car. The other two classes here are Personal and Fleet (rentals). The latter is best avoided as they are handled by thousands of drivers and almost always redlined.
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Old 13th November 2013, 02:04   #15
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Default Re: 2008 Honda Accord : Senren, My Pre-Owned Japanese Aristocrat

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Originally Posted by sumobom4 View Post
The Car

Now for the description of the actual car. She is a base model 2008 Accord and she looks great in white livery (according to me, at least). The Accord underwent a major change in 2008. The front was made to look more aggressive and the back was completely redesigned. The car was also made much larger than the outgoing model. The result was a slightly fat but extremely spacious (inside) car that was pretty sprightly as far as mid sizers in the US go. Senren is amongst the first of that batch.
Somehow I skipped your thread & found it today while searching something.

I too bought a 2008 Accord in 2012 but mine is a V6 EX-L with Navigation. Mine is Gray (Polished Metal Metallic in Honda Speak) though I would have loved to pick Beige on White car but couldn't find one.

The after market seat covers look pretty good.

Interestingly your mileage figures are not different from what I get

I have made some minor mods/changes to the car. Will try to list all of them one of these days in an Ownership report which is long due
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