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Old 3rd March 2016, 09:35   #1
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Default Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

Hey guys

I moved to the US of A about a couple of months back. Now as anyone who visited this place would know, this is a land of endless freeways and pickup trucks the size (and aerodynamics) of small houses. And I moved to Texas, where everything is even bigger, and everyone on the road is fast and furious. The highway close to my house has a posted speed limit of 85 mph (136 kmph), which pretty much everyone ignores. So quite a change from Bangalore road conditions, to put it mildly.

I needed to buy a car pretty quickly, and was looking for a sporty yet comfortable option. I am a big fan of the europeans, and my car back home in Bangalore is a Fabia which I am very happy with. Plus my wife is a beginner driver and she needed to be comfortable with it.

I ended up test driving some 15 cars and SUVs within a week, from Audi and BMW to Hyundai and Mazda. Some used and some new. It was very confusing since most models seemed very similar in feel, and only the germans seemed to stand out to me. Finally went with a very left brain purchase - the Honda Accord. The old indian favourite. Went for new since the difference between old and used wasnít much. Went for an EXL which is almost top range and has keyless entry, sunroof, leather, memory driver seats, 6 speaker audio etc.

I thought I would share my initial impressions here as I couldnít find a full review on this forum for the latest shape Accord. I have driven for only about 1500 km now. So here it goes:

Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)-img_2704.jpg

What I like:
  • Powerful and refined engine (185 hp, 240 Nm). Great acceleration at any speed
  • Tight fit and finish, Japanese precision
  • Excellent NVH, engine and tire noise are very muted
  • Excellent driver's seat with power adjustments and memory
  • Spacious and comfortable back seats
  • Terrific visibility all around. Makes parking this big car a cinch
  • Accurate steering with decent feedback
  • Excellent high speed stability, ride and handling (130 kmph+)
  • Peace of mind of Honda brand (hopefully)
  • Good safety ratings, 6 airbags
  • Goodies all around - moonroof, leather, 2 large LCD screens including a 8 inch touchscreen, driver memory seats, keyless entry, heated seats, parking cam, Anroid Auto/Apple carplay etc.
What I donít like
  • Fussy styling, inside and outside. Honda has tried to be 'edgy' and failed
  • Interior parts not of the highest grade
  • CVT takes getting used to, plus no manual mode :(
  • Fuel economy not close to the claimed numbers
  • Android Auto still looks to be in beta phase

Driving Impressions

The first thing that strikes you when you get behind the wheel is the fabulous visibility all around. This is not one of those new age cars with coupe like styling. It's an old fashioned setup with fairly upright windows and thin pillars. The view upfront is fabulous and one can easily see the edge of the bonnet. Minimal blind spots make it very easy in junctions. Visibility all is great everywhere except for the rear, which is just about okay. The seats are very comfortable with power controls and memory settings.

Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)-img_2682.jpg

Acceleration off the line is just okay and not great, courtesy the CVT. However things become lively once the revs pick up. This car has great drivability, there's enough acceleration at any speed. Various magazines have tested the 0-60 mph time from 7.4 to 7.6 seconds. Engine refinement is excellent and the NVH levels are very low. One can easily cruise at 140+ kmph all day. Sadly the transmission does not have a manual mode. However there is an 'S' mode, where things perk up. This mode keeps the engine running at 2.5-3k rpm, which is close to the sweet spot for torque and power. A small nudge on the accelerator and the car sprints ahead. The car feels like a pit bull raring to go. This mode is good fun for short sprints, but does get tiring when driving long distances.

Handling and braking are predictable rather than remarkable. Again this is an almost 5 metre long 1500 kg family car with emphasis on comfort rather than performance. Steering is light but accurate, definitely one of the better electric steering wheels I have tried. It has decent feedback and you definitely know what the car is up to. There is some body roll at high speeds, but overall the handling is more than enough for American roads. It may not be as sharp as a spots sedan but would be better than most of its sedan peers.

Overall the car is a rally fantastic cruiser. At 100 kmph there is barely any road or engine noise. In fact I looked at some technical notes at Edmunds and Car and Driver and the measured noise is almost on par with luxury cars. In fact one of them tested this car to be as quiet as a Mercedes E and just 2-3 decibels off an S, at idle and cruising speeds. Wind noise is however a little pronounced, especially near the A pillars.

Ride quality is decent, again the roads here don't have the mad speed breakers and the post monsoon craters of Bangalore roads. So difficult to judge, the best I can say is that it's quite comfortable and not really harsh.

Interiors and Features

I opted for a car with light grey interiors. Personally I am not fan of black, I find it to be a claustrophobic colour and it's really difficult to keep clean. Plus it gets really hot in Texas and a car with black interiors will get burning hot. My car has the leather trim with heated front seats and also a moonroof.

Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)-img_2657.jpg

The car is spacious inside with good room all around. The seats are wide and comfortable and have good support. Power adjustments make it easy for the driver and passenger to get comfortable quickly. Interior quality is however uneven, with some of the interior plastic feeling cheap. The big difference between this and the Fabia is that while the Fabia's interiors looked old school, the quality was consistent throughout. The Accord looks modern, but the plastics don't have the same feel and 'weight'.

Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)-img_2660.jpg

Space is ample. I am 5' 11" but like to stretch out when driving, so have the driving position of someone who is a few inches taller. When sitting behind my seating position, I easily have 2-3 inches of legroom. The EXL has dual position memory seats which makes it really easy for two drivers to alternate. Support and padding is excellent. L

The car has not one, but two LCD screens. There is a touchscreen LCD closer to the gear lever and one more on top. Between them they show the music controls, backup camera, right side blind spot camera, phone/calls and navigation. It's a little confusing. The big tech feature is of course Android Auto/Apple Carplay which helps you pair your phone with the system. The touchscreen shows a simpler UI for your phone and shows phone, messaging, weather and navigation. However I am not too impressed with the implementation, the system is slow and laggy and simply refuses to work at times. This feels like a beta version and there is still a lot of work to be done.

Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)-img_2672.jpg

Other things

Parking is easy, thanks to the rear view camera and great visibility. It has 3 views - regular, wide angle and top down. However the turning circle is average. The car parks here are massive anyways, an S class can fit with a metre of space to spare! So fitting a 'mid' size like an Accord is not too challenging.

Fuel efficiency is so-so, I get about 25 mpg on city drives and 30 mpg on the highway. This is a bit disappointing since Honda's claimed numbers are 20% higher. The rental Sentra I had earlier used to do 30 city/40 highway on the same roads, and it wasn't much smaller. There's an Eco mode that dulls the acceleration, but don't think it has more than a 5-10% impact on efficiency. However thanks to a 17 gallon tank, range is excellent and one can do 400-500 miles between fills.

Styling: I hated it initially but it's starting to grow on me. Again it's subjective, a lot of people described the looks as 'sharp' and particularly liked the alloys. I guess I have got used to them now. One of the reasons why I chose grey is that it doesn't really emphasise the edges and lines, tones down the lines in my opinion.

Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)-img_2693-1.jpg

Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)-img_2698.jpg

Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)-img_2654.jpg

Audio system comes with 6 speakers, however the sound quality is just about okay. What's nice is the number of ways you can access music. You have options of FM/AM/Sirius Satellite Radio. There's a CD slot for your MP3 player. You can plug in your USB pen drives as well. Plus you can play the music on your phone. You can also stream through Spotify/G Play Music etc, though I haven't tried it yet.

Keyless entry is a boon, it unlocks the car when it senses the key within 10 feet. You start the engine with a button. If you get out of the car without the key, it refuses to lock. When you get out, you just press the black button and it's all locked.

Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)-img_2689.jpg

To sum up...

This is really a car designed to cruise comfortably all day at 130 kmph. You can cross continents with minimal fuss. It is no Ferrari, however it does put a few smiles on your face along the way. I would strongly recommend this car for the US market - the comfort, agility and cost of ownership make this a no brainer decision.

Would I recommend this car in India?

At the time of this writing, there are strong rumours that Honda will make it available soon. But I wouldn't buy because it would be a waste of its potential. Considering the average speeds in our cities, a Honda City would do 80% as much for a third of the price. The size and ground clearance would make it difficult to manoeuvre and park, atleast in Bangalore. Plus it would cost about 30+ lakhs, similar to the Camry and Superb, making it poor VFM.

Last edited by Aditya : 21st March 2016 at 08:08. Reason: Inserting attachment
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Old 21st March 2016, 09:47   #2
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Default Re: Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 21st March 2016, 11:41   #3
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Default Re: Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

thanks for posting this review. congratulations on your new car and move abroad. i have been waiting for this car in india but its estimated to cost 42 lacs for the hybrid model which is a waste. car looks lovely in grey. have fun and keep updating this thread.
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Old 21st March 2016, 12:22   #4
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Default Re: Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

Good review keeping the land where it is to be used "in mind". Accord has always been a great car even to the Indian buyers those who preferred good rear seat comfort.

Though what you have said has some merit that in India this may not be the best option yet I would dare not to compare City with Accord. For me Civic would be the choice as it has reasonable power, driver oriented, cockpit ahead of segment benchmarks and with good possibility of mods.

You are certainly stand to gain from operational expenditure compared to any German machine; Japanese engineering is bound to work in your favour. The CVT will further reduce the expense on transmission as the engine is never stressed due to endless possibilities of in-gear combination.

Congratulation on your purchase !

Last edited by i74js : 21st March 2016 at 12:24.
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Old 22nd March 2016, 01:51   #5
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Default Re: Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

I Drive a 2012 Accord in Kansas, US. I must say the Traffic is not like Texas, Its easy going here.

Accord is good, proven and all round package with good resale.
My Friends have Accord coupe 2.4 and 3.5 V6 which I think, we havn't seen yet in India. Coupes have more sportier feel and good handling .

The cars with 1.8 ltr engines like the Nissan Sentra that you have mentioned here or the Civic or Toyota Corolla, return efficiency of around 30 in city and 40+ in Highways. I have got chance to drive all these cars (Thanks to Friends and Colleagues), though it looks like on paper they have enough power but in realty on US highways they feel bit under powered to me.

Almost all the cars sold in US are okay doing 75 mph all day long and you feel its very relaxing inside, because of low NVH and really low habit of honking.
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Old 22nd March 2016, 04:44   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M00M View Post
thanks for posting this review. congratulations on your new car and move abroad. i have been waiting for this car in india but its estimated to cost 42 lacs for the hybrid model which is a waste. car looks lovely in grey. have fun and keep updating this thread.
Thanks! 42 lakhs is a *lot* of money, I think an A6 or 5 series would be a better option at just a few lakhs more. And honestly looking at the new Superb, I don't think the Accords and the Camrys are a match.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post
For me Civic would be the choice as it has reasonable power, driver oriented, cockpit ahead of segment benchmarks and with good possibility of mods.

You are certainly stand to gain from operational expenditure compared to any German machine; Japanese engineering is bound to work in your favour. The CVT will further reduce the expense on transmission as the engine is never stressed due to endless possibilities of in-gear combination.

Congratulation on your purchase !
Thank you! The 2016 Civic looks amazing, hope they bring it to India. It looks sharp, has a small turbo engine and is reputed to be fun to drive. I didn't try it because the seating position was very low, which my wife wasn't comfortable with. They should bring it to India, would be an enthusiast's favorite.

My decision for the Accord was tough because I was getting mint 3 yr old A4s and 328is for the same money. However this time went for the head over the heart. If I get a chance to buy a second car, would try going for a manual Beemer
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Old 22nd March 2016, 05:11   #7
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Default Re: Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

Congrats and Welcome to Texas The new Accord is an excellent car and is my favorite 'back-seat car' It feels like sitting in first class cabin after jumping into a friend's Accord from my Mustang. Happy miles ahead and do hit SH130!
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Old 22nd March 2016, 05:40   #8
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Congratulations! The car looks great! The first time I saw this car here in the US was at a gas station. I liked it so much, I was staring at it all the while it was there.

I really love its looks. Having driven both Japanese and American cars atleast for me the Japs are much more fun to drive.

-Bhargav
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Old 22nd March 2016, 08:53   #9
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Default Re: Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

Howdy? (in Texan parlance)

Many Congratulations on your new acquisition ! You're spot-on when you say Texas has everything is bigger and filled with super highways- sometimes I wonder would we get hit when we cross the road?
One thing I loved about my Texas trip(lived in Dallas for a month) was the visit to steakhouses and the weekly ritual trip to the North Park Center.

Be safe and keep munching miles.
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Old 22nd March 2016, 21:46   #10
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Originally Posted by theragingbull View Post
Congrats and Welcome to Texas The new Accord is an excellent car and is my favorite 'back-seat car' It feels like sitting in first class cabin after jumping into a friend's Accord from my Mustang. Happy miles ahead and do hit SH130!
Thanks buddy! Nice ride you have there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane_Power View Post
Congratulations! The car looks great! The first time I saw this car here in the US was at a gas station. I liked it so much, I was staring at it all the while it was there.

I really love its looks. Having driven both Japanese and American cars atleast for me the Japs are much more fun to drive.

-Bhargav
Thanks! Yes the Japs are any day better than the Yanks! I had a Ford Fiesta rental in the first week. The car was cramped, noisy and uncomfortable. Plus most of their dealers had horrible reviews, atleast here locally they seem to be focused more on the 'sub-prime' end of the market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobvarughese View Post
Howdy? (in Texan parlance)

Many Congratulations on your new acquisition ! You're spot-on when you say Texas has everything is bigger and filled with super highways- sometimes I wonder would we get hit when we cross the road?
One thing I loved about my Texas trip(lived in Dallas for a month) was the visit to steakhouses and the weekly ritual trip to the North Park Center.

Be safe and keep munching miles.
Thanks partner !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raja Rakesh View Post
I Drive a 2012 Accord in Kansas, US. I must say the Traffic is not like Texas, Its easy going here.

Accord is good, proven and all round package with good resale.
My Friends have Accord coupe 2.4 and 3.5 V6 which I think, we havn't seen yet in India. Coupes have more sportier feel and good handling .

The cars with 1.8 ltr engines like the Nissan Sentra that you have mentioned here or the Civic or Toyota Corolla, return efficiency of around 30 in city and 40+ in Highways. I have got chance to drive all these cars (Thanks to Friends and Colleagues), though it looks like on paper they have enough power but in realty on US highways they feel bit under powered to me.

Almost all the cars sold in US are okay doing 75 mph all day long and you feel its very relaxing inside, because of low NVH and really low habit of honking.
Yes Texas city traffic can be mad. There are a good number of helmetless bikers, cars turning abruptly without signaling, cars overtaking you from the wrong side etc. Downtown area has narrow streets and is full of honking, jaywalkers and cyclists. I don't even venture there with my car.

Driving long distance is like a video game though. Like you rightly said the absence of noise + cruise control helps you get anywhere with minimal stress. I went for the Accord because it was only about 20% more than the Corollas and Civics.
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Old 22nd March 2016, 21:52   #11
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Default Re: Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

Congrats on the car. It looks wonderful.

Is the Accord the best seller in the segment? Does it beat the Camry?

I quite like your comparison of the Accord and City. I guess it's safe to assume that Accord in USA has as much value as a City here. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

Quote:
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There are a good number of helmetless bikers, cars turning abruptly without signaling, cars overtaking you from the wrong side etc. Downtown area has narrow streets and is full of honking, jaywalkers and cyclists.
Surprising in USA. Where in Texas do you live?
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Old 24th March 2016, 14:40   #12
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Hey! Love the choice , always been a fan of the accords. Off topic, How is the Camaro scene in Texas? I believe the Camaro 1LT V6(?) is somewhere around 26k$? Would you call that an interesting proposition?
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Old 24th March 2016, 19:27   #13
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Default Re: Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

Congratulations on getting the new Accord !!!

Not sure how I missed your thread so far but hey better later than never.

As an ex 2008 Accord V6 EX-L owner this is an interesting review to read

Quote:
Originally Posted by guha_2001 View Post
Fuel efficiency is so-so, I get about 25 mpg on city drives and 30 mpg on the highway. This is a bit disappointing since Honda's claimed numbers are 20% higher. The rental Sentra I had earlier used to do 30 city/40 highway on the same roads, and it wasn't much smaller. There's an Eco mode that dulls the acceleration, but don't think it has more than a 5-10% impact on efficiency. However thanks to a 17 gallon tank, range is excellent and one can do 400-500 miles between fills.
As is the case with most cars, I would expect the mileage to improve after first or 2nd service, so please check with relevant Accord Forum, you might get a better understanding. In my personal experience the EPA numbers are always a little high unless you drive sedately.

Also Sentra is 1.8L engine hence better mileage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raja Rakesh View Post
Accord is good, proven and all round package with good resale.
My Friends have Accord coupe 2.4 and 3.5 V6 which I think, we havn't seen yet in India. Coupes have more sportier feel and good handling .
The Accord coupe is a very unique car sold only in North America, so chances of it making to India are next to none.
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Old 24th March 2016, 21:55   #14
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Default Re: Review: My 9th-gen Honda Accord EX-L (USA)

Quote:
Originally Posted by landcruiser123 View Post
Congrats on the car. It looks wonderful.

Is the Accord the best seller in the segment? Does it beat the Camry?

I quite like your comparison of the Accord and City. I guess it's safe to assume that Accord in USA has as much value as a City here. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

Surprising in USA. Where in Texas do you live?
Thanks! The Accord is one of the best sellers, but the Camry and Altima outsell it. The Camry happens to be the desi favorite, while the Accord is reputed to be more of an Asian/Chinese favorite Yes an Accord is like a City here, maybe more downmarket, would be like an Amaze in terms of affordability. Adjusted for PPP, 1 $ ~ Rs 23, so the Accord is like a 6 lakh car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by createrkid View Post
Hey! Love the choice , always been a fan of the accords. Off topic, How is the Camaro scene in Texas? I believe the Camaro 1LT V6(?) is somewhere around 26k$? Would you call that an interesting proposition?
Oh yes tons of 'pony' cars like Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers around. The entry would be about $25k, it would be amazing VFM, but would not be as polished as the Europeans or the Japs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
Congratulations on getting the new Accord !!!

Not sure how I missed your thread so far but hey better later than never.

As an ex 2008 Accord V6 EX-L owner this is an interesting review to read



As is the case with most cars, I would expect the mileage to improve after first or 2nd service, so please check with relevant Accord Forum, you might get a better understanding. In my personal experience the EPA numbers are always a little high unless you drive sedately.

Also Sentra is 1.8L engine hence better mileage.
Thanks buddy! It's always nicer to have a more efficient car with fewer trips to the pump. Would be nice if it improves, I am also learning to adapt my driving style.
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Old 24th March 2016, 23:58   #15
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How did I choose the Accord?

The budget I had in mind was about $ 18-22k, and was okay to stretch by a few thousands. I was initially looking at slightly used cars with <20k miles. My priorities were fun to drive aspect, comfort, interiors and safety features. I looked at sedans and SUVs primarily.

All vehicles I had purchased in the past had been instinctive purchases, I pretty much ended up deciding on the spur of the moment. This time I wanted to make a more Ďleftí brained decision, so used a spreadsheet to rank these cars and decide what was best. My wife luckily left the decision completely to me.

I tried these cars at used car dealers/new car dealers. Yelp and foursquare was very helpful to help me identify the better dealerships

Audi A4: Similar to the BMW 3 but more comfortable and grown up. Had the best interiors of all the cars I tried. But the car had a low seating position and a lot of blind spots. Plus the back seat was quite cramped.

BMW 328i: Dealer quoted $25k for a 3 yr model. Amazing agility and lovely steering, good quality leather interiors. Decent backseat. Was easily the standout car in my price range but primarily stayed away because of the high expected cost of ownership

BMW X1: The new shape that is similar to the X3, a colleague's car. Sharp looks, butter smooth engine and good interiors. But was way out of my budget at about $43k on road new

Honda CRV: A car that was rated highly by reviewers, but was underwhelming to me. The quality of fabric and plastics seemed to be worse than my Fabia. Handling was average. Lots of complaints from owners about quality and vibration. Went to the dealership to TD a CRV and ended up with an Accord

Honda Accord: test drove a used example initially, mostly positive but I had some concerns about road noise, ride quality and vibration at idle. Then drove the new 2016 model seemed to have updates that solved most of these issues.

Hyundai Tucson: Nice new SUV from Hyundai, ticks all the boxes. But the dealer experience was bad, was annoying to experience the infamous high pressure sales tactics. Decided to stay away

Hyundai Santa Fe: Comfortable SUV. But the power was lacking and it clearly wasnít a driverís car. And somehow the interior quality didnít seem to be on par with the price expected

Mazda CX5: Nice sporty SUV. But the dealership experience was just about okay, they made us wait almost an hour to TD the car. There were a lot of complaints about service locally

Nissan Sentra: was my rental car for 2 weeks. Amazing VFM considering that it could do 80% of the Accord for a much lower price (huge discounts on new cars). But not a sporty car and the Nissan CVT is just bad

Nissan Rogue: another comfortable SUV with high quality interiors. But hated the CVT, similar to the Sentra (below)

Infiniti Q50: I wasnít very familiar with the brand or the model. The dealer suggested I try it. Powerful V6 engine with great pickup. Itís obviously modeled after the 3 series, but doesnít have the same character or polish.

Toyota RAV4: only Toyota I tried, was more fun to drive than I expected. Pleasant car, didn't really stand out in any way

Overall my preference was 328i > A4 > Accord. But went with the Accord since I was a getting a brand new car for the same price as a 3 yr old 3 or A4. A used Accord didn't make sense since the depreciation wasn't much, and the '16 model clearly had major updates which made it a compelling proposition. I wanted the EX version which is mid range, but they didn't have the color combination I wanted. So went for the EXL since it was just $2k more after discounts. Overall the dealer was nice enough to offer a $3.5k discount off the MRP with no haggling.

One brand I didnít look at was VW, because of the emissions scandal and also the otherwise poor reputation in the US. VW here is built to a cost, and the quality is clearly a rung lower than Skoda/VW in India.

Some surprises that I had when evaluating these cars

- Similarity: Most cars sold here are very similar in terms of price, size, power and feel (within a segment). I guess the market is so competitive that a manufacturer cannot afford to fall behind on any parameter. Plus the power steering and auto transmission rob models of their uniqueness. In contrast to India where every car seems to have its own distinctive feel

- SUV Image: SUVs are primarily marketed at women. They are 'mommy' mobiles and considered more family friendly. In contrast to India where SUVs are seen as 'macho'. If you want an intimidating vehicle here, you drive a giant pickup such as a Ram 3500 or Ford F 350

- Strong resale values: Resale values are very strong across the board. Apparently this is because of the recession a few yrs back. Since fewer cars were bought then, there are fewer cars trading in the second hand market. But the market for used vehicles is huge, as car dealerships actively push them as they have fatter margins
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