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Old 15th May 2008, 18:47   #1
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Default Tested & Ripped : 2008 Honda Accord

I just got back from Pearl Honda in Gurgaon after a solid 20 minute test drive of the new Honda Accord. I drove the Elegance AT which is the ‘base model’ (If you can call it that). There is a higher model available in the Inspire trim but essentially it is the Elegance plus a body kit comprising of Front Skirts / Rear Skirts / Side Skirts / Boot Lid Spoiler and a different grill. I do not see much value in this package over the Elegance (60K for a bodykit!) so I decided to check out the Elegance.

The car arrived in the dealership an hour prior to my arrival and had only 99kms on the odometer. The first thing that hits you is the size and presence! It is massive and I was afraid that it might be a handful to drive in crazy Gurgaon traffic but as I sat in the car – that all changed.

The driver’s seat is supremely comfortable and is electrically adjustable. Lumbar support is available as well. This is a very nice place to be. The next thing that surprises you is the phenomenal visibility. I can see the length of the hood and the visibility has an eerie resemblance to the OHC, one of the best driver’s cars available during its day. Even though the new Accord is a cab forward design, peripheral vision is not affected. No major blind spots and you also get a good view out the back despite the raised trunk.

I put the car in drive and take off. Compared to the old Accord it seems a lot livelier. There’s traffic but I have already hit 60 and hardly feel the perception of speed. Other than an occasional jaunt in a 5 series or Prado, this is the first time I am driving a relatively big car in India and I must say, I am instantly comfortable with this car. There are tractors and cows and rickshaws crossing hither and thither but I feel totally in control. The steering provides very good feedback. The suspension isolates most bumps and pot holes, and it is indeed a very comfortable ride.

There is a new mini-expressway that links Golf Course Road in Gurgaon to MG Road at the Sikanderpur Border – I am eager to try out the paddle shifter and make my way on to this relatively open and empty 8 lane highway – An added bonus of driving a car on this road is the potential to exploit curves and undulations. I put the car into sport mode and start flapping away! Boy, can she pull – In 3rd, hitting about 110 and she is hovering around the 3500rpm mark. There is very little lag when using the paddles as well. Even at this speed and taking the curves and humps, the new Accord is extremely composed. No Drama, No nothing – You know you can push her and she will eagerly respond but you don’t feel a need – very manageable power bands.

I drive back into the heart of MG road, and pull the car over. I ask the sales executive to drive as I check out the back seat. This is where the accord scores – Tons of leg room and a great feeling of space. The audio remote in the back is a nice touch but a little illogical if 3 people are sitting in the back (It’s built into the center arm rest). AC vents in the back are nice and really help with cooling. Its very quiet here too - Good job with NVH, Honda! The motor is a little intrusive but for folks like us, can this be a negative?

We get to the showroom and I want to play around with the central control unit in the dash - Here is the dissapointing part - there are no toys to appease the inner geek in all of us! All you can control is audio and climate control. There is nothing eciting here - no trip meter, no visual parking meter - very blah is all I have to say. I study the plastics and they are above average but not in Camry / Passat league. The main 2 tier dash with the soft plastics is nice and are of Civic quality but door locks / window switches are very mediocre ala SX4 almost. The wood / aluminum brushings and leather are of good quality - Can't complain here.

Overall, this is a brillaintly engineered car - Honda Global R&D has created a winner for sure. What is a let down is the little things that would make the ownership experience from great to outstanding!

Also you can see where certain components were retrofitted for the Indian market and were not thought through to the end.

Let me share 3 examples:
1) The steering has been designed to accomodate audio and cruise controls. You take this out and it sure looks like something is missing - I mean 9 and 3 look so bare.
2) The back audio remote - Nice Idea - Bad implementation - what happens when you have 3 people in the car!
3) The big color display avaialble in international markets have been swapped out for a thinner 1985 Casio Calculator LCD screen. To cover up the thinner dispaly, it looks like a plastic casing has been retrofitted and this looks shoddy.

Positives:
1) Comfortable Interiors - Very roomy and really cradles you.
2) Great Motor and Gear box - This is a honda afterall.
3) Astoundingly nice driving position and visibility for a car of this size
4) Some neat touches like USB input for Aux (I hope this is ipod compatible - Forgot to ask the sales guy).
5) Very nice steering feed back
6) Very Comfortable Ride - both front and back
7) Good Ingress / Egress - this will be appreciated by the demographic this car caters too. Not as low as OHC and Not as high as the SX4.
8) Smart Access to boot from rear seat - useful during long road trips when you want to get that back of Bingo! chips you threw in there.
9) Great Pricing! Very good value indeed, espescially compared to the competition.

Negatives:
1) No Projectos HLs - It looks like the headlamp cluster was created for xenons but we are back to regular bulbs here.
2) No Trip Computer - Are you serious Honda? We're touching almost 20L here and you leave these out!
3) No Steering wheel audio controls - Like I said before - It looks like something is missing
4) Screen with better UI - The two tone one looks really crappy - almost a similar effect to what the Captiva offers.
5) Better Alloys - The current ones are hideous
6) The rear bumper has been designed to house dual exhausts but the car has only one exhaust outlet so it looks funny
7) Colors! Black / White / Silver / Beige and thats it! Where is your imagination, Honda! Lets have a nice navy and some brighter colors as well.
8) Plastics are so-so for a car in this segment

Dealership:
I really liked Pearl Honda - Nice Showroom, well mannerd sales and support staff - Very attentive. The sales executive that accompanied me on the test drive was never intrusive - I think he figured out that I pretty much knew what I was doing and did not try and hard sell. I really appreciated that. Never pulled in any competitors and we generally stuck to small talk.

On Road Prices in Gurgaon:
Elegance MT: 17.38L
Inspire MT: 17.69L

Elegance AT: 18.32L
Inspire AT: 19.10L

Hope you guys liked the review. I am in think mode on whether to pull the trigger on this one or not.

Thanks,
vcash

Last edited by vcash : 15th May 2008 at 18:50.
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Old 15th May 2008, 19:54   #2
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Just saw two New 2008 Accords while coming back from office at the Greater Noida Expressway flyover. They were enterning Noida thru Sec 44. One curious thing I noticed was the number plates had red (or pinkish red) background with numbers in golden (so not temporary numbers)! Does anybody know what kind of a number plate/vehicle is that???

The car itself looked quite sexy and definitely had road presence.
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Old 15th May 2008, 20:38   #3
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Adding on to Vcash points .... this car is a E10 compliant with 6 SRS air bags ...
(not sure if other cars do in this segment)

Last edited by Mpower : 15th May 2008 at 21:10.
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Old 15th May 2008, 21:52   #4
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Nice writeup Vcash! Would you recommend the auto over the manual? The wheel base is much larger, so did you face any ground clearance problems - same / better than the Civic? Audio system quality?
Does it feel tough to park? Is the parking sensor just audio?

Last edited by rangaraj : 15th May 2008 at 21:55.
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Old 15th May 2008, 22:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rangaraj View Post
Nice writeup Vcash! Would you recommend the auto over the manual? The wheel base is much larger, so did you face any ground clearance problems - same / better than the Civic? Audio system quality?
Does it feel tough to park? Is the parking sensor just audio?
1) I cannot comment on the differences in the auto and manual as I never drove the 5 speed. There was an Inspire manual parked inside the showroom and slotting it around - the shift felt quite smooth. I think it comes down to personal preference as I cannot see Honda messing up either of the transmissions.

2) No ground clearence issues at all - I do not have the numbers but this felt higher than the Civic for sure. Since I drove the elegance - I did not have to worry about the body kit scraping anything.

3) Audio system was so so - I did not turn it up too much so cannot comment but it sounds like your average OEM system.

4) I did not parallel park or go into any tight spaces while parking so cannot park, but based on the all round excellent visibility, this should not be a problem. The parking sensors are audio based.
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Old 15th May 2008, 22:47   #6
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vcash, amazing TD review. You have me sold on the car. Now to go check it out. My 2 choices are 2.0L CR-V and the Accord. Was tilting towards the CR-V as it was more practical for city roads and a little more carefree to drive since smaller. Space is similar in both cars.

With your TD review regarding visibility and ease of driving my dad may just take a fancy to this.

And oh boy does it look amazing in black.
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Old 15th May 2008, 23:00   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joslicx View Post
One curious thing I noticed was the number plates had red (or pinkish red) background with numbers in golden (so not temporary numbers)! Does anybody know what kind of a number plate/vehicle is that???
Either Nepal or Bhutan has yellow on red plates IIRC.

Thanks for the nice review Vcash. Looks promising and the pricing is good.
Now, all I have to do is find a buyer for my Magnum.
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Old 16th May 2008, 01:15   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuvd View Post
Either Nepal or Bhutan has yellow on red plates IIRC.
Manufacturers are also allowed to paste Red/Yellow plates on their test cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shuvd View Post
Now, all I have to do is find a buyer for my Magnum.
5L ok price??
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Old 16th May 2008, 01:55   #9
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nice review vcash!

saw this one on a channel review. the first thought that came was if this was a redone OHC!
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Old 16th May 2008, 06:56   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vid6639 View Post
vcash, amazing TD review. You have me sold on the car. Now to go check it out. My 2 choices are 2.0L CR-V and the Accord. Was tilting towards the CR-V as it was more practical for city roads and a little more carefree to drive since smaller. Space is similar in both cars.

With your TD review regarding visibility and ease of driving my dad may just take a fancy to this.

And oh boy does it look amazing in black.
My same sentiments - was fed up of my baleno kissing its backside to every speed bump in bangalore and therefore was inclined to the CRV. Going today to have a look at the accord. Maybe we should poll who all in bangalore want to buy one and get a collective bulk discount! I am inclined to deciding between the two vehicles as i dont have time till August to see the next new crop of vehicles. The 2L difference between the 2.4CRV and the base model of the Accord is pushing me to the accord, which seems to have everything you want and add after market fittings if really needed at a cheaper price.

Last edited by rangaraj : 16th May 2008 at 06:58.
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Old 16th May 2008, 11:03   #11
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Great review, vcash! And a first for Team-BHP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vcash View Post
The first thing that hits you is the size and presence! It is massive and I was afraid that it might be a handful to drive in crazy Gurgaon traffic but as I sat in the car – that all changed.
Quote:
this is the first time I am driving a relatively big car in India and I must say, I am instantly comfortable with this car.
Indians will love the size, and the fact that it is easy to drive.

Quote:
The suspension isolates most bumps and pot holes, and it is indeed a very comfortable ride.
Is this for low speed or high or both? The previous Accord wasn't the best around town, but ride improved with speed.

Quote:
The big color display avaialble in international markets have been swapped out for a thinner 1985 Casio Calculator LCD screen. To cover up the thinner dispaly, it looks like a plastic casing has been retrofitted and this looks shoddy.
Quote:
2) No Trip Computer - Are you serious Honda?
Funny, shocking yet expected. Honda always manages to squeeze in a small disappointment or two.

Quote:
On Road Prices in Gurgaon:
Elegance MT: 17.38L
Inspire MT: 17.69L
This is the deal clincher. It is fantastically priced and sheer VFM. Add the 4 year warranty, cheap service costs and typically Honda reliability.....
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Old 16th May 2008, 12:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Is this for low speed or high or both? The previous Accord wasn't the best around town, but ride improved with speed.
I would say the ride quality is good at both low and high speeds. When we were stuck in traffic and I was in the rear bench - this was a very nice place to be. The only thing I could nitpick on is the recline of the back seat - 5* more and it would have been perfect - but I thing this would affect ergonomics inside plus most people might not like to slouch like I do.

High speeds - it felt very composed so again the ride quality was not affected at all. I did not drive at insane speeds so I cannot comment on how the ride quality would feel at 150+. But since this is a heavier car, I would assume that it would hunker down and provide comfort at those speeds as well.

I just noticed one more thing - In the Autocar preview from May, I see the Thai version has the multi control interface for audio / HVAC / Nav - This has been replaced in the Indian model with a FM tuner!!!
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Old 16th May 2008, 12:49   #13
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Very good review there V cash - First review of the new Accord here I think.

I had a look at this car But could not drive it. Even I thought the Screen looked very plain and they should have charged 10 - 20k extra and put the Colour thingie or whatever to make it look more modern / functional.
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Old 16th May 2008, 13:13   #14
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No Trip Meter!!!

So there will not be any DTE as well
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Old 16th May 2008, 13:24   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post
No Trip Meter!!!

So there will not be any DTE as well
There is a trip meter on the ODO - Distance A / B, etc. but there is no Trip computer so yes DTE is out as is elapsed time etc.
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