Saturday, November 08, 2008

2009 Honda Accord

This week I've been driving a 2009 4 door Honda Accord. I have the base model four cylinder automatic which is well equipped with cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering, electric windows, and an excellent stereo. The stereo is a proprietary job, but that's not a problem because the sound and the controls are excellent. And the radio display is a large screen mounted high and far back on on the centre console where you can read it at a glance without refocusing your eyes from the road.

The air conditioning is powerful and the fan is quiet even at the highest of its multiple settings. I was surprised how quickly it could cool the interior without blowing cold air on me.

The rear window demister clears dew off the outside of the glass after a few minutes, but I miss having a rear wiper blade. I think all cars should have a rear wiper, not just hatchback cars.

The driver's seat is almost perfect. The seat cushion is long and provides adequate thigh support for my 6 foot frame. The side bolsters on the seat back held my upper body firmly in place around corners. The lumbar support was firm and pronounced.

Acceleration with the 4 cylinder and 4-speed automatic is strong enough around town and up to 50 mph. But don't expect it to sprint from 50 to 70 on the highway: The automatic will change down to D3, the rpm will jump by 2000, and there will be a strained engine sound from this otherwise refined car.

The suspension absorbs corrugations and potholes very well, but wallows over speed bumps. The spring rates are a bit soft, and the dampers and sway bars could be firmer. Having said that, this car can make reasonably good speed around corners. There's a lot of body roll, but the car doesn't understeer excessively. It almost feels sporty. It corners like my father's Hillman Hunter cornered.

The styling is a departure from previous Accords. It is somewhat BMWesque with a creased character line along the sides and those much copied BMW C-pillars. Which brings me to my main complaint: Visibility blind spots. The A-pillars are thick. The B-pillar blocks my offside vision. And those BMW-style C-pillars could hide a car on the nearside. If this was my regular car I'd stick convex mirrors onto the door mirrors.

In conclusion, I'd be happy to have the 2009 4-door Accord as my company car. But if it was my money I was spending I'd be looking for a used (get the depreciation discount) late model 3-Series BMW.


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