Pros: Well-thought details, a great mix of power & economy, unbeatable overall package
Cons: Exterior might not thrill some, mediocre stereo
I'm sure the title makes you wonder what I mean by a new Accord being cheaper than a used one. I will explain the significance of the title later in this review.
My father purchased a 2006 Accord EX-L sedan last year when one of the family's vehicles was totaled in an accident. Last month, I graduated from college and because I was to give the family-owned car to my brother (still a college student), I was in need of my own transportation.
I test drove the 2007 Toyota Camry, Mazda6, and Nissan Altima sedans. I was unimpressed by the first two and was strongly considering the latter. However, knowing Honda's excellent reliability and overall value, I focused on finding a reasonable Accord. I had driven my father's sedan numerous times and loved the overall appeal of the vehicle, from its sporty handling and peppy engine to its unbelievably-well executed interior.
While I have shared the same opinions of my father (both of us co-authored a review on the 2006 Accord on Epinions), I will leave my own opinions as well as a link to last year's review. The reason I can do this is that the car has not changed much since last year in anticipation for a complete redesign in the fall of 2007.
Exterior: While the styling is nothing to write home about, the rear end with its LED taillamps adds some flair to what was originally a very bland exterior. Then again, I test drove a pre-owned 2005 Accord during my search and instantly disliked the old rear-end from the 2003-2005 models. The color I ordered (Cool Blue Metallic) is very eye-pleasing and I have received numerous compliments. I was afraid that many of my young peers would ridicule me about buying a boring car but everyone to my surprise has said the complete opposite.
Performance: This is one of the primary factors that had me looking primarily at Accords. Hondas are known for great engines with great fuel economy. The four-cylinder engine never lacks power and the 5-speed manual transmission is set so that acceleration in top gear is no problem. I drove a stretch of mountainous freeway earlier this month and only had to downshift once going up a hill.
Fuel economy has varied (probably because the engine is still loosening up). Mileage has varied from about 20 (mainly suburban driving) to 33 (all highway, albeit very hilly) miles per gallon.
The handling of the vehicle is still quite sporty. I was able to take 60 MPH curves at 75 MPH on the freeway with barely any feeling of reaching the vehicle's limits. While it's not a Mustang, it is worlds better than the more subdued handling of the Camry sedan (even the sport edition).
My father complained that his 2006 model had very "grabby" brakes. I am happy to say that I have not found that problem on my 2007 model. The brakes do grab quite a bit if you brake suddenly but I would rather have that in the event of an emergency.
Interior: Because my father has had issues with the Accord's seats, I also opted for the leather model to take advantage of the power seat. The sport bolstering (especially along the sides) makes you feel as if you're in a sports car rather than a family sedan.
Every button is placed within reach but some buttons could be moved so that the driver doesn't have to stretch across the console. Thankfully, while the A/C buttons are scattered around the console (I still haven't memorized their placement and occasionally have to take my eyes off the road to look at them), having the same problem with the radio can be averted by using the steering wheel controls.
Speaking of the radio, I am a bit of an audiophile and am disappointed with the stereo. Although I have the top-of-the-line 4-cylinder model, I have the same 120-watt stereo as the lower-end models. The sound quality is sometimes mediocre (depending on the song) and the speakers crackle easily (even when the volume isn't that high). I am definitely considering replacing the speakers when I get a chance. I am also disappointed that Honda didn't add an MP3 jack during its 2006 mid-model change. While you can add an aftermarket kit, it is difficult to install. Hopefully Honda fixes this in the 2008 model.
The trim is high-quality and I really like the little LED light that shines on the console when the headlights are on. My only gripe is that the sunglass holder is too big, causing my sunglasses to flip around when I open or close the compartment.
The trunk is quite large and can easily fit 2-3 medium suitcases and have some room left over. However, I am disappointed that it is designed so that one cannot use both a cargo net and a trunk mat simultaneously (unlike other vehicles), so one risks either a dirty trunk or a bunch of small items sliding around unsecured.
Safety: As part of Honda's "Safety for Everyone" campaign, anti-lock brakes and side/curtain airbags are standard in all trim levels, even the base model. The only missing features, however, are traction control and stability control for the 4-cylinder models. You would think Honda, as a leader in safety, would have offered these standard well before the government issued its mandate for stability control.
Value: There is a Honda Accord for every taste and budget, with the base 4-cylinder models starting well under $20,000. At the same time, the basic models do not skimp on equipment and there are no options packages to have to sort through.
As the title suggests, I bought a 2007 EX-L sedan for less than the price of a pre-owned 2006 sedan of the same trim level. The reason is twofold. First, Honda's are known for exceptional resale value. This is good for the seller but also means that the price for a buyer will be a bit high. In my case, I was being quoted $22,000-$23,000 for several 2006 sedans. I knew I could get a new car for that same price. Second, because Honda is redesigning the Accord for the 2008 model year, Honda and its dealers want to get rid of the 2007 models and are a bit more willing to negotiate. In all, I paid $21,400 for my Honda, over $3,000 less than the vehicle's MSRP.
2008 Model: While Honda will not release the specs of the 2008 Accord until August, many spyshots and rumors have circulated online. I have to say that I am not a big fan of the styling, which is definitely less conservative than the 2007 model. At the same time, one can be sure that Honda will raise the bar on both power and features (I would expect the availability of an MP3 jack and Bluetooth hands-free calling on certain models).
If you are in the market for a new vehicle within the next few months, I think the great values on the current Accord well make up for the opportunity costs of waiting for a 2008 model. Besides, even with Honda, there is the chance of first-year bugs in a new model. If you're not an enthusiast or an innovator, or if you strongly favor proven reliability, buy now.
If you want more details on this generation Accord, you may read last year's review of the 2006 Accord.