If you are in the market for 2009 hybrid vehicle, I strongly encourage you to look at the Honda Accord instead. The Accord EX-L outfitted with a 4 cylinder engine can achieve 30 MPG or greater and has a price almost 25% less than that of the Toyota Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid with comparable interior features.
I have been driving mine for a month now and still cannot believe that I almost paid so much money for a bare bones, non-plugin, poor handling hybrid. While looking at the Toyota Prius, the leather interior and the entertainment features of the Touring edition attracted me. The near $30,000 price tag and no haggle policy of Toyota dealers did not though. Eventually, I drive the Honda Accord EX-L and feel in love with the car right away. What caused me to turn my back on hybrid electric vehicles? Read on and discover how price, comfort and 30 MPG eventually swayed this electric vehicle devotee.
The Honda Accord EX-L has, in my opinion, a better interior than the 2009 Mercedes C300. The driver's seat is an 8 way power seat with lumbar support. Standing over 6' 4", there are not many car seats that can fit my frame. Within two minutes of adjustment, I was able to actually fit in the seat and lay my head on the head rest something that I have only been able to do in one other car my entire life. To increase the comfort, the car has two way heated seats to make those cold winter mornings a joy. The steering wheel, door armrest and center console are leather lined in addition to the seats.
Most importantly, a dual-zone automatic climate control system with air filtration removes any odors drifting in from the road or smog laden traffic. The heat comes on quickly in this car. On a 27F morning with ice all over the car I hopped in flicked the seat heater on and after two minutes of driving the climate system was delivering precious heat throughout the car. The heated mirrors and windows helped keep my windows ice free during the January 2009 cold spell here in Southwest Louisiana as well. In addition to all the comforts of the car, Honda has filled the car with numerous air bags to increase your safety in the event of an accident.
The back seat in the Honda Accord sedan is very spacious. On a recent shopping trip I was able to fit a Philips 42PFL3603D 42" LCD HD Television
in the back seat with no problem.Sound System
First and foremost the key to a good car stereo is good acoustics in your car. You want no shakes or rattles while hitting bumps. Additionally, make sure the car does not pick up the sounds of air rushing by and cars passing by while on the interstate. Driving the Honda Accord on the interstate is a quieter experience than the Toyota Prius and Ford Mustang. The speakers must be placed in optimal locations to drive the sound to you and not the ceiling or floor. Most cars, like the 2009 Ford Mustang have speakers mounted at your feet or in odd places like the center of the dashboard as a mid range speaker. Honda placed a pair of tweeters on the door angled towards the driver and passenger to ensure that you hear every note. All of these design features mean that that car has an advantage over many cars on the market. In the EX-L version of the 2009 Accord the car comes with a 270 watt AM/FM/6 CD/MP3/ XM Satellite radio system. The system is so powerful that I often crack the rear window to allow the bass pressure to escape while listening to Metallica's Reload CD.
Engine and Performance
The 2.4L engine in the EX-L has a higher RPM range and more horsepower than the base model 2.4L Accord. You can really ramp up the little engine if you are moving around traffic on the interstate. While entering I-10 in Lake Charles, LA, I often put the transmission in D3 mode and slam on the accelerator. The car will not throw you back in the seat but it will pick up enough speed to get you into almost any heavy traffic. The engine can be distinctly heard during these occasions as well. Above 5,000 RPM, the little 2.4L produces that distinctive Honda, 10.5 compression ratio, 16 valve whine. I love it because the sound is a clean hum that sounds nothing like a badly engineered, American, 4 cylinder engine. While doing this, I use my Scan Guage II to monitor the instant MPG read out. The car has yet to drop below 8.5 MPG during these speed freak interstate runs.
My maximum speed so far is 95 MPH. Yes, you can punch the throttle and do 100 MPH if you wanted to but it is just not as exciting because the interior noise level does not really increase as much as you would think it to. Instead, the only indicator that the car is moving faster are the trees and stunned drivers around you.
The car handles very well. I am able to take winding interstate ramps at high speeds with little sway. The ability to do this is important if you want to maintain a higher MPG with each tank of gas because you will not have to accelerate out of the turns. Steering is very precise at high speeds and the car has enough turning radius to do a U-turn in two 1/2 lanes. The comfortable, padded seats, automatic transmission and tuned suspension all combine to make for a very pleasurable experience while driving long distance.
The 2009 Honda Accord 2.4L engine is certified as an ULEV or Ultra Low Emission Vehicle. A ULEV is a vehicle that emits extremely low levels of air pollutants when compared to other vehicles on the market today. Low and ultra low emission vehicles may also be given tax advantages if eligible in your area so be sure to look for them in your state's tax code. For comparison electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are classified as ZEV or zero emission vehicles.
You can find this car outfitted with two other engine types: a reduced RPM 2.4L and a V6 engine. The V6 engine features multi-displacement technology to save gas while cruising. The performance of the V6 is impressive but driving in congested traffic will cause your gas mileage to drop immensely. Expect 20 MPG or less while driving in the city with the V6 engine.
The redesign of the Honda Accord, released in 2008, was done not only to get European looks into their flagship model but also to streamline the heavy four door car for more efficiency. The hood of the car is slightly concaved. While driving in the rain this forces the water to come from the center bottom of the windshield and sweeping out to the edges. The rear window has such a long slope that dew tends to rest on it in the mornings. Not only does this increase interior room but it also helps move air over the car while driving.
You will be pleasantly surprised with the fuel economy of this car. The aerodynamics, 17 gallon tank and 2.4L engine combine to make a fuel sipping beast that has turned my visit to the gas station into a once every three weeks experience. After owning a Jeep TJ, I am just not used to this! If you are willing to tweak your car, miles per gallon numbers as high as 40 on the highway are possible. To get these numbers I simply increased the tire pressure to 37 PSI. The increased tire pressure still does not trip the VSA system. My Scan Guage II device reads the engine's ODBII data and tells me my fuel mileage. The only problem is that the car must not be idle in traffic for an extended period of time. If it does the MPG drops quickly.
The following is a complete list of my fill ups and mileage since purchasing the car:
1/12/2009, 371.5 Miles, 15.203 gallons, 24.43 MPG
1/19/2009, 362.7 Miles, 14.079 gallons, 25.76 MPG
I drive this car to work in moderately heavy traffic and cross the I-210 bridge in Lake Charles everyday. You can visit the following link to see the latest MPG numbers for the car. http://www.gassavers.org/garage/view/2452
Buying American in 2009 for mileage, affordability and comfort is not an option. My last five vehicles were all American and I feel I have paid my dues to society. While the 2009 Honda Accord 2.4L is not a hybrid killer it still does a tremendous job of sipping gas at a 35 MPG clip on the highway. The aerodynamics, stiff gas pedal and limited resistance drive train all combine to help meet these mileage numbers. On the other hand, the leather interior and high fidelity sound system make even the 2009 Toyota Prius cry with envy. Finally, the highest trade-in value on the market was enough to convince me that this was my car to drive until auto makers worldwide made a reliable, low cost, plug-in vehicle.
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2009Model and Options: