I have been driving the 1998 Accord LX Sedan for five years. Purchased in 1998, drove it for about 70,000 miles and still driving. I would only sell it if I need an SUV or Minivan.
You might feel that my opinion stated in the few sentences above is biased being an owner of the car, but no. I would explain why.
I was looking for a good sedan car back in 1998, and it was new model year for both Toyota Camry and Honda Accord and hence were hotcakes back then. Pretty much the choice was between Toyota Camry and Honda Accord back then. I was in need of car badly and did not get a chance to compare other competitors like VW Passat or Ford Taurus. I test drove both Camry and Accord and ended up picking Accord over Camry. I did feel that I rushed a little, but after five years now, no regrets. I am happy that I made the right decision.
I have been driving it for five years, and I had to do regular oil changes, recommended service, change brake pads twice, change tires once and that's it. Even today, it feels like a brand new car. It has been exposed extreme high summer temperatures, was parked in about 9" of snow, was parked outside in negative temperatures regularly as required for regular use. I also drove it in all kinds of roads and all kinds of traffic conditions. But the drive is still like a brand new car. This should give an indication of how reliable and durable it it. To date, I have not even changed a lamp bulb on my car.
In last five years, I drove many competing cars like Camry, Taurus, Dodge Intrepid. No offense, but I still love my Accord over all of them. Reasons being many.
Ever watched an accord parked next to a Ford Taurus, Dodge Intrepid, Toyota Camry or a Chevy Malibu? Try to compare them from outside next time you get a chance. With the exception of Camry and Malibu which are almost same in size, other cars are huge from outside. Try hopping into any of them, Accord is the most spacious of all them in all the seats (driver, front passenger, rear passengers). There are many contests, but I still feel Accord is more spacious than Camry.
Try driving as many as you can and compare the drive with the Accord. I am more comfortable with the pickup in my Accord even though it is a four cylinder engine compared to 6 cylinder cars like Taurus or Intrepid.
Also, the braking. The brakes in other cars are over-smooth and it is hard to just slow down and not stop.
For the remaining part of the discussion I would limit the comparison to just Camry and not other cars.
Camry is the best selling car for most of the years in the past five years. But, Toyota has this huge sale towards the end of fiscal year trying to dispose off all those extra cars they have in stock. Honda rarely does this. Honda doesn't work as hard as Toyota to sell their cars. They sell themselves. Also, I never found a rental car agency renting an Accord. But, there are Camry's available everywhere for rental. Big number of those Camry sales must have been sold to Rental companies and not real consumers.
Four cylinder Accord is more powerful than four cylinder Camry (150 HP in Accord compared to 137 HP in Camry). Even after generating more power from a bigger engine, Accord's rated miles per gallon is more than Camry giving an indication of engine refinement in Accord.
Camry is oversmooth in acceleration and braking. The Camry's soft brakes sometimes give heart attack to drivers. When you brake in emergency to stop the car immediately, the brakes being soft, you don't get a feeling that the car is stopping even though the car is actually stopping.
I personally feel that Accord is more spacious than Camry, but the difference in minor. Both of them are equally comfortable.
Ground clearance of camry is terribly low making the base of the car hit the road even for the smallest speed bump. You have to literally stop the car before the speed bump to avoid this. This is not the case with Accord.
Driver Visibility is the best factor I love in my Accord. There are definitely blind spots in any car, but Accord gives by far the best visibility of the road around compared to Camry or any other competitor.
Standard 6 speaker sound in 1998 Accord LX is much better than the standard 4 speaker sound from 1998 Camry LE.
If you ever want a hint of sporty ride in your car, keep yourself away from Camry. Accord wins in this area. As a consequence, Accord is more louder than Camry in initial acceleration stages, but I can live with that.
You get a better feeling of the road and brakes in Accord. Camry is over-smooth and can become over-bouncy sometimes.
One of the very few drawbacks in Accord is ABS being limited to the top of the line EX models. I would say that any safety feature should be standard through out the model line and only luxary features should vary. Camry wins in this area with ABS being standard on all model line up.
I've experienced squeaks in very few instances while accelerating from complete stop especially during Winter. But, if you heat the engine for few seconds before engaging the gear, this wouldn't happen.
I also drove 1998 Nissan Altima and Maxima and both of them are not comparable to Accord. Altima is too small and Maxima is too big.
The resale value of Accord is just amazing. Used Accords are mostly sold over the blue book value.
As a final word, I would recommend Accord over any other family sedan to people who look for quality, durability, reliability and value for money.
Amount Paid (US$):
1998Model and Options:
LX 4 cylinder