I drove our '98 Accord EX for almost three years, and now my wife is happily driving it. It has been virtually trouble free and a capable performer - what you expect from a Honda.
1998 marked the last major redesign for the Accord (a new Accord is due in the fall of 2002), and while it's not distinctive, it's a good looking car.
The interior is well appointed with easy to use controls. Our's has leather seats and the faux wood treatment inside, which looks and feels very nice. The 6 speaker sound system is very solid. The seats are firm and comfortable.
Being a large guy (6'1", 300 pounds), I do find the front seat very cramped. The dashboard is pretty low, and my right knee is perpetually squashed, even with the seat all the way back. For an average size person, I don't think this would be a problem.
The rear seat is surprisingly roomy for a car this size.
This Accord was my mother's for about a year, and I regretfully convinced her to get the 4 cylinder version. She had leased a '95 V6 prior to this one, which seemed to have significantly more power. She ended up not liking this one as much and really wanted a van, so I took over the lease payments from her and wound up buying the car once the lease period was over.
It does get excellent gas mileage, and accelerates reasonably well. It is by no means "sporty" when it comes to power. I do love the way Accords handle - the steering is very precise and the anti-lock braking is superb. Even in bad winter weather conditions, the car performs extremely well.
The automatic 4-speed transmission offers a reasonably quiet and comfortable ride (not nearly as good as my '98 Lincoln Continental).
On the reliability front, it's a Honda! Besides regular maintanence, I've had one minor problem after 71,000 miles of driving. There was a valve sticking that caused the engine light to come on. I took it to a dealership who charged me $75 to run a full diagnostic check - they told me nothing was wrong. The engine light persisted and I took it to another dealership a few months later that told me a valve was sticking. It was a fairly minor problem that set me back less than $200.
The timing belt will be needing a change soon, which is a fairly expensive procedure ($400-$500).
Honda's tend to hold their value, so you can't go wrong purchasing or leasing a new one. Buying a used one can be a fairly expensive proposition. The sticker price of our '98 was originally around $22,500, and when the lease period was over, we purchased it for just over $14,000(actually a good deal and part of the original lease agreement). I recently purchased a 1998 Lincoln Continental, which originally sold for around $40,000, and also got it with less miles for $14,000. Both are good cars, and Honda certainly has a better track record for reliability in general, but I got a lot more bang for the buck with the Lincoln. These particular models are both rated favorably by Consumer Reports for reliability.
Overall, it has been an excellent and extremely reliable car. We'll have the car for at least 4 or 5 more years.
Amount Paid (US$):
1998Model and Options:
EX, leather, moonroof, CD player, premium sound system, wood trim