This review shouldn't be about an Accord at all. If you look at my username, it says Aleroluver. I have wanted an Oldsmobile Alero for their entire existence. I am in love with everything about the way those cars look and feel. However, Aleros are terribly unreliable and have numerous chronic problems... especially with interior features breaking readily. I read reviews and test drove about 15 of them. My test drives confirmed the horror stories of the reviews. I knew I wanted something reliable. Having owned a Camry and Corolla in the past, I looked at Toyota. I was seeking a car that was under 5000 dollars... I had saved cash, didn't want a payment. Was looking for something in the '99 model year range or somewhere close to it. Camrys of that era are still very expensive and quite bland to look at. I looked at Accords as well. Having only ever owned GM Jalopies from the eighties and the two previously mentioned Toyota products, Honda was very new to me.
The car that stumbled into my life was a purple 1999 Honda Accord. V6, Vtech engine, 2 door with spoiler, moon roof, climate control, leather, electric seat, CD player with audio controls in the steering wheel, cruise control, tilt, and of course remote keyless entry. All for 4500 dollars from the original owner who supposedly babied the car from the day it was born. I had to snap it up.
I bought it a week ago today and now I'm having a little buyers remorse. The car vibrates when I drive it. It did this during the test drive and assumed it to be tire balance/alignment issues. I took it to a shop today and they told me that I need two new CV axles. It will be almost 500 dollars to get fixed. This relationship is not starting out very well! I know I bought a used car, but who expects a drive train issue at 125,000 miles? My Corolla and Camry had over 300,000 miles on them and neither of them ever had a drive train issue. The transmission has also been rebuilt in this car. Are Honda transmissions so bad that they can barely last 100,000 miles before going out? Ive read that these problems are common with Accords and Oddessys of this era. My jalopies never had drive train or transmission issues. Those are jalopies from the early eighties... have been around double the life of this car and never had those serious problems (though they had plenty of others). The Toyotas never had any problems at all period!
Not only has the car had a serious mechanical issue at such a relatively low (maybe not low, but at least appropriate for the year it was made) mileage, but there are also some very HONDA things about this car that I simply can't stand.
At the top of my pet peeve list is the tilt steering mechanism. Unlike other auto makers, Honda does not use a simple pull toward you spring loaded mechanism. Instead, they use a big lever that one must push all the way down. Then one must raise or lower the steering wheel (it only raises or lowers (and the range is minimal), the angle does not change). It takes the strength of Hercules to manipulate that lever. I'm not a 97 year old lady... I'm a 24 year old guy... it should come easily to me. Once in position, the user must hold the steering wheel where he/she wants it and then firmly lift that inane lever up to lock it in place. It's a rather tedious and annoying process.
Second item on my pet peeve is the way the controls are engineered. The power window and mirror switches are not lighted. The cruise and audio control buttons in the steering wheel are not lighted (and the cheap writing on them rubs off). At night, one is lost in this car... you almost need to turn on the dome light (if you can find the switch, more about that later) to see the controls that you intend to manipulate. The moon roof buttons are on the left side of the driver by the blinker switch. Almost every other auto manufacturer puts them on the roof in the middle right in front of the window itself. It just makes sense! The wiper switch is atypical as well. It is on a lever that comes out of the right side of the steering column. Instead of lifting and lowering the lever to turn the wipers on and off, one must twist the end of it. I know its typical of Ford and GM to do that, but Im shocked at a Japanese brand doing this. Takes some getting used to and still isnt as quick or simple as the lever type. Also, it isnt as easy to tell what speed your wipers are on.
My least favorite thing about the controls in the Accord is the interior lights dimmer switch. I understand that Honda has to be different and unique to establish their own identity. However, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to apply here. Most cars have a knob on the left side of the driver for dimming the interior lights. Of course Honda couldn't do that because they chose to put the moon roof switches there! When you turn the dimmer all the way down on most cars, the lights go completely dark. All the way up, the dome and map lights come on. Enter the Honda Accord. The control knob itself is in the gauge cluster much where one would expect the trip reset button to be (it's there too). The user must reach THROUGH the steering wheel to turn the knob! All the way dim is still on... there is no way to completely darken the interior lights. This switch does not activate overhead lights. One must reach up to the ceiling of the car and fidget for the switch in the dark if they want the interior lights on!
The gearshift is also not designed very well. Silly enough, the gearshift lever IS indeed lighted. I don't know why, because there is no display window down by the lever like most cars have. The Accord has the display only on the dash, typical of most cars. But, why would they light the lever when there is no position indicator window? It doesn't make sense! It least it's leather wrapped with a metal button... gotta love that!
Fourth... the electric seat makes an awful noise. When I use the power recline switch to put the seat in the max upright position, when it comes to the end of the track instead of stopping, the motor makes an awful ratcheting sound and doesn't stop until I release the switch. Awful!
DOES IT EVEN HAVE POWER STEERING? The steering is very tight. I had a Pontiac Fiero that did not have power steering at all. This car very much reminds me of that one. I can tell that it has power steering, but the steering wheel isn't easy to turn at all. Not difficult, but not easy. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go drive ANY GM car with power steering and see the difference.
The Good? Well, there are a few redeeming qualities.
The V6 gives the car a lot of power (200 HP). The brakes are responsive. The headlights are bright. The engine is quiet. The gas tank door is on the driver's side. (However this car isnt very fuel efficient from what Ive noticed. When Ive had it longer, Ill update the review with specific MPG numbers).
I think the front of the car is very attractive. It reminds me of the Lexus ES 300. Actually, a lady at work had a 99 ES 300 and traded it in on a Caddilac CTS which she hates. When she sat in my Accord, she almost cried because it reminded her so much of her Lexus (aesthetically only). The "butt" of the coupe is rather ugly (too square) in my opinion.
Since I only bought the car a week ago today, I can't speak of anything that would require long term knowledge. You can be sure that this review will be updated as I continue my bittersweet relationship with my Accord. I wanted to fall in love with this car, I really did. Sadly, Ive not been able to. That will either change, or I will trade it in on a boring but reliable (and predictable) Camry.
Amount Paid (US$):
1999Model and Options: