Pros: Silky smooth shifter, refined VTEC engine, storage bins, good ergonomics, exacting body gaps, cold A/C.
Cons: Secretive recalls, highway wind noise, inaccurate gas gauge, below average stereo, flimsy exterior sheet metal.
I purchased my Accord brand new in late January of 2001 and now it has about 64,000 miles.
My 2001 Honda Accord is the EX version with the cloth interior, four doors, a 5 speed manual tranny and a 4 cylinder VTEC engine. The EX designates the higher trim model that includes goodies like a power sunroof, aluminum wheels, 4 wheel disc brakes, a sportier tight suspension, 2-way electric driver's seat, 6 disc in dash cd changer/stereo, integrated anti-theft alarm, variable lumbar supported seats, keyless entry, 150 horsepower 4 cylinder with VTEC, etc... I did not get the leather interior because at this price point the leather has a vinyl touch and feel to it and it would not breathe very well and be very uncomfortable in the cold winters and hot summers. (I am active and often get in my car with tennis or running shorts.) This vintage Accord was also offered as a DX version. The DX should be avoided at all costs since the 4 cylinder engine in this trim level does not have Honda's proprietary VTEC (VARIABLE VALVE TIMING) and is rated for only 135 horsepower.
In 2001 the 6 cyl Accord was only offered with the automatic. I like driving stick shifts so that is the main reason that I got the 4 cylinder; even though the 4 cylinder does not really have what I consider to be "adequate" acceleration at the lower end of the tach's RPM range. It is a trade-off and a matter of preference. Also, keep in mind that performance is always better with a stick shift - so much more so that most of my passengers believe that my car has the performance of a 6 cylinder. So what is "adequate" acceleration obviously depends on the individual.
This vehicle is by far my best car ever.
With some reservations, Honda has done many things right with this vehicle. They are as follows:
IT IS THE MOST RELIABLE CAR THAT I HAVE EVER OWNED.
When it was still under warranty it developed a problem with some steering wheel vibration when braking at highway speeds. The Honda dealer shaved a little bit of metal from the front disc brake rotors to fix this problem, and they told me that the runout in the rotors was slightly out of factory specs. The original factory rotors now have about 64k miles and the brakes are still very smooth.
Also while under warranty the car developed an engine idle variation problem during warm up. The dealer replaced the engine idler valve and also performed a recall in a steering wheel gizmo at the same time. (I never received a recall notice from Honda and was unaware of this recall, but more about this later.)
Both items where done by the dealer under warranty free of charge, and I did not have to write letters to anyone to approve any warranty work, nor did I have to speak with the owner of the dealership to get warranty work.
Recently, the front passenger door developed a buzzing sound whenever that door was slammed shut. It became more irritating when it started buzzing during highway driving over bumps. This type of automotive problem is in the set of what I call NS ("NON STANDARD") type of problems (rattles, squeaks and electrical problems are the others) that the shops would rather not even be bothered with because they can be a real dog to find and fix. These NS problems are the worst things that cars can do to torment their owners because they are very irritating and they really make it incumbent upon the owner to fix it himself.
I do not enjoy working on cars like I used to. Years back I would perform my own light mechanical and electrical repairs but then my tools where stolen and I have not made a full reinvestment in replacement tools. Also, I left the automotive diagnostics equipment industry in 1984 and I have not kept up with the engine emissions and electronics technologies so my skills are now dated. My new attitude with cars is that I would rather pay someone else to perform the routine maintenance (timing belts, brake jobs, etc...) and then drive and enjoy the car and get on with the rest of my life.
With a lot of apprehension I removed the interior door panel and set about fixing this buzz. I found that wedging two small wooden slats between the outer skin and the two pipe-style steel side-door guard beams fixed it. Now the door sounds very solid when it is slammed shut.
I also replaced a miniature incandescent light bulb that provides "backlight" for the digital clock. This clock light is on when the key is in the ignition - even when it is not needed during the day time. Since LEDs (LIGHT EMITTING DIODEs) last at least 10X longer than incandescent light bulbs then LEDs should have been the light source of choice for this application. Also, incandescent light bulbs tend to fade with age before they finally burn out.
The total cost in parts for both repairs was all of $3.95.
I did not enjoy messing with this door and clock - but if owning this car means me working on it and REALLY fixing the problem (so it does not come back to haunt me) at a cost of a few hours and a few bucks every three years then I can live with that. As long as the number of problems with this vehicle are reasonably low (and there WILL be problems in the future - this is true of all makes and models) then I will consider this vehicle to be a very good and reliable one to operate.
HONDA VTEC 4 CYLINDER 2.3 LITER ENGINE
It is absolutely thrilling to put this thing in second gear and then rip it all the way up to 6,000 RPMs. (This may appear to be abusive to the engine - and it may very well be abusive to other makes of engines - but not so with this Honda VTEC engine. This Honda power plant is like a highly refined and conditioned Olympic Athlete that yearns for this vigorous exercise.) At first it appears to be sluggish (due to the 4 cylinder engine's limited low-end torque). At about 2,800 RPMs (REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE) you start accelerating rapidly. When you get to 4000 RPMs the VTEC (VARIABLE VALVE TIMING) thing kicks in and the car responds with a little extra bit of energy and happiness. It continues to accelerate without any hesitation or drop off all the way up to 6,000 RPMs. (You will be right at about 60 MPH in second gear at this point, but I usually upshift from 2nd to either 3rd or 4th after about 5,000 RPMs, or 50 MPH.)
The silky smooth shifter action is exquisite. A precise accelerator pedal that has no "slop" to it also helps make shifting a dream. I can shift from any gear to another at any time with a precision that takes my breath away. I like to downshift from 5th gear to 3rd gear when I take the Interstate exit ramps. I can also shift from 2nd to 4th or 2nd to 5th or 3rd to 5th when I am accelerating up to speed on a highway. There is never a need to "double clutch." (That is when you depress the clutch, take it out of gear, put it in neutral, release the clutch, depress the clutch, put it in your gear, and then release the clutch.) Unfortunately, sloppy shifter action is what plagues so many other makers of cars. My previous car was a shifting nightmare. I can see why approximately 95% of all new vehicles sold in America are automatics. This manufacturing mediocrity of shifters is why so few people want one. It is a shame that most people have not driven a Honda with a stick shift. I believe that every licensed driver should try it with a Honda at least once in their busy lives.
I enjoy driving my car in the winding country roads of rural south central Kentucky on lazy Sunday afternoons. Driving these country roads with the constant precision shifting between third and fourth gears is never a chore and always a pleasure in this vehicle. No, it is not a luxury or performance sports sedan. But for the money it is a fun to drive 4 door sedan with the silky-smooth stick shift.
Other driving aspects of this vehicle lend themselves to a good driving experience. The power steering is not over-powered, and this is the way that I like it. (Some people may have a preference for so much power steering assist that there is no feedback to the driver.) You can brace yourself during hard, tight cornering with a foot rest for your left foot. The lighter weight of the 4 cyl engine (instead of the 6 cyl) over the front wheels provides more nimbler handling.
The ergonomics in this vehicle are not perfect, but they are very good. The stereo is very simple to use and it has big wheel type knobs that allow you to adjust the volume and the tuning with ease. The dashboard is not cluttered with bells and whistles. Most everything seems to have a proper place. The cruise control is conveniently located on the steering wheel and this feature is meaningful to me since I use it a lot, even in city driving. (It keeps me from getting speeding tickets.) The controls for the cruise are intuitive and can be worked without looking down at it. The cloth bucket seats are comfortable enough for me. The variable lumbar supports and 2-way electrical controls of the driver's seat (no electrical controls for the passenger) are useful for sustained driving trips of several hours. (In some cars you can get tired after only about 30 minutes of driving - like my previous car.)
The interior is not flimsy or cheap. For example, the moonroof has an inner liner that you manually open and close. When you are driving 65 MPH with the moonroof open this inner liner does not come flying off its tracks and smack you upside head, unlike my previous car. The interior also has a very nice (but not "luxury" or "premium") feel and look to it, and the fit and finish of all interior materials and panels is perfect. (My previous car was purchased brand new but in "kit form" since I had to do so much dismantling and reassembling of interior body panels to get everything to fit right.)
Storage pockets are everywhere and very handy. The 6 disc in dash CD changer does not compromise a storage pocket - you still have storage underneath this stereo set-up. (It does not have a navigation system.) All four doors have a storage pocket. All of these storage pockets are a real bonus because it helps me keep my interior looking uncluttered, and valuables like a radar detector can be put away within arm's reach but out of sight and therefore not inviting anybody to break my windows to steal them. There is a small trunk pass-through in the rear seat that is handy for my fishing rods. There is an overhead storage bin for a pair of sunglasses that swings down on viscously damped hinges. (So it does not just flop down.)
The center console was very cleverly designed. There is an indentation by the side of the stick shift on the center console - this allows you to keep a pen at this indentation handy without it flying all over the place. The storage console in the middle of the bucket seats is really two storage bins in one. It has a lid that opens but it also has bigger storage at the lower bin. The lower bin can very conveniently be accessed with the top lid still closed. The center console also has two cup holders that are hidden under a hinged door for a nice smooth and neat interior look when closed. The hinged door neatly swings out of the way and INTO the side of the console.
Two coin holders are provided. The coin holder inside the center console is not just a reservoir for mixed coins - it has individual columns for nickels, dimes, and quarters. The ladies will be pleased to know that a second coin holder also has individual coin columns and it is a "floating" coin holder so it can be stored in a purse. This "floating" coin holder also has spring loaded columns that always push the next coin up to the top for easy retrieval without any need for a hinged cover to keep the coins from falling off.
FIT AND FINISH
The fit and finish of the exterior body panels is not perfect, but almost perfect. All four doors, the two fenders, and the hood are flawlessly assembled into the car with exacting gaps all around. The trunk has been the only problem as far as gaps are concerned - the trunk is about 1/16" too far back. The doors have double-sealed weather stripping. I do get some whistling from the driver's door during highway driving but this is eliminated when I clean both the weather stripping and smooth metal with soap and water and then lubricate with a silicone spray.
Recently the trunk has not been closing at the first slam. I found that by grabbing the open trunk and twisting it clockwise with some arm muscle fixed it. Now it closes effortlessly, just like when the car was brand new.
AIR CONDITIONING AND ENGINE COOLING
The A/C (AIR CONDITIONING) and engine cooling works well. This subject deserves an in-depth explanation.
When you think about it - providing adequate cooling during a hot and humid summer day in stop and go traffic is very difficult because with low vehicle speeds you get very little air flow to cool down the radiator and condenser in the front of the vehicle and you get very low engine revolutions to work the two cooling accessories - the water pump and A/C compressor. The water pump is not turning very fast but it still has to move enough engine coolant to the radiator. The A/C compressor uses brute force to compress gasses into liquids in spite of reduced turning speeds. These three limitations at low vehicular speeds - reduced ram air at the front of the vehicle and reduced revolutions of the water pump and A/C compressor - is what makes it so difficult. A maker of cars can not go trigger happy with their cost cutting in these cooling systems - otherwise it will result in either what I call ETGC (ENGINE TEMPERATURE GAUGE CREEP), or IAC (INSUFFICIENT AIR CONDITIONING), or both.
I have driven new vehicles where ETGC and IAC are the norm. I was driving through Alabama on I-20 some years back in my previous car when I got caught in the Birmingham rush hour traffic during a very hot and humid summer day when I observed the ETG (ENGINE TEMPERATURE GAUGE) slowly creep up near the red zone. The only way to deal with this situation is to reduce the load on the engine and provide more cooling for the engine. I reduced the load on the engine by cutting off the A/C, and provided more cooling for the engine by running the heater at full blast. (The heater removes heat from the engine and puts it into the passenger compartment.) Is this any way to build and sell new cars?
Years before then I was driving new work service vans with V6 engines in the Texas heat that also exhibited ETGC for the one lousy minute that I was stopped at a red light. The radiators in those V6 vans where awfully small. Is this any way to build and sell new vans?
The thing that bothers me so much about vehicles that operate with ETGC is that you are always nervously and constantly watching that temperature gauge during very taxing hot and humid summer days in city or stop and go traffic. Honda has made the investment with adequately large and efficient A/C and cooling components so these thermal problems at slow speeds are not the same issues with the Accord like it is with other cars. I can run the air conditioner in 100 degree summer heat in traffic jams with so much confidence in my Accord that I do not even bother looking at the engine temperature gauge any more. I do not mind paying more for a particular brand (in this case Honda) if the product delivers peace of mind.
It bothers me when other makers of cars who have been at it for well over half a century (and should know better by now) are too dang cheap to give me adequate cooling in the summer. ETGC and IAC are two of the most irritating things to me and (from now on) one of my blue litmus tests of a new car purchase. (You get what you pay for.)
An anti-theft alarm system is integrated into the vehicle. It automatically activates when the car is locked, and a pulsing red LED (LIGHT EMITTING DIODE) by the front door is a convenient and quick indicator that your car is locked. In the event that a "properly cut" but wrong coded key blank is used the engine is disabled. Also, valet keys with limited access are provided. The valet keys will work in the ignition, but they will not unlock the trunk nor the trunk pass-through nor the glove box.
I have not been putting the pedal to the metal with the recent increase in gas prices. At my last three trips to the fueling station I pumped a total of 42.366 gallons of gas for 1398 miles of driving so my gas mileage (about 70% highway, 30% city driving) is 33.0 MPG, and that is purdy good for a family sedan. When I do put the pedal to the metal my mileage is about 25 to 27 MPG. (When the car had less than 30,000 miles I was getting about 22-24 "pedal to the metal" MPG - but I have no proof of this old mileage because I no longer have any of these old gas receipts with the odometer reading written on 'em.)
Over all there is a high feeling of refinement with this vehicle.
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My reservations about this vehicle are as follows:
Do not believe the "professional" car reviewers in web sites, newspapers and magazines who write that this vehicle is quiet. (I seriously question if these people even bother to drive the cars they review and simply resort to plagiarism.) You get the usual amount of windshield wind noise, and also wind noise from the rear view mirrors. The exhaust manifold in the EX trim level was designed for a sporty "exhaust note" and I wish Honda would put a stop to this. (I have to pump up the stereo volume during highway driving because of this "sporty" feature.) The seat squeaks during hard cornering. (I am about 185 lbs.) The factory Michelin (MXV4 PLUS ENERGY 195/65R15) tires are quiet in the city but noisy in the highway. I am now running on Falken ZE512's and these are quiet in the highway but noisy in the city. Can I listen to Beethoven's Pastorale symphony when I am driving on an interstate? No. Can I listen to inherently loud music like rock and roll when I am driving on an interstate? Yes. All of this interior noise is not a deafening roar, it's just that you are not paying for a Lexus and you are not getting a Lexus.
Under heavy acceleration sometimes you will get some torque steer in the steering wheel when the car wants to veer one way and you have to counter that with your own "cancelling" steering inputs. This really is not an "Accord" problem as such but more so a fact of life with all front wheel drive cars.
My car also has an inaccurate fuel gauge. It is very difficult trying to decide when it is time to buy gas because the gas gauge is non-linear in the last 1/8 of the indicated gas range. The car runs out of gas before the needle registers fully on the "E." This problem is further compounded by the fact that the last 1.5 gallons of gas is not accessible by the fuel pump. As a result of these two things the effective gas capacity is not 17.1 gallons (as published in the 2001 Honda Accord user's manual, page 326) but more like 14.5 gallons.
I have read in a Honda Accord bulletin board (EDMUNDS.COM) that this is a common complaint and one for which the Honda dealers can offer no fix for. Many other Accord owners wrote about running out of gas, and I recall running out of gas almost as soon as I got the car brand new. I believe Honda needs to give this serious attention because repeatedly running out of gas can be harmful to the fuel injectors. (HowStuffWorks.COM has a good article about fuel gauge systems that explains why it is so difficult for car manufacturers to get this right. Search keywords: fuel gauge.)
The car's speedometer has developed a small problem whereby the needle jumps up or down by one MPH with highway bumps at highway speeds. This does not bother me now but if it gets worse then I will want to fix it. Since the vehicle is now out of warranty I have done some of my own research to find out what it would take to replace these parts myself and in this process I was astonished to find out that the entire instrument cluster (of the V6 automatic accord) is a Ford product with a Ford part number!
NO TELESCOPIC STEERING WHEEL
There is no happy medium for the driver's seat adjustment. If you adjust for comfortable legs to the pedals then your arms are too short for the steering wheel. I have seen this described as a "car built for ape like creatures" in the EDMUNDS.COM Accord bulletin board. It bothers me but not a lot since I prolly have longer arms than most people my height. (I am 5' 10" and my wingspan measures 71 3/4".)
When I touch up the paint on the hood I notice that Honda puts an incredibly thin coat of paint on the sheet metal, and the sheet metal is so thin that you can easily leave your butt print on the hood if you try sitting on the car. I know that in this day and age all cars are painted and built this way, but with Honda the paint appears to be a fraction of the thickness of a piece of paper. (If you measure the thickness of paper with a dial gauge - as I have - you will know that a computer printer paper sheet is about .003" thick, or about three thousandths of an inch.)
The exterior sheet metal styling is kindas like a "plain Jane." My car's color is white, so it really does look like plain vanilla ice cream. There are so many of these plain vanilla Accords that I often find myself inadvertently trying to get into somebody else's white Accord in parking lots.
I understand why Honda does not try to improve on it's plain vanilla image, although I do not agree with it. Honda sold 398,000 Accords in the USA in 2003. As long as the Accord continues to sell as a very popular sedan in America (second only to the Toyota Camry sedan with 413,000 sales in 2003) then Honda will want to keep on keeping on with this wretchedly bland motif that does not offend anybody.
The headlamp dimmer switch sticks out of the steering wheel column. This is not the worst place to put this switch, but it is not the best either. My previous car had this switch on the floorboard, and I firmly believe that is where they belong where your left foot can click it in a matter of a fraction of a second. I know this sounds kindas anal retentive, but I really do not like having to fumble with my left hand trying to find this control when both of my hands belong on the steering wheel when I am negotiating a tight turn. Most times I just don't bother using high beams for this reason, and if that is the case then why even bother putting high beams on a car?
STEREO - FM RECEPTION MODE
The FM stereo lacks a STEREO/MONO switch, another very nice feature that I miss from my previous car. (Sometimes this switch is labeled as a LOCAL/DISTANCE switch, or LOC/DX.) If it had this switch it would allow you to listen to FM stations that are marginally too far away. I understand why Honda left this switch out as well as a multi-band equalizer - they are trying to create a clean, uncluttered look to their stereos, and they have achieved this look. But I vote for the addition of just one more switch. (The equalizer thing can continue to bite the dust as far as I am concerned - I never liked them to begin with.)
STEREO - FM SIBILANCE
There is also a sibilance problem with the FM reception whereby the "s" and "c" sounds sound like an extended "sh" sound. Sibilance is most often caused by multi-path reception of an FM station. (That is when the same signal from one FM station bounces off buildings and hills and then arrives at your antenna as several FM signals.) With my Honda Accord sibilance happens all of the time with all FM stations so the problem has to be the FM tuner. Eventually, you learn to adjust for that by simply tuning in music on the FM band and avoiding any verbal FM programming.
STEREO - AM RADIO
The frequency scan function works great on the AM band during the day, but at night when there are so many distant AM stations trying to get through then the scan does not work so well. It basically stops at every 10 Khz when you try to scan at night. This is another good reason for having the LOC/DX switch, since it would reduce the AM tuner's sensitivity and thus allow you to scan for the stronger local stations only.
STEREO - OTHER
The stereo volume control is not "continuously" variable - it is "step" variable. So if you try to adjust the stereo volume to a comfortable low level with soft music when the engine is not running - you can not do this. The volume is either too low or too high.
The stereo sound when playing CD's is good enough for the price, but could probably be improved somewhat if the factory rear 6" x 9" speakers are replaced with premium polypropylene units. (I am considering performing this upgrade.)
As previously mentioned, the always-on light source for the digital clock should be a LED (LIGHT EMITTING DIODE) since they are much longer lasting than incandescent light bulbs.
The placement of the center console is somewhat awkward in that it is too far back to comfortably open and get stuff out of it.
The door and window seals are so tight that sometimes it is hard to open a door as you struggle against a "vacuum." The double sealed weather stripping at the doors is just too good. Eventually you learn to leave one door window slightly open to avoid this vacuum.
Accord owners beware! Honda only recommends 5W-20 API oil at engine oil changes. Some shops don't even stock the 5W-20, so beware! Also - beware of shops that short change yah by 1/2 quart. The Honda EX Accord 4 cylinder engine holds 4 and 1/2 quarts, so it is up to you to keep these dang shops honest!
The engine is using about 1/2 quart of oil every 4,000 miles. This is not a hassle for me since the local Honda dealer puts in 5 quarts of 5W-20 oil during oil changes so I do not need to add any oil in between oil changes.
For some reason the Honda dealer in Nashville is the only place that can spin balance my tires properly. I have tried many of the shops in and around my home town in Kentucky, but none have been able to perform this simple maintenance routine to my satisfaction. I have been to a national chain of muffler shops and squeaky clean independently owned garages. I even paid a premium for a new fangled "radial force matching" with a Hunter GSP 9700 Vibration Control System machine, but I should have known that I was throwing my money out the window since this shop was about as filthy as a bombed out abandoned Cold War Titan II ICBM (INTER-CONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILE) silo site. I do not know if there is something quirky about the Honda wheels that maybe the Honda dealers are the only shops that have a special adapter or gizmo to do this. All I know is that I have to keep paying the higher dealer prices for spin balancing and rotation of the wheels.
NO RECALL NOTICES
Unlike all other vehicle manufacturers in America, Honda does not mail out recall notices to its customers. Honda customers find out about a recall when they either visit their dealership for routine service or need to get towed back to the dealer - which ever comes first. In this respect Honda is not exactly an exemplary corporate citizen of the 21st century. (Long after I traded out of my previous car I was still receiving recall notices in the mail for that vehicle.)
V6 AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS
Those shoppers who are considering the purchase of a Honda Accord with a V6 and an automatic transmission (or any other Honda product with this V6 drive train including the Honda Odyssey mini van, SUVs, and Acuras) need to do further research to determine if Honda's reliability with this V6's automatic transmission is acceptable to them. On the other hand, the Honda automatics coupled with 4 cylinder engines appear to be holding up remarkably well. For more information please go to the EDMUNDS.COM Town Hall bulletin board under "Forums" then "Honda" then "Accord" then "Honda Accord Quality Control Issues" and then perform a search under the "V6 transmission" keywords.
ACURA-CL.COM also has more information on these defective V6 transmissions. Under navigation please click on "ENTER THE COMMUNITY" and under the blue horizontal band labeled "ACURA CL DISCUSSION" look for "Second Generation CL" and under this sub-topic click on "Transmission Q&A".
AVAILABILITY OF MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS
The shoppers who have their hearts set on a Honda EX Accord product with their bolt-action manual shifters should be aware of how difficult it would be to locate this product. My best guess is that prolly less than 5% of all new Accords are sold with the stick shift. (The Honda dealer in Nashville, TN had to trade with a Honda dealer in Birmingham, AL to get me my 5 speed EX Accord; and the Honda dealer in my home town in Kentucky told me that the 5 speed EX Accords are so difficult to locate that they would not even be bothered with me.) I suspect that most of these used 5 speed Accord sales are going to family and friends, further reducing this rare vehicle's availability. These 5 speed Accords and (especially) Civics are also very highly sought after by kids who customize them with after market parts (nitrous oxide, reverse glow gauges, etc...) These kids have told me that they seek out these used Hondas because they are "indestructible."
I do not want to discourage anybody from driving a used Honda stick shift product - Honda Civics and (if you do not mind rowing through six gears) sporty Acuras are also available and prolly more ubiquitous with the manual transaxles than the manual Accords.
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Over all, this is a very good plain Jane sedan for the money. If you stick to the EX trim level with the stick shift then you will be rewarded with a very comfortable and fun to drive car. The engine is highly refined and is very rev happy. It's not any noisier than other sedans in this price range. The brakes are adequate and the front brake rotors do not warp every 11k miles, unlike my previous car. There is some body sway when negotiating tight turns but it is not excessive. Honda has done a good job of designing and building a car with cooling, braking, steering, suspension, exhaust, and ignition systems that work. (Honda needs to do some work on their fuel indicator systems and stereos, though.) After about 64k hard miles my Accord still has no squeaks or rattles. (Except for the driver's seat.)
When I wear this thing out I'll prolly just go back to the Honda dealer and get me 'nuther one IF Honda has fixed the fuel gauge problem AND improved their stereos AND changed their recall policy by then. Honda sells plenty of Accords every year in America (398,000 in 2003). The Accord's contribution to the Honda pre-tax bottom line is prolly in excess of $500 million since all of these Accords are sold with very little profit sapping rebates and cheap financing. (Honda customers pay more because they expect more.) Honda can afford to fix their fuel gauges and put a decent tuner in their radios. 'Nuff said.
My readers may have figured out by now that I am prolly more of a candidate for a sportier ELLSS (ENTRY LEVEL LUXURY SPORTS SEDAN) with a bigger engine and thus more performance. The problem with getting an ELLSS is that they all are made with a grade of interior leather that is not at all comfortable at this entry level price point. The other sour point is that most are not offered with a manual tranny, and the few that offer it (like the Acura TL) are equipped with a six speed manual transmission. Why six speeds? A formula 1 race car goes from zero to 250 MPH with six forward speeds, so why do I need to row through six gears if my maximum speed is 70 MPH? This is about as smart as putting 20 speeds in a kitchen blender. This is a case where marketing has gone berzerk at the expense of function.