THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Honda Accord EXL V-6 sedan.
DOWN THE ROAD: The Accord, which enjoys a 32-year history in the United States, has been totally redesigned. It is now more powerful and bigger than ever before. One could say it's probably the best Accord to hit the street. The ride, as always, is quick, nimble and fun on even the roughest of surfaces. Based on a unit-body construction, this redesigned midsize sedan will prove to be an even tougher competitor in its class.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.5-liter V-6 engine pumps 268 horsepower (from the previous 244 hp) at 6200 rpm and 248 pounds-feet of torque at 5000 rpm. It is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, which shifts gears smoothly and seamlessly. A double wishbone front and a multilink rear suspension ensure stability and cornering prowess. The variable power assist rack-and-pinion steering system conveys an exceptional on-center feel. In these days of rising gasoline prices, Accord buyers will appreciate the Variable Cylinder Management technology, which kicks in when the car is cruising on the highway or traveling at slow speeds. Essentially, the Accord then runs on three, four or all six cylinders, thus saving fuel but also keeping the extra power handy as needed. Grip from the all-season 17-inch tires is solid.
LOOK & FEEL: The bold front fascia shows off a six-point grille with chrome surround, which is flanked by projector-beam halogen headlights. Chrome-plated door handles give the Accord a distinctive look. And let's not forget that the car is now 3 inches longer overall, 1.1 inches wider, 0.9 inches taller, 2.4 inches more in wheelbase and gets a 1.1 and 1 inch boost in its front and rear track respectively. Total interior volume and passenger volume are each up by 3.3 cubic feet as is the center console, which holds 5.4 liters of storage space (previous from 5.2 liters). The cabin suggests more of a luxury car appearance than a regular sedan, with cushiony leather seats and a four-spoke leather steering wheel, eight-way power driver and four-way power passenger seats, dual-zone climate controls and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column.
SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain for both rows, vehicle stability assist, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights and three-point seat belts for all passengers. Honda's ACE Body Structure absorbs more energy in a frontal collision, thereby reducing the impact in a crash.
OUT THE DOOR: $30,260, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P225/50R17 all season; wheelbase, 110 inches; length, 194.1 inches; weight, 3,213 pounds; fuel capacity, 18.5 gallons; highway, 29 mpg; city, 19 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: The all-new Accord is a winner among midsize sedans, thanks to a spirited performance, muscular stance and a tasteful interior. Once you figure in the reliability and durability that comes with the purchase of a Honda, you will be hard-pressed to take a pass on this appealing sedan.