Going into its eighth generation and 33rd year of production, the Honda Accord has once again failed to screw up. The 2008 Accord is all-new, all-excellent, and-at least at first glance-pretty much all-unexciting. Keep in mind those words 'at first glance'.
Most of what makes up the new Accord is familiar stuff. The basic structure is still a unibody (stiffer than before, of course), the suspension still consists of double wishbones up front and an independent multi-link system in the back, and it's still a front-driver-powered by either Honda's 2.4-liter K-Series i-VTEC four or a version of the corporate i-VTEC V6. You were expecting Honda to do something stupid?
There's nothing startling in how the new Accord's interior looks and works (clean, simple, perfectly logical and supremely comfortable), or how every surface and part seems to be of the highest quality. The standard vehicle stability control system and near-infinite number of airbags should be no shock, either. What's surprising is this: the new Accord will likely be the quickest and fastest Honda-branded car sold (and built) in the US.
While Honda will sell at least a few Accord LX sedans, powered by a 180bhp version of the 2.4-liter four, it will sell many more LX and EX sedans and coupes with a 200bhp version of the same engine. And the 24-valve V6 displaces a full 3.5 liters while slamming out an impressive 273bhp at 6000rpm. In the sedan, the fours are available with either five-speed automatic or manual transmissions, while the six comes solely with a five-cog slushbox.
For the coupe, whose styling was unabashedly previewed over the previous year at auto shows, a V6 and six-speed manual transmission option is also available. There's every reason to believe the six-speed, V6-powered 2008 Accord Coupe will prove to be quicker than the 237bhp S2000 sports car.
The new Accord drives great flat out, even in its dullest four-cylinder form-180bhp ain't too bad. The real treat, however, lies with the more powerful engines. The 200bhp four carries with it an active noise-canceling system, so it runs quiet while active motor mounts keep it running smooth. When it comes to commuting in an economical, pleasant and even entertaining way, this engine is pretty much untouchable. And the V6 version, particularly when lashed to the near-perfect, six-speed gearbox in the Coupe, is damned near a rocket, possibly becoming one of the world's great performance sleepers. It doesn't look quick, but it sure feels it. The suspension is sure-footed, precise and comfortable, and it comes wearing 235/45/18 tires on big alloy wheels.
Naturally the new Accord is good. But quick? That's a shocker. It should be on sale as you read this.