2008 Honda Accord
2008 Honda Accord. Click image to enlarge


Review and photos by Michael Clark

Photo Gallery: 2008 Honda Accord

Sniff! Mmmmmmm, I smell a new model; and maybe just a hint of fear.

Most of the Honda faithful are used to their regular Accord revamps, but few would expect the styling cues for Oh-Eight, which appears to be borrowing more from the brutish front ends of the Ridgeline truck and Pilot sport-ute. The Bimmer-inspired flanks have grown to almost 5-Series proportions. With the unpopular hybrid Accord on hiatus, Honda has joined the latest think for equipment checkmarks; an EX-L Navi optionfest with a four-cylinder mill. Honda thinks this combo is worth $33,980. Let’s find out what I think.


Cabin

Controls:

Like switches? This Honda has plenty, all of which are within easy reach, with the tactile finesse I’ve come to expect from the Big ‘H’. The driver’s side window pod features Auto Up/Down for both front windows.

2008 Honda Accord
2008 Honda Accord. Click image to enlarge

The floor-mount trunk-pop lever doubles as the fuel door release, with a keyed lock-out function. The Big ‘H’ continues to lead the pack, with their steering wheel-mounted controls for audio, cruise control, phone access, and voice prompts. Setting up the Bluetooth phone connectivity required a flip of the owner’s manual. I’m not too fond of having to press the ‘Call’ button to engage the various set-up features; give me a beep, and I’ll say something.

2008 Honda Accord
2008 Honda Accord. Click image to enlarge

Speaking of saying something, it’s advisable to give the owner’s manual a good read, to become familiar with the phrases accepted by the Honda brain. The audio system was downright annoying for channel selection, especially in satellite radio mode. It was actually easier to speak with the Honda brain to engage Channel Fred on XM, than to fidget with the dial. The Do-Everything dial in the centre of the technofest is a treat with the Navi destination settings. The Navi screen has excellent clarity, with varied colour themes, and a delightful female directional voice that I am currently searching for in my next ex-wife. Exterior power mirrors have switch-on heat, as well as breakaway collapse for tight parking spaces. Nighttime is the right time for ambient blue lighting, cascading down from the front courtesy light pod. The automatic shift really needs a gate; I consistently found myself revving down the highway in Drive3, which the shifter slops into quite easily. The steering column has both tilt and telescope functionality.

Convenience:

Your weekly dose of the Cubby Buddy returns. Door pockets are ample fore and aft, with enough space for most bottles.

2008 Honda Accord
2008 Honda Accord. Click image to enlarge

There’s a small non-door indent space to the left of the driver, which is most likely suited for coins. Directly below the 6-CD changer is a flip-up door, revealing a tiny garage with a removable rubber mat. There is a nearby 12-volt DC powerpoint, in front of the shifter, with a spring-loaded door that was somewhat annoying. An adjacent flip-up door is savvy for your Certs. The glove compartment is lockable, and of acceptable size. Front cupholders are a grave disappointment, with flimsy rubber tabs that have zero cinchability. At least their shame is hidden by a flip-open door. The centre console lid can be slid forward for additional armrest comfort. Flip it up, and you’ll find a removable tray, and the auxiliary jack for your MP3 player, with 12-volt powerpoint. The bottom of the console has a removable fibrous patch, natch.

2008 Honda Accord
2008 Honda Accord
2008 Honda Accord. Click image to enlarge

There are no HVAC vents on the rear of the console, which means rear occupants will have to make do with whatever flows from the ducts under the front seats. The rear seat has a centre fold-down armrest, revealing two cupholders with no cinch mechanism.

Seats:

Leather guts meet two-step heated butts for the front passengers, in the comfy confines of the EX-L. The driver’s seat has eight-way power adjustment, as well as a power lumbar support that borders on Medieval torture chamber. It literally felt as if a law enforcement-style steel-toed boot was being pressed into my lower spine, just like the time I ran the wrong way from the bush party into…well, I’ve said too much. The side bolsters of the front buckets are the standard by which all seats should be made. Rear headrests were a tad bulbous, competing a smidge with rear vision.

Fit and finish:

The only gaps here will be The Gap bags that eventually hit the trunk. Soft-touch plastics are used where expected, with the Hard-As-Rock textures used where they won’t annoy. Leather gets a “Like Buttah” score. Headliner is the preferred engineered fabric covering, sans fuzzballs.

Safety features:

Dual-stage, dual threshold front airbags are joined by front seat-mounted side airbags, with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System. Side curtain airbags fore and aft keep your noggin’ pillowy soft.


Spare/trunk/cargo

2008 Honda Accord
2008 Honda Accord. Click image to enlarge

The 60/40 split fold-down seat is not available in the new Accord. The narrow pass-through cavity is part of the problem, which means that the fold-down function is all or nothing. The seatback release is trunk-mounted for security. A locking pass-through behind the flip-down armrest can handle the extra-long and skinny in minimal quantities. The trunk is ample, as in 397 ample litres of cargo space. The trunk floor beneath the carpet is engineered wood, which flips up to reveal a space-saver spare tire, with tools contained in a Rattle-Be-Gone Styrofoam biscuit. Roadside assistance to change the rubber biscuit occurs for three years from date of purchase, with no mileage limit. The trunk is extremely well-lined: too well, especially for tail light bulb replacement. The trunk lid underbelly could still use a finisher.


Engine

2008 Honda Accord
2008 Honda Accord. Click image to enlarge

Under the prop rod-supported bonnet is the i-VTEC 2.4-litre dual-cammer, with 190 horsepower and 162 foot-pounds of torque at peak. It’s not too crowded in the engine bay, with good access to major components for future servicing. Fluid fill points are first rate, colour-coded, and not a bad lid angle in the bunch. Getting to the headlamp bulbs looks tres dealer.


Clarkey rating

While the new Accord is a fine assembly of the Big ‘H’ engineering know-how, I’m starting to wonder when Honda will start to exercise a little more think into their cabin comforts. It’s more of a Camry Shin-Kicker than a cold-blooded sales killer, with minimal innovation for the day-to-day drive. You can’t rest your laurels on a Navi, especially one without a back-up camera for almost 34 large. Three stars.

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