Honda Accord LX Review

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

A forty-something friend once told me that I can’t have my cake and eat it too. I took it literally, as we were facing a well-stocked dessert table at the time. Though my 29-year-old metabolism burns off whatever sugar coated dish I cram into my mouth, I’ve had enough engineering education to understand the concept that two things cannot coexist in the same time – space continuum—at least until you get down to the sub atomic level. But then I found another loophole: a Honda Accord LX.

Mind you, the Accord’s design is about as exciting as waiting for dark matter to wander by. But for buyers who value stealth over spizzarkle, the Accord has the right angle stuff. The mid-sizer’s creases and curves adds to the model’s unassuming sleekosity; the latest taillight redesign and the rocker panel’s negative area reduce visual heft like a GQ magazine cover artist photochopping Kate Winslet’s stems.

The Accord’s front has a pronounced wedge shape, accentuated by elegant headlamps and a smartly integrated hood cutline. Aside from the discordant chrome moustache on the grille, the Accord is one of the best examples of understated automotive styling this side of an Aston Martin DB9. Of course, unlike David Brown's legacy, driving a Honda Accord is about as likely to get you noticed as wearing a red and white striped shirt at a “Where’s Waldo?” convention.

The Accord’s interior is equally non-descript, if well-lit, perfectly proportioned and faultlessly featured. Hence the reason Accord virgins invariably exclaim, “Gee it’s big in here!” (rather than using the word “nice”). While The Big 2.5’s defenders are quick to get out their measuring tapes and compare feature counts, to understand the Accord’s allure, they need to feel the love. The sedan’s precisely dampened switches, knobs and levers are more than a pleasant surprise. At this price point, they’re a miracle.

Activating the Accord’s turn signal stalk is like biting into a Lindt chocolate truffle. The glove box and lower dash storage binnacle doors open with all the graceful, elegant motion of a sunflower blooming in a time lapse movie. The Accord’s portal treatments combine rich cloth inserts, classy vinyl and integrated storage nooks, creating a segment high watermark. There’s space aplenty for kids and cargo, with the ideal amount of visibility for pampered back seat passengers.

Certainly the Accord’s plastic flash casting must be as nasty as anything in an Impala. Happy hunting; I didn’t find any. Yet perfection is (as always) elusive: the rear seat needs a higher butt cushion for long distance comfort. And then the Accord’s sensual snickery whispers “Pay no attention to the cost cutting behind that curtain.” And so you don’t.

The 2.4-liter engine is equally soothing– at least by four-banger standards. Depress the drive-by-wire throttle and the Accord revs both progressively and freely towards max power (166hp @ 5800rpm). The automatic box lacks the latest thing in transmissions (a sixth or seventh gear), but it swaps cogs with sufficient timing and speed (working with continuous variable valve timing) to keep lazy and sporting drivers in whatever torque the mill can muster (160 ft. lbs. @ 4000rpm).

The Accord LX is no neck snapper; it saunters from zero to 60mph in 8.1 seconds, and finishes the quarter mile in 16.6 seconds. At least you don’t pay for such, um, exuberance, at the pump; the ever-optimistic (at least ‘til later this year) feds report that the LX gets 24mpg about town, 34mpg on the open road. But with 3200 pounds in tow, the Accord’s four-cylinder is still the weakest link on the love train.

If and when you build up a head of steam, the LX’ driving dynamics are entirely entertaining. The pride of Marysville preserves any momentum you can carry into a corner and even lets you add more speed after the apex. The steering is nicely weighted, reasonably quick and linear. The stoppers operate better than the cheapie drum brakes (rear) and plastic wheel covers (15”) imply. And when Dr. Jekyll sublimates Mr. Hyde, the Accord gives a wonderfully compliant and isolating ride.

Strangely, you can’t order your four-pot Accord with stability/traction control, brake assist or electronic brake force distribution. The omission reflects a gaping hole in the Accord lineup: a mid-priced, lower output (circa 200hp) six-cylinder variant that splits the difference between value-priced sensibility and pricey pace. The Accord LX has excellent interior trimmings, big car real estate, pistonhead-approved handling and a comfortable ride, but it needs an effortless engine to match.

At $20k, the Honda Accord LX suffers against similarly priced, smoother-running V6 competitors from America (Ford Fusion) and South Korea (Hyundai Sonata). A mid-grade engine would keep the middle-class Accord ahead of the pack, while staying true to its understated style. The Ohio-built Japanese sedan would be, quite literally, the best of both worlds.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Atomic_cars Atomic_cars on Sep 16, 2007

    audimination I understand you're driving an RS4. I'd like to talk to you about it. I test-drove an S4 and while I tought it is a great car, handling felt a bit numb comparing to an 335i. I am very interested in the RS4 and would like to hear an owner talk about it. you can email me at nonesuchwhy at yahoo dot com. thks.

  • Rhinopolis Rhinopolis on Feb 09, 2008

    I bought my Accord Se manual brand new last July for $19,800. I run plus gas, synthetic oil, and I avg 31 mpg in Houston mixed city/hwy traffic. I'm gonna drive this thing as long as it runs!

  • Sobro Needs moar Roots.
  • RHD Questions? None, no, not really. Interested in some random Hyundai? No, not at all. Yawn.
  • Formula m Alfa-Romeo had the great idea to unveil my all time favourite car at the world expo in Montreal. Never built or Sold in North America. The called it the Alfa Romeo Montreal. Never even sold in North America.
  • RHD Nice little car. Give it comfortable seats, price it very competitively and leave the Alfa Romeo script on the grille. We need a smaller, cheaper electric car, and this could be just the thing to bring AR back. Heck, rebrand a variant as a Chrysler, so that potential buyers actually have something to look at in the showroom. Give it a nice long warranty. The wheels are great, hopefully the rest of it will follow through.