Life With Accord: 12,000 Miles

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
life with accord 12 000 miles

Seven months after taking delivery of my 2014 Accord V6 6MT coupe in “Modern Steel”, we’ve finally hit the 12,000-mile mark. This might seem like a lot of mileage but it’s actually quite a bit less than it could be; I’ve put more than twelve thousand miles on rental cars in the same time period. What can I say — I’m an itinerant. Insert snarky comment about journalists who live in cities and don’t drive except on press trips here, and so on, and so forth.

It probably reduces the chances of you “clicking the jump” to say so right up front, but very little about my Accord experience has been surprising.

I’ve been measuring the Honda’s self-reported fuel mileage in 2,000-mile increments, and it’s steadily risen from an initial 23.8mpg to 26.9 in the last complete stint. Freeway driving below 80mph results in a self-reported average of 32.0 to 32.8mpg while running at 80-100mph returns about 28.5 over longer distances. The vast majority of this car’s life has been spent in a fifty-mile radius around my house, driving short trips and usually reporting about 23-25mpg during those trips. I use the “Eco” mode at all times, with the sole exception of when I’m on a racetrack and I remember to turn it off. Compared to a four-cylinder CVT, I’m losing five or six mpg as a consequence of choosing the big motor and the clutch pedals. And, as Lorde says, we’re fine with this.

Less fine with the royal “us” than the mileage: the abysmal floormats. When I was but a young sprog bullying my mother into buying a 1983 Civic 1500 “S”, it never occurred to us to ask for floormats. Everybody knew that they cost extra and that the price of the floormats was some mathematically improbable exponent of the true cost. Having already paid MSRP plus maybe ADP for your new Honda, it was particularly critical to escape the F&I office without accepting floormats, lest your payment double.

Well, that was then and ours is a far more enlightened age. In 2014 Honda rewards its higher-end customers with free floormats, and those floormats have the half-life of bohrium-262. What you see at the top of the article is an actual hole worn in the driver’s-side mat after just six months. TTAC readers who are reasonably familiar with my personal habits know that I am far more likely to wear actual leather-soled grownup long-wing shell-cordovan shoes than the average Honda buyer might be, but surely that is balanced out by the fact that I just as often drive in those stupid Vibram Five Fingers shoes or even barefoot, and that I’m a heavier-than-average user of cruise control.

Frankly, I’d have rather had the twelve bucks or whatever it cost to recycle some worn-out Dickies pants into these things removed from the sticker price, because these “free” floormats are more like “delaying actions” regarding floormats for which you’ll have to pay anyway. A few weeks ago I got more drunk than usual on a Tuesday evening and had an unusually vivid dream where I was standing in a parking lot and an aging but still attractive brunette pulled up in an SUV with Lexan rain guards mounted to the door frames.

“It’s time for you to buy new laser-measured FloorLiners(tm),” the woman told me.

“Csaba, should I do it?” I asked. And Csaba Csere appeared next to me and whispered,

I wouldn’t have let them buy thirty pages a month in the magazine if they weren’t the very best.” After a dream like that, I had no choice but to buy the MacNeil Products FloorLiners(tm). They fit as if they were laser-measured. This is the third car for which I’ve bought them and I expect they’ll be completely bulletproof as they’ve been in the past.

Alright, that was five paragraphs about floormats. What about the rest of the car? Well, this past week I used it to carry four people plus myself on the run from Road&Track‘s offices in Ann Arbor to the “Motown Mile” track at the Coleman Young Airport. It’s a forty-five-mile drive and believe it or not the Accord does just fine with three six-foot adults in the back seat for that trip. There are even cupholders for the outside passengers. Running the Accord around the Mile, I was reminded that this car possesses an exceptional match of power, weight, and dynamic capability.

There was a lot of offhand joking about how I was trying to insert the car into the comparison test so at one point I asked everyone, “Does anybody here think this car would finish last if we actually added it?” There was a lot of looking around at the fourteen cars we’d brought to the airport, and then a unanimous “NO.” With that said, one editor did refer to the Accord, dismissively, as “a front-wheel-drive Mustang.”

So far, there have been no quality problems with the car, nor has anything broken or fallen out of alignment. The brakes feel pretty soft as a consequence of modest track time and the driver’s seat feels like it might have a spring out of place — there’s a “click” at times when I sit down in it. I’ll have that looked at during the next service.

I finally got around to putting a bunch of Zaino not-quite-wax on the thing last week and I noticed that Honda’s inability to paint cars properly in the United States has yet to be completely addressed. After 12,000 miles, the Accord has more rock chip damage and wear on the front than any of my Volkswagens, BMWs, or Porsches had after three times that much distance. No orange in history has ever had as much orange peel as this Honda and where the paint has chipped off you can see just how thin it is. Oh well. My 1986 Jaguar Vanden Plas had brilliant and flawless lacquer that was approximately as thick as a trauma-plated bulletproof vest but it also failed to make it to 75,000 miles without requiring the replacement of every rubber part in the suspension and body. Choose your battles.

Although the price has been bumped a few hundred bucks for 2015, the Accord Coupe remains a fairly staggering value. What it loses to the ponycars and the Hyundai Genesis in driveline purity and high-speed maneuverability it takes back in space and ease of use. I’ve seen nothing so far to make me think I wouldn’t buy it again. This year, Honda’s gone totally wacky and added a fourth “color” to the available palette. So if you want people to know you have the new one, you’ll want “White Orchid Pearl” instead of the “Steel”, black, or red.

Out on the road, I’m often greeted by my Accord Coupe brethren by a discreet wave or a flicker of the brights — oh, who the hell am I kidding. The only way I could be more anonymous on the road would be by trading in for a blue CR-V. There’s absolutely nothing special about being seen behind the wheel of an Accord and not even I can lie to myself about it. Regardless, it continues to earn my recommendation.

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  • Felix Hoenikker Felix Hoenikker on Sep 17, 2014

    Jack, I'm a few days late to the party here, but just want to chime in. I took delivery of a white 2014 Accord sedan with the 4 banger and CVT in mid June. I now have over 4K miles on it in 95% highway driving. It is returning a self reported 36.4 mpg at 70 mph +/- 5 mph over the last 2K miles. Sticker says 36 mpg highway. So far no complaints except that the blue tooth will not pair with my One Touch Fierce smart phone. I am impressed by the combination of smooth handling and quiet. I found myself going 80 mph a few times without realizing it because of the lack of noise inside. The only part of the buying process that I didn't need was when the F&I guy spent a half hour trying to get me to buy a third party warranty. "But. don't you see the value in this?" he would say. I replied no I don't because I can afford to fix things when the car is our of warranty so I don't need to buy insurance (extended warranties) at high prices. It took three iterations before he realized that he was dealing with a hard case and just wasting his time.

    • Jack Baruth Jack Baruth on Sep 17, 2014

      That four-cylinder/CVT combo is easily the best fuel-efficiency in a midsizer period, I think!

  • Tyler Armstrong Tyler Armstrong on Sep 20, 2014

    Jack, given your passion for VW's and having only owned Honda's and Mazda's, would going for a VW GTI wield a huge difference in reliability and dealership treatment? Guess you could say I would love to have a VW, but it scares the crap out of me going from my safe and reliable 60k Mazda3 and 120k Civic. Thanks.

  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.
  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.
  • FreedMike They should throw in a Lordstown pickup with every purchase. Make it the “vapor twofer.”