The mid-size Honda Accord
is the second-best-selling car in America, although it has a European flavor that gives it more spirit and makes it more fun to drive than the No. 1 Toyota Camry.
The highly refined Accord
once held the top sales spot in this country and wasn't too far behind the mid-size Camry for the first nine months of the year, with production of 277,529 cars.
also is offered as a noticeably different coupe, but the more practical sedan easily outsells the two-door coupe because it has much wider appeal as a four-door family car.
sedan is sold in many trim levels, and there's an upcoming low-volume hybrid gasoline-electric Accord
that's said to provide an Accord
V-6's acceleration and deliver an estimated 30 mpg in the city and 37 on highways. It reportedly will be pricey for an Accord
, at about $30,000.
gasoline sedans start as a $16,195 DX version with a four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission -- a combination that provides an estimated 26 mpg in the city and 34 on highways. The sedans end at $28,700 as the best-equipped EX version with a V-6, which provides 21 and 30.
The top EX V-6 arguably is a near-luxury car with such items as leather upholstery and a navigation system. However, Honda
reserves near-luxury and luxury status for models from its upscale Acura division.
The 2005 Accord
has added standard front side and side curtain air bags to the lower-level DX and mid-level LX versions. All get revised rear styling with a new taillight design.
sedan won't turn heads, but has a trim, upscale look and reassuringly solid feel.
Even the entry DX has anti-lock brakes, tilt-telescoping wheel, folding rear seat, AM/FM/CD sound system, intermittent wipers, rear defogger and power windows. But it has no standard power door locks, power mirrors or remote keyless entry, which are standard on models starting with the LX, which also has items such as air conditioning.
The higher the trim level, the more equipment you get. Honda
thus makes it enticing to move from the DX to the more profitable LX -- or to the equipment-loaded EX.
has no dramatic changes, outside of the hybrid Accord
. That's because the seventh-generation Accord
was redesigned for 2003, becoming longer, wider, taller, heavier and more powerful.
sedan can be had with a sophisticated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower or with a 3-liter, 240-horsepower V-6. Honda
is a firm believer in four-cylinder engines, which it thinks are adequate for the American market. The four-cylinder models provide decent performance. But the V-6 is smoother and a driver definitely can appreciate that engine's added power and torque when merging into fast traffic or passing on highways.
buyers opt for four-cylinder versions because the lowest-priced V-6 is an LX version that starts at $23,800 and comes only with a five-speed automatic transmission.
The majority of Accord
buyers opt for an automatic because it's been a long time since family models have been popular with stick shifts. The LX V-6 automatic is the top-selling V-6 Accord
To show how much an Accord
buyer can save with fewer cylinders, he can get the LX with the four-cylinder engine and a manual gearbox for $19,675 -- or with an automatic transmission for $20,475. The LX four-cylinder with the automatic has been the top-selling Accord
Large door handles make it easy to quickly enter the quiet interior, and there is plenty of room for four occupants, or for five in a pinch. Front seats provide good support in curves and during emergency maneuvers. There's nothing fancy about the brightly illuminated gauges or precise, nicely located controls. The car has plenty of storage areas and cupholders.
Steering is quick with a nice feel, and the turning radius is tight. Race-car-style firm double-wishbone front and rear suspensions shrug off road imperfections and help provide sharp handling. Larger tires and wider tires on EX V-6 models enhance handling and braking. Stopping distances are short, and the brake pedal has a positive action.
The large trunk has a low, wide opening, but the lid's sickle-shaped manual hinges eat a little into cargo space. The rear seat's backrest flips forward to enlarge the cargo area, but its one-piece design isn't as versatile as a split-folding rear seat. The pass-through area between the trunk and rear seat is moderately sized. Honda
always has been adventuresome and practical, which is why the Accord
is a sporty, roomy, efficient and carefully built sedan that is fun to drive.
2005 HONDA ACCORD SEDAN
User-friendly. Refined and practical. Fun to drive. Fast with V-6.
No standard V-6. Space-eating trunk lid hinges. Only a one-piece folding backrest.