EXPERT REVIEW

chicagotribune.com's view

The moaning and groaning can stop-from consumers and the engine-because Honda put a V-6 in the Accord to rival the Toyota Camry and Mazda 626 V-6s, which account for 28 and 30 percent of their respective sales.

The V-6 is the 2.7-liter, 170-h.p., 24-valve unit offered in the Acura Legend before it went with a 3.2-liter, 210-h.p., 24-valve.

The V-6 is offered in the Accord LX and uplevel EX sedans. We tested the EXand our immediate suggestion is that Honda add a starter shutoff like Cadillachas on its Northstar V-8. The V-6 is so smooth, so whisper quiet, that some might not realize it’s running. With starter shutoff, if you turn the key whenthe engine is running, the starter disengages so you don’t get the grinding and squeal associated with the goof.

The EX sedan is very peppy with the V-6 and handled the Arizona mountains with ease. Like the Odyssey, the 4-speed automatic has grade level logic to reach the right gear up or down steep inclines. Noise? None. Vibration? None. Guts? Plenty. Nimble? You betcha.

The V-6 and automatic (no manual) is rated at 19 miles per gallon city/25 m.p.g. highway.

The V-6 sedan comes with dual air bags and ABS as standard as well as the static prone Michelin MVX4 15-inch, all-season radials. Honda said the tire formula has been changed so static buildup is gone.

The LX starts at $22,300, the EX at $24,950. Standard equipment includes power steering, power four-wheel disc brakes, power moonroof (EX), power mirrors, bodyside moldings (color keyed on EX), 5-m.p.h. impact bumpers, leather trimmed seats and steering wheel (EX), power seats (EX), cruise control, power windows and locks, AM/FM stereo with cassette, adjustable steering wheel, fold down rear seats, cupholders, illuminated vanity mirrors, rear window defroster and rear seat heat ducts.

The V-6 comes with a chrome grille, a slightly higher hood, V-6 badges in the grille and deck and a larger muffler.

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