EXPERT REVIEW

Mother Proof's view


I recently had the pleasure of buying a new suit. This was a chore not only because I haven’t done that since my working days, but also because I have no idea how trendy a suit should be, or how timeless. Can a suit be both? Is it possible? I wonder because I just test-drove the 2008 Honda Accord, and it feels like that suit, only in car form.

The Accord was redesigned for 2008, and I’ve not seen such anticipation for a new car in a long time. The Accord got quite a bit of attention when it was unveiled this past fall, and most people seemed to like it – though I heard some comments that it was too stylized and trendy. I disagree. I think it’s very contemporary, yet doesn’t abandon its roots. And it will still look good in 15 years (and you know that if you buy one you’re likely to have it that long). If you wear the same suit for 15 years, however, you should seriously consider updating your wardrobe.

Like a good suit, the Accord gives a very nice first impression. I could wear it, er, drive it to the grocery store, to a business meeting or even to the country club (if I belonged to one) and be neither pretentious nor sloppy. I would be sharp but not too bold, crisp but not fastidious, comfortable but not squishy. I would be perfectly presentable.

The Accord’s leather interior has a sophisticated, tailored look and feel, even though the seats are a bit hard. The newly designed interior is fresh, but instead of feeling frou-frou and over the top, like some couture designer, it still feels Accord-y and Honda-like. The controls are mostly all in the same place they were before (trust me, my father-in-law has a 1991 Accord). The first time I got in the car to drive I felt right at home.

The kids were content in the back. Legroom is abundant, and the space is comfortable. There’s an opening in the center of the backseat that goes into the trunk that the kids had fun putting their stuff into – it wore on me a little, but was otherwise fine. The trunk is large and can house anything your typical day might throw at you. The rear seats do fold down, through a lever found in the trunk.

A problem for me, though, was that the rear seats are so curvy and contoured that my kids’ boosters didn’t fit correctly back there. They wouldn’t rest flush against the seatback, so my kids’ bottoms got wedged between the seatback and the back of the booster. Also, the seat belt connector isn’t placed widely enough for it to stay clear of the booster. Any time the kids got into the car we had to readjust the seat and finagle the seat belt receptor out from under the booster, in effect wrapping the seat belt around the booster. That didn’t feel good at all, and was surprising to me in this car. Maybe the Accord could use some tailoring.

Lastly, this car has tons of standard safety features, but only a three-star side-impact rating for rear passengers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That means there’s an 11-20% chance of serious injury in an impact. That three-star rating is distressing, especially in conjunction with the booster seat problem. (I don’t even have a car/suit pun to lighten that statistic up.) On the bright side, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Accord Good – its highest rating – all around in crash tests. In fact, the Accord is an IIHS Top Safety Pick. Perhaps this discrepancy will be the subject of another column some other time, but in the name of keeping you well-informed … there it is.

If your kids are out of car seats and you want a sedan, there’s a good chance you’re already considering the Accord. As far as I can tell, if that’s your situation this car should fit you well for many years.

For more information on the Honda Accord and its safety features, visit Cars.com. With questions or comments regarding this review, write to editor@motherproof.com.

LET’S TALK NUMBERS

Latch Connectors: 2

Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT

Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair-Ample

Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair-Ample

SENSE AND STYLE

Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair-Great

Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Some

Specs

2008 Honda Accord EX-L

Base price: $28,060

Price as tested: $28,310

Engine: 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6

Fuel: 19/29 mpg

Length: 194.3″

Width: 72.7″

Step-in height: n/a

Turning radius: 18.8′

Cargo space: 14.0 cu. ft.

NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings

Frontal Impact

Driver’s side: 5 Stars

Passenger’s side: 5 Stars

Side Impact

Front occupant: 5 Stars

Rear occupant: 3 Stars

Rollover resistance: 5 Stars

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