Mother Proof's view

If I’d rated the Honda Accord based on my first impression alone, I’d have given it a 10 – or at least a 9. After more than a week of driving it, I’m really reaching to try and give it a 7.

I enjoyed the space in this car, including all its cubbies and compartments. When I first got in, it felt like Christmas – I was opening this door and that and finding lots of convenient nooks and crannies for my myriad mommy things. There was a spot for the sunglasses, the phone, the coffee and even for my purse (you know this never happens). The trunk space was amazing: You literally have to peer into it to see the whole thing. However, as the whole getting-to-know-you phase ended, so did my admiration for the Accord.

When it was time to pick up my son from school, I noticed right away that the Accord had a high-pitched whining sound to it – it almost sounded electric. As faint as it was, it was there. I also noticed another sound at higher speeds: You know that horrible pounding noise some cars make when only one window is open, or the sound you hear when you’re driving with a flat tire? The Accord makes this noise. Again, it’s not very loud, but it was there threatening to make my ears pop the entire ride. But these problems could have been exclusive to my test car; make sure to listen for any noises during your test drive.

The Accord’s exterior left me confused. Is it sporty? Is it practical? Maybe it’s practically sporty? No, no manufacturer would shoot for that.

I might be wrong here, but didn’t Hondas used to have a “cute” aspect to them? You know, kind of like a Mini Cooper or a VW Beetle? They’re tough little machines with personality to boot, right? You can still see Honda’s cute look in the CRV and Pilot. But where is it in the sedans? I don’t want to offend any loyal Honda fans – I know there are many of you out there. But can someone please explain this identity shift? Do you like it?

The dash is quite overwhelming at first glance. Its ergonomic theory is right, but its styling misses the mark. The buttons are oversized, which should help with ease of use, but there are so many of them it would take weeks to get the whole system memorized. There was an in-dash six-CD changer in the model I drove, which is nice, and the auxilary ports are easy to find and use in the center console (I’m pretty sure that this console is bigger than my college dorm room).

The steering wheel and instrument pod area is clean, simple and easy to read. As I got acquainted with the Accord’s interior, I felt as though it met all my checklist needs, but it didn’t thrill me in any way. It’s kind of like when you and your girlfriends used to discuss the boys in your class – some guys seemed to work well on paper, but no one was interested in them. Once I had this realization about the Accord, I began to get bored with it.

The Accord’s abundant interior space created problems for me. On several occasions, I tried to reach to the backseat to hand my son a tissue or a stick of gum, and this simple action turned into an exercise in frustration. “No, Mom, I can’t reach it. I can’t reach! I can’t reach!” The Accord’s spacious interior made it tough for my short self to make easy contact with my rear passengers. Taller moms (let’s say 5 feet, 6 inches or taller) won’t have any trouble at all, I’m guessing.

During my extended test drive, I noticed that the seats’ black felt-like material collected dust and fuzzies at a rapid rate. I already spend a lot of my time cleaning, and this fabric would add another thing to my to-do list – just what I was hoping for! On the rare occasion that I actually get to give my car the once over, I want it to last. I don’t want to be reminded of the accumulating dust every time I get into my “clean” car.

There’s no knocking the Accord on its safety features. During the week I had the Accord, we got tons of rain in Michigan. I hate driving in the rain, and I especially hate driving in the rain at night. The Accord handled well despite the threatening weather and slippery pavement; it held to the road, and its headlights kept the road well lit. I was able to relax and get comfy in the Accord’s large, couch-like seats because of the car’s standard electronic stability control and plenty of airbags.

Driving up Interstate 75 in the rain, the Accord reminded me of visiting my grandparents’ house when I was little. Rainy evenings at Grandma’s, cuddled up on her couch watching “Wheel of Fortune” and eating as many Little Debbie snack cakes as I could. Ahhh, those were the days. All calm, cozy and protected. The Accord achieved this comfort level even in crummy weather, and for that, I thank Honda.

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