New Car (Throwback) Thursday

Throwback Thursday seemed to be as good a day as any to throw it back to when I bought my 2012 Honda Accord EX-L V6, not that long ago in May of 2015. I had been a Honda guy for pretty much my entire life, running through a succession of Civics and Accords before deciding in 2013 to switch to Subaru. I’d like to briefly share with you how I came back to Honda, and why this Accord is a keeper. This story was originally told on Drive to Five, when Tyson Hugie graciously featured this story on his blog. I thought I’d tell it again here, to help inaugurate this new site.

My family has owned, in no particular order, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th generation Accords. There were also 3rd and 6th gen Civics, and a 2nd gen CRX. Our first Honda was a 1980 Honda Accord hatchback which my Mom had researched extensively after our previous car, a 1978 Ford Thunderbird, had its transmission die at 13,000 miles (the warranty was only to 10,000 miles, and the dealer refused to fix it). Even though I was only a little kid at the time, that Accord made a huge impression on me. It made me a Honda guy for life.

That said, by 2013, I had wanted a change. The Hondas of the late 2000s had lost my interest. So casting about for a new car, I decided to take the plunge and switch to Subaru. I bought a white Impreza hatchback, and it was a fun little car. Versatile, sure-footed in all weather conditions, and rugged, I racked up over 30,000 miles in two years, visited eight states, drove up a mountain, and had lots of adventures.

But the Subaru wasn’t all I had hoped for. I experienced more mechanical issues than I thought a new car should warrant. I also spend a lot of time at highway speeds, and the Impreza was not comfortable for long drives. I would frequently arrive at my destination sore and tired. And while adequate around town, the little 2.0 liter flat four engine ran out of steam quickly at highway speeds. Rather than passing with authority, I would have to strategize as to when I would want to try to overtake someone, or indeed if it would even be possible.

So I began searching for a new car, and came across an ad for a 2010 Honda Accord V6 coupe, in white, at my local dealership, Burns Honda in Marlton, NJ. I’ve always had good customer service experiences there. I bought two cars from them over the years, and also had them do all my servicing. I spotted a listing for a white Accord V6 coupe, 2010, with 50,000 miles, so on a Monday in late April I went to check it out after work. To my surprise, it was already sold. The salesman showed me a red 2012 4-cylinder Accord coupe that I test drove. It was nice, but it was not what I wanted. I also test drove a 2013 Honda Accord Sport which disappointed me. I really did not find anything that I wanted on the lot.

So I was standing in the dealer’s lot, trying to convince myself to keep an open mind and perhaps consider the red coupe when the white Accord I wanted drove past, a big “SOLD” sign hanging from the rear view mirror. It was being taken to the service bay for final prep before delivery to its new owner. I watched it go past, longingly. The salesman saw my expression and said,”Hey, listen, we get these in from time to time. If you want, I’ll call you when we get another V6 Accord coupe on the lot.” I left, disappointed.

That was Monday. Wednesday night I got a call from my salesman. They had a gray Accord V6 coupe which had been traded in earlier that night. Might I want to come up on Thursday and look at it? I’m pretty sure I didn’t even let him finish the question before I said,”Yes, and don’t show it to anyone else!”

Thursday I had an all-day meeting for work. It was a really productive meeting, but honestly, my brain was focused on checking out the Accord. As soon as the meeting was over, I got in my Impreza and drove as fast as I legally could down the NJ Turnpike to get to the dealer. I checked in with the salesman, and he walked me over to an absolutely filthy gray Accord coupe. I mean, forget parking under a tree. This car looked like it had been parked in a forest and left there. “We can clean that! You’ll see! It will look like a different car!” the salesman exclaimed, reading my facial expression.

I looked under the dirt, leaves, sap, and everything else, and I saw that there were no major dents (a few dings here and there, but that happens, especially in the Northeast), the paint was intact, and the carpets and upholstery were in great shape. I took it for a test drive…. two years with an Impreza and its dinky little flat-four engine, I had forgotten the joys of VTEC and the Honda V6. Wow. Just wow. I loved the test drive and knew that, barring any major problems with the deal, this would be my next car.

We went back to the salesman’s desk and hammered out a deal within fifteen minutes. I got what I felt was a fair price on the car and a fair price for my trade-in. I had done research on what both of those figures should be, and the dealership’s initial offer was actually pretty close to what I wanted. It just took a few minutes of talking to finalize a deal that satisfied me.

The only problem was that because it was after five o’clock, and the car needed significant preparation, I wouldn’t be able to pick it up until Friday. I left the dealership at 7:00 pm, with a plan to pick the car up at 3:30 pm the next day. Talk about an agonizing 18.5 hours! I barely slept Thursday night (I was really excited, what can I say). It didn’t help that the dealership gave me a loaner Honda CR-V. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the loaner car, but a CR-V will never ever be confused with a sporty coupe. Anyway, at work on Friday, I told my co-workers the news, and they were excited for me. I had them all laughing when I showed them the timer I had set on my iPhone. It was counting down until 3:30 pm. Every so often, someone would pop their head into my office to ask how much time until I got the car, and I would eagerly respond: “Four hours, thirteen minutes!” “Three hours, twenty-eight minutes!” “Two hours, seven minutes!” Finally, at 3:00 pm, I set out from work to go get my next car.

The wait was well worth it. The car came out beautifully. They also did about $1200 worth of work to prepare it, including new brakes, a new tire, oil and transmission fluid changes, some repairs to the exhaust system, and some other minor items. I took a few minutes just to walk around the car, examine it from top to bottom, look through the interior carefully, and check under the hood. The car was spotless.

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2012 coupe, ready for pickup

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Spotless interior

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Hello… V6!

After shaking hands with the salesman and getting the keys, I departed for the Jersey Shore. My family has a house near the town of Cape May, and we had a small gathering there Friday night. I think I giggled the entire drive to the shore. It’s about an hour and a half ride, and I spent the whole time driving with a big grin on my face. The power from the engine, the responsiveness of the chassis, the comfort of the ride… the car is content to be a long-distance cruiser, and then can instantly turn into a willing dance partner when I want to drive with some enthusiasm. Honestly, I started feeling like Ayrton Senna in the McLaren-Honda MP-4/4 on the streets of Monaco or the back straight of Hockenheim. At the beginning of this story, I shared that I felt  that Honda in the late 2000s had lost its way, that the cars produced were not exciting and fun in the same way as the Honda products from the 80’s and 90’s. Yet this car is special. I was a Honda guy for most of my life, and although I had a brief detour to Subaru-land, I’m back. This car has made me a Honda guy yet again.

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And so that’s the story of how I came to acquire my 2012 Accord. For now, it remains stock, although the Honda Factory Performance suspension is a tempting upgrade, as is a throatier exhaust system. In 10 months, this car has been driven over 15,000 miles, has visited 9 states, and has handled all kinds of varying weather conditions with aplomb. I’m looking forward to new adventures to find, new roads to be explored, and new people to meet, as I’m behind the wheel of DH.

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