For the past five days, I’ve been laid low by a vile cold, so any thoughts of long trips to fun locations were out the window. However, in the course of running a few errands this weekend, I did manage to have one cool experience: I broke 70,000 miles with my Accord. For much of the seven months that I have been keeping this blog, I have focused primarily on the destinations, writing posts that were essentially in-depth tour guides of interesting road trip locations. I thought it would be appropriate to take a time-out from all of that, and instead offer my thoughts on this 2012 Honda Accord coupe, after 18 months of ownership.
And what a fun 18 months it has been! In that time, the car has been driven over 25,000 miles, has visited 13 states, has been as far south as Virginia, as far north as New Hampshire, and as far west as Wisconsin. It has been to sea. It has visited its birthplace, the Honda of America Manufacturing plant in Marysville, Ohio. It has taken me to see trains, fighter jets, great restaurants, Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, wild horses, tunnels under mountains, and numerous trips to the beaches of New Jersey. Throughout all of that, the only unscheduled pit stop was for a replacement wheel, after a nasty pothole on the Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia bent a rim past the point of repair. Otherwise, the car has only needed routine maintenance: three oil changes and tire rotations, and one set of rear brakes.
It has been a year and a half of ownership, and the looks of this car do not bore me at all. This is, I think, a good-looking vehicle. Personally, I prefer the design of this 8th generation coupe to that of the newer 9th generation 2-door Accord. The newer design, to me, is less aggressive and tends to blend in with other cars. Overall, my car has held up well, its paint showing no cracking or fading. It has received its fair share of stone chips (especially in the lower front bumper) and door dings, but such is life for a vehicle that gets driven every single day.
The interior also has held up well. The leather seats are in good condition, and the trim is still in fine shape. The door sills do scuff pretty easily, but much of that can be removed with a good cleaning. As for entertainment, the 270-watt, seven speaker system in this car has great sound quality and plenty of bass. The car offers the option of listening to CDs (with a 6 CD changer), AM/FM radio, XM satellite radio, and iPod integration. The car also allows Bluetooth integration for your smartphone. However, all of it sits unobtrusively in the background. No bright, multicolored screens here. When I drive, I want as few distractions as possible. If someone texted me or sent me a message on Facebook? That can wait until the next rest stop. No need to see it on my car’s display, thank you very much.
Do I have any complaints? A few. The front seats are not nearly as comfortable as they could be. My dad owns a 2015 Accord sedan, and his seats are firmer, yet also more comfortable and supportive. On long drives I find myself having to stop so I can get up and stretch periodically. Also, the center stack controls are very button-heavy (as you can see in the photo below). My friends jokingly refer to my car as an F-15 fighter jet, because the dashboard’s button layout looks like it should be in an airplane.
Engine and Driving Experience:
The 271-horsepower V6 Honda engine with i-VTEC is a joy to drive. It produces lots of power, especially when you push the rpms above 3500. Get it out on the highway and floor it, and you’re rewarded with an engine note that hints at Honda’s race car heritage. Honda also uses a technology called Variable-Cylinder Management that deactivates 3 cylinders during light driving, producing surprisingly good gas mileage for a V6 engine. Some 8th generation Accord owners (along with Honda Pilot and Odyssey owners) have reported oil consumption problems with these engines, but Honda apparently addressed many of the issues for the 2011 and later Accords (there are no reported problems for 9th generation V6 owners). I keep a close eye on all of my car’s fluid levels, and I have yet to see it lose a drop of oil, coolant, or anything else.
One of the last Hondas built before the brand’s lineup received significant technology upgrades, this car has a simplicity that I appreciate. I do not feel overwhelmed by tech. The car has the requisite safety features such as anti-lock brakes and Vehicle Stability Assist, but nothing is ever intrusive. My dream car would be a late 1990’s Acura Integra- sporty and engaging, a vehicle that is simply about road, driver, and machine. This Accord is probably one of the last Honda products built that doesn’t succumb to the need to cram more and more driver aids and gizmos into the vehicle. On our society’s inevitable descent to self-driving vehicles, I will be one of the last holdouts.
The overall driving experience is fun. The EPA classifies it as a midsize car, so there is no getting around the fact that it is a large vehicle. However, it is surprisingly nimble, and is at its best on curvy roads. Shift the transmission into sport mode, use the paddle shifters on the wheel to change gears, get into a series of s-curves, and the car is a blast to drive. Leave the curves behind and jump on the interstate, and the car becomes a comfortable long distance cruiser, eating up miles while not overly taxing the driver or passengers.
Overall, I continue to be very pleased with this purchase. DH has been a great vehicle so far, and I look forward to seeing what new adventures we take in the future. Thanks for coming along on this little automotive review detour.
‘Til next time.