The Voyage of… DS.

This weekend, DH stayed in the driveway while I undertook a very special road trip: with my father’s permission, I borrowed his 2015 Honda Accord EX-L V6 sedan, which he purchased this past August, for an extended test drive. When he had purchased his car, he and I discussed swapping cars for a couple days so I could write a review of his new (to him) vehicle. I gladly accepted his offer, and so bring you this brief write-up of my experiences! It is also an interesting comparison between DH, an 8th generation Accord (model years 2008-2012), and the 9th generation model (2013-present).

After work on Friday, I stopped by my Dad’s house and grabbed his Accord, leaving my car in his driveway. Named after Darth Sidious, the evil Lord of the Sith in Star Wars, I wheeled “DS” out of the driveway and set off to meet friends for dinner in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Settling into the driver’s seat, I enjoyed the hour-long trip down the Atlantic City Expressway. After dinner, I headed down yet again to my family’s shore house in Cape May.

Saturday morning, still battling the last vestiges of this cold that I’ve had for almost two weeks, I just ran errands, although I did make time to detour to the beach where the Cape May Ferry leaves port. Finally, late Saturday afternoon, I jumped back on the highway and headed home. It was a bit of a whirlwind weekend, but it was enough driving to give me a good sense of the car and its capabilities.

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Parking DS in Atlantic City.
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A pleasant view during dinner.
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Obligatory stops at the beach…
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…and the ferry terminal…
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…and a visit with a very big seagull. Completely habituated to humans, you could stand right next to him and he just looked at you for a moment, before going about his business. Because he just couldn’t be bothered.

Engine and Ride:

DS is powered by the newest iteration of Honda’s J-series V6 engine. A 60-degree angled V6 with both i-VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) and VCM (Variable Cylinder Management), DS produces 278 horsepower (7 more than DH) and 252 pound feet of torque (1 more than DH), while improving fuel economy from the previous model. The numbers do not seem like a huge difference, but DS does indeed feel more powerful than my car. Press the throttle to the floor, and the response is immediate. The car likes to rev, and the transmission allows you to reach peak power levels very quickly. DH, meanwhile, tends to deploy power less urgently, taking its time to spool up to maximum power levels. Fuel efficiency for DS is rated at 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway (an improvement from the 8th generation ratings of 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway).

The car features an “ECO Mode” button, which cycles the car into a fuel-saving mode when activated (as indicated by a green leaf icon on the dashboard). Turn ECO Mode off, switch the transmission into Sport mode, and the car becomes a willing racer, eager to accelerate and leave traffic far behind. It was particularly useful when leaving the Atlantic City Expressway for the Garden State Parkway, where heavy traffic required several quick bursts of acceleration to navigate.

The ride is pleasant, although softer than DH. It’s a comfortable ride, great for cruising long distances, but with a bit more body roll than DH. It’s not bad, mind you, but my 2012 coupe corners flatter and tighter. My car’s more aggressive suspension settings allow the coupe to be a more willing dance partner during spirited driving, although the 2015 sedan is also fun to drive, especially in sport mode.

The new Accord is also easier to drive because it is smaller than the previous model. The 8th generation Accord sedan had ballooned up to being classified as a full-size car (although the coupe, such as DH, was smaller and was rated as a mid-sized car). The words “full-size car” conjures to mind Lincoln Continentals and Cadillac El Dorados. Honda put the Accord on a weight-loss regiment and sent it to the gym to lose some flab. The car is once again a mid-sized car, and is far more agile and maneuverable due to the smaller size. I have driven 8th generation sedans, and they do indeed feel like big cars. DS is much more manageable.

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DS’ Heart: The J-series V6 engine. It’s a beast.
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Curvy roads, capably handled by DS.

Exterior:

The new Accord design has a certain timelessness to it that I think will age quite well. In the same way that cars like the Acura Legend, the 7th-generation Accord, and the 8th-generation Civic still look good, years later, I think this 9th-generation Accord will also hold up nicely. I actually prefer the looks of this car to the newer 2016-2017 Accords, which have a bit too much chrome for my taste. This model is more subtle and elegant.

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While I am a fan of my 8th-generation Accord coupe, the 8th generation sedan is dreadfully dull. This 9th generation 2015 sedan is a quite attractive, and will remain that way for years.

Interior:

All right, let’s talk. Seriously. The interior of the 9th generation Accord is a DRAMATIC (all caps) improvement over the 8th gen. I love DH, but in terms of fit, finish, material quality, and comfort, DS wins by a landslide. The front seats of DS are dramatically more supportive and comfortable than in DH. The plastics around the cabin as well as the leather seats and trim are of a higher quality. There is a finely jeweled feeling to the controls. Honda obviously took feedback regarding the less-than-stellar build quality of the 8th generation Accord and improved it for this new model.

Are there any areas where DH is preferable? I would give two. DH’s steering wheel is thicker and more solid, giving  weightier feel during steering. And DH’s climate and audio controls are more intuitive and more simply laid out. Dad disagrees with me on this, but I found DS’ audio controls to be particularly maddening, as even finding stations on XM radio was a chore. DH might have the “F-15 fighter jet controls” as my friends tease me, but at least the buttons are clearly labeled and laid out. Overall, though, the new Accord represents a significant improvement over the previous model.

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High-quality interior cabin, and wonderfully supportive seats.
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Spacious, comfortable rear seats as well. You even get your own vents in the rear!
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Saturday afternoon, back behind the wheel of DH.
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DH might not be the newest, fanciest car on the road, but when I start driving, it just feels right. Like an old baseball glove that you have broken in, the car is comfortable and just seems to “fit” me.

The 9th generation Accord is a dramatic leap forward in quality and performance for the model. Having visited the factory where the Accord was made earlier this year, it was neat to be driving a model of car that I had seen  being produced on the factory floor. The 9th generation is a very capable, comfortable, fun, mid-sized sedan. For my money it would be my choice over competitors such as the Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, and Toyota Camry. A special thank you to my dad for loaning me his car, and I hope you enjoyed this quick review.

‘Til next time.

2 thoughts on “The Voyage of… DS.

  1. Nice of dad to lend you his muscle car for a little evaluation! It’s good to see that overall you feel like Honda is moving in the right direction. I agree that the styling of this latest generation will likely age well. I might have missed it, but what’s dad’s car at on the odometer now?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should have done a mileage shot- its right around 22,900 now.

      I definitely feel like Honda is getting back on track. The newest cars are such improvements over the previous generation (although I do prefer the 8th gen Accord coupe to the 9th gen 2-door). Now if only they’d bring back the Prelude and the Integra…

      Like

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