Two years and five months ago, I drove off the lot of my local Honda dealer behind the wheel of a 2012 Honda Accord coupe. In that time, the car has been to fifteen states, it has been driven on a beach, plowed through snowstorms, barreled down the highway during torrential downpours, ventured up a mountain, ridden on a boat at sea, has visited its birthplace, has driven beside wild horses, has parked near historic battleships, and in countless other ways has helped me explore this nation. On Tuesday evening another milestone approached: 90,000 miles. I took a fun detour after work to the place known as “America’s Hometown,” Plymouth, Massachusetts, to break yet another barrier with this car.
This post, though, is not about Plymouth, although that town is quickly becoming one of my favorite seaside resorts in my new home state. If you wish to learn more about Plymouth, you can read the post I wrote when I visited there in February. Instead, I wanted to give a quick review of how the Accord is holding up through all of these adventures, before turning the blog over to my first ever guest author who wants to share about his new vehicle purchase… more on that in a bit! For now, though, let’s see how DH is doing.
Engine, Transmission, and Ride Handling:
Mechanically, DH continues to get a clean bill of health after every maintenance service. Despite the high mileage, service advisors at two separate dealerships have remarked that my car is the nicest 5-year old Honda they have ever seen. The engine’s fuel efficiency continues to astound me, especially since this is a V6 engine that produces 271 horsepower. If I fill up my gas tank in New Jersey and drive to Boston, I frequently have more than half a tank left by the time I arrive, 320 miles later! The transmission was feeling a little harsh in its shifts before my last service, but a transmission fluid change has the gear changes feeling smooth as butter once again. The car still handles well, soaking up long distance drives with ease. Find some curvy country roads, shift the transmission into Sport mode, drive vigorously, and as the locals would say, the car is “wicked fun.”
Are there any downsides that I’ve encountered so far? Not many. Power delivery with this car is still a little odd. It has plenty of power, but there is a bit of lag when you are driving around town. Don’t get me wrong: bury the throttle and the car is a rocket. But for local driving in the 25-35 mph range, the car feels a bit sluggish. It’s only a minor complaint and overall I am very happy with this vehicle.
Interior and Electronics:
Let’s talk about the good things first. The seats are very comfortable, the leather upholstery has held up well, the cabin is spacious, the steering wheel is big and chunky (which makes enthusiastic driving quite easy), and I’ve driven the car so much that I can find every single control on the dashboard without looking down from the road. And for someone who listens to music all the time, the 270-watt stereo has terrific sound quality for a mass-market vehicle.
As for areas of improvement… the cabin is where DH is starting to feel a bit old. The dashboard was out-of-date even back in 2012, and it has not gotten better with time. The stereo has an LCD screen that would have been cutting edge in 1988. The center stack of the dashboard has so many buttons that my friends jokingly refer to my car as the F-15… because it looks like a fighter jet cockpit. If the stereo is loud, the shelf behind the rear seat vibrates. The steering wheel controls are too small and frankly, the cruise control buttons are so close together that its easy to hit the wrong button when you’re driving. Finally, a piece of plastic trim fell off the front of the driver’s seat when a clip broke… my Honda dealer managed to secure it, but they warned me that it would eventually pop off again. Many of these complaints are common among 8th generation Accord owners (2008-2012), and Honda addressed all of them for the 9th generation Accord (2013-2017).
I love the design of this car. This front end is aggressive, and the lines of the car sweep up and away as you move to the back, giving it a sporty look. In contrast to the bland 8th generation sedan, the coupe has a bold design that helps it to stand out from a crowd. I still get compliments on the looks of this car. The paint has held up well, although I am guilty of a few too many mechanical car washes- there are some swirl marks in the paint. Once the coming winter is over, I will give the car a thorough detail to make it look brand new.
The only negative is something that isn’t the car’s fault. A piece of road debris somehow impacted the metal trim around my rear passenger wheel well, denting the metal, breaking a weld, and causing a rust spot to form. It’s small, but I will be getting it repaired at a local auto body shop in a few weeks, as rust can quickly spread if it is not contained. They will be cutting away the damaged metal, welding in a new piece, and repainting it. The shop also threw in a dent repair for free, so I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what magic they can work with the car. All of the major work this car has needed has been the result of road debris or potholes: a new wheel, a broken windshield, and now the rust damage. Living in the Northeast is tough on your vehicle!
This blog had its start when Tyson Hugie offered me a chance to write a guest feature for his blog, Drive to Five. In the hopes of perhaps helping to kick off another automotive blogger, I am going to let my friend Steve from New Hampshire take the reigns of The Open Road Ahead for a few minutes, as he describes his new vehicle: a 2017 Honda Ridgeline Sport. I mentioned his truck in a previous post when he first purchased it. After several months of ownership I invited Steve to share his thoughts on the vehicle, and he obliged. Steve gave me a tour of the truck a few weeks ago, and so I added my own commentary in the photo captions. Take it away, Steve:
My 2008 Honda Accord was getting older… road miles, along with New England winters, take their toll. I decided to purchase a new vehicle this past summer. My basic needs are reliability, safety, and a good family vehicle ready for adventure. My dad has an older Honda Ridgeline and I always liked it. He always had good things to say about the truck. Since my family, friends, and I all had previously great Honda experiences, I zeroed in on the new 2017 Honda Ridgeline. It fit all my criteria with the bonuses of being better in the snow than the Accord and able to go on camping, bike, and ski trips easier than in the Accord. I purchased the truck at the end of June and it’s been great ever since.
The first adventure-test of the truck this summer was a great camping experience with my wife and sons. The 80 gallon trunk space served as a great pantry. My sons’ bikes fit well in the pickup bed and everything went great. Looking forward, yard cleanups will be easier with the truck bed to haul leaves and debris. I’ve gotten mildly stuck in snow twice in the last few years and I bet this truck would have been able to get out of those situations. As stated earlier, I’m looking forward to going skiing and not being as concerned with the snowy conditions. There are lots of dirt roads to hiking trailheads and it’s been nice being in a truck instead of a sedan. The truck exterior and interior designs look modern and clean. It’s a comfortable ride and has great pick up when getting on the highway and up to speed. It’s a fun ride and the sight lines from the driver’s seat are excellent. The Ridgeline the first vehicle I’ve had with a rear view camera and it’s very handy. The cabin is quieter than my sedan from wind and road noise. Overall I’m very impressed with the truck and looking forward to lots of great adventures in this Ridgeline.
Thanks, Steve, for that great write-up. I wish you many happy miles with your new vehicle! As for DH, my Accord continues to roll along without complaint. I have been truly pleased by this car, and at this point consider it the best car I have ever owned. I am looking forward to seeing what new adventures will be coming its way! Thanks for coming along on this special journey down the open road ahead.
‘Til next time.