Five Years.

Five years. That’s sixty months. Two hundred and sixty weeks. One thousand, eight hundred and twenty-five days. Forty-three thousand, six hundred and eighty hours. No matter how you count it, five years is a long time. On May 1st, 2015, I purchased my 2012 Honda Accord coupe from Burns Honda in Marlton, New Jersey. In that time, I have driven the car over 110,000 miles. It has traveled to fifteen states, climbed a mountain, sailed across a bay, plowed through snowstorms, splashed through torrential downpours, and cruised on a sandy beach. It has completed the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge in 36 hours, explored Cape Cod, visited countless museums and historic sites, parked beside warships, and has otherwise taken me on five years of adventure.

Today marks my fifth year of ownership, and so this post is not a trip to anywhere. Instead, it’s all about the vehicle that takes me to those places. The Open Road Ahead originally began as a car blog, but quickly morphed into a record of road trips near and far. For today, however, this blog is going to return to its automotive roots and focus solely on a certain two-door Honda coupe.

The Five Year Story:

2012 Honda Accord coupe parked in front of Burns Honda Used Car store.
On May 1st, 2015, I took delivery of my 2012 Accord coupe at Burns Honda. I have owned three Accord coupes, and all three were bought at Burns. Shortly after purchasing it, Tyson Hugie asked if I would like to write a post about my auto buying experience for his blog, Drive to Five. That post, written almost five years ago, gave me the blogging “itch,” and The Open Road Ahead is a direct outcome of that first online writing experience.
2012 Honda Accord parked along sidewalk near beach.
While this car gets driven to all the usual places (like work, the grocery store, and picking up takeout), it is the road trip adventures that has transformed this car into a memory machine. It has taken countless trips to Cape May and the Jersey Shore.
2012 Honda Accord coupe parked in front of Honda Heritage Center.
One of the longest trips I’ve taken with this car was to the Honda Heritage Center in Marysville, Ohio. I spent time in a museum of historic Honda products and then toured the Honda factory across the street where my car was assembled.
2012 Honda Accord coupe parked in front of John F. Kennedy President Library.
I’ve taken it to countless museums, including the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
2012 Honda Accord coupe parked on lot on the top of Mt. Washington.
Among my favorite drives – the time a friend and I took the Accord to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.
2012 Honda Accord parked in front of Barnegat Light.
It’s been to countless lighthouses, including Barnegat Light
2012 Honda Accord coupe parked in front of Cape May Lighthouse at night, with lights on in car.
…and it was the vehicle of choice when my wife and I completed the 2018 NJ Lighthouse Challenge.
Cars at front of ferry, including 2012 Honda Accord, lower left.
It’s been out to sea (lower left of photo)… well, it’s been across the Delaware Bay on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, that is.
2012 Honda Accord coupe parked in front of buildings of Camp Sagamore.
And it has slogged down muddy and rutted roads to explore the Great Camps of the Adirondacks. These are only a handful of the road trip adventures that I have seen behind the wheel of this car.
2012 Honda Accord, parked in front of stone church.
2020: not bad for an 8-year old car with 152,000 miles!

Collectibles, Stats, and Cars of Old:

Collectibles:

Blue binder, keychain, and certificate of completion from Mt Washington, on wooden table.
I consider myself a pretty meticulous record keeper. The blue binder (pictured) is my maintenance log where I keep all the receipts for work I’ve had completed on my car. I also keep a folder with collectibles from over the years, such as my “Master of the Mountain” certificate from climbing Mt. Washington, as well as the original key tag (lower right) that came with my car when I bought it.
2012 Honda Accord brochure on wooden table.
While I try not to splurge too often, I do like to pick up small collectibles when I can, such as this brochure I found on eBay a few weeks ago. This is the brochure that was available at dealers when my car was new (go ahead, roll your eyes at me… I understand). I’ll add it to the folder with all my other Honda odds and ends, such as a 1976 issue of Road and Track magazine with one of the first American reviews of the then-new Honda Accord.

Stats:

As I have discussed previously, I keep a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet detailing the maintenance and repairs that my car has required. By using the data I’ve accrued, I was able to calculate that my car’s cost per mile is $0.08, significantly below many of the “ideal cost per mile” estimates I have found online. As I said before, the car continues to be a reliable, cost-effective vehicle.

I can pull and examine the data a lot of different ways, including how much I drive in the course of a given year. This little chart shows how I got to 152,000 miles over the past five years:

Chart with vertical indicating mileage and horizontal indicating time from 5-1-15 to 5-1-20.
It’s been a pretty straight progression from when I purchased the vehicle at 42,192 miles to 152,300 today. You can see where the mileage begins to tail off recently with the advent of social distancing and working from home.

Cars of Old:

Something else I have wanted to do for a while is share the “cars of my past.” When I say that my 2012 Accord is the best car I have ever owned, it’s no small compliment. I’ve owned 8 cars in my lifetime, and while each have had their positive attributes, my current ride is my clear favorite. Here, then, are my Cars of Old:

1984 Honda Accord

1984 Honda Accord hatchback.
My first car – a 1984 Honda Accord hatchback. It was my mom’s car, until she gave it to me to drive. Truthfully, it had quite a few mechanical gremlins, but it was my first taste of the freedom of the open road. On the plus side, it handled well and was an absolute tank in the snow.

1999 Honda Civic

I do not have a photo of this car, unfortunately. It was my first ever new car, which I purchased right after graduating from college. It was a green 4-door sedan, and was a comfortable and economical ride. Unfortunately, I heard the siren call of another…

1998 Acura Integra LS

Gold 1998 Acura Integra sedan, parked beside a curb.
…the 1998 Acura Integra LS sedan. The best handling car I have ever owned, this little compact car hugged the road like something you would drive in the Indy 500. A friend recently discovered a picture of this gem in her photo collection. Unfortunately, the insurance costs were astronomical, causing me to ditch it for…

1994 Honda Accord

…the ultimate in budget family cars, a used Accord sedan. Sadly, I do not have a photo of this car either. While this was not the most exciting vehicle I have ever owned, it was safe, economical, and reliable. It was originally my Dad’s car, then my step-sister’s, and then mine. I sold it to a relative when I left for graduate school.

1998 Honda Accord

1998 Honda Accord coupe, in black.
While my current car is my favorite, this is my #2 – my 1998 Honda Accord EX coupe. This was the first Accord coupe to look visually distinct from the sedan (previous models looked identical to sedan Accords, just with two less doors). It handled great, looked stylish, and is a car that I still miss. I bought this car used in 2004, but had wanted it since it was introduced in 1998.

2003 Honda Accord

2003 Honda Accord coupe in gold.
My next Accord was this 2003 EX-L V6 coupe. My first experience with Honda’s powerful 6-cylinder engine, this car was a fun vehicle. Unfortunately, it was the least economical Honda I ever owned. By the time I sold it, I had to replace the struts, change the alternator, replace the stereo system when the original died, and make significant repairs to the EGR system. I sold it to a relative shortly after passing 156,000 miles.

2013 Subaru Impreza

2013 white Subaru Impreza, on a snow-covered road.
“Love. It’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.” I left Honda in 2013 for what I thought were greener pastures with Subaru. After all, Subaru is well-known for their all-wheel drive system, the cars handle well, and they have a good reputation for reliability. Several friends swear by their Subarus. Mine was… ok. It was a lot of fun in the winter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much fun the rest of the time. It was uncomfortable during long drives, it had its share of mechanical gremlins, and a rust spot appeared on the roof after only a year of owning it. In 2015, in search of something else, I returned to Honda…

2012 Honda Accord

2012 Honda Accord parked in front of Old Queens at Rutgers University.
While each of my cars have had things about them I’ve liked, my current Accord is my absolute favorite. From its 271-horsepower engine, to its fun handling on mountain roads, to its comfortable ride over long stretches of highway, to its low cost of ownership, I’ve been thrilled with this purchase.

The 5 Year Review Video:

When I crossed 100,000 miles with my Accord, I made a video of my experiences with it, including photos from my travels and a walkthrough of the car itself. For the fifth year anniversary, I thought I would make a sequel. As I said with the previous video, this won’t win an Emmy, but I had fun filming it and wanted to share my efforts with you:

Wrapping Up:

2012 Honda Accord, parked on street in New Brunswick in front of brick building.
After I bought my car five years ago, I immediately drove down to Cape May. I had originally planned a similar drive for this evening, but unfortunately, social distancing put an end to that idea. My wife swooped in with a genius suggestion – takeout from Steakhouse 85, a fantastic restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ.
Bottle of wine in center console of car, with bags of food.
Instead of salt water and ocean air, the Accord was tasked as our vehicle of choice to pick up the takeout. Cheers, DH!

 

Table with candle, plate with salad, plate with steak and fries, bowl with mushroom, glass of wine, and glass of water.
We ordered the “Date Night To Go” special: two appetizers, two entrees with sides, dessert, and a bottle of wine. If you’re keeping score at home, I got the Baby Iceberg Lettuce salad with blue cheese, tomatoes, and bacon, the filet mignon with shoestring fries, and the caramel apple tarte. My wife ordered the honeycrisp apple salad, filet mignon with shoestring fries, and the amaretto creme brûlé. How was it? Phenomenal!
Car odometer reading 152354 TRIP A 156.4
I bought my car with 42,192 on the odometer. In the past five years, I have put over 110,000 miles on the car, and it still drives as good as the day I bought it.
Split-screen photo with Honda Accord along beach road on top, and Honda Accord coupe parked beside stone building in bottom frame.
Top frame: my car the night I bought it on 5-1-15. Bottom frame: five years later. Not a bad look for an 8-year old car with 152,000 miles on it. Here’s to new adventures in the coming years ahead!

 

Thanks for tuning in for this five-year retrospective of the car that makes the blog adventures possible. Next time, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming as we begin to get back to exploring the open road ahead.

‘Til next time.

4 thoughts on “Five Years.

  1. As a fellow “car nerd” (pulled that title from your celebratory video), I salute you and your Accord for this momentous achievement and I enjoyed hearing about some of your memories from over the years. It was especially cool to see photos of your prior vehicles. Looking forward to seeing where the next 5 years take you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You would be very hard-pressed to convince me to buy anything but a Honda. My first Accord saved my life in a nasty accident in Bucks County years ago. That was enough to keep me in the Honda family forever. As an aside, we’ve shared some of the same road trips. The East Coast (once you get out of the metro traffic tangles) is such a great place to explore, stem to stern.

    Liked by 1 person

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