Another in a series of my reviews that appeared in the online version of African Americans On Wheels, a now defunct automotive magazine that was included as an insert in the Sunday newspapers of major cities.
I’ve never been the kind of person who was interested in “What’s Hot.” I drive a subcompact hatchback by choice. I don’t have an iPhone. I never watched or had any interest in Game of Thrones. I also don’t like any “reality” TV outside of HGTV. So when presented with the Accord, the second best-selling car of 1998 behind the Camry, I really didn’t want to like it. However, the Accord is so likeable you can’t help yourself. It’s like when your teenage daughter brings home a boy for the first time who happens to have been voted most likeable by his class. You really don’t want to like him, but can’t help but be won over.
I vividly remember my week with this car because of what happened to me. I was eating lunch in my office, reading the paper with my feet on my desk. Suddenly, something seemed to snap in my head and I felt like I was falling, but I was still in the chair. I somehow managed to get my feet off the desk and my head on it. The room spun every time I opened my eyes. With some effort, I called my wife at work and asked her to come get me. That’s the beauty of living in Washington, D.C.: She took the Metro to my office, put me in the Accord, then drove it to the hospital where I was diagnosed with “Labyrinthitis” brought on by a sinus infection. If something like that happened today (prior to Covid and everyone working from home), she would have had to drive to my office and somehow figure out later how to get my car home from the parking garage. All in all, a very strange week.
The following review was written on May 16, 1999.
How do you know that it’s not a Presidential election year? Honda releases a new Accord, every four years since 1982, like clockwork.
The Accord, which was new for 1998, is not the sexiest Accord (that title goes to the 1986-1989 Accord with the flip-up headlamps), but it’s still better looking than that other benchmark, the Toyota Camry. The edges from the last generation Accord have been smoothed, with a newly protruding grill, and the whole car just looks more substantial. The interior is a paragon of efficiency, with everything controlled by large, clearly marked controls. The gauges are large and clear, and everything works with, dare I say, clock-like precision. Our fully-loaded EX included a power driver’s seat, leather interior, climate control, and woodgrain trim.
Then there’s the engine. Three-liters of silky-smooth V6 that rockets this mild-mannered family sedan to 60 miles-per-hour in under eight seconds. Okay, the four-speed automatic, which is the only available transmission with the V6, is a little rough, but that’s the only complaint. Ride and handling are both well above average for this class of car. Rear seat room is generous, and the trunk is a respectable 14.1 cubic feet. Furthermore, the large 17.1-gallon fuel tank and the 28 mile-per-gallon highway rating translates to lengthy distances between fill-ups.
You, of course, work your way up to the EX. The DX is the entry-level Accord with a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine and a standard five-speed manual. The base LX and EX get you more equipment and a higher-output VTEC four cylinder, and the LX and EX V6 sit at the top. The sporty Accord coupe is also available in LX and EX, four- and six-cylinder guises.
The Accord is so damn perfect that it’s frustrating. Being an automotive journalist means having a passion about cars, and it’s hard to find passion in something that’s perfect. But here I was, thinking that $24K+ is a relative bargain for this car, wondering why anyone would spend the extra $5,000 for the very similar but sportier Acura 3.2TL, and looking at my five-year-old Sentra and wondering if I could swing the payments.
Can 400,000 buyers each year be wrong? Is this a cult?
It…….is…….pulling…..me……..in………………………..RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!
For more information contact 1-800-33-HONDA ext. 737
Type: Four-door Sedan
Engine: 200-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6
Transmission: Four-speed Automatic
EPA Mileage: 20 city/28 highway
Tested Price: $24,715
Obviously, I didn’t buy an Accord. When we did finally buy a new car in 2002, not only was it not popular, it was an all new model and we didn’t see another on the road for a long time afterward. The five-year old Sentra hung around for another eight years before being replaced. I’m proud to say I have never owned an Accord, Camry, RAV4, CR-V or F-150.