What better way to celebrate 25 years of manufacturing cars in America than with an all-new version of your best-selling model.
Honda North America did just that.
With the launch of an all-new Accord last year, one of the best-selling sedans in the U.S., Honda marked the 25th anniversary of manufacturing the vehicle at its Marysville, Ohio, assembly plant. Prior to that Honda had been importing the Accord here since 1976.
Accord has been Honda’s best-seller here since it began importing the model and over the years the vehicle has grown in size and power. In fact, according to EPA classifications based on interior size, this eighth-generation Accord is now just big enough to enter the large car segment but exterior dimensions keep it reigned in as a midsizer.
The new Accord comes in two distinct body styles – sedan and coupe – with more power available under the hood than any Honda car to date along with enhanced efficiency and safety and a more rigid body structure. Coupe models also feature slightly more aggressive styling attesting to a sportier attitude.
While the absolute base-level sedan arrives with a 177hp inline four, buyers can choose to upgrade to a peppier 190hp 2.4-liter iVTEC or the new 271hp 3.5-liter V-6. A base coupe comes with the hotter four or the optional six, and diehard driving enthusiasts will like the 6MT six-speed manual gearbox behind their V-6 in coupe form. Automatics are still available all-around though.
While all new Accords get upgraded interiors (thanks to the extra space) EX-L models are enhanced by the latest XM Satellite radio audio systems and satellite-linked navigation systems with voice activation and 8-inch monitor with interface dial for user input (similar to newest Acura setup). Nav-equipped models are also Bluetooth hands-free compatible.
Standard safety equipment on all Accord models includes active front head restraints, vehicle stability assist, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, and dual front, side impact and side curtain airbags.
“The all-new Honda Accord has become more advanced and refined with a new level of engineering sophistication,” says Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co. Inc. “As the Honda brand’s flagship automobile, the Accord is designed to exceed expectations with premium technology, a more spacious interior and increased power, while retaining the fun-to-drive character and innovative feel that has always distinguished the Accord.”
On the road, this new Accord is a great performer. Smooth, comfortable, quiet, well behaved and – in the 6MT coupe form – an absolute blast to drive complete with a nice exhaust growl when tempted.
Our most recent tester was a 2009 in EX-L trim (the “L” must stand for “loaded,” as ours certainly was) which meant we enjoyed the leather interior and all of the latest electronic equipment a technomaniac could hope for.
Pricing for the 2009 Accord Coupe begins at $22,255 with a nicely loaded one like ours running northward of 31 grand. EPA estimates are listed at 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway for the manual gearbox cars whereas an automatic transmission will fetch as high as 28 miles per unit of petrol.
The V-6 engine also features Honda’s variable cylinder management technology allowing the vehicle to run on four or even three cylinders in low power demand situations.
And for 2009, the Accord Coupe will be the official pace car for the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series.