- Very quiet and well-isolated cabin
- Tight-as-a-drum build quality
- Big-sedan poise and good roadholding
- Exterior styling looks derivative
- Rear headroom limited by swooping roofline
- Fuel efficiency is good, but not improved
Whether you're looking for a comfy commuter in the $20,000 range or a luxurious, powerful $30,000 family sedan, the newly redesigned 2008 Honda Accord should be on your shortlist.
The 2008 Honda Accord, which has been one of the best-selling mid-size sedans for many years, has been completely redesigned for 2008. It's slightly larger all around than the 2007 Accord, and it has bolder styling inside and out, as well as a roomier cabin that's notably taller. As before, the Accord has front-wheel drive and is powered by a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines. The Accord Hybrid, which was offered in previous model years, is no longer available. The four-cylinder models can be specified with a five-speed manual transmission; otherwise, both engines get a five-speed automatic.
Many buyers will find the smooth 177-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that's standard on the 2008 Honda Accord LX models perfectly adequate; the step-up 190-horsepower version on the EX models brings a little more pep to passing but doesn't have any additional oomph off the line. The especially refined V-6 makes the Accord feel like a luxury car, and it's the choice if you plan to haul around full loads of people and cargo or do much driving in the mountains. There actually isn't a big difference in fuel economy between the four-cylinder and V-6, with the four delivering up to 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and the V-6 at 2 mpg less with both. The V-6 incorporates Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which helps improve fuel economy.
The Accord has a very settled ride that soaks up all but the biggest bumps, yet it has some level of sportiness when pushed hard into corners. The steering feels a bit heavy, but the 2008 Honda Accord handles confidently. Build quality is top-notch, with no creaks or rattles, and the swooping, dual-cockpit instrument panel is in a class above. The front seats are very supportive and comfortable, and the backseat has plenty of legroom, although headroom might be limited for some. Top EX-L models pack in the luxury features, including dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, and a sound system with active noise cancellation; a navigation system is also available.
Standard safety-minded features on the 2008 Honda Accord include electronic stability control, front side airbags, side curtain bags, and anti-lock brakes. The Accord performed very well, with top ratings in most crash tests, except for one hitch; in the federal government's side-impact test, an Accord sedan was given only three out of five stars--typically the lowest score awarded in the testing program. Regardless, the 2008 Honda Accord is an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2008.