Honda has a reputation for building vehicles with virtually bullet-proof reliability. Even though a number of recent recalls and defects has taken off the bloom somewhat (transmission problems on the 2003 and 2004 Accord; cracked engine blocks in the 2006 to 2009 Civic), the Accord still outshines its competition by a wide margin and remains one of the best used-car values in the market. Since more than 250,000 Accords are sold every year, there are hordes of Honda faithful who swear by the car, praising its impressive fuel economy, roomy and comfortable cabin, impeccable build quality, and stellar resale values. The 2008 to 2010 Accord is much larger than previous models, so the EPA has changed its status from mid-size to large sedan.
Why you want it
For the analytically minded, the Accord is the sedan of choice for any number of good reasons. According to Kelley Blue Book, it wallops every other car in its class – including the Toyota Camry – in five-year residual and resale values. It is also lauded regularly by almost every automotive journal that publishes a Top 10 list.
Artistic types will be drawn to the Accord’s modern exterior, elegant interior and attention to detail. The budget-conscious will be enthralled with the four-cylinder model’s fuel economy. Moms and dads will appreciate the roomy back seat and favorable crash test results along with the big trunk.
Lovers of V6 engines won’t be disappointed either. Top-end models offer a smooth and powerful 3.5-liter option. The problem is that this engine is only available in EX and EX-L trims, placing a used model at the topmost limit of most people’s budget. The price of a used Accord V6 is close to a new Accord LX-P – something to think about when shopping this car.
About the only people who wouldn’t enjoy the Accord are driving enthusiasts, audiophiles and those who prefer something less ubiquitous.
Notable features and options
The most simple and inexpensive Accord is the LX, which, despite its entry-level status, comes with air conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors; a one-touch up/down driver’s window; cruise control; steering wheel-mounted controls for audio and cruise; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; illuminated vanity mirrors; electronic remote trunk release; rear window defroster; folding rear seat with center pass-through; AM/FM stereo with MP3/WMA compatible CD player, and 16-inch wheel covers.
The LX-VP trim adds a few touches such as an eight-way power driver’s seat and alloy wheels, while the SE brings a 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, heated front seats and leather seating surfaces.
The EX has a more powerful 2.4-liter engine, a power moonroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors and a USB audio interface (2010 models). The EX-L includes leather seats, a 240-watt audio system with six-disc in-dash CD changer, a power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and Bluetooth. EX trims could be ordered with a V6, while the EX-L could come with voice-activated navigation and a rear back-up camera. Standard safety equipment on all versions includes six airbags (front, front side and side curtain), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and tire pressure monitoring.
2009: The V6 receives slightly more power.
2010: Honda adds rear air conditioning ducts to EX and EX-L trims; Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity becomes standard on the EX and EX-L.
Engines and performance
Under the hood of the 2008 to 2010 Accord LX, LX-P or LX-SE is a 177-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine teamed to either a five-speed manual (LX) or five-speed automatic transmission (LX-P/SE). The EX and EX-L models with the four-cylinder engine have more power (190 hp) and Honda’s Active Noise Cancellation technology that uses signals transmitted through the audio system to cancel out noise and vibration.
This is a good engine, more than adequate for most and plenty quick, even with four adults on board. Fuel economy is also praiseworthy: 30 mpg on the highway. It’s the only engine available with the manual transmission.
For off-the-line sprints and passing power to spare, however, choose the 3.5-liter V6. Eerily silent and frighteningly potent at any speed, it lulls drivers into a false sense of security before they look down to see the speedometer at 80 mph, or look into the rear-view mirror at the fast-approaching red and blue lights.
The ride is comfortable, yet not too soft. The steering feels tight and firm with good on-center feel, and responsive to sudden inputs (avoiding a family of ducks crossing the road, for example). When pushed hard, however, the Accord does exhibit signs of understeer (a tendency to continue forward when the wheels are turned) and the suspension tends to bounce a bit before returning to a settled position. That said, the overall driving experience feels a notch above the Toyota Camry, but not as much fun as the Chevrolet Malibu or Chrysler 300.
Recalls, safety ratings and warranties
Other than a recall for an aftermarket nose mask that could interfere with the hood latch, there no recalls for the 2008 to 2010 Honda Accord itself.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. A dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety-wise, there are no real issues. The National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives this Accord five stars in its frontal crash test for both the driver and passenger. In the side impact test, it earns five stars for the driver, but only three for rear occupants. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awards the Accord its highest score (Good) in its offset and side-impact crash tests, and an Acceptable rating in its roof strength test.
The 2008 to 2010 Honda Accord has a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Both are fully transferable. A Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Accord offers a 150-point inspection plus an extension of the basic warranty to four years/48,000 miles or, if the vehicle’s new-car warranty has expired, a one-year/12,000-mile basic warranty from the date of purchase. The powertrain warranty is also extended to seven years/100,000 miles from the date the vehicle entered service.
Word on the web
We have searched sites such as Consumer Reports, as well as enthusiast sites like HondaAccordForum.com and DriveAccord.net, CarComplaints.com and Hondaproblems.com. In general, an overwhelming number of owners love their cars, with high praise for fit, finish and efficiency. Many owners are second- or third-time buyers. But not everything in the Accord’s past is rosy. Among the more common threads regarding the 2008 to 2009 models are complaints about excessive brake wear. A large number of owners began reporting the problem early in 2008 and Honda even settled a class action lawsuit over the matter. Another issue that has received more than a few postings involves the V6. Some owners seem to suggest the engine suffers from excessive oil consumption.
Auto Trader recommendations
Don’t expect to buy a late-model Accord and save a lot of money. Even a two-year-old car sells for only slightly less than its brand-new counterpart. If, on the other hand, saving a few thousand dollars is worth it to own a low-mileage, previously owned Accord, find one with its warranty intact, or is part of a CPO program.
The EX and EX-L models with the four-cylinder engine are great choices. These provide a lavish interior, lots of bells and whistles, plus outstanding fuel economy. The four-cylinder engine might also result in lower insurance premiums. If funds are too tight for an EX, the LX Premium offers features valued by most drivers in a lower-cost package.