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Redesigned Honda Accord aims to be 'green, safe and fun'

The redesigned 2008 Honda Accord came to market with an expanded rangeof innovative technologies designed for greater efficiency, enhancedsafety and more power across the lineup.


The redesigned 2008 Honda Accord came to market with an expanded range of innovative technologies designed for greater efficiency, enhanced safety and more power across the lineup.

According to Honda, the goal with this eighth-generation version is to provide Canadians with a vehicle that is “green, safe, fun,” and includes an emphasis on expressive styling, fun-to-drive performance and innovative packaging. Some might argue with the innovative packaging part of that statement, but this new Accord sure is fun to drive, powerful and a good handler.

The coupe is available with two engine choices: The “base” 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, standard in the EX and EX-L models, pushes out 190 horsepower through either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission — if you opt for the auto add $1,200 to the EX’s $27,990 and EX-L’s $30,390 manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

The EX-L V6, as its name suggests, brings you a 268-hp 3.5-litre V6 mated with a standard five-speed automatic (with Grade Logic Control to minimize excessive gear shifting in hilly terrain) or six-speed manual. They command MSRPs of $35,490.

Our tester was an EX-L V6 with the six-speed manual, 18-inch wheels and leather seat trim. It also came equipped with the available satellite-linked Navigation System with bilingual voice recognition, which took the sticker price to $38,290.

We were impressed with its power, very good handling, lack of torque-steer (unless you are on slippery pavement) and the fantastic feel of the manual shift lever.

Along with its 268 hp — the most ever for any Accord — the V6 also brings a new generation of fuel-saving variable cylinder management (VCM) that shuts down two or three cylinders on the highway for improved fuel efficiency. Unfortunately, the VCM version can only be had with the automatic transmission, so the six-speed’s mileage will reflect that fact.

But regardless of which engine it’s equipped with, the Accord Coupe remains a highly entertaining drive, with double-wishbone suspension front and rear and typically sharp Honda responses.

Another innovation on the Coupe is its variable gear ratio (VGR) steering. This new system, which uses variable mechanical ratio steering in addition to variable power, provides better feel and greater responsiveness at larger steering angles. And, for once, such a feature actually works and is totally unobtrusive in the process.

The larger interior is intended to provide “equal” seating comfort for front and rear passengers.

There is more rear legroom and width to allow the front seats to be positioned farther apart for a wide centre. This helps give a nice airy feel to the cabin without having the occupants feeling like they are miles away from each other.

All in all, the 2008 Accord Coupe presents itself as a very viable alternative for those who are looking for Honda’s reliability but also want to enjoy the driving experience. Kids will just have to get used to Mom’s resigned sigh: “Daddy’s having fun.”


 
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