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Can Honda get its mojo back?

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    Or, maybe just the MB S-Class, BMW 7er, Audi A8 and Lexus LS.

    Funny you'd mention that, because the last time I sat in a BMW 7-series at one of the auto shows, it was a long wheelbase model, and it made me think that about the only old Detroit model that would compete with this would be something like a Caddy Fleetwood 75!

    Going purely on size, most of what we call midsized today would've been compact back in the 60's. But, in terms of market status, comfort, etc, I'd say you're right that they pretty much fill the same market that your typical Detroit mass-market full-sizer did back in the day.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,335
    edited October 2012
    I think interior space, and how it's configured, are more significant than exterior dimensions. Such things as FWD and space efficiency in general, seats that are much more adjustable, and greater attention to interior configuration has compensated for smaller exterior dimensions and three abreast front seat capability.

    Wouldn't four people, and especially the driver front seat passenger, be more comfortable in a new Accord than, say, a '60s or '70s Impala/Galaxie/Fury on a long trip?
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,207
    I imagine that hood opened from the back like my Park Ave. It was the only car I had that did that. Ford products of the 1950s had hoods that opened fron the back as well.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,207
    I had a 1979 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency with the 403 V-8 that went 148K+ miles before being destroyed in an accident with a box truck.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,444
    My grandfather's old 49 Buick's hood opened from the side!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,207
    Those old Buicks had a setup where you could open the hood from either side. I imagine if you hit all four latches and had some help, you could take the entire hood off.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    Wouldn't four people, and especially the driver front seat passenger, be more comfortable in a new Accord than, say, a '60s or '70s Impala/Galaxie/Fury on a long trip?

    They might just be. I know my '67 Catalina convertible, which is the same basic thing as an Impala, isn't that comfortable for me on long trips. Legroom is a bit tight, but worse, the steering wheel is too close to my chest, so I have to drive with my arms bent a little, and that gives me a touch of tennis elbow after awhile. And if I can't stretch my left leg from time to time, my knee gets a bit achy. Getting old is a B*tch! :P

    The seats also aren't all that well padded and there's no side bolstering or contouring to speak of. However, one thing that it does well is give me some support in my lower back. Many newer cars seem to overdo it at the upper back, but not the lower, so it forces me into a bit of a slouching position and my back starts hurting. However, I dunno if a new Accord would do that or not. I'm sure a nicer model would have lumbar support, which would definitely help.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,444
    You may be right. He was gone by the time we hit the age where we would have thought of attempting such a thing - but indeed you could open it from either side. I remember him doing that.
  • GM cars of the 1960s weren't known for prioritizing passenger space over style. Judging by the sales figures, customers didn't seem to mind, although GM pushed it too far with the 1971 full-size cars and personal luxury cars and 1973 Colonnade intermediates.

    To some extent, the growth in sales of Mercedes and Volvo at that time was a reaction to domestic cars that were huge outside and not very roomy inside.

    It wasn't just the imports that were more space efficient. The 1965-68 Chrysler Corporation full-size cars felt HUGE inside compared to their GM counterparts.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    Good observation. But by the 1980s this had changed, maybe for everybody. My 1988 Olds 98 was at least a foot shorter and about a thousand pounds lighter than a 1984 98, but it had almost the same amount of room inside as the previous generation. That 1988 Olds 98 (or really starting with the 1985's) was small on the outside and big on the inside. I think it was bigger on the inside than many of today's cars of the same size...
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    Believe it or not, it was about TWO feet shorter! I think the 1984 Olds 98 was around 221" long, while the 1985 was around 196".

    Compared to the 1984, the main thing the '85 gave up was trunk space and shoulder room. I think legroom was about the same. However, I sat in Lemko's '88 Park Ave once or twice, and it seemed like the seat sat up a bit higher, but didn't go back quite as far as the old RWD models did. I think headroom overall was increased, too.

    The trunk got shrunk from around 20-21 cubic feet to maybe 15.5-16. And it probably lost a lot of towing capacity. However, I've always wondered...how much could an early 80's RWD B/C body tow, anyway? Somehow, I don't think an '84 Ninety-Eight, sporting a 140 hp 307 with 255 ft-lb of torque and mated to the lightweight THM200-R4 transmission would be all that capable. That transmission could be beefed up considerably...after all, it was used in the Buick Grand National. But, I still don't think a 140 hp engine is going to be all that great at trailering.

    I think you're right, though. Nothing that small (~196 inches) is going to be nearly as roomy inside as those early FWD C-bodies.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    Wow. Two feet. I like your in depth historical knowledge of car numbers. Amazing stuff.

    Yeah, the trunk was about 16. Bigger than the one in my Honda Accord, which is more like 14. Width or shoulder room wasn't as much as a 1984, but legroom and headroom were pretty close. That was a was engineered car...
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    edited October 2012
    victor wrote: "Oh yes, this is a beast... Not only 2.0T, but also a DSG transmission. It delivers power like V-6, but feels much more powerful. IIRC, it is rated somewhere around 6.2 s for 0-60, but I am not sure how relevant is this number itself: we are not taking it to drag races..."

    That's faster than I thought. (Cue Darth Vader voice): "Impressive! *Most* impressive."

    I think the 0-60 number is very relevant, and I'm always puzzled when people say it wouldn't be. Almost every day when I get off of work I'm stopped at a light, and then it turns green and I have to get from 0-60 going up an uphill onramp as I merge onto the freeway. Heck yeah it's relevant. To me, at least.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    I think the 0-60 number is very relevant

    Well, I give numbers from Motor Trend (MT) or the sites like zeroto60times.com for the sake of consistency (looks like most people here quote MT, and the available numbers for Accord'13 are also from MT). Some dudes on youtube claim even faster times, while, for instance, CR gives much slower 0-to-60 than MT for all cars.

    Anyway, I never had a slightest problem merging from the ramp, even without the S-mode. Effortless.

    I've just read that yesterday's midsize comparo by MT. Quite illuminating. Looks like Honda did a good job; nice surprise to me. Not at all surprised by a poor Camry showing. Old 2.5 5-cyl (which wasn't adequate even for Jetta even years ago) for a new Passat is a joke, but maybe just OK with most "users". Pity they couldn't include Sonata, Legacy (these were too old) and Mazda (not launched yet).
  • keystonecarfankeystonecarfan Posts: 181
    edited October 2012
    GM's first-generation front-wheel-drive full-size cars were quite space efficient. They were, however, lower to the ground, so entry and exit were more difficult than before.

    At least, that is what my parents said, as they had traded in a 1982 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale sedan for a 1988 version.

    The big problem with those first front-wheel-drive full-size cars was that they felt less solid than the old rear-wheel-drive versions. The interior panels felt as though they were attached with paper clips, and there was a drumming noise that never went away.

    The redone 1990s versions were a HUGE improvement. My parents bought a 1992 Delta 88 to replace the 1988 model, and it was a much better car in every way.
  • victor23: Looks like Honda did a good job; nice surprise to me.

    Honda had to hit a home run. Another half-hearted effort like the Civic in a critical market segment, and the company would be in serious trouble.

    The current Civic is getting an emergency makeover for 2013. It's supposed to debut in November-December. According to insiders on a site that shall not be named, the 2013 model will feature a dramatically improved interior and a slight exterior facelift.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    For some strange reason, I kinda like the 2012 Civic. I wonder if that should be an omen for Honda...that if Andre says he likes it, be ready for it to take some flak! :P

    FWIW, I like the 2008-2012 as well, a car that gets criticized for being too big, losing touch with what a Honda "should" be, etc. And, as I recall, even the 2003-2007, which is when it finally got big enough that I'd consider one, was criticized.

    I'm curious to see how the 2013 Accord compares.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    The 2012 Civic is a very good car. In some areas I think it's been unfairly criticized. Compared to the previous version it has more room, it's faster, it gets significantly better mpg, etc. They did cut costs in some places (like the dash plastic), but it's not as bad as some people say. My brother-in-law has a 2012 Civic Si sedan, and it's an excellent car. Of course, that's a totally top of the line model...

    As the owner of a 2008 Accord, I think the criticism of that generation (the 8th of the Accord) was a little overdone too. Compared to my 2002 Accord it was a major improvement in many ways. The doors of the 08 close like a bank vault compared to the rather tinny 02. The handling, however, is more sloppy and Buick-like (not *that* bad, but...) compared to the more crisp 2002.

    Like you and many others, I'm curious about the 2013. Car and Driver has just named it the King of midsize sedans, beating out the new Fusion, Altima, etc. Although the 2013 is a bit smaller on the outside than the previous generation, the room inside is supposed to be almost the same. Acceleration to 60 mph is faster by about a second, which is huge. And mpg is up to 36 on the hwy, which is impressive for a sedan of this size and power.

    I'm looking forward to buying one once supplies are up and prices ease a little...December maybe?
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    "In case you thought we were superficial, the dowdy Accord won our hearts with resurgent Honda mojo and unimpeachable chassis flow"
    (+) Sweet to Drive, Big in the Back and the Boot, engine and CVT work harmoniously
    (-) Anonymity on Wheels, CVT makes some noise
    (=) A family sedan made out of recycled CRXs "
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    I spotted a 2013 Accord up in Pennsylvania, Saturday evening. Nice, attractive car IMO. It's not going to set the automotive world on fire, but truth be told, I don't think any car is capable of that anymore. At this point in time I think that, style-wise, we've seen it all and done it all. So until they can make the damn things levitate, I don't think there's much they can do anymore to really wow me.

    Still, it's enough that it's aroused my curiosity.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,963
    "Thirty years ago, the first Accord rolled off the line at Honda's Marysville, Ohio, plant, the first car a Japanese automaker assembled in the U.S., changing the competitive landscape of American automaking forever.

    Though its world headquarters remains in Japan, Honda makes and sells more cars in North America than in any other continent. The seven plants can produce 1.63 million vehicles a year now and will boost annual capacity to 1.92 million vehicles when a new$800-million plant in Celaya, Mexico, starts production in 2014."

    Honda's Ohio plant changed competitive landscape in America (Detroit Free Press)

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,674
    I had a 2005, which was to me a nice size and a well balanced car. Not stylish, but not offensive either. The next (last now) generation, I did not like. Way too big, seemed bloated, and not at all interesting to me.

    the new one though, I would consider if I needed a full sized mid size (what I consider these). Looks nice, and a bit trimmer. still barge like though, but most of these are now.

    one thing that I like about the Accord, when you read the comparison tests, is visibility. One of the few with decent sized windows, reasonably low belt line, and a decent view out. Some of the other cars in the class are like looking out of a tank turret.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • berriberri Posts: 4,275
    What I found interesting in that CD article was that it was pretty high on the new Camry, but then Motor Trend came out very down on the Camry due to things like rattles and a light assembly falling out of the roof...hmm, sounded like "Old GM" disease. They also took opposite positions on the new VW Passat.

    I'm thinking that Honda dropping the front end wishbone suspension won't be a big deal in the marketplace even though it may dismay a few Honda purists?
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,674
    those purists long since abandoned the Accord.

    Or, they joined the 99% of the buyers that neither know nor car what kind of front suspension the car has. Or transmission, or any other dirty bit, as long as it is smooth, quiet, economical and reliable.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,963
    Slower-than-expected sales and the yen's strength against other currencies forced Japan's third-biggest car maker to lower its net profit projection.

    "Our earnings outlook has been affected by lower sales due to the situation in China" and other key markets, Finance chief Fumihiko Ike said at a news conference Monday. Honda also posted weak second-quarter results, which Mr. Ike blamed in part on higher spending on marketing and incentives in the U.S. to clear out older inventory that acted as a drag on profits."

    Honda Chops Forecast WSJ

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • berriberri Posts: 4,275
    That's kind of funny Steve, because when I look at the ads it seems Detroit is often priced higher than Japan these days because D3 seems to have inflated their sticker prices more.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    edited October 2012
    those purists long since abandoned the Accord.
    Or, they joined the 99% of the buyers that neither know nor car what kind of front suspension the car has. Or transmission, or any other dirty bit, as long as it is smooth, quiet, economical and reliable.


    Probably I am one of those, because I don't really care as long as it is "fun-to-drive" AND "pleasure-to-ride" AND "low-maintenance" AND reliable. I did abandon, and one of the "deal-breakers" was the consistently high turning diameter in V6 Accords (among the highest in the class). It was a frustrating 39.6' in my 2007.

    As concerns the style, I agree, I also liked 2003-2005 the most (elegant inside; not outstanding, but consistent outside; not too big for a personal transportation); 2006 redesign was "more inoffensive", but rather eclectic. 2008 was "noble", but not elegant, outside, and mostly disappointing inside, and its mid-cycle redesign was, again, "more inoffensive", but bland and eclectic. 2013 seems to be the most inoffensive of all on paper (have yet to see it "in person").
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    its mid-cycle redesign was, again, "more inoffensive", but bland and eclectic. 2013 seems to be the most inoffensive of all on paper (have yet to see it "in person").

    That mid cycle refresh must have been bland as heck, as I never even noticed that there was one! :blush:

    I saw a 2013 Accord a couple weeks ago. I thought it was nice looking.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,816
    Saw my 1st new Accord last night at the gas station and I like it! The rear end looks especially nice and since it had nice alloys, I'm assuming it was an EX model. I think this car will age nicely...looks much better than the last generation for some reason. Looks better than the new Camry overall...I would definitely buy one if in the market for a mid-sized sedan right now. Like it even better than the new Fusion, which is a very good looking new model...I'd choose the Fusion over the Camry if they were my two choices for my next ride and I'm not really a Ford person at all.
    All I can say is...good job Honda!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2015 Audi A3 (wife)/2015 Golf SE (me)/2009 Nissan Versa SL Hatch (daughter #1)/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS (daughter #2)

  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    That mid cycle refresh must have been bland as heck, as I never even noticed that there was one!

    The too-much-chrome-too-rectangular grille was gone; I liked the new one at first, but very soon it became too much reminding of 1950s and lacking any (even if poor) personality. The rear lamps were added with horisontal strips looking like light-reflecting stickers stuck onto an antique car.
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