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Should Honda Introduce A Car Between Civic and Accord

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,192
edited March 10 in Honda
Although the '08 Accord gets excellent reviews, some people have commented that the Accord has grown too large for their needs. The Civic may be a little too small for some of these people. Is there room to position a new line of cars, sized between the Civic and the Accord, kind of like the Accords of the late '80s-early '90s? Should the European Accord, which is sold as the Acura TSX in the U.S., be decontented for the U.S. market, and badged as a Honda?

I suggest this possibility because the market for Civic and ('08) Accord size cars is huge, and could probably support an entry in between compact and full size. Call it an intermediate. Detroit did this very successfully in the '60s, with such cars as the Malibu, Fairlane, Belvedere, and AMC's Rambler.

Comments

  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    ".....kind of like the Accords of the late '80s-early '90s?

    The current Civic IS larger and more massive than those earlier Accords! The Fit is only about 250lbm less than my '88 Accord!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,192
    While what you say is true, comparisons with the past don't change the possibility that a there could be a significant market for an intermediate, in between the Civic and Accord. This would be especially true if the next generation Accord (2012?)continues past trends and grows a little more, and/or the next Civic is a smidgeon smaller. The hypothetical business case for an intermediate isn't based on a change in the dimensions of the Civic or Accord, however.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,192
    Steve or Claire, please add a question mark to the title of this discussion, since it begins with "Should..." Thanks.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Accord won't grow any larger than this. Look at the Avalon, it has only grown incrementally in 15 years. That's because at the size it already is, it is beginning to move away from the high-volume part of the car sales spectrum. People don't buy cars much bigger than this.

    Having said that, I think it would be awesome if they decontented the TSX and sold it for $18-22K. I would assume they would use the 4-cylinder powertrains from the new Accord, or at least the one from the LX. With less weight, it would hopefully do better than the new Accord for fuel economy.

    If they did something like this, watch out Mazda and Subaru!

    I have felt for some time that Honda is a little short on car models, even as diverse as the Civic and Accord lines are.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I think it would be awesome if they decontented the TSX and sold it for $18-22K.

    Thats Civic territory. What makes you think a car like TSX can be offered for $18K-22K? Size isn't necessarily the something that makes a car expensive or cheap. Platform, and features do.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Nissan tried that w/ the original Altima.
    It was between the Sentra and Maxima.
    Of course, it has grown to be as big as the Maxima, its just cheaper.

    I think an itermediate sedan is a bad idea.
    Who would drive it?
    If you have a family, a car like the new Accord is a good idea.
    If you don't than the smaller Civic is great.
    I don't think Honda needs 3 sedans.
    what you might do is make the Civic a tad larger,and have the Fit as your small entry car. Which the Civic originally was.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Your remarks bring to mind something I was sorta thinking earlier, but didn't mention: what about another smaller model? Actually, I think Honda has one in the works, so they are way ahead of me there, but that would be good.

    I think Accord has grown too large for lots of people now, and there is a big gap in size between Civic and Accord that a tweener model (decontented TSX, do it, yes! :-)) would fill just nicely. They wouldn't sell a million of them like the Accord, but they would sell enough to make a profit given it is shared with foreign markets.

    robertsmx: OK, maybe $18K is too optimistic. How about $20K, $22K? Two trims only, like LX and EX of the Civic/Accord, no extra-fancy trims, just keep it simple. This is a car that was $25K as an Acura just 3 or 4 short years ago, and it still had all the standard frippery then, so I bet Honda could pull some stuff out and sell it for $22K without sweating. You KNOW they add a price premium just for that Acura badge. All the luxury carmakers do it.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,192
    To differentiate the "tweener" from the TSX, the Acura could have a turbo and offer SH-AWD, while the tweener remains FWD and naturally aspirated.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    There would be no point to it. While many are calling Accord a BIG car, it is largely in nomenclature, thanks to strictly following EPA’s definition. Among family sedans, spanning from Mazda6 (111 cu ft) to Ford Taurus (129 cu ft), Accord is right in the middle car (120 cu ft). It sneaks into full size class by merely 0.1 cu ft of additional space. On the outside, it is actually about an inch shorter than the old Acura Legend, but an inch wider. And I never heard anybody call the Legend a big car.

    As volvomax pointed out, Accord is the right size for family sedan in America (and, I will add, as a premium sedan in most other continents). Need good room for four? Civic fits perfectly. Need something even smaller, Honda has Fit. The only thing Honda could do is something I said when the news about Si sedan came out. Honda should have left “Si” trim exclusive to the coupe, and offered 2.4-liter engine in Civic sedan with sport tuned chassis. That is really the only thing missing from Civic, a powerful engine mated to automatic transmission.

    Better yet, I think Honda should use Acura CSX for that purpose. It won’t be a $18K-20K car (and doesn’t need to be), but for under $25K, it would offer a nice alternative as a larger compact to “almost” midsize. This would be for lifestyle buyers. I really don’t see a point to yet another in-between car. Three car (Fit, Civic and Accord), three SUV (Element, CR-V and Pilot) and two more like Stream and Odyssey along with a truck for the burbs (Ridgeline) are plenty, IMO.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    TSX doesn't have alot of content as it is.
    What are you gonna take out??
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I like your thinking! The next-gen TSX HAS to start using the turbo 2.3 from the RDX, or it will be totally outclassed and just fade away. You could sell the Honda TSX with the NA 4-cylinder engines the Europeans get. Or just plug in the base engine from the Accord LX. Which may wind up being the same thing, I dunno.

    Robertsmx: I dunno, someone here at work has bought one of the new Accords, so I get the chance to eyeball it every day, and it's pretty big. The last one already drove big, and this one is heavier. I am just doing the math here...

    I really must get over to drive one some day soon. Then I can give personal impressions.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,192
    TSX doesn't have alot of content as it is.
    What are you gonna take out??

    The sunroof and leather are two major items that could be deleted from standard equipment content, but as I said earlier, part of the differentiation between the Honda and the TSX would come from equipping the TSX with the RDX's turbo engine, and offering SH-AWD as an option. The styling could also be differentiated.

    By the way, I don't know if introducing a tweener is a sound business idea, but given that some people think the Accord has grown too large, I thought this possibility should be discussed.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Like I said earlier, size is for namesake only. When was the last time you put 1992-1995 Acura Legend and BIG, 1995-1998 Acura TL and BIG, or 1999-2003 Acura TL and BIG in the same sentence? The new Accord is about the same size! It is about the same size as Lexus ES350. I've only heard how Acura RL is small (never BIG), another car with virtually identical dimensions to the new Accord.

    The difference is in perception, because we keep reading it as a full size car, when just 0.1 cu ft would change that.

    I did this comparison in another thread...
    1995 Legend (2008 Accord)
    Length: 194.9" (194.1")
    Width: 71.3" (72.7")
    Height: 55.1" (58.1")
    Wheelbase: 114.6" (110.1")
    Wheel: P215/55/R16 (P225/50/R17)
    Curb Weight: 3616 lb (3600 lb)
    Engine: 3.2 V6 (3.5 V6)
    Max Power: 230 HP (268 HP)
    Max Torque: 206 lb-ft (248 lb-ft)
    EPA fuel economy rating: 18/23 (22/32)*

    * Based on old EPA ratings. New EPA ratings: 16/21 (19/29).
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    what all these comparisons with old 90s cars are about, I just know what I've seen - the new Accord is real BIG!

    Plus, there is no longer an Accord DX. I wonder if you could sell a stripped Euro-Accord (equipped similar to a Camry CE - no power seats or keyless entry, maybe a couple more deletions? - but with much better handling and a tweener size) to some folks for a sticker of $19,995...it would be somewhat bigger and sportier than a Civic EX but with less features for about the same money...sounds like a workable proposition to me...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    The comparison is meant to provide a perspective, instead of a plain old argument using an opinion. What is big? Is Accord big? Was the Legend big? Is Avalon big? How about the leader... Taurus?

    As for Accord DX, there wasn't a market for it. Over last ten years, I have known only one person who actually bought an Accord DX and that was the sales person who sold me the 1998 Accord. He traded his Maxima in and got Accord DX to reduce expense. And I don't remember seeing more than one DX on the road.

    If Honda were to sell a car like that for $18K, why would anyone buy it over loaded Civic, or not be willing to pay a grand or two for much better equipped Accord?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,192
    The Legend/Accord comparison is useful. Thanks. However, there's a saying, which you've probably heard, that "perception is reality." I interpret this to mean that, regardless of comparisons, if some people perceive the '08 Accord to be large, then to them it's large. What I believe nippononly is saying is that the '08 Accord is too large for his needs, but a tweener might appeal to him. The reason I started this discussion is that I feel the same way, and wanted to see how others felt.

    I'm not saying that I wouldn't buy an '08 Accord, due to its size, but I'd prefer a trimmer size. You, on the other hand, seem to feel that the Accord is the right size for you. Hopefully others will weigh in, and we'll get a rough read on what the demand for a TSX Honda would be.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    perhaps because it's not very FUN any more to drive an Accord. Even the last gen was too big and too heavy to be fun, plus it had a suspension designed to be slightly sporting but mainly "comfortable family transportation". The TSX I am envisioning would be a Civic/Accord alternative with superlative handling.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Wow!!! The Accord is a BIG car???? At 40, am I the old fart here? Cuz the Accord, although larger now than before, is not a large car. Is it really classified as large instead of mid-size? Maybe I still have memories of the big American boats that were actually large. I say this as having owned a 2004 Accord. And it could fit 5 adults relatively comfortably. Well, 2 men in front- 3 women in back. I do agree with the TSX proposals. That would fit between the Accord and Civic. But pricing it between them would be a problem.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    I guess it depends on one's perspective (and I'm much older), but to me, the Accord is a very big car - far too large for me to consider. For that matter, so is the Civic since it is only available as a sedan/coupe and unable to haul any more than a few people and suitcases.

    There are many cars available in the over 3000lbm category. What is missing is a selection of high quality vehicles in the <3k lbm range, particularly under 2500lbm. Where are cars like the '84-'86 Civic? I could carry a couple of bicycles INSIDE my '84 Civic but you can't do that with a new Civic OR Accord! The old Civic was less than 2000lbm!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,192
    "Where are cars like the '84-'86 Civic? I could carry a couple of bicycles INSIDE my '84 Civic but you can't do that with a new Civic OR Accord!"

    The Fit is Honda's spiritual successor to the '84-'86 Civic. It should be able to carry a couple of bicycles, in the same manner that your old Civic did. The Fit weighs considerably more than the '84-'86 Civic, due to safety features and more content, but, in my opinion, it's also better in most respects than the old Civic; it's safer, quieter, and quicker. Other choices include the Toyota Yaris, Scion xD, Nissan Versa, VW Rabbit, the Chevy Aveo, and others, all worthy competitors to the Fit. There's no scarcity of good, small car choices.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    "There's no scarcity of good, small car choices"

    There may not be a scarcity, but there also isn't a wide diversity. I eagerly await Honda adding another sub-Civic car to the line in a couple of years.

    One of the problems with the Accord is that they didn't use interior space all that well. For instance, the back seat is molded to have two big spots for people, while the middle seat is smaller and not as comfortable. While it CAN hold five people, it is only really comfortable for four. Given the length and girth of this model now, that is a problem.

    The tweener model I envision would seat four adults in comfort, five for shorter trips, like the TSX now. In such a line-up, they could redesign the interior of the Accord to give it real comfort space for five adults. There should certainly be enough room based on the exterior dimensions.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Are we saying Civic is too small? Would you recommend Honda enlarging it with next generation so it sits more between Fit and Accord than closer to Fit?

    I can already see a lot of people complaining about it.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Honda Fit. It is slightly shorter, slightly wider and has a slightly longer wheelbase than Civic 5-door hatchback from 1983. In other words, Fit fits where Civic did, 24 years ago.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,192
    "Are we saying Civic is too small? Would you recommend Honda enlarging it with next generation so it sits more between Fit and Accord than closer to Fit?"

    The Civic isn't too small. In fact, I preferred the size of the previous generation, so, for my taste, I definitely wouldn't enlarge it. I don't think Honda will reduce the size of the next generation Civic, however, particularly since the next Fit will be larger than the current one.

    You cited the Taurus a few times, to justify the fact that the Accord isn't so large. I happen to think the new Taurus/Sable are really nice cars, and have a place in the market, but they're just not for me. I see them more as replacements for the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis, which, in the retail sector, appeal to those who love large cars, or need a lot of room. The main drawback I see for the Taurus/Sable is that they don't offer three passenger seating in front, at least as an option, whereas Buick and Chevy still do. That's a niche the Japanese haven't addressed, although maybe the Avalon offers a front bench seat as an option. I know that at one time it did. If Ford's turn around succeeds - and I really hope it does - it's likely that the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car will be replaced by a new RWD large car. Maybe not all three, but at least one or two of them.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    The new Fit is out (in Japan). It is...
    Length: 154" (3" longer than old Fit, 3" shorter than 1984 Civic HB)
    Width: 66.7" (0.8" wider than old Fit)
    Weight: 22 lb heavier than old Fit

    Engines:
    1.3-liter: 100 HP/94 lb-ft (up from 86 HP/88 lb-ft)
    1.5-liter: 120 HP/107 lb-ft (up from 110 HP/105 lb-ft)

    Fuel economy is up as well.

    And that makes it the perfect substitute for that old Civic.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Instead of a new car, I think Honda should offer a Civic sedan trim with 2.4-liter engine. Or, at least as Acura CSX.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,907
    a "large" car, it really isn't. Its trunk is around 14 cubic feet, which is about what the Accord's trunk has been for several decades. In my book, a 14 cubic foot trunk is "compact". In fact, the car is so barely over the threshold into "large" that if you order one with a sunroof, it falls back into "midsize".

    I think the '08 Accord only has something like 58" of shoulder room, barely more than the '03-07. That's definitely still midsized as far as I'm concerned. So where is it getting its extra interior volume? Headroom?

    I guess it's just that I think of a full-sized car in old fashioned terms...one with a 20 cubic foot trunk that can hold 6 full-sized adults in relative comfort.

    I dunno if slotting something in between the Civic and Accord would be a good idea. It worked with Nissan and the Altima because the Maxima was more of an upscale, premium car. Even back in the old days, there was a step up going from those nasty little 210/310/F10 cars to the 510, and then the 810. When the 510 and 810 got replaced by the Stanza and Maxima, respectively, while there wasn't much difference in interior room, the Max was a much more substantial, upscale car.

    It also worked at Toyota with the Camry, which slotted between the Cressida and the Corolla. Again here, the Camry was about as roomy inside as the Cressida, but the Cressida was much more upscale, more near luxury. If anything, the Lexus lineup is what squeezed out the Cressida, and whatever demand was left for an upscale Toyota was later filled with the Avalon.

    However with Honda, the Accord isn't their "upscale" car, like the Avalon or Maxima. It's their "bread and butter" car, more along the lines of the Altima and Camry. Trying to squeeze something in between the Accord and the Civic would be like trying to squeeze something between the Altima and Sentra, or Camry and Corolla. And I just don't think there's enough demand for something in that size range. Cars like that usually don't sell in high volume, anyway. Think Mazda6, Saturn L series, etc.

    Or, what happens is that they steal enough sales from the larger car that neither one becomes a huge seller. Think Taurus/Fusion or Impala/Malibu. The current Impala didn't really start becoming a huge seller until after Buick started cutting back on the Century/Regal (fleet sales, which the Impala picked up) and the current Malibu started trailing off in sales.

    The current Civic actually feels pretty roomy inside to me for such a small car. Plenty of legroom up front, and still big enough that I could fit in the back with the seat all the way back. The new Sentra isn't all that bad, either. I do find the Corolla to be a bit cramped, though.

    Now if they were pushing these Accords, Camries, and Altimas up to the size of Caprices, while holding the lines on the Civics and such, then yeah, there would be room for a new model. But just because the Accord has barely poked into full-sized car category doesn't mean that the era of the mastodon is returning. It's taken about 33 years for the Accord to grow to roughly the size of a 1982 Malibu. I doubt if we'll see it hit 1976 Electra territory anytime soon!
This discussion has been closed.