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Honda Accord VCM

golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
Just picked up my new 08 Accord EXL-V6 with Navi etc Sat. This is my 6th Accord. Ok so I get the whole "gogreenloweremissionssavefuel gig". But here is what noone is talking about yet and so far, I appear to be the first..... VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) Hondas new generation engine for the Accord is different then engine they have been using in the Odyssey. Ya see in the Van version Honda implemented a 6 cylinder to 3 cylinder VCM function. in the 08 Accords its 6-4-3. The issue is this... when you are in the city you will rarely notice anything, maybe when the "ECO" light comes on you may feel a slight hesitation a 1/2 second after but, overall with all the stopping and starting etc you cant seem to notice anything out of the ordinary. Ok so here is the rub,,, take it out on the highway and run the car at about 65-70 miles per hour (normal within the speed limit) cruising and you will begin to feel the VCM system trying to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up... you "may" feel the car surging and slight hints of hesitation as it jumps from 6-4-3 cylinders.. those of you that like to feel the road and are "in tune" with your ride "may" just get frustrated. Add on top of that the new "Grade-Logic" system and what you end up with is a a car that can (at times), feel like its trying to get into gear (at least mine anyway). This seems to be minimized when in "cruise control". I found this hesitation and/or surging felling no matter how stable I kept my foot on the gas, even going so far as to lock my ankle in one position thinking the gas pedal may just be super sensitive. I took it into the dealer today and they ran about every computer test they had on it and all was ok (or at least within specs). in fact we road tested two other V6's and sure enough... same drill. So caveat emptor (buyer beware) the car is awesome in almost every respect BUT just be sure that you know what you're buying and how it operates. It is different than your run of the mill V6 engine. Yes its a new technology and yes I drove a standard V6 for years, so I need to get used to this, and (of course) I am sure I will, ( well a pray I will after dropping $30K)... but if you are concerned that yours is having issues or that it is not running correctly... it most likely is (as designed). My salesman had me believe that the only thing you I would notice is the "ECO" light coming on and that just isn't the case in my experience.
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Comments

  • vietviet Posts: 847
    Thanks Dpmeersman, for your friend 's rigorous tests on VCM in different driving conditions. I will not hesistate a bit to go forward with my purchase.
  • I've posted similar comments in other Edmunds forums. This is my first Accord so I can't personally compare it to others. I consider myself an average driver and bought the V6 only for those times when that boost is needed to merge or pass, although I must admit to dipping in to it a little more often because it is responsive and reasonably agile so why not have a little fun now and then. The fuel economy versus the 4 cyl was marginal so the 6 feels a better fit for a car of this size. Others that have cylinder de-activation from other mfg's note they can't feel a thing. I'm not sure if this is attributable to better implementation or general drivetrain numbness. But I agree with you, that if someone picks up a coupe for example with the auto tranny they may feel as if there are things going on with the drivetrain that may detract from the sporty nature the car was intended for. For them the proper choice would always be the 6 spd manual and non VCM engine. All in all I'm still pleased with my purchase and feel my EX-L V6 non Navi is quite the car and feels like a $35-40,000 sedan not like a sub $30,000 one. It draws quite a bit of attention as it is truly a complete overhaul from the previous generation and most people have a hard time believing its an Accord.
  • Noted the two above posts re operation of the VCM (3,4,6 cylinder operation) on the 08 Honda V6.

    I too own an 08 EXL V6 non nav model. Now have about 3,800 miles on it, including an 1,800 mile highway trip.

    Unlike the above users, I do not find the cylinder change objectionable. I do agree that you can "feel" it, especially if you are watching the "ecomomy" light. What I experienced, however, on the highway was I thought a rather pleasant addition of power when going up grades. On cruise control, I noted that as grades were encountered, it switched to 6 cylinder operation with a slight increase in power, much like a downshift.

    A side benefit is that unless the grade is pretty steep, the transmission DOES NOT downshift as with most cars. (You can observe this by the rock steady RPM). The engine does run at relatively high RPM vs other V6's (my 07 Toyota RAV4 for instance), but probably due to this higher RPM and the ability to engage more cylinders, it does very little shifting at speed limits.
  • Good points. I don't really find that the VCM is objectionable, just noticeable where most reviewers have stated that it is invisible in the background. I've only got 1,500 miles of which only 300 are highway miles. The highway trip consisted of 4 adults and luggage for a long weekend and all were comfortable and I managed 28 MPG, very impressive in my eyes. What did you get for MPG on your 1,800 mile trip?
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Thanks for the heads up. I was afraid of what you describe happening. Your post was the first to indicate it in detail.

    On one of the non-Edmunds 2008 Accord forums, several posters have become alarmed because a few almost new 2008 EX-L V-6's with 1000 miles or less have been immediately put up for sale by private owners. Nobody knows why... could be because of what you described.

    I have yet to drive the 2008 EX-L V6. The car is on my list. I would insist on driving it on the interstate to see if I can duplicate what you describe. Coming from three BMW's, that would definitely bother me.

    None of the reviews I have read indicate the VCM problem.

    Disappointing.
  • On the 1,800 mile trip (Springfield, MO to Cleveland, OH & return) I averaged 28.3. Had a high of 33.1 and a low of 25.4. Drove at speed limits or a little over (65 to 75) and terrain ranged from level (Illinois & Indiana) to pretty rolling (Southern Missouri & Northern Ohio).
  • golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
    Let me clarify that I don't feel the VCM issues (at this point) are objectionable. I do feel that the marketing of the engine is vague.. you can definitely feel the changes in cylinders when driving on the highway.. without question its there. Based on the Honda Service Managers opinion "it almost can feel like a 5 speed in overdrive". I don't find the "feeling" to be as aggressive as shifting gears by any stretch but I do feel constant changes in the engine's consistency when driving at 65-70 mph. hesitations and or surges can be felt and are present in the operation on my car. Again, I had this thoroughly inspected and the dealer says it is operating "within spec" so... do I think I will learn to live with it? Yes of course. The car is awesome in every respect but that.. the design is sharp, it gets alot of stares, the hints of the BMW are great in this car. It does indeed ride like a 40-50K automobile. I would by lying if I did not say that I am disappointed in the transparency of the VCM operation and hope that Honda many come out with a tuning process or improvement for the 08's and future vehicles to lessen this inconsistency.
  • golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
    Let me clarify that I don't feel the VCM issues (at this point) are objectionable. I do feel that the marketing of the engine is vague.. you can definitely feel the changes in cylinders when driving on the highway.. without question its there. Based on the Honda Service Managers opinion "it almost can feel like a 5 speed in overdrive". I don't find the "feeling" to be as aggressive as shifting gears by any stretch but I do feel constant changes in the engine's consistency when driving at 65-70 mph. hesitations and or surges can be felt and are present in the operation on my car. Again, I had this thoroughly inspected and the dealer says it is operating "within spec" so... do I think I will learn to live with it? Yes of course. The car is awesome in every respect but that.. the design is sharp, it gets alot of stares, the hints of the BMW are great in this car. It does indeed ride like a 40-50K automobile. I would by lying if I did not say that I am disappointed in the transparency of the VCM operation and hope that Honda many come out with a tuning process or improvement for the 08's and future vehicles to lessen this inconsistency.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    that mentions the VCM in the 2008 Accord EX V-6 sedan states that the VCM is totally unnoticeable to the driver except for the indicator light.

    Must be at least 10 reviews saying the same thing.

    One reviewer called the VCM's operation "seamless."

    This is the first time I have heard anything to the contrary.

    On the other hand, there seems to be a consensus of unhappiness with the performance of the 5 speed automatic transmission.
  • bug4bug4 Posts: 370
    Although the reviewers often say the VCM's operation is seamless, I have seen a number of posts over the last month which have mentioned feeling the system operate. None have said it is overly-objectionable . . . just that they feel it. I think this is consistent with golfrski's post.

    With regard to the 5 speed auto tranny, I do not believe there is a "consensus of unhappiness" with its performance. It gets glowing reviews from the pros and gets a glowing review from me :). I was dead-set against an automatic when I purchased my 4cyl EX-L. But, after several long test drives and the unavailablity of a manual, I bought the auto. I have not regretted my decision! The automatic is still no manual in terms of control, but I think it does a wonderful job for an automatic. Its upshifts are smooth and, most importantly, predictable and its downshifts are right on the mark. The system is smooth (and I hear even more smooth when mated to the V6) and never searches for gears. If there is one thing I would go to bat for on the new Accord, its the automatic transmission. I think it does a superior job of reading my right foot!!
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Let me begin with asking you: What are your driving conditions? In other words, could you describe your driving style and the topography (your location will suffice)?

    Since you claimed this is your sixth Accord, I'm also curious why you said "grade logic" was new.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    M Karesh, lead car reviewer, "Epinions", after driving two 2008 Accord EX vehicles: the 190 hp 4 and the 268 hp V-6:

    "The engines deserve better partners. When hooked up to either one, the still-five-speed automatics didn't behave well. They occasionally held a gear too long or refused to downshift or bumped when going from gear to gear."

    There are other reviews where unhappiness with the 5 speed automatic is expressed:

    Motor Trend in comparing the Camry SE to the Accord EX-V6 found that "Toyota's 6 speed automatic outclasses the Accord's 5-speed."

    Cars.com wrote that "upshifts can be a little jerky at times."

    US News and World Report: "Automotive writers are mostly dismayed with the Accord's 5-speed automatic transmission."

    Nevertheless, I plan on driving a 2008 EX V-6 sedan. Like I said, this vehicle is on my shopping list.

    I am more concerned about feeling the VCM than anything about the transmission.

    I hope other owners of the V-6 sedan come forward and can enlighten us on their VCM experiences.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Motor Trend in comparing the Camry SE to the Accord EX-V6 found that "Toyota's 6 speed automatic outclasses the Accord's 5-speed."

    The Accord did, however, win that comparison. And while they did say they liked the Camry's 6 speed transmission better, would they have liked it so much if it started the flare-up issue, that has probably been at least part of why CR doesn't give the Camry V6 "reliable" status. Maybe Honda wants to make sure a 6 speed auto trans will be reliable, before putting it in the Accord. The 5 speed automatic in my 03 EX V6 has been flawless in it's operation. More speeds means more complexity, and more needless shifting, for the sake of acceleration and fuel mileage. Just my thoughts on the subject.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Yes. You are correct. The Accord did win the comparo!

    I do believe what dissatisfies many reviewers, most drivers probably don't even notice or care.

    I really want to like this car. I am coming off lease in July and I have high hopes for the EX V6. (I should be able to swing sub-invoice by then!)
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    I am thinking Honda may try out a new 6 speed transmission in the next TL. The TL may be used as a proving ground for a new transmission, before it is used in a high volume seller like the Accord. Sounds like a good idea to me.
  • golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
    Fair enough observation. The grade logic design in the 08 accord is a redesigned version from previous grade logic systems/designs. I will share all the driving/road conditions with you as that too, is a very fair question.

    First off like I said in my 1st post on this issue, city driving you will hardly feel much of anything. This is due to lower speeds, less constant cruising speeds and the basic "stopping and starting" or braking and accelerating that we all find consistent with non-highway driving. In lower speeds its a bit less distinguishable due to simply put, more shifting.

    On highway driving is where I found the VCM to be most noticiable. flat open road minimal road wear conditions(i.e check holes, asphalt repairs etc) In fact interstate 71 in Ohio. Between 65 and 70 mph and off Cruise Control. That is the funny thing,I dont notice the changes as much in the computer aided CC. Now, I know what you are going to say, perhaps I have a lead foot, cant tell that I am adding pressure to the gas pedal or pulling off. I too, felt that was a possibility so i tested this thing for a total of 4 hours. 2 hours up to my location and 2 hours back, locking my foot in place at times. I see no reduction in speed on the speedometer OR any real noticable, instrumental change in the RPM.

    Hope that helps.
  • golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
    Like with any purchase.. do your due diligence and if you find it to be transparent, great. But take the time to really drive this car in multiple enviroments. We are all used to taking the demo for the 20 min ride close to the dealership.. with this new one I would hit some open road and gain "your" comfort level, thats all.
  • golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
    I am not sure on the quick sales. I would find that hard to believe , at least in multiples anyway. It is noticeable but I am not sure enough to warrant giving up. Like with anything new it takes time to become acclimated.. I am surprised Honda did not engineer it to be "more" transparent but I remain a loyal Honda customer. I will tell you that some owners of the Saab's 8 cylinder mgmt system have complained about this experience so its more widespread that with this automakers. Honda makes a terrific product. Like I stated this is my 6th Accord. I looked the Audi A6, Saab 9-5 and Acura RL and at then end of the day i migrated to the new Accord as its has always proven to be a no-brainer in terms of reliability, maint costs, resale and comfort. The new Accord is such a step up in design and luxury that its basically in the Acura RL class now in size and scope. In fact so close that Acura is planning a redesign the TL and a V8 version of the RL.

    So, just be cautious, dont listen to the sales-guy... listen to your self when you test drive it, feel it and consider the purchase,, thats my story and I am sticking to it ;-) GolfrSki
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Sounds good to me too.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I agree. My nearest Honda dealer is about a half mile from the interstate, so I should be able to check the VCM operation in the 65-75 mph range.

    There is an auto show coming to my town on Thursday so I will at least be able to sit in one without the usual pressure. I hope the seating adjustment is not disconnected.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    hpowders,

    The auto show is coming to my town (Birmingham, AL) on Thursday. Whereabouts are ya?
  • #3208 of 3653 Re: 2008 Accord V6 [seeker12] by dpmeersman Oct 09, 2007 (3:16 am)
    Replying to: seeker12 (Oct 08, 2007 12:11 pm)
    I've been enjoying the EX-L V6 Sedan for a couple of weeks. Only have about 600 miles on it but I don't find the variable cylinder system to be that noticeable. Unlike most reviewers that say it’s completely unnoticeable I can feel a little more going on then just the transmission shifting. When you consider the frequency that the ECO light on the dash comes on, this system is constantly making adjustments based on the terrain and attitude your right foot has with the accelerator, and anything that is activated as often as this is, based on my driving style, Honda better have gotten it right or it could be a big headache for both Honda and myself. I previously drove a 2003 Taurus and I'm amazed at the size of the new Accord. With 4 adults conversing while traveling 70 MPH on an interstate the Eco light tells me I'm getting a reasonable return on a gallon of gas, no one is shouting as the cabin is quiet and when you look in the rear view mirror and see your rear passengers seemingly in another zip code I smile and feel I made the right choice and I've got a lot of car for what I paid.

    This is one of my first post on any of the Accord Forums and I almost regret posting it. To not purchase this car because something that is mechanical in nature and can be barely noticed would be absurd. Would you change your mind on the purchase of an automobile because you could feel the tranny shifting? What can be felt cannot be considered a surge or a clunk or a shudder, as it is less noticeable then a shift. I know a lot of Honda drivers make their purchase on a multitude of considerations, it's legendary reliability, form and function of most switchgear etc. But many are also driving their Honda's because they enjoy driving and sometimes, actually frequently they get a little frisky with their car because you can, they are fun cars to drive. So I mentioned the VCM as a perceptible feature on the new 08's just as a heads up to those who have a history with Honda and enthusiast driving styles so that they may pay a little more attention during their test drive to see if it's something that they may find objectionable.
  • golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
    I found it to be most noticiable pegged at 65 mph or 70. btw as far as the seats... they added motorized lumbar support in my EXL model.. and unlike other cars its very good. the seats offer a firmer feel than previous accords. but after driving the car now for a week I REALLY like them,, very comfortable and sporty feel.
  • golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
    Overall, I would concur. To your point though I hope Honda doesnt find this to be a more widespread concern.. I just stroked a check for $30,000 :-)) Although, if there was ever a car to own where the manufacturer stands behind it down the the dealer level, it is Honda.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I'm in Tampa, Fl. It runs Thursday through Sunday.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I am looking forward to sitting in one this Thursday. I hope the seat mechanism is connected.

    Last year I sat in many vehicles at the auto show and I must say the only one that satisfied me from a comfort standpoint was the Honda Coupe. The worst was the Lexus RX. (designed for someone not over 5'10").
  • golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
    You're going to love it. Hey one thing to keep in mind as you inspect the car and all of you out there as well... alot of hype around all the buttons and the daunting number of dashboard controls. I would agree with Motor Trend, Temple of Vtech, Car and Driver on this.. However I will take it a step further and tell you that as with anything (you all know this anyway), it takes time to become acclimated. I have 750 miles on my EXL V6 and I already am comfortable with where things are.. it wont take much time to learn it all and also remember** its not like we all use these controls constantly.. Like Ron Popiel would say you can "Set it and Forget it" most of the time. oh and btw, i am 6'3" tall and its very comfortable ;-)
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    You've got me by half an inch. Driver's seat legroom is always a problem. Glad to hear your EX-L V6 "fits".

    I'm not interested in the navigation, so I don't think a lot of buttons would be a problem.

    Sounds like the Accord EX-L V-6 with navigation is as complicated as the MDX tech.

    I'm sure the Accord they display at the auto show will be the loaded EX-L V-6 with navigation.
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 855
    ....but only one fuel efficiency report noted thus far.

    I have a two year old 6M coupe that gets fantastic freeway mileage.

    With this in mind, the VCM is of real interest. However, I am enamored of the smooth 6M transmission - - - - no VCM avail.

    I would think - taching 2 grand or so in the automatics' high gear - using three cylinders - - - - some really impressive numbers are possible.

    Please keep those cards and letters coming (joke)

    Look forward to additional mpg reports (no joke)

    all the best, ez...
  • golfrskigolfrski Posts: 262
    All depends how and where you drive. Mpg reports dont mean all that much. Its baseline data only. They're sort of like political polls...
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