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Can Honda get its mojo back?



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    edited September 2012
    is completely anonymous in the worst possible way - it looks boring and it also looks like a melange of about three other mid- or full-size sedans that came to market before it - Taurus, Sonata, something Buicky that I am forgetting.

    I thought that about the 2008-2012 Accord. IMO it looked like a combination of Saturn L-series, 2005-06 Nissan Altima, and BMW 5-series. I thought the overall effect was fairly attractive, but kinda generic. Nothing that screamed "Honda".

    Honestly, I have trouble getting excited about most modern mainstream cars, but I at least find the Accord to be handsome. The Camry's almost trying too hard to be bland, while there's just something that seems off-kilter about the 2013 Altima's style.

    The 2013 Fusion looks like it might be interesting, though.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    I sort of agree with Andre on this, even though I own a 2008 Accord.

    I got it because of the excellent engineering, great manual transmission, amazing features, etc. But the styling on this generation was only so so for me. I'd say the side view is good, maybe a B+, but the back is perhaps a B-, and the front is kind of an ugly duckling C+. It's kind of a face that only a mother could love, but I'm its mother, I guess. But overall I still love the car. Best car I've ever owned by far.

    I'd grade the 2013 Accord in terms of styling as being a B+ all around. Much nicer overall.

    I think it's the first really good looking Accord in a while. I think it's equal to the sharp looking Accords of 86-89, 90-93, and 94-97. And I think it's better than the 98-02 (which I also owned), and 03-07.

    But yeah, Andre's right that midsize cars tend to be kinda bland.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    If she's happy then you're happy. Good deal!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    A few years back, one of my coworkers had an '08 or '09 Accord. It was fully loaded, gray. EX-L V-6 model, I think. We went out to lunch in it one day. When we went back out to the car, suddenly I wondered why my co-worker wasn't walking to the same car that I was. That's when I noticed that *oops*, I was heading toward a BMW 5-series that just happened to be the same color! :blush:

    To which, my coworker said something like "Yeah right, I WISH I could afford a BMW!"

    So, based on my experience, I don't know if that bodes well for Honda, or bad for BMW, that at a quick glance, I mistook one for the other!

    Honestly, I don't think the '08-12 Accord is a bad looking car. I don't find it ugly at all. Just not very exciting. Heck, a few years back when my Intrepid got totaled, I briefly considered checking out an Accord. And, to this day, I still get frequent emails from that Honda dealer because of an inquiry made almost 3 years ago!
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    edited September 2012
    Maybe you should check out the new 2013 Accords? For only a bit more than the price of that truck you could probably get into an LX and get double the mpg--and still have almost as much room inside as your Park Avenue....Imho the new gen looks more like a bmw than the last gen, and to me that's a good thing....
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    "Honda is aiming to double its global auto sales to more than 6 million vehicles over the next five years as the Japanese automaker gears up for ambitious growth after bouncing back from last year's disasters."

    Honda aims to double global auto sales in 5 years (Detroit News)
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    The answer to the question posed by this thread seems to be:

  • I browsed through this thread, and I see that the basic premise of most posters is: “Honda is still the leader in quality and reliability, but is it enough?” I am sorry to say that I have to take issue even with this statement. I leased two Accords, in 2004 and 2007. I also seriously considered an Odyssey, and I was determined to lease a new Accord in 2010 despite its just so-so driving dynamics and some bizarre styling elements. I wanted a car that would be reasonably sized and relatively entertaining to drive, sufficiently elegant inside and out, reasonably priced and economical (maintenance- and gas mileage-wise, good resale, and excellent reliability).

    I was surprised to find, however, that not only Consumer Reports was less enthusiastic about the Accord reliability, but that the Accords were vastly over-represented in NHTSA complaint database and at the website, and I mean it, vastly, compared to about all other midsize sedans. I then recalled my own experience with two new Accords (20-25 k miles at turning in), and had to realize that their reliability record was far from stellar too: vibration of the front brakes (not fixed by Honda), wrong position of the steering wheel, eyeglass holder suddenly opening in movement right above my head, belt squeal, rear brakes gone at 22k miles on 2007 V6, and, worst of all, rust perforation (also not fixed by Honda). In addition, lease residuals (which are a proxy for projected future resale directly related to projected long-term reliability) started decreasing, below those of Toyota and even Hyundai. I looked then at the Civic (which grew up to the size of previous-generation Accords), but neither Accord nor Civic would acceptably meet my priorities (see above). Also, they did not offer anything remarkable in any other area to make up for the shortcomings. So, regrettably, that was it.

    My conclusion is that Honda (and Toyota, which has its share of quality problems) are mostly riding on their previous reputation, but at present are, at best, just average in every aspect, including quality and reliability. The free ride will sooner or later end. Persistent transmission problems across the line up also do not help to boost the Honda perception as a “quality brand”.
  • I thought that the 2008-12 models looked a little bloated. The 2013 model is nipped and tucked at each end, and the mid-section surface development is much cleaner. There was too much going on with the 2008-12 models.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    edited September 2012
    I think Honda has made and still makes excellent cars.

    I'm 47, and I've been driving since I was 15 and half. In that time I've driven extensively a 1966 VW Bug, a 1969 VW Bus, a 1979 Datsun/Nissan 210, a 1986 Mazda B2000, a 1978 Chevy Caprice, a 1987 VW Jetta, a 1988 Oldsmobile 98, a 2000 Ford Focus ZTS, a 2002 Accord LX, and a 2008 Accord EXL navi.

    The last two cars, the Hondas, were better in almost every way than the other cars I've driven, esp. when it comes to reliability and quality.

    The 2008 Accord is dramatically better than the quite good 2002 Accord we used to own. I'm expecting that the 2013 Accord we are planning to buy is also going to be better than the 2008 by quite a bit in several areas.

    There's a reason most Honda buyers are loyal to the brand.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    You should check out the 2013 Olds 98 before you commit to annother Accord.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    edited September 2012
    "You should check out the 2013 Olds 98 before you commit to annother Accord."

    !lol....Yeah, I'm still a little sad about the death of Oldsmobile. That Olds 98 was actually a very good car, and well build and engineered for the most part. When we got it it was already 10 years old, and so we kept having to fix and replace things on it, but that's true with all cars that are that old. After my Hondas it was by far my favorite. Comfortable (luxurious, really), powerful, great visibility, decent mpg. That was a very nice car. Our kids loved it so much they had a 8 x 10 picture taken with it before we donated it to charity that's still on the mantle. It was before we got a dog, and that car was like their dog. After that picture my wife said, rightly, that we had to get a dog because they had an unnatural fixation on that car. We now have a little white poodle who is a great replacement for our old white Oldsmobile....
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited September 2012
    I had a '72 98 with the 455 V8, bought in '75 with 31,something miles, and a '85 98 Brougham with the 3.8 V6, bought in '88, by coincidence also with 31,something miles. Yes, Olds 98s had the attributes that you mentioned, but also things that had to be repaired and replaced, some prematurely. Overall, though, they were good cars for their time. Before the Japanese car invasion Oldsmobiles were considered quality cars.

    I donated my '72 with ~127,000 miles and scrapped my '85 with 156,000. They didn't owe me anything. My '99 Acura TL, which I bought new and still drive, has been excellent.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    I had your car's sister - a 1988 Buick Park Avenue. It too was an excellent car I drove up until the end of March 2009. The fuel economy was phenomenal and the car was no slouch despite only 165 hp.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    edited September 2012
    Yeah, that 3.8 engine GM that year was excellent. Wonderful torque.

    There were lots of quality details in that Olds 98 throughout. For instance, the hood was counter balanced and had shocks. And there was a strong under hood light that came on when you opened the hood. The seats and carpets were just soft and comfortable and looked very luxe. The suspension was somewhat soft, but still a bit sporty. The headroom was about the best I've had in any car. Legroom was also outstanding. And I've posted elsewhere about the wall of cold AC that I've never experienced on any other car. But, the AC eventually need $1000 of work....Old cars, even Hondas and Olds 98s get so things have to be fixed.
  • I owned Olds Cutlass Supreme'96 at some point, and I loved it too. It was one of the most comfortable cars I ever owned. I don't mean style or driving dynamics here, just comfort. The problem was, this Olds (as well as a 1999 Olds Silhouette minivan) started falling apart at about 45-50 k miles, and that is why I became fed up and switched to Hondas and Toyotas. Over the last several years, however, the reliability of all cars improved dramatically. I very well trust you (and this was my experience too) that recent Hondas were more reliable than older cars of other brands. Not so sure if they were better than older Hondas, though. And if recent statistics and owners' experience are any guide, it doesn't look like recent Hondas are any more reliable than many other new vehicles. In 2010, I stopped to be loyal to the Honda brand; I returned, of all things, to VW, and so far I don't regret a bit.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    Do you own a Passat? Those are very good cars from what I've read. And I know VW is making a very serious effort at making its cars more reliable. Hope it pays off! I like the VW sense of style and performance, and yet at a price a lot of people can afford.

    I once owned a VW Jetta, and, well, although that was a long time ago I probably won't own another VW again, unless somehow Honda lets me down.

    But in a way those two—VW and Honda—go for the same kind of customer. And I actually think that's a good thing.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    If it reached the point where VWs were considered generally reliable I'd consider one again. I generally love what they are but my ownership experience with an 80 Rabbit and VW's lack of cooperation keeps me away. I very nearly bought a Passat wagon at the end of 1999 but couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger. Bought an Accord that I still have. Not as much fun but it's still going.

    By the time my dad had an Olds it was maybe a mid-80s Cutlass Ciera. Might as well have been a Chevy. Nothing particularly Olds about it. On a trip up to my brother's they rented an 88. That was one nice car. If you could make 88s with modern reliability it would be worth restarting Ols (yeah, like there's a chance of that!).
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited September 2012
    Come on Fezo, you had a bad experience with a '80 Rabbit and you won't consider a new VW 32 years later?
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Every negative review and comment on VW that I've read since then always brings up the same issues I had with that car - electrical gremlins. Since tha car I've had a number of utterly reliable cars of several different makes - one a dud Ford.

    Ford was on my do not touch list but their reputation has improved. From where I sit Volkswagen's has not. I keep cars for a long time so just keeping it while in warranty isn't an option. Of course my VW issues happened in warranty and they'd try to slip out of it. The only car I ever dumped before paying it off.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    When I bought my Mazda3 a few years ago, it was at a Mazda/VW dealer (still is, but the name has changed). The salesman actually talked me OUT of test driving a Golf, said they aren't reliable, and he didn't like selling them. The service adviser said they drove real nice but were always coming in for electrical issues. NONE of the dealership employees were driving VWs, they all drove Mazdas or other brands. They still do more Mazda than VW sales from what I hear through the grapevine.

    Probably a mistake for VW to be co-located with another brand, too many opportunities for comparison. Yeah, putting a bunch of brands under one rooftop is convenient for the customer, but unless you put the RIGHT ones together, you risk putting some of your products in a bad light.
  • keystonecarfankeystonecarfan Posts: 181
    edited October 2012
    Oldsmobile tried to improve build quality and reliability in the late 1960s and early 1970s at the same time the rest of the industry was getting quite sloppy in those regards.

    Oldsmobile had a very good reputation through the late 1970s. The 442, for example, was more refined than the other muscle cars, and made at least some attempt to improve handling, which was largely ignored by competitors. The Ninety-Eight was equal to the Cadillacs in many ways, but sold for less money. GM later thoroughly trashed Oldsmobile with shared drivetrains, the underdeveloped Oldsmobile Diesel and the X-car fiasco.

    Oldsmobile benefitted from the inspired leadership of John Beltz in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Unfortunately, he died from cancer in 1972 at the age of 46. Many felt that he had John DeLorean's smarts and product savvy without the huge ego, which meant that he could have gone to the top at GM. One wonders how subsequent GM history would have played out if he had achieved that goal.

    The interesting part is that many of the people who today drive Honda Accords, Odysseys and Pilots are the equivalent of those who, in the 1970s, were driving Cutlass Supremes and Delta 88s.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    Do you own a Passat?

    We test-drove just about everything and opted for a CC. Other contenders on my shortlist were Altima, Camry, and, yes, Accord. I hoped to get a Malibu (I like GM creature comforts in general, their nice balance of “fun-to-drive” vs. “pleasure-to-ride”, and Malibu interiors in particular), but it didn’t make our shortlist. I think that for many buyers, Sonata should be a first choice. It looks like Fusion is currently at the top of the reliability rankings.

    I owned a 95 VW Golf, which was a very nice car. It had its spate of problems, but not more than my previous Fords or other cars, and only one of the Golf problems was electrical. Accords felt like improvement over Golf in all aspects except for the “fun”-factor. Now, the CC feels superior over Accords in almost every aspect. CCs were not very popular so far because they were 4-seaters (starting 2013, not anymore) and have a low roof at the rear. Given how I use a car, these factors were not at all a disadvantage to me.

    Not to say that I haven’t had any issues during the last 2.5 years, but I still haven’t visited a dealer for reliability-related problems (although I might need to fix a cupholder). I assumed the reliability risks keeping in mind significant recent improvements in reliability across the board, and also the “excellent (or well above-average)” rating of the 09’CC by CR (as far as I know, not anymore). I understand that for guys here who keep their cars for 10+ years it is not enough of an argument; well, that’s a fair concern, I agree. We, however, tend not to keep our cars for that long, or, at least, keeping it long-term is never a purpose. We do intend to keep a Toyota Sienna minivan though (which is 7.5 years old at this point already), mostly because it serves our purposes better than new Siennas and Odysseys.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    Congrats on your CC! Those are very nice cars. I sat in one at our local Mazda/VW dealer, and I was very impressed at the seeming BMW-esque level of quality and refinement. It's a very, very nice car. The only thing that bugged me is that I'm only 5'10", but in the back seat my head brushed the roof. Still, a really beautiful car, imho, and kind of special because you don't see too many on the road.

    My guess is that VW has changed its ways the last few years when it comes to quality. I think they saw the formula Toyota and Honda had for success—quality for the masses at a good price—and decided to do their own version of that.

    Motor Trend just ranked the Passat as still number 1 in their midsize comparison test, even against the 2013 Accord, and so they must be doing something right.

    I quibble with their test because the Accord got from 0-60 quite a bit faster (7.7 seconds compared to 8.8), and the Accord gets significantly higher mpg.....But, clearly Motor Trend loves the Passat for the quality and fun to drive factor.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    Thanks, Ben! Yes, CC is 'special' indeed, and that was one of the selling points that tipped the scale over a fully loaded Altima: there are just too many Altimas on the road. Bad for VW, good for me. And that is what I said earlier about the low roof and my intended uses: 1. I am shorter than you, and 2. I don't drive in the back seat. I sat there maybe only once, so far. ;)

    Good luck with your future purchase. It looks like 2013 Accord is indeed a great step forward compared to the previous model.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    Another good thing about the CC is that it has the 2.0 turbo, right? That's a special engine from what I hear, and erases one of the weak points of the Passat. The Passat has the not as good 2.5 as standard.

    But the 2.0 turbo is probably quick! Probably just as fast as the 2013 Accord....Maybe even faster? Don't know.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    edited October 2012
    keystone wrote: "The interesting part is that many of the people who today drive Honda Accords, Odysseys and Pilots are the equivalent of those who, in the 1970s, were driving Cutlass Supremes and Delta 88s."

    I think you're right!

    My top of the line 2008 Accord EXL was the direct replacement for our 1988 Olds 98. And not only that they were in some ways similar—luxo barges of somewhat reduced size. And both cars were/are white. The Honda is just a little smaller, more nimble, and handles better than the Olds 98 did, but in some ways they are more similar than you might think! Well, not than you might think, because you've figured it out. The old Oldsmobile people are buying Accords, Passats, Camrys, Altimas, Sonatas, etc. Of course mostly there are whole new generations who started to drive long after Oldsmobile was relevant who buy those cars too.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited October 2012
    I equate the Accord EX-L V6 with the Impala/Caprice, Ford LTD and Plymouth Fury III (?) of yesteryear, while the Acura TL is more the counterpart of the Olds 98, Buick Electra/Park Avenue, Mercury Grand Marquis and Chrysler New Yorker. In other words, the EX-L corresponds to the full size Detroit offerings I mentioned, whereas the TL and its equivalent Detroit barges represent what we now call near luxury. No?

    As I see it, then, the Cadillac, Lincoln and Imperial were approximately the spiritual predecessors to the Mercedes E and S Classes, BMW 5 and 7, Audi A6 and A8, and Lexus GS and LS. Or, maybe just the MB S-Class, BMW 7er, Audi A8 and Lexus LS.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,906
    Funny but true!
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    But the 2.0 turbo is probably quick! Probably just as fast as the 2013 Accord...

    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. In normal street driving, the most striking feature of turbo is that you get vast amount of power when you need it, starting at below 2000 rpm, while you have to rev up to almost 4000 rpm (Toyota) or well above that (Honda) to get to power. It feels reluctant at first (below 1700 rpm), but is very eager if you shift to the S-mode. But then, in S-mode, it is much thirstier. Overall, when you go for the V-6-type power, you are getting a V-6-type fuel efficiency (mpg numbers are better, but premium fuel is needed). If you keep within speed limits, mpg is much better (I got 38.5 mpg hwy with a/c turned on recently; we were transporting kids and were afraid to be seen as irresponsible drivers by their parents).

    As far as I know, you can get turbo also on Buick Regal, Volvos, and higher-end Tauruses and Sonatas, of non-luxury rides. Maybe more now: it rapidly becomes a new industry standard.
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