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Honda Accord 2005: The Weekly Driver Review

The Honda Accord is arguably the most reliable, well-respected vehicle on the road today. It's not the most luxurious or the fastest car. It doesn't have luxury car status or solicit overt double-takes from passersby.

But what it does is have is plenty of high marks in nearly every ranked category comfort to acceleration, instrument control efficiency to ride quality. And what it will likely earn via the public is its overwhelming best-buy status in many consumer guides.

The 240-horsepower, automatic V6 EX sedan was my weekly test vehicle. The 350 miles I drove the car included a 200-mile trip to San Francisco. The outbound ride was smooth, particularly considering Honda's surprisingly easy-to-use navigation system.

The return trip, unfortunately, began at the peak of rush-hour traffic. It took nearly an hour to drive only a few miles out of the middle of the financial district and onto the freeway.

Gridlock is never a good thing, with perhaps only one exception - fodder for a car review. During my hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic, a few drivers lost their temper. A few bicyclists maneuvered through the slow-moving maze a little too close to my car. A few pedestrians' patience levels were tested in hustle-bustle of a big city at 4:30 p.m. And a guy even got out of his car, walked across two lanes of standstill traffic, tapped on my window and asked if I could move back slightly so he could enter a parking lot.

As a testament to the new Accord's comfort, with the windows rolled up, the stereo on and no place to go, all was fine. Even a stranger knocking on the window a potential road rage scenario wasn't a problem. The guy asked nicely and I cordially obliged.

Since the Accord was introduced in 1976, Honda has refined the model nearly every year, with this year's offering no different.

The 2005 Honda has all of the same qualities of the top-rated 2004 model, plus more. The V6 models now have the added standard safety features of traction control as well as front torso and side curtain air bags. Dual-zone automatic climate controls, leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, satellite race, outside-temperature indicator, 6-disc CD changer, power sunroof and navigation system with voice control are also standard features that place the Accord close to a luxury classification, yet still under the $30,000 price point.

The aforementioned navigation system is one of the easiest and most efficient systems I've tried. The directions are simple, including destination address data entry. The system has straightforward, nicely illuminated maps and a pleasant, clear direction-giver's voice.

Through its nearly 30 years, the Accord's appeal has been its overall presentation, not just the strength of some of its individual features. The 2005 Accord takes the vehicle's well-respected total package to a new standard.

Acceleration, quietness, ride quality, steering and handling and instrumentation the Accord gets high marks in all categories. All gauges are keenly styled and legible and positioned well on the dash and console. The car maneuvers moves well in and out of traffic. While not a sports car, its testing rating of 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds is hardly pedestrian for the midsize car category.

The only less-than-sterling marks for the new Accord are its fuel economy and rear seat room. The EX model has a rating of 21 and 30 mph averages in city and highway driving, respectively. Those numbers could be higher, particularly in the age of higher fuel costs.

The Accord has plenty of headroom in the front and back seats. But the rear seat is snug for three adults, despite its five-passenger designation.

Regardless, reasons are aplenty why the Accord is so popular. And if all is still well even when you're stuck in rush-hour traffic on a late weekday afternoon, is there any higher praise?

2005 Honda Accord

Safety features -- Driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes; Traction control system.

Fuel Mileage (estimates) -- 21 mpg (city), 30 mpg (highway).

Warranty -- Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Power train, 3 years/36,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles.

Base price -- $28,700.

About The Author James Raia is a Sacramento, Calif., journalist who writes about sports, fitness, travel and lifestyle topics as well as the car review colum, The Weekly Driver.To read more car reviews, visit: The Weekly Driver .To subscribe to his free electronic newsletters, visit: www.ByJamesRaia.com
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