As a research based automotive journalist, I tend to keep my eyes open and my ear to the ground. Certainly, as I drive through Eugene and Portland, Or., I count a very high percentage of Honda vehicles inhabiting this very “ green conscious” market place. But, most are not new. Recently, when pulling into a local eatery, I counted no fewer than 6 Honda's of various utility and design sitting on a small parking lot of 12 cars, ranging form paper plated 2013 models to an 80s Civic.
For me, the design contrast was a solute to Honda’s societal driven evolution of the modern Eco compliant automobile.
As the U.S. recovers from the longest recession in our life-time, the average age of a car on American highways passes the 12 year mark. Much of the aging fleet flies the Honda logo. Nonetheless, Honda will sell no fewer than 1.4 million cars in North America for 2103; the 4th best year in the companies 4 decades in North America. And, its best sales year since 2009.
Today I asked Honda owners, “what compels you to return year after year to the brand that finds itself once again in the top 4 best selling cars in North American?"
Overwhelmingly, the answer from my cross-section was trouble-free, long term operation. Fuel economy while a consideration, was secondary to reliability and dealership service.
Example: For 2013, Accord has had one( voluntary) fuel systems related recall effecting 1680 vehicles. Toyota? 810,000., for an air conditioner condenser leak that could adversely affect the airbag control circuitry. Do they like the looks and handling of their Accord? Sure...
Granted, Honda also had an airbag related recall last month that affected 380,000, 2007& 08 Odyssey minivans. But we’re talking about the Accord here. So far, so good.
Of-course it’s all in how you read it and who’s writing the review. According to U.S. News Auto Rankings, the Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 6 and Ford Fusion Hybrid beat out the Accord in overall affordability. While the Accord Hybrid tied the Fusion for 3rd spot, we find the gasoline powered conventional Accord in 10th place; despite its superior in class interior space; power and fuel economy. Must be a price thing. If you’re interested, you can read the specifications here.
A recent reader labeled the Accord and Civic as the Ford L.T.D. of the new millennium. While he was referring to ( in his case) the ease of modification and overall reliability, I further believe that something can be said for the car’s lengthy mainstay presence in North America. Honda’s been in the U.S. and Canada since the early 1960s; and remains a company of firsts.
The Accord is no exception. High tech loaded rolling reliability, packaged in an aesthetically pleasing and refined design aspect. And then there's that 50 mph hybrid model.
Do you have a Honda story? Your ideas and thought provoking commentary is always welcome here.