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Old Dog, New Tricks 

by Clint Burgess

When you buy a Honda, you know exactly what you're getting. It's no secret that you are paying for piece of mind, a finely crafted automobile and the longevity that is synonymous with the name, Honda. But in today's fast-paced world -- and among a more demanding consumer population -- there has to be something else that puts a product above the rest. The fine engineers at Honda have done just that with the Accord EX V6.

For years, the Accord has been a symbol of middle-class prestige, making it a favorite of the average American demographic. They are stylish and functional, and it's not uncommon for Honda vehicles to hit 200,000 miles and still have life in them. All of that past success is now wrapped into a magnificent package that will leave the esteemed Accord enthusiast mesmerized by its features. And clocking in at just under $29,000 (fully loaded) you can't go wrong.

These are just a few of my favorite things about this classic Honda with a taste for luxury. (It's no secret that I'm big on accessories, specifically the ones that pertain to music.) The Accord EX passes my scrutinizing inspection to reveal one of the most comprehensive sound systems found in a car of its class. This particular model is equipped with a six disc, in-dash changer. That in itself is very functional and a nice touch for those longer trips. All that is nice, but here is where things start to get really interesting. "To get the options you find in this car, you're going to have to step up to a $40,000 Mercedes," says Jodi Sivright of Valley Honda. "Accords are so functional, everything you need is right where you need it. You don't have to spend a lot of time looking around for the controls for any of the features." In the EX model, you actually don't have to spend any time "looking" for any of the controls. Although they are laid out clearly and concisely on the dash, the car features voice command for anything that can be controlled by button on the dash. Simply push the command button on the steering wheel and off you go.

"AC, fan speed three," I say with hesitation.

"Air conditioner, fan speed three," replies the nice voice coming out of the car, as the air conditioner and fan at speed three came on. There's a lot to be said for a car that has a lot to say. You may think this feature is just for those who don't understand how their car works (or are just too lazy to push the button), but after familiarizing myself with the features, it proved useful in keeping my eyes on the road and not on all the bells and whistles.

Another feature I'm sold on -- and one that is available in the Accord EX -- is the navigation system. This nifty, full-color dashboard display can do anything. Sivright demonstrates. "Find all Chinese restaurants," she says. "This thing will come up with any Chinese restaurant within a thousand miles." That was a bit too much information, but it did locate a Mustard Seed and Mandarin House within just a few minutes drive.

Did I mention the drive on this Accord? I took this thing up Highway 27 out on the Palouse and unwound the V6. Acceleration doesn't even begin to describe the jump from cruising speed to really moving. And the Accord handled the numerous twists and turns with precision -- without even talking back to me.

Publication date: 08/12/04

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