Oct. 2014 7

Honda Test Drive: Christmas in July


So my husband assisted me on this article.  I’ve been excited for months about it and I’m glad to finally share this on the blog.  It’s been quite exciting for us.  It’s not often we get the chance to drive a brand new car!  But read my husband’s work.  He did great!  ~Kari

Christmas came early for me this year. Well, not really, but earlier this month, I did feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Despite what you might expect, this was a bitter-sweet experience. Let me explain what happened.

I have been driving an older car. When I say old, I definitely don’t mean vintage. That usually means something worth keeping. No, this is an old, beat up, 98 Toyota. Don’t get me wrong. It’s been a great car and has been reliable for several years. However, it is getting a little long in the tooth and, well, it would be nice to drive something newer. Alas, I can’t afford a newer vehicle right now. We just bought a new family vehicle. I need to hold on to my commuter car for a while longer.

Well, a few months ago, my wife won a contest. I didn’t even know she had entered the competition, so her winning was a pleasant surprise. She won a week long test drive from Ken Garff Honda, in Utah. Well, knowing our family van was getting old, we figured we would test drive a new Honda Odyssey, giving our family something nice to ride for a few days.

Unfortunately, our old family van died and had to be abandoned in Wyoming (long story). We purchased a new van before my wife even had a chance to test drive anything from Ken Garff. So, when it was her turn, my wife gave her week long test drive to me.

I felt pretty lucky, getting the prize to a contest I initially didn’t even know existed. We contacted the dealership and made arrangements for me to pick up the vehicle of my choice. Being a Honda fan who was sad to give up his last Accord a few years ago, I chose an Accord for my test drive. We went to pick it up, signed an insurance document, and away we went. The staff at Ken Garff were friendly and helpful and the entire process was pretty painless.

Honda Sales Sticker

But you want to hear more about the car itself, right? That’s why you are here. All I can say is, “Wow.” I was blown away. The car I got was a brand new, 2015 Honda Accord Sport, fully loaded. The vehicle only had 21 miles on it when I sat in the driver’s seat. I don’t think I’ve ever driven such a new car before.

Picking Up The Accord

So, let me just say that there are many things to like about the Accord, but I can’t speak much of what goes under the hood. Sadly, auto mechanics are not my strong point. I am a therapist, not a car person, so when I review a car, I can speak of the mechanics in only general terms. My main focus in this review will be the user interface.

 Inside the Honda

First off, I loved having the Bluetooth connectivity. I could play music and take phone calls through the car’s interface, and it was a breeze to set up. There is a nice, large (yet unobtrusive) display in the center of the dash that showed me the song playing and who was calling. I could also see how many bars my phone had and even see how low my phone battery was. Nice.

Accord Center Consel

Of course, that display was also where the backup camera displayed what might be behind me, including indicators to let me know my anticipated path, based on the turn of steering wheel. It also was the main display for just about every electronic setting the car had. It was intuitive to use and I am serious when I say that the display was unobtrusive, though. I didn’t feel like it was distracting me from the road. On the contrary, having my music, phone calls and so forth in one place made it easier to focus on what I needed to focus on, driving. And though there is not much to say about it, I liked having the thumb controls for volume, cruise control, phone calls, and changing the display, right on the steering wheel.

Steering Wheel

Other nice features of the user interface. Lots of storage up front, USB plug for electronic devices, easy to adjust the seats. A couple other features to mention, both having to do with fuel economy. First, the “Econ” or energy saver mode button. As I had it explained to me, the button takes away some of the energy used by the car, specifically with the AC and the engine. I did not notice much of a difference, but apparently, this little button can make a big difference in energy consumption.

Accord Econ Button

The second thing about the interface that needs mentioning is related. There is a little indicator, near the speedometer. This is just a bar that goes left to right. The farther to the right it is, the better your gas mileage. When you are speeding up, the bar goes to the left, and you know that your gas mileage is dropping. Wow. That small indicator changed how I drove. It was very rewarding to keep the  mileage as high as possible, with smooth, rather than abrupt acceleration and coasting when possible. In other words, I was trained to drive more economically.

Accord dashboard

“But how did it drive?” I hear you asking. Well, I was certainly spoiled for a week. Turns were smooth, even on roundabouts. The suspension is tight, to where I barely felt bumps in the road. The car had a lot of power and accelerated without hesitation. Oh, it was nice. I did need to check myself, because it would have been easy to speed in that thing. I didn’t, but boy, was it tempting.

I drove it to and from work. Most of the time, my driving was on city roads, which afforded little opportunity to go very fast. I also got some construction zone driving in there, making a bumpy road pretty smooth. But one day a week, I drive up to the Salt Lake area, so I got to try some freeway speeds. Boy, did this car deliver. It did not hesitate to get up to *cough* the speed limit and I felt very safe the entire way to work and back.

Ok, some final words. This is a beautiful piece of machinery. I actually was a little offended that the starlings (dang birds) that harass my wife’s and my cars ended up pooping on this Accord.


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