Reader’s Ride: Tim’s Honda Accord Coupe
Odometer (NSX): 100,449
Odometer (ILX): 125,273
Today, I’m going to hand the mic over to a friend who wants to share his own automotive story. Since this blog launched in early 2011, I’ve been contacted by so many cool people and I love it when they share road trip stories, mileage achievements, or anything else with me. My friend Tim first contacted me three years ago, in April 2012, when he had recently surpassed the 150,000-mile mark in this 2003 Honda Accord EX V6 Coupe:
Since then, Tim and I have kept in touch – including for a window of time when he departed the Honda family for a stint with Subaru:
Now, he’s gone full circle and re-joined the Accord ownership community. Here’s his own write-up, along with a few pictures:
I watched an interview with Irv Gordon a few months ago, and he said that when he bought his now-famous Volvo, his first weekend was spent just driving his new car, and he put about 1500 miles on it between Friday and Monday. I did not really understand what he was saying until this past weekend. Now, I totally get it.
I owned a Subaru Impreza, and truthfully, I had been tiring of it for some time. The Subaru is a lot of fun in the snow. Unfortunately, it’s not as much fun any other time. It is light and boxy, so it doesn’t handle crosswinds well. You feel the road surface too much, and I have to spend a lot of time correcting the steering as I drive. The alignment is fine and the wheels are balanced, but it’s just a small car that does not do long distances well. I’d arrive at my destinations exhausted. I frequently take trips to Boston, and I’d be a wreck by the time I got there. I knew I wanted something different.
And I missed Honda. I had owned Hondas for almost twenty years, and my uncle had bought my previous car, a 2003 Accord coupe. Whenever I would see him, I’d ask if I could drive my old car. I missed the responsiveness of the Honda V6. I missed the smooth ride that could also handle the twisty stuff. I missed the H on the wheel (no, seriously). So I looked online at the used inventory at my local Honda dealer, Burns Honda in Marlton, NJ. I’ve always had good customer service experiences there. I bought two cars from them over the years, and also had them do all my servicing. I spotted a listing for a white Accord V6 coupe, 2010, with 50,000 miles, so Monday I went to check it out after work. To my surprise, it was already sold. The salesman showed me a red 4-cylinder Accord coupe (2012, I think) that I test drove. It was nice, but it was not what I wanted. I also test drove a 2013 Honda Sport, which disappointed me (see below). I really did not find anything that I wanted on the lot.
So I was standing in the dealer’s lot, trying to convince myself to keep an open mind and perhaps consider the red coupe when the white Accord I wanted drove past, a big “SOLD” sign hanging from the rear view mirror. It was being taken to the service bay for final prep before delivery to its new owner. I watched it go past, longingly. The salesman saw my expression and said,”Hey, listen, we get these in from time to time. If you want, I’ll call you when we get another V6 Accord coupe on the lot.” I left, disappointed.
That was Monday. Wednesday night I got a call from my salesman. They had a gray Accord V6 coupe which had been traded in that earlier that night. Might I want to come up on Thursday and look at it? I’m pretty sure I didn’t even let him finish the question before I said,”Yes, and don’t show it to anyone else!”
I work for a university as an administrator. Thursday I had an all-day meeting on campus. It was a really productive meeting, but honestly, my brain was focused on checking out the Accord. As soon as the meeting was over, I got in my Impreza and drove as fast as I legally could down the NJ Turnpike to get to the dealer. I checked in with the salesman, and he walked me over to an absolutely filthy gray Accord coupe. I mean, forget parking under a tree. This car looked like it had been parked in a forest and left there. “We can clean that! You’ll see! It will look like a different car!” the salesman exclaimed, reading my facial expression.
I looked under the dirt, leaves, sap, and everything else, and I saw that there were no major dents (a few dings here and there, but that happens), the paint was intact, and the carpets and upholstery were in great shape. I took it for a test drive…. two years with an Impreza and its dinky little flat-four engine, I had forgotten the joys of VTEC and the Honda V6. Wow. Just wow. I loved the test drive and knew that, barring any major problems with the deal, this would be my next car.
We went back to the salesman’s desk and hammered out a deal within fifteen minutes. I got what I felt was a fair price on the car and a fair price for my trade-in. I had done research on what both of those figures should be, and the dealership’s initial offer was actually pretty close to what I wanted. It just took a few minutes of talking to finalize a deal that satisfied me.
The only problem was that because it was after five o’clock, and the car needed significant preparation, I wouldn’t be able to pick it up until Friday. I left the dealership at 7:00 pm, with a plan to pick the car up at 3:30 pm the next day. Talk about an agonizing 18.5 hours! I barely slept Thursday night (I was really excited, what can I say). It didn’t help that the dealership gave me a loaner Honda CR-V. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the loaner car, but a CR-V will never ever be confused with a sports car. Anyway, at work on Friday, I told my co-workers the news, and they were excited for me. I had them all laughing when I showed them the timer I had set on my iPhone. It was counting down until 3:30 pm. Every so often, someone would pop their head into my office to ask how much time until I got the car, and I would eagerly respond: “Four hours, thirteen minutes!” “Three hours, twenty-eight minutes!” “Two hours, seven minutes!” Finally, at 3:00 pm, I set out from work to go get my next car.
Did you ever see the video for “Last Friday Night” by Katy Perry? Katy Perry’s character starts out as a socially awkward nerd, gets a makeover from her friend, and turns into a gorgeous girl who is the life of the party? That’s EXACTLY what it was like seeing my car, all cleaned up. It came out beautifully. They also did about $1200 worth of work to prepare it, including new brakes, a new tire, oil and transmission fluid changes, some repairs to the exhaust system, and some other minor items. After shaking hands with the salesman and getting the keys, I departed for the Jersey Shore. My family has a house near the town of Cape May, and we had a small gathering there Friday night.
I think I giggled the entire drive to the shore. It’s about an hour and a half ride, and I spent the whole time driving with a big grin on my face. The power from the engine, the responsiveness of the chassis, the comfort of the ride… the car is content to be a long-distance cruiser, and then can instantly turn into a willing dance partner when I want to drive with some enthusiasm. Honestly, I started feeling like Ayrton Senna in the McLaren-Honda MP-4/4 on the streets of Monaco or the back straight of Hockenheim.
It’s a beautiful car, too. Every time I come out to my car, I feel like I want to pinch myself,”Wait, that’s MY car?” Really, I’ve never had this visceral of a reaction to a car before. I’ve liked all my previous cars (even my Subaru). But this is love. This is a car I could easily keep for years and years, and not outgrow or lose my interest. And, as I said in my initial email to you, at the risk of sounding sappy, I feel like I came back home. At the time that I switched to Subaru, Tyson, I shared with you that I felt like Honda had lost some of its mojo. And I still think that there is a problem: Honda had a vibe in the 90’s and early 00’s that I do not feel like they have fully recovered. The Prelude, the S2000, the CL, the NSX, the Integra… all those cars are in the past. But this Accord coupe surprised me. It manages to channel a lot of that Honda-ness that I thought the company had lost. It’s sporty. The engine is a gem. It’s comfortable. Good fuel economy. It comes alive when it’s pushed. The Honda Accord Sport sedan I test drove was everything that is wrong with Honda- too big, too slow, too complicated. This Accord coupe, though, is everything that is right, and reminds me of the Hondas that I owned in the past. Just better.
Anyway, thanks for reading my story.
And it’s good to be home.
Thanks again, Tim, for sharing this with us! And nice job on proper parking with that new Accord.
Have a great weekend, all!