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Friday, August 7, 2009

Honda Accord

Honda Accord parked on River Road in Granville, Ohio

I requested a full size car when I arranged for a rental with Dollar Rent A Car. I had 1500 miles of driving to do and I wanted a little cush. I didn't want to spend three long days riding in a little buzz box. It was only a couple of bucks more per day than a smaller car, and this trip was already costing over a grand, so what's a couple more bucks?

I was expecting a Chrysler or some other American car, so I was a little surprised when it turned out to be a Honda. It did it's job very well, transported me to Iowa, Michigan and back to Ohio on four tanks of gas (counting the one it came with). Cruised at 80 MPH without complaining. There were a few unusual things I noticed.
  • The radio scan feature would turn down the volume just before it left one station, and then would turn it back up as soon as it located the next one.
  • The same lever is used for the gas tank flap release and the trunk release, push down for one, pull up for the other.
  • If you don't put on your safety belt, it doesn't start chiming right away, but after a few seconds it chimes a few times, but then it shuts up for few seconds, and then it repeats. It doesn't just hammer away at you. It gives you time to make it right.
  • The driver's window opens completely with one touch of the button. No surprise there, but it also closes with one touch. A nice feature, one that I haven't seen before. What I would really like would be a switch to open or close all the windows at once.
The one thing I didn't like was the steering wheel position. It takes almost no effort to steer at highway speeds, so I would like to rest my arm on something, but the steering wheel is so high up and so far away that there is no comfortable way to hold the wheel. I ended up with my left leg folded up with my foot at the base of the seat so I could rest my arm on my knee. I looked for tilt/telescope control lever, but I did not find one. This does not mean there was not one, just that my casual perusal of the dashboard failed to locate one.

Steering with your knee and/or leg is problematic. I am cruising down the highway and I need both hands to open a bottle of water. Normally I can fold my leg up and hold the wheel in place with my knee. With this car, the wheel is so high that my knee can barely reach the wheel, which makes steering very precarious. A little motion of my knee results in a big motion of the wheel and causes the car to swerve badly. Not good. It took some getting used to.

I paid for the first tank of gas when I rented the car. I knew I was going to be using more than one tank of gas, and the price was reasonable, $2.50 a gallon or some such. Trying to find a gas station in a strange town so you can fill the tank before you return the car when you are trying to catch a flight can be a miserable experience. I've done it a couple of times and I don't enjoy it at all. And it's all so you can avoid the exorbitant fees they charge for gasoline when you return the car. Actually, I don't know that what they charge for gasoline when you return the car is any different than when you rent it. The price used to be exorbitant, like twice the going rate. So now I have been conditioned and now I buy the tank of gas up front and returning the car is a simple, tensionless experience.

Update June 2016 replaced missing picture.

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