Saturday, May 25, 2013

Car Review: 1984 Honda Accord

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun car and drove really well
Cons: Tight back seat; small overall; normal issues with age
The Bottom Line:
This was a fun car
If only it wasn't old
Still great for in town

I Still Miss my '84 Honda Accord Hatchback

In 1984, my uncle bought a 1984 Honda Accord Hatchback.  12 years later, he replaced it, and passed it on to me as a college graduation present.  I had always loved that car, and I snapped it up in a heartbeat.  By the time I sold it four years later, it was beginning to show its age, but I still loved it.  Heck, if I felt it were going to be reliable for long trips, I'd still have it.

Unlike today's four door Accords, mine only had two doors.  The front seats folded down and slid forward so people could get into the back seat.  This was not a car for tall people, however.  My roommate at the time was 6' 9", and he would refuse to ride in the car, even in the front seat.  It was just too crowded for him.

There were seat belts in the car for 5 people, but that left the people in the back seat very cramped.  Trust me, I wasn't the one driving if a group of friends were going somewhere together.

What was surprising was the amount of room in the back.  No, you couldn't fit any furniture back there, even with the back seat folded down.  But there was plenty of room for a few boxes or the results of a shopping spree back there.  And the hatchback made the opening for the back area very big, which helped get stuff in and out.

This was my first car that had cup holders.  They weren't very big, but they would hold small bottles or small drinks from fast food restaurants.  I had an extra cup holder I would use for my big sports water bottle, but for most everything else, it was fine.

The air conditioner was an extra back then, and my uncle had gotten it.  To turn it on, you had to push a button on the control for the fan speed.  By the time I got the car, it had gotten stuck, so it was hard to turn it off once it was on.

The car was released in 1984, so it should be no surprise that it didn't have a CD player.  It did include AM and FM radio as well as a tape player.  That was a nice upgrade for me since my first car had only an AM radio (we had added a tape player).  Unfortunately, the tape player did break before I got rid of the car, so I would listen to lots of radio programs while driving around town.

My uncle lived near the coast, so when I got it, the roof was developing some rust spots.  I had to pay to get that fixed (beware those used car dealers).  Once it was fixed, the car didn't have any other problems with the body.  The seats were also beginning to show their age, so I had to recover them.

Instead of the boxy look the Accords have now, the hatchback was a bit lower to the group and had a sleek shape.  No, it wasn't quite a sports car look, but it was as close as I will probably get.  That was one reason I liked it so much.

And it drove well.  I could get going pretty fast pretty quickly.  If I needed to pass a car from a dead stop, it was no problem at all.  Getting up to speed on the freeway wasn't usually a problem either.

This was my first automatic, and I loved that.  It always shifted well and kept me moving at the speed I wanted to drive without the engine having to work too hard.

Turning was nice as well.  The turning radius was pretty tight, so I could maneuver into and out of tight spots.

At this point, I can't remember specifics on gas mileage, but I know I was happy with it at the time.  I would guess I was getting in the 20-30 mile per gallon range around town.

So if I liked it so much, why did I get rid of it?  By the time I did, I had passed 150,000 miles a while ago and was approaching 200,000.  It seemed like it needed some work a couple times a year.  And since my parents are a several hour drive away, I was beginning to worry about getting stranded on the side of the road if something went wrong.  (I did that once with my first car, and it wasn't something I wanted to repeat.)  If I were just driving around town, I would have kept it for another few years until it truly wouldn't run any more.

My 1984 Honda Accord was a great car.  It was beginning to show it's 16 years when I replaced it, but it was a tough decision.

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