2007 Honda Accord
The 2007 Honda Accord represents a very practical and unassuming car. But when equipped with a V6 engine and six-speed manual transmission, the Accord actually becomes fun to drive. Add Honda's excellent navigation system and the car will help you get anywhere you need to go.
With its mundane styling, nobody will look twice at the Accord, which could be a good thing if you make full use of the V6 in sixth gear on the freeway. It does have some nice touches, such as the way the angular headlight enclosures blend into the front fenders. And with the V6, the car has twin exhaust pipes and a nice little red V6 emblem on the back.
While the power train is really a joy to use, handling is pretty average, with lots of understeer. We really like Honda's navigation module, which has a complete database of points-of-interest and excellent voice control. But the six-disc changer won't read MP3 CDs and there is no auxiliary input jack. The car seems to be focused on people who haven't gotten into digital music.
Test the tech: Navigation system versus Magic 8 Ball
Honda's navigation system is one of the best on the market, so we reasoned it wouldn't be informative to test it against another system. Instead, we decided to pit the technology of the navigation system against the mystical properties of a Magic 8 Ball. We wanted to see which would do a better job of getting us back to our office in San Francisco from a remote spot in the San Francisco Bay Area.
To start off our test, we went to Blanding Lane in Belvedere, a little island in the San Francisco Bay connected to Tiburon by roadways. This spot suited our testing purposes, as it was deep in an area of complex, winding suburban roads. Because Belvedere rises up in a hill, the streets aren't laid out in a grid pattern--they have to follow the contours of the landscape.
We started off using the Magic 8 Ball. We decided that at every intersection, we would ask it if we should go right. If we came to a four-way intersection, and it told us not to go right, we would then ask it if we should go straight. For the first three intersections we hit, the Magic 8 Ball advised that we go right, with the following responses: Yes, Most likely, and As I see it, yes. These directions quickly took us off the island and into Tiburon.
After that, the Magic 8 Ball gave us a mix of positive and negative answers to our right turn question, from Without a doubt to My sources say no, which unfortunately took us in circles through the streets of Tiburon. After the third time around the same block, we decided to give up on the Magic 8 Ball getting us back to San Francisco in any reasonable amount of time.
We went back to our starting point to give the GPS navigation system its opportunity. Using the navigation system was a little more straightforward then the Magic 8 Ball. Using the voice command system, we told it where we wanted to end up, and the system gave us a choice of three routes. We picked what seemed like the easiest one, and started on our way. The system told us which turns to take, and even whether just to bear left or right, eventually leading us back to our offices.
But the navigation system wasn't perfect. For the first part of the trip, getting out of Belvedere, we actually preferred the route advised by the Magic 8 Ball. It took us on a number of fairly straight roads with few intersections, until it started running us around in circles. The navigation system charted a complex course with more intersections to negotiate in the first part of the trip.
We're pretty sure the Magic 8 Ball eventually would have led us back to our offices, in the same way that an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters will eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare. But the navigation system got us to our destination much faster, and required fewer inputs, proving to be the more practical solution.