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2011 Honda Accord EX-L (photos)

The 2011 Accord does its best not to stand out. You won't hear much noise from its engine, and it will blend in with other midsize sedans in the parking lot. But it will also get you comfortably from point to point.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET
A sensible car, the Accord comes in a variety of trim levels, from a stripped-down four-cylinder to our near-luxury model, the EX-L with navigation and V-6 engine. But even at this cream of the crop level, the price just tops 30 grand.

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The Accord's styling is nondescript, fitting the profile of a midsize sedan well. It is a practical design, but it might be difficult to locate in a parking lot. Some of Honda's angular styling language comes through in the grille.

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The Accord is the smallest car in the lineup that gets Honda's 3.5-liter V-6, which also sees use in the Ridgeline pickup, the Pilot SUV, and the Odyssey minivan. It's a solid engine, but not terrible advanced, and puts out 270 horsepower.

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The domed roofline makes for easy access to the spacious cabin, and contributes to good visibility out the windows.

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The ride quality in the Accord is good. Its suspension damps out bumps well, generally running smoothly. But it doesn't feel quite up to the engine's 270 horsepower, not handling the available acceleration well.

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The Accord's trunk is very spacious, adding to the car's overall functionality.

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At the EX-L level, this car gets leather seats and faux wood trim. Honda has always made good interiors, but other companies have stepped up their game.

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The Accord suffers from an overabundance of buttons, as Honda does not integrate its cabin electronics well. For example, there are two sets of buttons for the two voice command systems on the steering wheel.

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With only five speeds, this automatic transmission seems primitive, as most automakers have gone to six-speed transmissions.

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The abundance of buttons for controlling the car's various cabin tech systems is in evidence on the center stack.

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The Accord uses an older navigation system, with very low-resolution maps. Street labels are difficult to read because of the jagged lines.

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We like the look and the information design of this interface, a theme that gets repeated on different menus.

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By turning a dial on the stack, you can select letters and numbers for alphanumeric inputs.

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The points of interest database includes the very nice Zagat ratings for restaurants. These make it easier to find a good restaurant among the many listings in the points of interest database.

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The phone system uses this dialer interface, although you can also use voice command to input numbers.

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The Accord's phone system can download a paired phone's contact list, making it available on the screen, but you can't dial by name with voice command.

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For MP3 CDs, music is presented in the disc's folder structure.

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The iPod connection uses this rough music library menu. We found the iPod connection a little slow.

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The car does includes a backup camera, a nice feature when parking.

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