Test Drive: Sweet new Accord does Honda proud

Five-speed manual transmission standard with four-cylinder engines, not available with V-6. Five-speed automatic transmission is optional with four-cylinders, standard on V-6. Traction control is standard.

What's the safety gear? Expected bags, belts, plus side-impact bags for front occupants, side-curtain bags for front and rear, anti-lock brakes, stability control.

What's the rest? Standard features include climate control; power steering, brakes, windows, locks, mirrors; AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible stereo with MP3 input jack; remote-control locks and windows; cruise control; tilt-adjustable and telescoping steering column; rear-window defroster. Additional features and options: www.honda.com.

How big? Three inches longer, an inch wider and taller than the previous Accord. The '08 is 194.1 inches long, 72.7 inches wide, 58.1 inches tall on a 110.2-inch wheelbase.

Passenger space is listed as 101 cubic feet (except 106 cubic-feet in base LX). Trunk space, 14 cubic feet. Rear seats fold to expand cargo space. Weight ranges from 3,213 to 3,583 lbs., depending on model. Rated to carry 975 to 1,010 lbs. of people and cargo, depending on model.

Turning circle diameter is listed as 37 feet, curb-to-curb.

How thirsty? Four-cylinder engines with manual transmission are rated 22 miles per gallon town, 31 on the highway, 25 in combined driving; with automatic transmission, 21/31/24.

V-6 is rated 19/29/22 mpg.

Tank holds 18.5 gallons. Regular grade (87-octane) fuel is recommended.

Overall:Extraordinarily pleasing practicality.

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