2008 ICOTY Most Dependable Sedan - Honda Accord
by Martha Hindes
In a world of automotive variety, there's one staple that never seems to wane. The sedan has provided an immanently practical, sometimes exciting and almost always dependable foundation for everything automotive. It is always identifiable and provides balance between the needs of driving someone and carrying something without losing touch that its primary mission is accommodating people. Winners in the sedan class always seem to resemble the executives of the world, often understating their position but iron fisted in their claim to being there.
One such staple has long been the Honda Accord, the 2008 Most Dependable ICOTY Sedan Winner. So often ranked among the top players, it was an expected comfortable choice for the ICOTY jury when seeking out the year's best sedan. Mildly surprising this year, the Accord's upsizing has turned the once mid-size auto into a true full-size staple. The result is a sedan with true performance credentials, a sleeker exterior and stronger character lines.
This all new Accord puts more stress on visual stance and command that's underscored by impressive driving dynamics. Two engines propel the sedan, a base 2.4-liter four and 3.5-liter V-6 with five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions. The Hond Accord gets a boost safety-wise as well. To protect during frontal collisions with different height vehicles, Honda uses an Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. Other standard safety features include active front headrests, occupant position detection, side curtain airbags and Vehicle Stability Assist.
There's an inside story to Chevy's midsize Malibu. Designers let out all the stops in customizing this new sedan, which was a high-volume automotive mainstay. Though the Malibu's exterior has a smooth, understated and elegantly shaped quality â€” with subtle design elements that blend for a balanced appearance â€” inside there is true excitement.
Fluid design lines enhance the deep dash, while quiet glass smooths away outside noises. Also, premium audio and two-tone upscale interior leather with special stitching soothe the soul. On cold days or hot mornings, remote start can banish chills or make an oven-hot interior tolerable when it's time to get in. With base prices ranging from $20,000 to $27,000 and V-6 mileage around 17 city/26 highway, you could say the numbers add up for this honorable mention.
Subaru 3.0 R Limited
Subaru is the vehicle that started it all. Long before other auto makers began adding all-wheel-drive capabilities, Subarus were scooting around through rain and snow with extra grip traction. That hasn't changed, and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is standard on the redesigned Subaru Legacy 3.0 R. Subaru has turned up performance on its flagship model with its first-ever 3.0-liter, six cylinder Boxer engine, generating 245-horsepower. Styling changes include a redesigned front end and bumpers with less overhang to enhance the vehicle's sporty look. Inside there's a new instrument panel and interior fabrics. A telescoping steering wheel and remote entry become standard. SI-DRIVE adds performance control in Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp modes. Entrance into the 3.0 R Limited world is about $34,000.