Honda CRV vs. Accord: help me sort my thoughts so I can get a car!
April 26, 2016 8:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the market for a new car and I _think_ I've narrowed the options to either a Honda Accord or a Honda CRV. Help me decide!

I'm closing in on making a car buying decision and am hoping to receive thoughts, feedback, etc., on two options on my list: the Honda CRV and the Accord. I'm looking for those who have owned Hondas and also those knowledgeable about autos.

A bit of background:

-I'm not interested in super powerful engine options (e.g., the Accord V6).
- my previous daily drive was a sedan (Ford Focus). I loved the fun way it handled, not the maintenance cost of owning one. (I will not buy another Ford, no matter how well-reviewed.)
- I initially thought, "Let's not get a sedan again; let's look at SUVs." So I looked at the Honda CRV as I wanted a car that would haul a lot easily: big, bulky items (cat trees! furniture! Ikea! Costco hauls!). This is immensely appealing about the CRV.
- I loved the CRV after the test drive; but I needed a cooling off period. When I cooled off a little, I considered the gas mileage of the CRV; I don't think it's as prudent a choice as I can make, you can get better gas mileage on other models. Also, perhaps a bit more crucially: I'm not sure that I'll be using that extra hauling space in the back enough to justify buying an SUV.
- I do like the high driving position, love the smooth CVT engine, and do not care about the power so much. It seems powerful enough for my purposes (driving around doing errands, the occasional freeway journey, and I volunteer a long way from home so will be commuting in this car at least once a week, maybe more). Was incredibly impressed with the turning radius and brakes on the CVT.

Notes on the Accord:
-Felt much, much more luxurious and refined on the inside. I almost feel _uncomfortable_ with how nice it is! I have never owned a car so nice, I'm 47 - this is the time to have a nice car, right?
- I liked the way it drove - I tried an automatic but am now wondering if I should try the manual.
- I especially liked the rear visibility as opposed to the CRV (although I get that there's a backup camera and on some trims, a side-mirror camera).
- I loved the size of the trunk! But I'm a little concerned about that carved hole in the back that connects the trunk to the back row of seats: seems to restrict putting in long items, not sure why it's there. But the trunk is HUUUGE!
- Small, niggling detail: I dislike the hubcap design on all current models of Accords, except for the Sport Accord trim.
- I had a more limited test-drive on the Accord so I'd have to go back for another test-drive.

Ironically, having tech stuff in cars seems all the rage these days, but I do not own a phone, do not use all the gizmos that are offered (e.g., I would not pay for XM, or whatever it is, ad-free radio.)

Any car I'm missing? I already tried Mazdas and have crossed them off my list. I have tried to like Toyotas, but cannot see buying one as long as Hondas exist. (Apologies to Toyota and Mazda enthusiasts.) I strongly dislike the 2016 Civic rear tail light design, but maybe I should grit my teeth and look at the Civic, as it gets rave reviews?

(I also realize most people recommend buying used as you lose a certain amount of money on a new car the second you drive it off the lot. I may or may not buy used, but let's just assume, for the moment, that I'm buying new.)

I hate not having a car and would like to speed up this process, while avoiding rushing into anything that I'll regret.

Also: how many test drives do you take of a car before you pull the trigger and buy it? I feel like I need at least one more test drive of the CRV and Accord, but am wondering what other people do. Please advise.

If you've reached this far, thank you for your time!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome to Shopping (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
(Oh I forgot to add: we tend to hang on to cars a long time so we'd definitely be keeping this car at least ten years if not a lot longer. Thanks in advance!)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:05 PM on April 26, 2016

I bought a new car in 2011, and I found that a lot of the sedans had that same problem with a small opening between the trunk and the back seat. I ended up getting a hatchback because it had all the advantages of a sedan - good gas mileage, easy to park - but is much more flexible for storage. Have you looked at the Honda Fit?

Also, remember that no car is going to be perfect. You're going to have to compromise. In my experience, you get used to the cosmetic "issues," but functional issues will linger. In my car I actually ended up not getting my #1 choice in color and without the spoiler I wanted, but it stopped bothering me very quickly. I personally wouldn't worry about tail light design (in fact, you only really notice them when they're on, and that's when you're actually driving the car). And you can always get new wheel covers.
posted by radioamy at 8:15 PM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

Have you seen the HRV? The hidden rear passenger door handles weird me out, but it seems like the best of both worlds. I've only seen a couple on the road in my city.
posted by Maarika at 8:15 PM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you liked the CR-V, but thought it might be a little too big for your needs, Honda has the new HR-V out right now that I think looks interesting. I have a CR-V and am very happy with it (and even coming from a smaller hatchback, I don't think it seems too big when I am driving or parking it), but if the HR-V had been available when I was looking, I would have strongly considered it.
posted by mjcon at 8:18 PM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have a 2013 Civic. Sometimes I regret not dropping another $4k to get the Accord. Get the Accord.
posted by LoveHam at 8:26 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Look at the Honda Fit! It's bigger than you might think, has a TON of space in the trunk/rear area because of the nifty way the seats fold, and is super super fun and sporty to drive.
posted by sallybrown at 8:34 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a Civic and I LOVE the dependability of it; I don't even remember the last time I changed the oil (I know, I know...) and it always just works. However I do not like the seat / trunk geometry for trying to cram large items in there, and I think it's sufficiently similar to an Accord in that sense to warn you that might be an issue. It's weird - you can fold down the seats to easily fit skis, lumber, whatever long narrow item, but you can't cram a 2'x2'x2' moving box in any which-way.

So I'm going to offer yet another suggestion to at least test drive the Fit. It's sort of an odd, boxy, not-quite-anything sedan/wagon, but the hatch and flat-folding seats enable you to fit basically anything in there. It's almost like an SUV in that sense. But it drives more like, and gets the mileage of, a sedan. Of course it doesn't sit nearly as high as the CRV so there's a trade off. Anyway, consider it.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 8:55 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a Fit, and I like it. I'm a Honda person and chose a Fit over a Civic because it holds so much more!

But the Fit and Civic are both going to feel cheaper than the Accord, so that might be an issue for you. I say get the Accord.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:07 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yep, I'd look at the Fit. I looked at the CRV and Accord, but ended up with the Fit and love it. Cargo space is great!
posted by idb at 10:07 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've had a Civic & a CR-V and test drove the Accord. The CRV is what I ultimately chose 5+ years ago and have never looked back. I plan to have this car for at least another 10 years as it has had no problems whatsoever.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 1:05 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing looking at the Fit - people who have them often rave about them, in my experience.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:05 AM on April 27, 2016

Husbunny had a Fit, and it's a fantastic car, but pretty bare. The HRV is a small SUV on the Fit chassis. Also very functional.

I was in the market for another Civic, and settled on a fully tricked out, leather, moon roof, seat warming version. Husbunny liked it so much he got one too.

There is something about total luxury that just hits a sweet spot. I absolutely LOVE my car!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:46 AM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

I just bought an Accord in January and I love, love, love it. It's just zippy enough, it's large enough that my 6'2" kid doesn't feel cramped even in the backseat, and it's also just small enough that I can park it anywhere downtown without hesitation. The trunk is actually quite roomy.

I love it.
posted by cooker girl at 5:36 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I tried an automatic but am now wondering if I should try the manual.

I drive a stick but wouldn't bother with one in an Accord sedan (without the big engine) or CR-V. Maybe in a Fit.

I dislike the hubcap design on all current models of Accords, except for the Sport Accord trim.

Not buying a car because you don't like the wheels seems sorta like not buying a house because you don't like the interior paint color. It won't be cheap -- like $500-1500 -- but if you really don't like the stock wheels you can always just buy new wheels and sell the OEM ones on Craigslist or something.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:47 AM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

My CR-V is slightly more car than I need. I don't care. My love for it is stronger than any emotion I've ever had for any vehicle, including my hate for my previous car!

The main thing for me, I think, is comfort, particularly on long-haul road trips. It's easy to get in and out of (we are kinda tall) and pleasant to ride in and drive. And we're never cramped: we can load 'er up with all kinds of luggage and supplies and swag and not even think about it.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:56 AM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

We bought the CRV. Last year. Love it best car we've ever bought. We ruin it in economy mode all the time and our is surprisingly fuel efficient for its size, well at least to us. We run around 28mpg, mostly local suburban driving, I think we've had it out of economy mode twice and it does make a difference.

We too plan to keep the car for at least the next ten years and decided on the Bev because of its flexibility. Our second car we get when this one is paid off will be a Fit. And my FIL loves his accord. There comes a point in car buying when you've crunched all the numbers, done the pro and con lists, and have to pick from the finalists work your heart. Your options are both really good cars, it's ok now to just pick the one you like best just because yippy like it.

Oh we took two test drives. One of all the cars we were interested in, then one each again of the finalists, also both Hondas. When we got in the Bev the second time we both said this is our before we even started the car up, but drove it just in case.
posted by wwax at 6:59 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you liked the CR-V, but thought it might be a little too big for your needs, Honda has the new HR-V out right now that I think looks interesting.

Agree with this. I've owned Accords and Civics in the past and now own a CRV (2009) and have had the same concerns that you have about gas mileage but for me the extra hauling space is a HUGE deal. I don't use it much but when I do, it's mission-critical and I love not having to fight with the car to get enough space to put things in. I ride a lot higher in the CRV and since I am short this is a big deal. I also do mostly long-haul driving (3-4 hours) and having a car that is comfortable is key. The Civics and Fits were a little too rattly for me (though nice). My CRV has seat heaters (I'm driving my dad's old car, would not have gone for them myself) and it's a huge game changer in terms of wintertime comfort.

I think a lot of it depends whether you want a sedan or an SUV. I decided that I just don't have enough of a sedan lifestyle. I like putting two tall adults in the back with a ton of room for them and I love filling the car up with crap and I love having the hatchback. Every car is going to be a compromise at some level and I agree with ROU_X if you don't like the hubcaps just change them (if it's a new car you may be able to get the dealer to do this). Above all just give yourself some time to think about it and then make your choice and be done with it. Ultimately they're both very good cars.
posted by jessamyn at 7:22 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

(I'm finding your feedback incredibly helpful - thanks to all, this gives me more to consider, and also permission to buy one I just love rather than trying to rationalize it. Cheers.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:04 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's a shame that wagons aren't widely available anymore, as it would seem that would suit your needs best - sedan efficiency combined with SUV/Crossover practicality.

There are a couple of Wagons that might be worth looking at, although I don't know your budget constraints - my first port of call would probably be the VW Golf Sportwagen for a car-like experience or the Subaru Outback for something more crossover-y.

Of course, if you want to for an unusual route, there's always the Fiat 500L, but I'm not sure how their reliability will factor for someone who's interested in buying a Honda...
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:42 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I thought I would offer some comparison advice,

The Fit (and HRV) is the base model in Honda's lineup. This doesn't mean it is a cheap or bad car, just that it isn't going to be as nice as their higher end models. Honda, in general, doesn't really skimp on mechanical-they are very sound in all their models, but the interior and mostly the ride/noise/vibration and 'harshness' are vastly different in their models. That being said the Fit is a great, high value, car especially for tight urban areas and short trips.

The Civic (the CRV is in this family) is their mid level line. They are nicer on the inside and the engineers have spent some more time on refinement-meaning they ride/handle a little better and are much more pleasant for extended stays. They aren't (necessarily) more reliable, larger or 'better' just a case of what you want and getting what you pay for.

The accord line is the high end (unless you cross the 'luxury' car barrier and go to Acuras) and the interior is much, much nicer and the engines are bigger and more powerful. The engines choices between the accord/civic lines are much more noticeable than between the Civic/Fit lines. But, as with everything, you pay for the bigger engine with less fuel mileage. The Accord (sedan) can get around this by beign much more aerodynamic and not having an AWD system like the CRV. If you compare the fuel mileage between a civic sedan and an accord sedan this will show up. BTW the equivalent to the CRV in the accord line is the Pilot, which is a large SUV.

Any of these cars are going to be very reliable (with maintenance of course) and Honda makes a very good, well thought out car that ages well. I have had a number of older Honda's and the ease of working on them and maintaining them is head and shoulders above most other makes (in my experience Subarus are no better than the better Fords).

My niece drives (and I maintain) a 20 year old CRV. It has 240k miles on it and it runs great-it does have some wear items on it on occasion but it has been a great car for her and cheap enough that she can run it on a low wage service job.

The good news is you aren't going to go wrong with either choice, and if you are going to keep the car for years and years buying new often is the way to go, and Honda's hold on to their value well enough that I don't think the price drop is worth it until you get to 5+ and on more desirable models 10+ years old.
posted by bartonlong at 9:57 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I drive a 2005 CR-V, I love it. I LOVE IT. Fuel efficient, nice to drive, holds lots of stuff (I do competitive dog sports, this is my dog car, and it has taken me and the dogs all over the country just about), safe, well designed, comfortable, and still in great shape. I have some minor quibbles with it (most of which have been changed in the newer models), but overall it's an amazing car and I would buy another in a second if it suited my needs.
posted by biscotti at 10:20 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I went from an Accord to a CRV. I didn't think I would love it as much as I do. I have a ten mile round trip commute, all back roads, and there hasn't been a noticeable mileage difference. It's wonderful to have the space when you need it, and as someone with joint problems, it's much easier to retrieve groceries from the back of a CRV than the trunk of an Accord.
posted by Ruki at 11:36 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I went from a 1997 Camry to a 2005 CR-V and I'll never go back to a sedan. I hauled a 30 foot extension ladder home with it (on the interstate).
posted by qsysopr at 1:15 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I guess I'll chime in since people have suggested/mentioned the HRV - bought one back in February after having an old Civic and then a Subaru Impreza (needed AWD)... wasn't planning on buying a new car, but since my sister-in-law totaled mine, I had a very similar choice to make as you... I have no kids yet, but figure that whatever car I purchased would likely be used to haul them around during the life of the vehicle... Anyways, I narrowed it down to the CRV or getting another Impreza - I had never even heard about the HRV until it came up as a review came up as a recommended video on YouTube when watching reviews of the CRV.

Two test drives later, and a dealer trade, and I was entirely sold on the HRV. Have only had it for 2 months, but visibility is great, power is a bit lacking but haven't felt too sluggish pulling onto a freeway, and I've been averaging closer to 27mpg in it on back-road western Pennsylvania driving that I do day-to-day. Plenty of truck space, the "Magic Seats" feature has already come in handy a few times... and "long mode" where the front passenger seat lays back and the backseat folded down gave me plenty of space for 2 bookshelves and a TV cabinet from Ikea.

Honestly, the biggest selling point for me is that I don't "need" a lot of space 99% of the time I'm driving, but a few times a year, I need to make a long haul with lots of stuff, I think I'll be able to fit everything in it... and if I cant - there is already an aftermarket hitch that can be added, and I can put a Cargo Shelf on the back of it (which is, I think, my plan for our beach trip in July).
posted by GuppieXX at 12:16 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Update: I test-drove the Honda Civic, Accord, Fit, CRV, and HRV. Honda makes it difficult because all models were superb and had different plus points; the Fit, especially, had a lot to offer for a small hatch.

In the end I went with the Civic because the base model blew everything else (the competition) out of the water. Played around with the idea of a turbo engine, and maybe it would've been nice, but I found the base model's engine (2.0) was plenty fun to drive. I didn't want a sedan again (although I nearly went for it), so I got the 2-door (coupe). Also - I wasn't looking to get a Civic as I wanted something different, but the test drive really sold the car to me. It's very hard to ignore the Civic. So thanks everyone for your help! This has been a long journey for me.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:47 AM on May 24, 2016

« Older Bed bugs, Y/N? (Time warp edition)   |   This'll be an easy one Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.