Rental Car Review: Not Everything Has To Be Awesome..

There was a time when I thought the current (and tenth) generation Honda Accord was actually cool. 

Cool looking? Sure, let’s go with that. It also has a huge following of Honda loyalists who will defend their mid-sized sedan to the end. 

What makes writing this piece difficult. Let me explain…

Coming back from Los Angeles, I needed to take care of sone post-trip errands that would require rented vehicle. I also needed to step out for a bit on Saturday in preparation for the return of press vehicles before Thanksgiving. When I rolled my turn at the Rental Car Roulette wheel, I came up with a choice. 

On some level, I might have made the wrong choice. I’m used to how easy a Toyota Camry is to drive. Perhaps, “familiar.” These are the reasons why Toyota’s rival to the Accord made the #VOTY ballot two years in-a-row. The Kia K5 is another vehicle in this class that is an absolute hoot to drive. It corners extremely well and has a bit of swagger that is borrowed from the Stinger.

The Accord has some good attributes. The ride quality on this 2020 Sport model was solid. Although, the 19-inch wheels wore very low profile all-season tires that lessened some smoothness on rougher road patches. 

Interior quality was very good, however. You expect nothing less from a Honda, right? Interior space was great, especially in the back seat. Trunk space was cavernous and can take up a lot of your shopping for the holidays. Luckily, there was plenty of connectivity options through a wired smartphone integration. Control-wise, the Accord offered logical and tactile switches and knobs controlling everything to my liking. 

Let me trace back to tell you my concerns about the Accord. My rental had the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with 192 horsepower. It may have been a let down, considering the only Accord I’ve driven had the 252-horsepower 2.0-liter engine. Believe me, I was wanting more than just adequate power from this engine.

The 1.5-liter turbo engine is connected to a Continuously Variable Transmission, which is also the reason for my disappointment in the driveline. Throttle response was OK. Just OK. That’s not what makes a Sport model a sport model, to be honest. 

Handling could be better. I felt some sloppiness in some maneuvers. That does not sit with me well. Again, if you call yourself a Sport model, there are expectations that need to be met. 

Back to the interior, and there was some one thing that didn’t sit well with me – my driving position. The seats were OK. I would love some better support in the backrest, because the lumbar support felt less than adequate. This rental had an actual shifter, which stood taller than I liked. The steering felt heavy in a not so good way. It required more effort than I’d like.

Despite this feedback, the Accord returned around a fuel economy figure of 33.7 MPG. Perhaps because of its smaller engine and CVT. 

There is one thing to point out about this specific rented 2020 Honda Accord Sport. One of the trends to meet the higher demand for travel and rental vehicles have been a scouring of pre-owned units to fill those spaces. This specific car was one of those vehicles. Even though it wore Florida license plates, the car had a decal from a dealer chain in northern Wisconsin. Namely, a dealer chain that does not sell new Hondas. 

Confused? I certainly was. Not that it detracted from the rental experience, but it certainly scratched my head. I can tell you that a lot of rental customers couldn’t care less where their vehicle came from, let alone the state it is registered in. 

What was the other choice at the rental car lot? The elusive Nissan Altima. The current generation model. The one I’d rather work with. Oh well…maybe next time?

That is, if there is a next time. 

I know I am not going to sway anyone from not getting a Honda Accord. Understand that I did not hate it. I was just rather disappointed. Can someone be disappointed with something that has been given higher expectations because of its nameplate? Rather, something was a considered quite cool? 

Not every vehicle is going to be a winner. If you have to, just spin again at the rental counter. 

DISCLAIMER: Vehicle used in this article was rented by Victory & Reseda

All photos by Randy Stern

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