Thursday, November 12, 2015

Honda Accord or Mazda6?

We already have a 2014 Honda Accord EX-L and now need to get another vehicle to replace a 2006 Honda Accord VP. But there is a problem.

After doing much research and soul-searching, it got even worse. Note: we need memory seats, so I am comparing 2016 Honda Accord EX-L and Mazda 6 Grand Touring here. Lower trims have no memory seats.

The Mazda6 looks better, has slightly better fuel economy and acceleration, handles better and its 6-speed automatic transmission requires no maintenance and should be more reliable than the CVT. It is more fun to drive, the seats more comfortable and the interior looks nicer. The expected reliability is better. And it has blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

But Honda is cheaper, the visibility and rearview mirrors are better, the insurance rates are lower. The ride is better, there is less noise. The spark plugs need not replacement in 105K miles, whereas in Mazda it is 85K. And the oil change interval is flexible and has been close to 9K miles in our experience, whereas in Mazda it seems to be 7.5K.

Where it gets worse is in terms of safety, which is an area I find extremely important, as the last two Accords we had were totaled in accidents through other drivers' faults.

Mazda has a wide-angle rearview camera and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Sounds nice, until you realize that the guidlines on the camera are fixed. Honda's wide angle rearview camera has dynamic guidelines, which simplify parking and other maneuvers substantially. And while there is no blind spot monitoring, it has LaneWatch: a camera in the right outside rear view mirror that shows you the whole blind spot when you have your right turn signal on. How useful is it? It sound superfluous at first blush, but since it has distance markings, I can clearly see if there is enough space for the car in the next lane and whether the car there is letting me in or being a jerk.

Crash test results are similar. And although in Mazda you can get autobrake feature that can stop the car as a part of the package that also includes iLoop energy recovery system and grille shutters, etc. for a couple thou, Honda has Honda Sensing that includes both low and high speed autobrake as well as dynamic adaptive cruise control for less than 1K.

So at the end of the day, I am afraid it will be the Accord. I hoped it would be Mazda. I like the way it looks, drives and the seat and overall ergonomics. And adaptive LED headlights are cool as is other tech, But the price is high and depreciation is worse as are the insurance rates. And the lack of dynamic guidelines in the rear view monitor is a deal-breaker.