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Hagerty Employee

Ask Jack: Accord-ing to Civics?

What does rural northwestern Ohio have in common with Australia, besides the fact that they both have Outback Steakhouses? (I know, I know; I want to believe.) It’s simple. Many ecological niches that are occupied by tarsiers, pottos, lorises, and lemurs in most of the world are occupied by specialized marsupials in Australia. (For more information, but no further clarity on what a “potto” might be, read this.) This is because Australia has long been mostly isolated from migratory and invasive species. Or at least they were until humans brought their cats to the island—but that’s a different story.


In Ohio towns like Marysville, Anna, Indian Lake, and elsewhere, nearly all of the jobs are provided by Honda and its suppliers. So you might find an electrical contractor’s shop with three Ridgelines out front, or a pizza-delivery place that uses Fits exclusively. The jobs that are done by other cars in other places are all given to Hondas here. You also get the unique phenomenon of the rural shack with ten broken-down Civics in front of it. Maybe they aren’t broken down. Or you might see a fellow who looks like he’d be perfectly at home racing stock cars in Georgia—except he’s an SCCA legend who only drives Hondas.


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Intermediate Driver

As someone who bought a 2017 Accord for kid hauling, I would recommend that as the most comfortable choice for that purpose.  I never realized before having my son just how much space rear-facing child seats take up.  The initial bucket seats for infants are not so bad, but the full-size convertible seat, in which your daughter will ride rear facing from around 8 months till at least two years, occupies a lot of horizontal space.  And the problem is, while everything else in the car is slanted such that a passenger's feet are at the front-bottom and head is at the rear-top, a rear-facing child seat is slanted the opposite way, meaning you're really working against the interior design.


Some of your level of comfort will depend on the size of the persons involved:  both my wife and I are more comfortable driving/riding with our seats fairly far back in the track and my son has always been at the top of the size charts, so a more compact child seat was not a good option.  If you, or maybe more importantly, your wife are on the shorter side, or if you can use a more compact (generally, European) child seat, then a Civic/ILX will be fine.  When I was car-shopping a couple years ago, I realized that a modern Civic is within a half-inch of all exterior dimensions of the 1994 Accord I previously owned, but, IIRC, actually has a couple inches more rear-seat legroom.  Meanwhile, the 9G and 10G Accords have more rear legroom than pretty much anything else in the class (the exceptions being the Avalon and I think the Legacy).


If you anticipate having two kids close together, I'd definitely say go with the Accord, because, unless you're really short, you're not going to be comfortable driving with a rear-facing child seat behind you in anything smaller.  The additional trunk space will also be needed for fitting in strollers, pack & plays, etc.  If you anticipate having three kids, get whatever you want, because you'll be trading it in for a minivan in a couple years anyway. 


I actually like the base stereo in the 2017 Accord Sport/LX because it doesn't use a touchscreen.  The sound quality is not life changing, but I find it totally acceptable (I believe earlier 9G Accords had a sound-quality issue with the base FM tuner which was resolved by at least 2016).  But I also treat music in the car as mostly background; if I really want to listen to something, I do it on a proper stereo at home.  Anyway, as Jack notes, if the sound or low-tech head unit bothers you, there are plenty of aftermarket solutions.


I note Jack didn't say anything about the 2013 TL, and I don't have any experience with those.  I would say though, that for $20K, you should be able to get a really nice 2017 Accord Sport (perhaps even CPO).  I expect the 2013 TL would also make a good kid hauler, but given that the SH-AWD 6MT seemed to be vanishingly rare, your chances of finding a decent one within your budget are low.

Intermediate Driver

Had a 2014 Accord 2.4 6MT. Works great for 2 rear facing seats, and IIHS states it performs better in a side impact than the coupe. 


The only car I regret selling - great ride, easy maintenance (change the MT fluid as soon as you get it with Honda MTF), indomitable in winter with a set of Blizzaks. The downside is the 4-speaker stereo sucks, but aftermarket speakers go a long way to improving sound quality for minimal expense. 


Only time I wanted more power was with 4 aboard making a 2-lane road pass.  


I'm a grandfather now, but a couple of times a week I pick up two of my grandsons (5 & 😎 from school and watch them till my son gets off of work. My 2015 Fit EX 6MT works just fine as a kid hauler and since it's a 5/8th scale Odyssey, there's plenty of room in the back for strollers and such. I think the EX comes with the upgraded audio system - I'm a bit of an audiophile and I find it perfectly adequate. As a family car, I'd say the biggest drawback to the Fit is that it's relatively noisy.

Intermediate Driver

I love Fits--particularly 2nd gen, but 3rd is fine too--my wife has a 2010 and my mother-in-law has a 2015.  Awesome chassis and a really well thought-out vehicle.  But the problem with the Fit for baby-hauling is that much of the back-seat room is vertical, which is no help when you have a rear-facing child seat needing a huge amount of horizontal space.  My MiL had a large convertible child seat rear facing in hers for a while, and the passenger seat had to slide forward basically as far as it can, with the backrest straight up, to accommodate it  (note that you're supposed to leave an inch clearance minimum between the rear of the seat and any part of the car seat, which is designed to prevent any transfer of force from an airbag deployment to the child seat).


We had a smaller child seat rear facing in my wife's Fit.  I rode in front of it one time:  even really contorting my legs and doing everything I could to tuck them back, my knees were still shoved hard into the glovebox for the entire ride, and I am average height.


The Fit is great at hauling stuff--dogs, 6-ft bookcases, 4ish adults, a few hundred pounds of mulch, booze for a moderately large wedding--just not great at fitting rear-facing child seats.  Unfortunately, I think the only way this would be workable for hauling a child~8 months to >2 years would be if you don't plan to put anyone in the front passenger seat other than short acrobats.

Intermediate Driver

25 years ago, the rear facing child seat caused the demise of my 1992 Fresco Blue Pearl Prelude Si and my entry into the SUVs that Honda did not have at the time.  My wife and my son could not exist simultaneously on the passenger side of that car.  At that point in my life, "sporty" and "Accord" were mutually exclusive.  I am always amazed at the predominance of younger people driving 4 doors now.  They won't call people on the phone.  But they will drive around in a sedan, regardless of what the manufacturer calls it.

Intermediate Driver

Of the many vehicles I've owned over the past 55 years (I'm 73)

my early 1974 Honda Civic (pre CVCC engine) was probably my all time favorite.

New Driver

What an in-depth, documented and well thought out response. Good job!