The trunk was open when one friend walked by and the hood was popped open when two other friends meandered by.
"If I took off my front wheel, OK maybe both wheels, I could get my bike in the trunk, no problem, " one friend said. “That's a spacious trunk for a mid-sized car. "
My two other friends were more impressed with the powerful and efficiently designed engine.
"Look where everything is; it's easy access, for sure, " he said. “Even if you know nothing about cars, you can find everything. It would be hard to put the oil where the transmission fluid goes. And it's like what we used to call a ‘Muscle Car’ engine when we were growing up. "
And so it goes with the 2004 Honda Accord, particularly the 240 horse power V6 sedan EX model test driven for this review.
From small, yet important features like trunk space and engine dynamics, to passenger comfort, functionality of instrument controls and interior and exterior styling, there's not much not to like on the 2004 Accord.
In short, in its ongoing competition with the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat, the tested Accord is a high-performance vehicle thinly disguised a mid-sized sedan.
Two test drives during my week with the vehicle were extended journeys, including a 200-mile round-trip day's trek of primarily freeway miles.
With its 240 HP engine, entering freeway on-ramps, changing lanes and accelerating when necessary in heavy traffic, is surprisingly quick.
According to Consumer Guide, the Accord V6 two-door coupe with automatic transmission was tested at 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds. The four- door sedan, in this instance appointed with a Redondo Red Pearl exterior and gray interior, seemingly was in the same speedy category.
The vehicle's comfort and its standard equipment are equally impressive. One example, the XM satellite radio system, hadn't been discovered on my 200-mile journey or a subject round-trip trek into the Sierra Nevada foothills. That was unfortunate.
Even in its preview mode, the satellite feature is a complement to the also standard AM/FM stereo (six speakers) and six-CD changer. Channel offerings in the satellite preview selection included a movie soundtrack station, an option not found via usual audio choices.
In recent years, Honda has meticulously honed its models’ interior and exterior design and features. Individually heated front seats, steering wheel audio controls, a driver's side eight-way power seat with adjustable lumbar control with easily accessible power levers, cruise control, a power moonroof with slide shade and leather-trimmed seats are all included.
An efficiently designed and well-placed radio, interior and exterior light and windshield wiper controls are other pluses as is the front-seat leg room and spaciousness. The rear seats aren't quite as roomy and the total rear area is better suited for two adults than three.
A wonderfully designed engine, plenty of cargo area, a quiet ride, ease of use and versatility, and a more than adequate cargo carrying care with a sports car's performance: What can be more appealing?
In short, the 2004 Honda Accord is a superior family car with plenty of wondrous accouterments to use just in case a sports car opportunity arises.
2004 Honda Accord
Safety features - Driver and front passenger front and side airbags. Three-point front seatbelts. Side curtain airbags. Three-point front and rear seat belts.
Fuel Mileage - 21 mpg (city), 30 mpg (highway).
Warranty - 3 years/36,000 miles (bumper to bumper); 5 years/unlimited miles (corrosion); no scheduled tune-ups for 105,000 miles
Base price range - $15,900 - $28,400.
James Raia is a syndicated journalist in Sacramento, Calif. , who writes about sports, fitness and business topics as well as the free electronic newsletters Endurance Sports News and Tour de France Times and The Weekly Driver, a car review column.
Samples of Raia's writing can be viewed on his web site: ByJamesRaia.com .
His car reviews and newsletters can be viewed at The Weekly Driver and Endurance Sports News and Tour de France Times