Honda Accord or Toyota Avakon??

I am considering the purchase of either the Honda Accord or the Toyota Avalon for my wife's use. Both seem to be very nice cars but good and not good features to each.
On the Honda Accord, I am concerned about the engine which runs on either 3, 4, or six cylinders, depending on driving conditions, speed, etc. They claim this is to increase fuel efficiency. I don't know how long this engine has been used by Honda, but it sounds to me like it could be major expensive problem a few years down the pike. Does anyone know anything about this engine and/or have any experience with it?
I recall that in the middle 70's, that Cadillac came out with a 4, 6, 8 cylinder engine. Apparently it didn't work out because they only kept it the one year. I don't know if it was a problem engine or if it didn't achieve the efficiency expected. At any rate, I am leery about the Honda engine.
As an aside questions: How do they do that, and does it really save fuel?
On the Toyota Avalon, they have a six speed transmission. Again, I don't know how long they have used this transmission or what the service record has been. I also have concerns about expensive transmission problems.
The other problem with the Toyota is the gear shift. It is not just a back and forth lever. It has a deeply notched track for the shifter. It seems to me that this might result in cumbersome shifting. Anyone have any knowledge and/or experience with this six speed transmission?
Thanks in advance for your ideas, suggestions, and experience.
Bob-tx
PS: I am also posting this on both the Honda and the Toyota groups.
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Since it will be the wife's car, all other things equal, does she have a preference?

We have the variable cylinder management in our '07 Odyssey. It is very smooth and the only indication that it has kicked in is a light on the dash. Other than that, we feel no transistion. I don't have an identical vehicle without the feature to compare mileage to.
Honda is usually pretty conservative when it comes to adding new technology before they are convinced it is reliable, so while I have no data to say if it is reliable or not, my trust in Honda does not turn me off to the feature.

Yeah, but A) that was a GM product and B) 30 years ago.

Well, it's not a manual transmission, so how cumbersome is it really? You put it in drive at the beginning of a trip and back to park at the end. Will the wife really be shifting it other than that?

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Get the four-cylinder Honda and don't worry about it. The fuel economy might be a little better than with the V6.
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I took a look at both the 2008 V6 Accord and the Toyota Avalon. I already have in the stable a 2000 V6 EX Accord. I went with the Avalon (got it in Dec '07) for a number or reasons. One, I was very leery of the new engine cylinder design. Obviously, it must require a complex control system as well as the interaction of the mechanical components. As far as I know, no real (field) history behind this design and any problem would likely be an expensive repair. I didn't want to become one of Honda's fleet leaders. Two, the predicted gas mileage wasn't all that great considering the potential problem risk. Three, the inside looked too much like the Accord that I already have. As a result, didn't feel/look enough like a new car to me. My first surprise with the Avalon was the gas mileage--with only 400 miles on the car went on a 3000 mile round trip, most of it highway at 70-80+ MPH, I got 28-32 mpg. Running around the city it goes anywhere from 24 to 26 mpg; filled the tank last night, had over 300+ miles since the last fill up and was between the 1/2 and 1/4 marks on the gas gage. Surprisingly, on my trip, the instrument panel MPG readout compared very close to calculated mileage --read about 1 mpg higher than calculated. With respect to the transmission and shift lever--the shift lever is spring loaded so that it just falls into the correct position--Drive/reverse etc..after a while you don't even have to look, it kind of naturally seeks the desired position when you move the lever. The lower gears (3,2 & 1) are achieved by just moving the lever from Drive to the left and then just tapping it to get to the next lower gear. Haven't had to use it yet. Hasn't been a problem going from one gear to the other. The Avalon has a lot of bells and whistles, lots of room inside, very smooth ride and in my opinion, far more luxurious then the Accord. It costs more too but I think that it's worth it. MLD
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On Wed, 16 Apr 2008, "Bob" wrote:

If safety is a concern, the 2008 Avalon received a 'poor' rating on rear crash test. Front and side tests are rated 'good'. http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class
The 2008 Accord is rated 'good' on front, side, and rear crash tests, giving the Accord a Top Safety Pick.
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