Both Honda and Toyota have started using all sorts of short cuts to make more money on each car. I have never heard of a car not coming with a trunk liner. Both my cars have carpet in the trunk. Of course, I drive only domestics and they generally offer a lot more than imports.
I wonder what the reviewer means by "trunk liner". The only things that I've seen on the option checklist are things like a special trunk mat or sometimes a liner on the inside of the trunk door. I had an 04 Honda Civic EX. Even the Civic came with a standard liner in the trunk. So even though Honda and Toyota may pinch pennies in a few places, I think that in this case and with this review... I smell a rat.
By the way, I agree that usually American cars are better optioned at comparable price points. The problem here is that this reviewer's biggest complaint seems to be that the car lacks a trunk liner. #1 It DOES come with a trunk liner. #2 Even if it didn't, he could have gotten one if he wanted it so badly. So...#3 This review, rightly or wrongly, comes off as negative rhetoric rather than a real and honest review from an owner. Maybe the reviewer can further enlighten us.
Although I've never owned a car that didn't come with either a rubber or carpet trunk liner, the flickering headlights are NOT normal on any car and suggest an electrical short somewhere that is pulling too much current.
Newer imports are dropping like a rock in build quality, and I suspect this problem is a result of hastily connected electronics.
I'd go to the local Better Business Bureau or your state Attorney General's office with a formal complaint if your dealer gives you the brush-off (and import dealers are notorious for that).
SOME newer imports are indeed suffering a decline in build quality, but the Honda Accord isn't one of them.
The flicker is indeed odd and not right, but everything else here is just plain weird because the reviewer didn't say that the whine just started or that the "trunk liner" dissolved or something. So they were both issues at purchase. Plus until there is a transmission failure, the whine may be a bother, but no more than that.
Also the Accord DOES come with a trunk liner. Makes me wonder if the reviewer bought a used car that had been flooded, wrecked, or had parts of the interior removed for some other reason (drug bust for example).
There is just too much strange stuff here that isn't explained either by an attack on or defense of import quality.
The headlight flicker is normal. My '08 did it too. Not sure what the issue is or why they continue to not fix it, but check any Honda forum and look up the problem. Mine also had the transmission whine from new. That is also a Honda thing and some have it and others don't. The trunk liner is the optional cover that goes on the trunk lid and really an aesthetic piece and nothing more. If you care what the car looks like with the trunk open, then I guess it is an issue.