For generations of sedan buyers, the Accord is synonymous with the Honda brand. After first going on sale here in 1976, as a coupe only, the 10th generation of the Accord rests before you. Baby, you’ve come a long way.
While there are a multitude of Civic fans, Honda’s success is best measured by the Accord — the sedan that enthusiast publication Car & Driver has tapped for 21-straight years as one of its Ten Best Cars in America. That’s heady recognition for a car that is predominantly a commuter car for most owners.
The latest Accord is really a new design, not a rehash. There are two all-new turbocharged four-cylinder engines under the rakishly lower hood (192-hp 1.5-liter, plus a 252-hp 2.0-liter); the body makes extensive use of ultra-high-strength steel to knock 170 pounds off from a sedan that is actually larger and with a longer wheelbase for more rear seat room; plus, more sound deadening material has been added to reduce road noise. While the Accord’s face has some of the same polarizing Honda/Acura styling hints, the rest of the car has obvious Germanic design themes that closely mimic the best lines and shapes from Mercedes, Audi and BMW. Viewed from the side or rear three-quarters, this Accord looks better than any other Honda sedan.
Slimmer roof pillars improve visibility all around, rear leg room jumps a couple of inches, while the Accord’s trunk also swallows more gear. Clever packaging and super-steel all help, yet if you have skipped a generation or two of owning an Accord, there is no mistaking that this package’s dimensions have grown. Identical outside to the Camry, 192 inches long, 111-inch wheelbase, this Accord is a whopping 17 inches longer than the original, plus 1,200 pounds heavier.
Drivers won’t notice the mass, as in typical Honda fashion, the Accord’s chassis out-performs its rivals. Our top-of-the-line Touring sample, in a classic German silver paint no less, proved that the American-based engineers got a chance to work their magic in a car that has decidedly greater sporting intentions when pressed.
Click the console button to Sport mode, and the Accord comes alive with different shift points, tighter chassis mapping, plus added heft in the steering wheel — attributes that turn this placid tourer into a confident sports sedan. Howling Michelins aside, the Accord’s multiple personalities, available at the click of a switch, will amuse many a driver who still relishes deft control of their driving machine.
With each engine lighter and more efficient than its predecessor (note that the V-6 is gone), the Accord offers up lively acceleration, with the turbo spinning out higher levels of usable torque. While 1.5T motors come with either a six-speed manual or a CVT transmission, the 2.0T sampled comes with a buttery smooth (and swift-shifting) 10-speed automatic as well as a manual gearbox. Matting the throttle launches this four-door with great urgency, the transmission snapping off crisp shifts and working overtime to keep the front wheels from going up in smoke. Best of all, the engineers found a way to keep dreaded front-wheel-drive torque steer at bay as you ply the go-fast pedal.
Honda has built an undisputed reputation for building terrific engines. From boat motors and outdoor equipment, to race cars, motorcycles and NSX sports cars, Honda’s engines run, and run, and run harder still. It should not be any surprise at all that this 2.0-liter turbo-four outshines the departed V-6 motor in its tractability as well as the satisfying 31 mpg returned over 1,300-plus miles of spirited driving.
Inside, Honda refreshed the info/entertainment cluster with a larger screen that returns conventional tuning knobs for audio (hooray!) while easily usable buttons and switches handle many other functions. Likes include the perfect leather-clad steering wheel, the selectable heads-up display, plus heated and cooled leather seating in Touring. Nits: the passenger seat sits too low and offers little adjustability, while the push-button shifter on the console is not an intuitive act.
In addition, Honda will equip every Accord model, LX, EX, EX-L, Sport and Touring, with its Honda Sensing portfolio. This includes Adaptive Cruise, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Keeping Assist, plus Road Departure Mitigation. Thankfully, the driver can still deactivate those systems you deem too intrusive.
Pricing starts at $24,460 for an LX sedan (up to 38-mpg). A Sport with the manual is only $26,670, while our top Touring with the 2.0T lists for $36,690. A hybrid Accord — with this same body — arrives at dealers soon.
Honda’s light truck lineup is now outselling its car lineup here, an industry-wide trend. But last I looked, gasoline prices were starting to rise. Drivers looking for a more than competent family sedan should know that Honda’s newest Accord remains one of the best cars you can buy.