Honda has completely redesigned its popular Accord midsize sedan (along with its coupe counterpart) for the latest model year, managing the impressive feat of making the car smaller outside but larger in several key areas within. Other highlights include more efficient powertrains, novel new technology features and a generous level of standard equipment.
Stretching about 3.5 inches shorter than the old Accord, the new sedan defies a general upsizing trend in the midsize segment, although its 191.4-inch overall length still makes it larger than many rivals. Despite the size decrease, there's a significant increase in overall rear seat space thanks to vastly improved packaging, while cargo volume has also risen by 1.1 cubic feet.
Stylistically, the car represents a welcome departure from its rather frumpy predecessor. Shorter overhangs help it to look much more trim, while a deep character line running just below the front door handle and almost into the rear door handle further reduces the appearance of heft.
Unlike the interior of the latest Civic, the new Accord's cabin is a marked improvement over what came before. In place of the somewhat cluttered dashboard of the last-gen model is a simple and elegant design with an intuitive control layout. The button count is way down, thanks in part to a standard high-resolution eight-inch display in the center stack that includes a display for the standard rearview camera as well as Pandora internet radio compatibility and SMS text message functionality. Upmarket models include Honda's new HondaLink infotainment interface and a second, smaller display in the center of the dashboard that replaces.
Uniquely, Honda's available "LaneWatch" system uses a camera mounted on the passenger-side mirror to transmit an image of the blind spot to the eight-inch infotainment screen on certain higher-specification Accords. For more information on LaneWatch, visit our Spotlight On: Honda LaneWatch in-depth article.
The Accord serves up one of the sportier driving experiences in its segment thanks to a well-tuned MacPherson strut suspension and a precise electric power steering system.
The base engine is an all-new, direct-injected 2.4-liter "Earth Dreams" four-cylinder that pairs with either a six-speed manual or an all-new CVT. With dual overhead cams and Honda's i-VTEC system, the engine puts out 185 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 181 lb-ft. of torque at 3,900 rpm. An available dual-exhaust system bumps output up by 4 ponies and 1 lb-ft. With the CVT, the Accord is rated at 27/36 mpg (30 mpg combined), while the six-speed manual dents those figures to 24/34 mpg (28 mpg combined).
An updated 3.5-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic is optional on higher-spec Accords. Now including Honda's i-VTEC variable valve timing system, the engine is rated at 278 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 252 lb-ft. of torque at 4,900 rpm. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available. The V6-equipped Accord returns 21/34 mpg (25 mpg combined) thanks to variable cylinder management that cuts half of the cylinders for highway cruising.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Accord is offered in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L and Touring trim levels. Notably, LX, Sport and EX models come exclusively with the four-cylinder engine, while the V6 is optional on the EX-L and standard on the Touring.
Unlike Accords of yore, which were often rather sparsely equipped, the latest Accord offers a remarkably strong value in LX trim. The LX includes the aforementioned eight-inch screen and rearview camera in addition to 16-inch alloy wheels, dual zone automatic climate control and cruise control. Also part of the package are typical midsize sedan features like a height-adjustable driver's seat, power windows and locks and keyless entry.
From there, a new Sport trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, fog lamps, dual exhaust (which bumps power to 189 horsepower and 182 lb-ft. of torque), paddle shifters and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The mainstream EX adds to the LX the LaneWatch blind spot display system, as well as a proximity key, a moonroof, fog lamps, a power driver's seat, 17-inch alloy wheels, two additional speakers, rear seat vents and a glove box lock.
An EX-L trim brings with it leather seats, camera-based forward collision and lane departure warnings, a multi-angle rearview camera (as opposed to the single angle system in the other models), a non-branded premium audio system, a power passenger seat and memory for the driver's seat, as well as the option of the V6 engine. Those V6-powered EX-Ls add LED daytime running lamps and dual exhaust. Navigation is optional on the EX-L, regardless of engine.
Topping the range is the V6-only Touring, which adds adaptive cruise control and full LED headlamps.
Newly available as a dealer-installed option is a package that fully integrates Apple's Siri virtual assistant with the Accord.
Using Apple's new Eyes Free mode, Accord drivers can access Siri via their iPhone without taking their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. The Eyes Free function uses the vehicle's steering wheel-mounted buttons to access Siri's voice commands, which Honda says reduces distractions behind the wheel. Eyes Free also turns off the iPhone's screen so drivers aren't tempted to look at their device.
All Accords come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side-curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Available on certain trim levels (detailed above) are a blind spot display system, lane departure warning system and forward collision alert system.
The Accord faces strong competition from midsize sedan rivals such as the 38-mpg Nissan Altima, the gorgeous and high-tech Ford Fusion, the ever-popular Toyota Camry, the high-value Hyundai Sonata and the all-around capable Volkswagen Passat.