With the Honda Accord entering its 10th generation, Honda engineers had a big challenge when it came to updating the venerable sedan. They had to achieve it in a way that would make the Accord embrace the future, but without alienating the basic virtues that have made the company's bread and butter model a household name among car buyers. With the unveiling of the 2018 Honda Accord earlier today in Detroit, Michigan (following on the heels of a prior teaser sketch,) it appears that Honda is pulling out all the stops to achieve this lofty goal.
It all starts with its sophisticated exterior styling that has been heavily updated for 2018. Wheras the previous generation Accord had the visual appeal of a dishwasher, Honda designers chose to take some inspiration from the smaller Civic sedan, while also tailoring other aspects of the car at the same time. The end result is a bold suit of clothes that would pass for an entry in the Acura lineup, while also bringing a visual spark to the Accord that has been sorely missing from the four door for several years now.
This is especially apparent in the range topping Touring model, which features full LED headlights as well healthy amounts of chrome and electronic goodies. The all new aluminium intensive platform helps reduce weight and improve fuel economy, but sadly there will no longer be a coupe in the Accord lineup, which might disappoint some buyers that prefer the coupe's more athletic profile.
The interior of the 2018 Accord doesn't stray too far from the basic elements that have made the Accord standout in its segment, but there have been welcome upgrades both on the technology and comfort ends of the spectrum. This includes an all new 7-inch digital display that is nestled between the instruments, as well as an all new 8-inch infotainment system promising slicker operation and improved input speeds. As a bonus, Honda engineers even added physical knobs for adjusting the volume and tuning the radio. This seemingly minor change addresses the clunky inputs of the older touch based system, a key complaint that dogged the infotainment system for a number of years.
The cabin also features better materials, as well as improved ergonomics with a nod towards maximizing space. The seats feature better support, and the armrests have thicker padding than before with the drivers seat now featuring 12-way adjustment. The seats also feature heat/ventilated capability, and for the first time ever, the rear seats can be equipped with seat heat. This latter feature was once mainly exclusive to luxury offerings, but its appearance on the Accord shows that the feature is starting to become more mainstream.
The performance hardware has also embraced the trend of downsizing with the old 2.4 liter four cylinder being replaced with an all new 1.5 liter turbocharged engine. In the Accord, the new powerplant is capable of producing 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. While it might not seem to be much of an improvement at first glance, the turbocharged punch as well as the bulk of the torque being available at 1,500 RPM should help the Accord feel much livelier than before. Meanwhile the Accord Sport ditches the V6 for the Type R's 2.0 liter turbocharged engine in a move to improve fuel economy. While the engine has been refined and tamed slightly for Accord duty, its still good for a healthy 252 horsepower, and a higher 273 lb-ft of torque.
The 2018 Accord will feature three flavors of transmission with the venerable CVT being standard. Buyers can also opt for Honda's all new 10-speed automatic transmission in select trims, and the Sport can also be equipped with a six speed manual gearbox for buyers that want to add a bit more spice and control to their daily commute. A hybrid model will also be available, and while it brings a host of model exclusive updates for 2018, Honda chose to not release formal fuel economy figures as of yet, but look for that information to be available closer to its official launch.
Pricing has also not been announced, but the 2018 Accord will be available in a number of trim levels. The base 1.5 liter engine comes in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EXL-Navi, and Touring. Meanwhile the beefier 2.0 liter sees duty in the EX-, EX-L Navi, Touring, as well as the aforementioned Sport. Lastly the Hybrid can be had in Hybrid, EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi, and Touring guises.
With these updates, look for the 2018 Accord to follow in the established tire tracks of its predecessors, while also bringing the fight to rivals like the Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, as well as the Ford Fusion in a still hotly contested segment of the automobile market.