While crossovers are the big thing, we think it’s great to see the sedan isn’t ready to roll over and die.
In fact, with the all-new Camry, and coming soon, All-new Altima, carmakers are stepping up their game – each of these new sedans is on the edge of style, technology, and best of all, performance.
Leading the renaissance is the 2018 Honda Accord.
It must be tough being Audi. You come up with a gorgeous design, and next thing you know, other manufacturers seem to be dipping in the same inkwell. Take the new Audi A7 – gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Now look at the Kia Stinger and the new Accord. Hmmmm. Imitation being the highest form of flattery, and all…
Nonetheless what the inspiration, the new Accord is a great looking vehicle. For those who like to follow stats, the new model has a longer wheelbase, wider body, wider track, while offering a shorter overall length and lower seating position.
There’s a definite European flair. From a sculpted hood to deeply contoured sides, the new model is more evocative and emotional than the previous model, which we found to be handsome and tasteful, yet conservative. And while the sleek design looks like a hatchback, it’s actually a sedan with trunk. (Guess Honda doesn’t want to cut into its own SUV sales).
Adding to the modern flair are 19-inch “rimless” alloys and trick-looking, 9-lamp LED headlights and LED fogs. Our tester really sold the new lines with Obsidian Blue Pearl paint. We’re starting to see a resurgence in blue vehicles, and we like it. It stands out in the sea of silver and white Accords that you see everywhere. And if you don’t hanker after the blue, there are some other cool choices, including Kona Coffee and Champagne Pear – which sound delicious – along with favorites like white, red, black and silver.
More Euro-style goodness is found in the interior, with a definite Honda touch. The upscale interior features a new soft-touch dash, fat leather-wrapped d-shaped steering wheel, handsome faux wood, large tablet-style infotainment system (with a real volume knob, yea!) and knurled metal knobs for info and climate control that feel great to the hand. Very Audi like.
That info-tainment is fed through a 7-inch driver’s display as well as the 8-inch touchscreen, and like the pricey Acura models, it lets you set up shortcuts on the touchscreen. To keep you hooked up, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard as well.
Touring trims like our tester also feature a new 6-inch driver’s head-up display, wireless device charging, 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi, and fast, automatic Bluetooth® phone pairing with Near Field Communication technology.
We’ve always felt that Honda kept controls simple and easily understood, and the Accord shows just how thoughtful they are. Even on our Touring model, which is loaded to the gills with technology, luxury and safety gear is simple to get in and drive – no needed studying of an owner’s manual before you go. It all just makes sense.
Well, almost all. Like other Honda and Acura products, the Accord has a pushbutton shifter on the center console. Ok, we’re old school, but we’d really prefer a traditional lever. We did have handy paddle shifters when we wanted to engage shifting fun.
That lower, sleeker, body results in a lower sleeker seating position, but Honda smartly lowered the front cowl and put the roof pillars on the Jenny Craig to enhance visibility. It’s a good compromise – though some of us miss the old, tall greenhouse effect you had in the previous model.
That said, the seats have been re-contoured for greater comfort and support, rear leg room is expansive, and the driver has such goodies as 12-way power with height-adjustable lumbar, and on our tester, heated and ventilated front and heated rear seats. Cushy.
A tale of two turbos.
All of this stuff is pretty darned nice on any Accord. If you go for the lower trim models, you’ll find Honda’s sweet new 1.5-liter turbo, with torque and hp both at 192. Impressive. Choose between CVT or manual transmission.
But we opted for the 2.0T model for good reason. It’s a detuned version of the high-performance, retina-detaching Civic R model. In the R, the turbo 2-liter serves up an impressive 306 hp. For the Accord, we get 252 horsepower (still quite good), and an excellent 273 lb-ft of torque starting at just 1,500 rpm.
That power, combined with the responsive 10-speed automatic (geez, we’re already getting used to automatics in the double digits!) means you’ve got plenty of oomph whenever you need it. And if you go into Sport mode things really get exciting. This big, comfy cruiser hits 60 mph well under 6 seconds with a subtle rasp from the exhaust. And with the restrained but handsome styling you have a stealthy weapon to zip through traffic.
You can even get this motor with a manual transmission – Honda still cares about us enthusiasts!
It’s interesting to note that with this engine, Honda will no longer offer a V6 Accord, and as much as we loved that motor, with performance like this, we won’t miss it. Toyota decided that their Camry needed to offer a 6-cylinders in their top of the line performance model. Different strokes…
Since we were already in Sport Mode, we kept it there, enjoying the firmed-up suspension and quicker steering ratio that comes at the push of a button. While this does give a sportier ride, it doesn’t turn the Accord into a hard-edged sports sedan.
Accords have always had this beautifully efficient, controllable, and supple ride/handling mix, and the new model keeps the tradition alive. It’s a fingertip-steer, glide through the twisties confidence. The result is an excellent blend of quiet commuter and great driver for twisty roads. It’s an easy car to drive quickly you find it shaves minutes off your commute without even trying.
The checkout counter
You give the car Audi styling – should you expect Audi pricing? Depends. Typically Honda, there’s something for just about every budget.
Pricing starts with the LX at $23,570, and gives you goodies including Honda Sensing safety (Collision Mitigation, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sigh Recognition, Lane Keep assist), Dual-Zone climate control, pushbutton start, multi-angle Rearview Camera and more.
Enthusiasts on a budget will like the Sport model starting at $25,780, which adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather-wrapped wheel, 8-inch touch screen, 12-way power driver seat, 19-inch alloys, rear spoiler and standard manual transmission. The 2.0T engine is available for extra cost.
EX models start at $27, 470 and add moonroof, heated front seats, and Blind Spot warning with rear cross traffic alert. EX-L models being at $29,970 and add leather, memory seats, 10-speaker, 450-watt premium audio system.
Top of the line Touring models start at $33,800 and add Head-up display, heated and cooled front seats, wireless phone charging, etc. The whole enchilada. With the more powerful 2.0T engine, our tester carried a price of $35,800.
Competition-wise, it’s about $1,000 less than a fully-loaded Camry XSE V6. Your most basic BMW 320i sedan starts at $34,900 – but when comparably-equipped over $42,000.
So, the all-new Accord sedan has something for everyone – great styling, a comfortable and beautiful interior, advanced tech and a sporting edge that makes it great fun to drive.
A great car, and a great Accord. This is Honda at its best.
Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.