We’ve mentioned before that car years are kind of like dog years.
Two years in people time can be a long time on the showroom. Take the Honda Accord. When it was introduced as a 2018, it was the new hotness. One of, if not the best reasonably-priced family sedan.
Time flies, though, and an all-new Toyota Camry and more recently Nissan Altima are vying to steal the Accord’s steak off the grille while it’s still sizzling.
So, is the Honda Accord still hot?
Bring Your Oven Mitts
Well, in the ficklest of all areas – exterior style – the Accord has aged exceptionally well.
When we tested the Accord before, we waxed ecstatic about the Audi-like styling, and we must have done a good job waxing (Mr. Miyagi taught us), because the Accord still has the goods.
The initial impression is how big a sedan the Accord has become. It doesn’t look boat-ish though, it just looks substantial. And expensive. The styling still looks very Audi A7 – although the Audi is a hatch, the Honda is a sedan with a trunk. And with a sculpted hood, deeply contoured sides, and on our 2.0T model, the 19-inch “rimless alloys and LED headlights and fogs, you have a seriously roadworthy look.
The cherry on the proverbial top was the Radiant Red Metallic Paint.
A brilliant color that’s a little richer and deeper in person than in pictures, it straddles the line between sport and elegant, and it turned heads. And when you consider how many Accords are out there, that really says something. And since almost every sedan seems to be silver or black these days, you have the added bonus of being able to find yours easily at the mall.
Cool On the Inside
Not in the sense of cold, but more in the way of simple and elegant. With the beautiful red exterior comes an Ivory Leather interior. Like most light leathers, we love the look, and in the Accord, how it contrasts with the black trim and dash. But you’ll probably have to keep after it, so it looks good. Platinum White exterior with a Black Leather would appeal more to our sensibilities. That said, the seats are very supportive, and on our Touring model, were heated and ventilated. The rear seats are also roomy (heated too!), and even fold down to open up a surprising amount of cargo space.
This interior has aged exceptionally well, and still continues that “I bought an Audi at Honda prices” feeling. Honda says the interior design was inspired by a concert hall, and it has that kind of open, spacious feel that serves up an excellent view of what’s going on.
It’s a treat for the eyes, and more. The soft-touch dash looks high-end, the faux-wood looks better than some real wood we’ve seen. There’s knurled metal knobs for info and climate control, and the leather-wheel is a joy to behold. The 8-inch touchscreen tablet is well-sized, and Honda has learned that a volume knob is what the people want.
Actually, buyers are pretty demanding these days, so Honda has kept up with the demand, making sure you have standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on board. There’s also an excellent 10-speaker audio system, Wi-Fi hotspot and even wireless charging. Best of all, no matter how much tech Honda puts in the Accord, the human interface is a simple one. You sit in an Accord, and even if you’ve never been in one, you’ll figure out everything in a couple of minutes.
We especially liked the gauge cluster, with a large speedo, a large tach that changes color when you punch in Sport or Eco mode, and a 7-inch driver assist display in between that serves up info.
Is this perfection? Uh, no. We’re still not enamored of the pushbutton shifter that we’re seeing in lots of Honda and Acura products, including our recent RDX A-Spec. While it does free up room, it doesn’t feel very high-tech or intuitive. Eh, you can’t have everything…
In Turbo we Trust
For many Accord buyers, a snazzy exterior and comfy interior would be enough. But Honda does us drivers a solid and continues to provide a 2.0-liter turbo motor. It’s interesting, since the performance motor in the Camry is a V6, and the Altima the world’s first production variable displacement 4.
The Accord’s engine comes to us courtesy of the Civic Type R, but it’s been tuned for civilian duty. Still 252 hp and 273 lb.-ft coming in at just 1,500 rpm is impressive. It’s also delivered in a civil (which is not to say Civic) manner – It builds beautifully and pulls hard, but remains quiet and composed.
The same can be said about the 10-speed automatic, it shifts quickly and smoothly. Of course, there’s still fun to be had. We had to make a hasty getaway from a stop light, so we put the Accord in Sport mode and punched it. The tires easily spun, and suddenly we were Daddy Don Garlits blasting down the quarter mile.
We backed off in an instant, but we were smiling for a long time after.
The Accord is a balanced performer, and it impresses with a vault-solid ride that’s supple, controlled, and would make an Audi jealous. Handling is good, the big 19-inch wheels give plenty of grip, and the steering is light, but precise. This is not a car the begs to be driven fast, but it certainly enjoys being driven quickly, if you get the distinction.
- It also imparts great confidence. All Accords features the Honda Sensing Suite with Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System and Traffic Sign Recognition.
- We especially liked the Adaptive Cruise Control – Honda’s system to keep you centered in the lane is one of the best – we’ve driven others that are constantly hunting from edge to edge in the lane, and it’s tiresome. Not so the Accord. It makes an already easy-to-drive car even less stressful. Bring on the rush hour!
Prices That Don’t Burn
Hey, it’s an Accord, right? Well, Honda gives you a wide, wide, range of models, starting at an LX with the 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder turbo for just $23,870. If we were pinching pennies, we would at least opt for the Accord Sport, starting at $26,530 – you get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 12-way power driver’s seat, 180-watt audio system, and some hot looks thanks to 19” alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, LED fog lights and chrome exhaust finishers. Best of all, it’s available in the 1.5-liter turbo or 2.0-liter turbo like our tester and get this – both engines are available with manual transmission!
At the other end of the Accord spectrum is our tester, the 2.0-liter Touring. The good life includes ventilated front seats, heads-up display, Wi-Fi, Navigation, heated rear seats, interior ambient lighting and more. Yours for $36,100. Add in $930 for Destination, and we carried a $37,030 sticker.
Comparably equipped, a Camry XSE V6 came in at $39,170. The Altima came in at comparably at $36,500. They’re all great cars, and they’re all popular cars. But the Accord really seems to be living at a level above. Potential buyers of Audis and BMWs should check out the Accord. They’d be surprised – maybe even shocked. It’s that good.
Beautiful to look at, beautiful to sit in, and great to drive.
The 2020 Honda Accord remains the class of its class.
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.