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REVIEW: 2016 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan with Navi and Honda Sensing – Perfection at a Near Perfect Price

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The 2016 Accord EX-L Sedan with Navi and Honda Sensing is the one that breaks the rules.  If you’ve ever read a review about a “boring Accord” it is likely because the tester drove the wrong one.

Before we get to all the things that make the 2016 Accord EX-L a sensible buy, let’s get down to performance.  The 2016 Accord EX-L sedan has a better power to weight ration than a BMW 328i, BMW’s top-selling 3 Series sedan.  Although a larger car inside and out, and although the Accord has two more cylinders than the BMW and 37 more horsepower, the Accord costs $200 less per year to fuel than the BMW. Small turbos are all the rage, but they don’t save you money on gas, and they have less power than a modern V6.  So what’s the point?

We’re not the only ones who have figured this out.  Honda sells about 5,000 V6-powered Accords each month.  That is about twice as many cars as the top-selling Audi car in the U.S. market, the A3, which is more expensive, less powerful, and smaller.

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The Accord’s great performance does not end with its amazingly smooth 277 horsepower V6 engine either.  This car has a fantastic ride.  Bumps and bad roads are handled silently and without any drama.  The V6 Accord’s handling is also real-world perfect.  The Accord handles like a Lexus ES 350, Audi A4, or, more accurately, a pricey Acura.  The steering of the V6 Accord for many years was made artificially heavy by Honda.  That is now fixed, and it is perfect.  Not a two-finger steering feel like the Audi or 4-cylinder Accord, but just right.  Turn in is crisp.  On back-country roads, you can hustle this Accord, and the suspension is always there.  Brakes feel good, and in real-world driving more than you will ever need.

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Inside, the 2016 Accord EX-L with Navi and Honda Sensing belies its incredibly low $ 34K price point.  The Accord we tested had it all.  Premium perforated leather front seats that are big and spacious.  The leather wrapped wheel also has all the controls you need.  The attractive piano-black trim and dark wood looks modern and upscale.  Like every Honda Accord ever, when you touch or move something it feels expensive.  The HVAC controls are separated out of the touch-screen infotainment and are simple to use.

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Although very modern in every important way, I loved that the gas and trunk release controls have not changed.  They are still on the driver’s side floor and still manual.  Honda is smart.  It knows when perfection has been reached and does not pretend that simple, effective controls need to be made more complex to imply luxury.

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Like most current mid-size sedans, the Accord’s cabin feels huge.  Four, six-foot adults can ride inside in comfort, or two adults and three kids will have more than enough space.  The front passenger area is wide open and the view ahead seems to be all glass.  It makes the road ahead feel inviting.

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In back, passengers never have to ask for the front seats to be moved up and headroom is generous.  The trunk is also huge.  The Accord is a sedan, so the shape of the trunk limits its vertical dimensions, but you can slide four large hockey bags into the back and drop one of the 60/40 folding rear seatbacks to let the sticks have space.

The Accord we tested had advanced Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS).  Having tested systems from all the major brands now, it is our contention that Honda/Acura have the best automated driving technology on the market.  Like the CR-V and Pilot tested before this Accord, we loved the LKAS’ ability to keep the car in the center of the lane on long highway trips.  For all intents and purposes, the Accord V6 we tested had automated driving on the highway.  Just a few weeks ago this writer tested an $84,000 vehicle from a German automaker that had a very poor lane keeping assist system that pinballed the vehicle back and forth within the lane.  It was part of the driver assist systems, but it was so bad we stopped using it, which meant no cruise control.  Driver assist technology is now better in Subarus and Hondas than in any premium brand we have tested (Acura being the same as the Honda). The infotainment system too was just right.  No silly mouse is needed to control these systems.  Honda’s touch-screen is simple, intuitive, and frankly better than the over-thought systems found on premium vehicles (Again, Acura being the exception).

Our Accord looked sharp in black.  The alloy wheels and “twice pipes” exhaust gave it a sporty look, but not an immature look that would attract the attention of police with a ticket quota to make.

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The 2016 Accord EX-L is EPA rated at 26 MPG combined and 34 MPG highway.  In our testing, it returned 29 MPG.  Just one MPG lower than the very small, 4-cylinder Mazda CX-3 we tested on the same roads last week.  The Accord uses regular unleaded gas too, which further tips the scales in its direction compared to the premium fuel called for by Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and other luxury brands.

The ownership experience benefits that one gets from premium brands (top scores on dealer satisfaction survey ratings, longer warranty, included maintenance, loaner cars, etc.) are real.  You don’t get those with an Accord.  However, it is the opinion of this writer that the V6-powered Honda Accord is one of the best sedans in the world at any price.  That Honda is giving them away for under $34K is frankly shocking.

Base Price: $30,646 (EX-L Sedan V6)

Price As Tested: EX-L Sedan with Navi and Honda Sensing: $33,480  (Not including Destination and Dealer Doc Fees)

Likes:

  • Driving Comfort and Handling
  • Power and Performance
  • Value

Dislikes:

  • Driver’s Seat Needs More Thigh Support
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John Goreham

John Goreham