The all-new 2018 Honda Accord changes in ways you notice and will love.
What is it?
The Honda Accord is the very definition of a mainstream midsize sedan. That term is a bit deceiving though since the cars in this class are now quite large and the top trims very luxurious. The up-powered trims are also very quick. The Accord with its top engine has been a sub-six-second car from 0-60 MPH for fifteen years. The Accord is a commuter car, family car, business car, personal car, and for some, even a performance car. All-new for this model year, we had the pleasure of testing the top trim, the Accord 2.0T Touring.
Pricing and trims
For the 2018 model year, the Accord will come 14 different ways by our count. Those many trims really break down into three sub-categories based on the drivetrain. There is now a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, a more powerful 2.0-liter engine, and a Hybrid Accord. All are sedans, the gorgeous coupe being retired. Within these three will be the familiar LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi, and Touring trims. Prices start at about $24K for a base 1.5T LX and will rise to about $37K for a 2.0T Touring. The Accord 1.5T will be available when you read this, the 2.0T becomes available in November 2017 and the Hybrid will launch in early 2018.
Honda held nothing back from the new Accord line in terms of safety. Every trim gets the full active safety suite including automatic emergency braking. The Accord has also already aced the toughest crash test in the U.S., the new passenger-side small frontal overlap test from IIHS.
Honda’s new Accord is one of many sophisticated new models that blends safety, technology, and performance. We tested Honda’s new low-speed adaptive cruise control with lane keeping. In highway traffic, the car effectively drives itself, making a tough commute much more tolerable. In every respect, the new Accord is at the pinnacle of modern safety technology,
Our particular Accord 2.0T Touring trim is also the one that will carry on the Accord tradition of performance. The slightly more powerful V6 has been replaced with a new 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine that is just a gem. We experienced zero turbo lag in our extensive driving. Whether zipping around on back roads, merging onto the highway, passing, or simply enjoying a quick start at a light, the Accord 2.0T Touring responds like a sports sedan. The new hp rating is 252, but the real trick is the 273 lb-ft of torque from just 1,500 RPMs. The Accord is strong cruising and in normal traffic and always feels satisfying. (Author has owned two V6 Accords for the record). Our highway mileage, including a lot of stop-and-go traffic, was 33.5 MPG. About 10% better than in the 2003 and 2006 V6 Accords the author had recorded mileage for in prior years on the same route. Offical numbers will be available in November. Our pre-production Accord test car had no “Premium Recommended” sticker on the fuel door. A big relief, and we hope that will be true for the production version in November.
The base Accord will have an equally likable engine we have now tested in two Civic models and the CR-V. The base, 1.5-liter turbo is an excellent engine we look forward to testing in the Accord to confirm our suspicions that it will be the new benchmark for the segment’s top-selling trims.
The new Accord 2.0T comes with either a 10-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. The manual will be limited to certain trims and will account for just a small fraction of the sales of the Accord, as it has in the past. The new 10-speed is an all-Honda transmission. It is not outsourced to a specialty supplier (like ZF). The shifter in the 2.0T cars with the 10-speed is like that on many new Honda and Acura models and is shown above. Note that there are two additional driving modes, Eco and Sport. We found Sport really woke up the Accord and made spirited driving much more enjoyable. The base Accord will be paired with one of the best CVTs we have tested in the CR-V and Civic and it gets a more conventional gear selector. A manual will also be offered on limited trims and in limited production volume.
Our Accord 2.0T Touring’s 10-speed transmission was always right where it was supposed to be in terms of revs. It never hunted for gears and didn’t constantly drop down to too tall of a gear for fuel economy like so many new transmissions we have tested. It is also quick and quiet. One barely senses normal shifts and sporty driving brings up super-quick action.
Ride and handling
In our walk-around of the Accord 2.0T Touring before we drove it, we had some real concerns about the super-low profile, 40-series tires Honda fitted, These types of tires often result in a stiff, choppy ride. Not so in the new Accord. Road feel around town is ideal and comfort very good for a sporty trim.
On the twisty back roads we traveled, the Accord came alive. It seems to be on the ball all the time and drives lighter and smaller than it is. Brake feel is ideal, Always responsive, but not grabby. On the highway, the Accord is super-smooth and the lane-keep assist puts the car in the middle of the lane. No into that type of driver aid? It shuts off with no warning light.
The front seats of the Accord 2.0T are perforated leather and power-adjustable every way one can expect. Overall passenger space is 105.6 cubic feet, about five cubic feet larger than Camry. The Accord’s lumbar support now adjusts both vertically as well as in and out. Seats are not just heated, but also ventilated on the 2.0T Touring trim. We found them to be outstanding for comfort on a long five-hour drive.
The rear seats in the Accord are roomy and legroom is 2.4 inches longer than in the Camry.
The Accord has a large trunk with a cargo volume of 16.7 cubic feet. By comparison, the Camry has a 15.1 cubic foot cargo area.
Infotainment and controls
After experimenting with knob-less infotainment, Honda has wisely returned to a system with both a volume and tune/scroll knob. Even better, the main functions you see along both sides of the screen are push-buttons, not simply touch-screen inputs. They also are to the sides, reducing fingerprints on the center of the screen. We found the system to be super-easy to operate and phone pairing was almost instantaneous. Audio was excellent and the map large and clear. We love Android Auto and used it as well during our journey. Apple Car Play is also available.
HVAC controls are simple to operate and one need never use the infotainment screen to make any changes. Honda has ergonomics perfect at this point.
The all-new 2108 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring is a sedan that will please its wide variety of owners. Honda has done everything right with the car and avoided any blunders. More than that, the car has a personality that those who enjoy an up-powered sedan will appreciate. The large size negates any need for a larger sedan in the Honda portfolio as well.
Unlike most cars we test, we have no qualifications for buyers considering the new Accord 2.0T Touring. It’s a two-thumbs up winner. The look is fresh and new, the fastback rear end is a departure from the prior three-box design, but there are no design elements here that will polarize opinions. 2018 is a big change for Accord, but fans of the brand and anyone shopping with an open mind will find the Accord is hard to beat in the midsize sedan arena.
2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring
Base price: $24,445
Price as tested, $36,675 including $875 destination charge:
- Great New Drivetrain.
- Infotainment Done Right.
- Size Matters In This Segment And Accord Has It.
- Tall Drivers Will Find Their Right Knee Touches Hard Plastic On The Center Console.
- Will 40-Series Tires Hold Up To Northern Winter Roads?
- Honda Should Not Have Held Back A Heated Steering Wheel On Accord’s Top Trims.