The Honda Accord has been a standout among the midsize sedan segment, always bringing a refreshing dose of sport to the sedan segment. Once responsible for handling the day-to-day duties of the American family, this role has been largely taken over by crossovers and smaller cars. Honda has proved that it can still hit home-runs with the Civic and the CR-V but it will take a bit more to ensure the Accord is considered a success.
After two generations of interior mis-steps and relatively conservative exterior designs, the all-new Accord has been injected with some much needed premium appeal and upped the ante on what defines sport within this segment. Is it enough to keep it at the top of its class?
The exterior design carries a more confident and upscale presence than in years past. The front end carries a family resemblance to the Civic albeit with softer and more mature surface details. The upright front end features LED signature running lights, fog lights, and headlights. The exposed radar mounted that is so prominent in the lower grille opening is the only glaring styling misstep as it contrasts the silver radiator mounted directly behind. The main side character line grows from the front fender and deepens as it arches above the door handles and blends back into the rear taillight. The lower edge of the rear quarter glass rises before extending straight rearward highlights the fastback slope of the C-pillar and helps prevent the rear end from having a sagging appearance. A thin strip of chrome that starts at the middle of the front door and transitions to a steep angle in the rear bumper also helps to that effect. The rear of the car is dominated by notched, wide taillights while an integrated spoiler keeps the overall design from having too many cut lines. The sloping rear roofline and rearward position of the cabin and leaves the strong impression of rear wheel drive dynamics despite this being a front-driver. It looks low, wide, and the 19” wheels fill the wheel well perfectly. It all looks solid and very athletic.
It’s road handling dynamics are expected to be better than ever. The new chassis is stronger, lighter, and its overall center of gravity is lower. Enabling an additional level of sport without compromising comfort, all Accords feature active two-mode dampers that adjust every 1/500 of a second.
Power will not be lacking. The base engine is a 1.5L turbo four cylinder mated to either a CVT, with greater overall “gearing” range than before, or a 6-speed manual, offered exclusively in the Sport trim. Replacing the 3.5L V6 is a 2.0L four cylinder turbo that gives up some of its peak horsepower but in return makes significant gains in torque throughout the rev range. A 10-speed automatic that is 22 lbs lighter replaces the previous generation’s 6-speed auto and will help achieve expected best in class EPA ratings while providing a smoother acceleration. Honda sporting fans will be ecstatic to learn that a 6-speed manual will be available, although again, limited to the Sport trim. Skepticism for a complete “win” lies with very basic feature content of Sport trims of years past. We’ll be able to better judge once additional details are released closer to the launch date.
Available a couple of months afterwards, the hybrid Accord will launch with 2.0L atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine mated to an updated 2-motor drive system that features no heavy rare-earth magnets, a world’s first. The lithium-ion battery is packaged beneath the rear seat and requires no compromise to the rear trunk capacity or folding seatback capability.
The interior has been enlarged and embodies an upscale sports theme with a 1” lower seating position along with a low cowl for improved visibility. The front seats gain additional adjustments, and varying density foam, while ventilation finally makes its way to the options list. The rear passengers will enjoy a 2” increase in legroom, while the cargo space actually grows compared to last year’s Accord.
The center instrument panel has been simplified. HVAC controls occupy a slim strip while an 8” touch screen resides above and features physical knobs for volume and scrolling.
Behind the redesigned steering wheel is a a 7” configurable TFT display and heads-up-display is also now available.
All of today’s expected connectivity technology is present, but one stand out feature is the automatically connecting Bluetooth that uses near-field-communication technology (NFC) sensor built into the faux-wood trim next to the display (located by the illuminated “N” symbol in the interior photos). This should simplify the connecting process.
To keep things peaceful, the Accord can be equipped with acoustic laminated windshield and front side glass, additional applications of sound deadening material, active noise cancellation audio-output frequencies, and smooth paneling on the underside which also improves its aerodynamic performance.
Honda says that all Accords, will feature the full suite of Honda Sensing technology which includes, Low-speed Follow, Active Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, and a new Traffic Sign Recognition feature.
Automakers aren’t expecting significant sales gains with their large sedans, however, as evident by the Accord, the fully revamped Camry, and the updated Sonata, they aren’t about to hand over any of their share of the market. To compete with crossovers, sedans need to be better in every measure than their predecessors, and with the Accord, Honda has once again developed a standout in its class.
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