WASHINGTON — The midsize sedan was once the hottest segment for car shoppers in America, but it has been replaced in popularity by crossovers and SUVs. Before that trend began, the two sedan stalwarts were the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry — each spacious sedans that gave buyers good value for their dollar. But times have changed.
And so, the Accord has changed, too, in an effort to stay relevant. I haven’t always been a huge fan of Honda’s flagship sedan, but I thought I’d take on this test drive to see if the Accord could win me over.
The Accord’s V6 is also gone, and I was a bit skeptical of the new top-of-the-line engine, a 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder. But after about a mile, all those concerns were put to rest. The turbo four really moves this Accord even though it’s a little larger than in the past. My tester had a 10-speed automatic, a first in the class, and it was smooth in all driving conditions. The automatic transmission has a push-button operation, which takes a little practice to learn if you’re used to the more standard gear shift. If you’re not a fan of the automatic, you can always elect the manual transmission, which entices fewer and fewer drivers these days.
With the push of another button, you can transform the new Accord from comfortable cruiser to sporty back road carver. Choosing SPORT mode tightens up the steering and handling feels flat in the corners. Regardless of the mode, this sedan doesn’t beat you up on bumpy roads.
Throw it in ECON mode and this sedan changes again, this time to a fuel-sipping highway cruiser that can produce 33 mpg. I averaged 27.3 mpg (with regular gas) during my week of mixed driving.
In addition to all the pluses I’ve already mentioned, the Accord has all the latest safe-driving featurs, including: Honda Sensing with Adaptive Cruise, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Mitigation. That engineering might help on your insurance premiums too. The heated power side mirrors also have turn signal indicators for improved safety.
The Accord’s top trim level costs just under $37,000, and at that price point, the Accord is an upscale affair with a more modern look inside, compared to prior generations.
The updated Head-up display offers drivers important information and NAV directions on the windshield so they can keep their eyes on the road. In the past, I had trouble getting comfortable in Honda seats, but that wasn’t the case this time. The front seats have 12-way power adjustments and four-way lumbar support. It was easy to feel comfortable due to the the heated and ventilated leather seats that include three settings for those in front. And just in case your rear passengers get jealous, this car has heat for their seat bottoms and backs.
The redesign provides ample room for rear seat riders. Those with rear-facing car seats don’t have to compromise front seat space anymore, either. One comfort note, however, the front seats seem rather low and could make getting in and out a bit of a challenge for some. Trunk space is plentiful and most buyers will be surprised what they can fit back there.
Even the phone pairing, which is a pain in some cars, is nearly automatic with the Accord. The higher-end Touring models have wireless charging, but my phone slid around at times on the platform, which could prove to be annoying for some drivers.
The Accord Touring has plenty of curb appeal. The look is modern without being strange and seems longer and lower than before. With large, 19-inch wheels, it looks a bit racier too. From afar, you also notice a lot of glass which provides better visibility for the driver. The hood is long and the nose makes a statement with wide LED lighting for the headlights. The front grill has grown but it’s not over the top. A current Accord-owning friend was a fan of this new look. Out back, dual chrome tail pipes spice it up a bit but it’s a bit more conservative than the rest of the car. The Crystal Black paint looks rich and deep.
The Accord used to be the definition of a humble midsize sedan, but this car isn’t so humble anymore. With a refined look, a luxurious interior and plenty of space, the Accord overall is a fun-to-drive package with new safety features. The Accord 2.0T Touring is a class-busting sedan. While others may be migrating to crossovers, they’ll be missing out on a world-class sedan. The time is right to buy or lease this car if you can get a discount.
Early on, I mentioned I wondered if Honda could win me over. I’m happy to say they did. I’m now a fan of the new Honda Accord.
Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by DriveShop, FMI or Motus One for the purpose of this review.
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