New & Used Honda Accord: In Depth
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Though it has evolved over the years, the Honda Accord hasn’t turned its back on its economical roots. It’s still a reliable and comfortable car that's family-friendly. Key rival models include the Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry, among others.
The Accord family has, over the past three decades, included coupes, sedans, hatchbacks and wagons — many of which were markedly more compact.
The Accord is one of America's best-selling vehicles, and one of the top-rated vehicles on The Car Connection. A mainstream family car currently offered as a two-door coupe or four-door sedan, the Accord also is now sold in gas-saving Hybrid trim.
While it has grown in size over the years, the Accord has also become more luxurious and more capable while retaining fuel efficiency, helping set the pace in the family-sedan market.
Honda most recently gave the Accord a full redesign for the 2013 model year. The current lineup consists of Accord Sedan and Accord Coupe models, with Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid versions of the sedan. The Crosstour, which was previously badged Accord Crosstour and is based on the last-generation model, is now a distant relative and will be discontinued after the 2015 model year.
In general, Accords have always been a little sportier-feeling to drive than the Camry or most other mid-size sedans, even if their engines haven't been any more powerful. Accord interiors have also typically been a highlight for their simplicity and nice, tactile controls. Even through that late 1990s and the past decade, Accords with the four-cylinder engine were satisfying and quite refined, unlike some of the base fours in rival models.
The Accord has been a longtime U.S. best-seller. Most U.S. versions have been assembled in Ohio since the early 1980s.
Even though the Accord has been redesigned at regular intervals, its overall shape has clearly been evolved. Third-generation (1986 through 1989) Accord models had hidden, flip-up headlamps and a very advanced, sophisticated appearance for their time, and they're likely to be the oldest used Accords typically available. From the 1990 model year on, the Accord broke free from its equivalent model in Japan and became significantly larger in the U.S. to address American expectations. Since then the Accord has been redesigned several more times, with the four-cylinder growing slightly, to 2.4 liters, and a V-6 joining the lineup beginning in 1995—which eventually grew to 3.0 liters.
Honda offered the first Accord Hybrid model from 2005 through 2007. It was a somewhat unconventional approach, using a 3.0-liter V-6 paired with the company's mild-hybrid system instead of a more modest four-cylinder. As a result, it offered sprightly performance, with 60 mph coming up in just 6.7 seconds. Real-world fuel mileage wasn't great, however, and only slightly better than the non-hybrid V-6 Accord model. It didn't win many fans, which explains its short lifetime and the new approach Honda has taken with the latest gas-electric Accords.
The Accord grew slightly yet again for 2008, when it was last redesigned, becoming more detailed inside and out at that time and really setting a bold look. It hasn't changed significantly since then. This generation of Accord offers 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines, making 177 or 190 horsepower, or a 3.5-liter V-6 making 271 hp, plus a longer feature list than ever and excellent safety ratings.
An Accord Coupe gets the same engines and features as the sedan, but with its own distinctive roofline and styling cues, especially in back. Through the mid 1990s a wagon version of the Accord was offered, but it was eventually discontinued due to slow sales.
For 2010, Honda introduced the Accord Crosstour, a five-door tall-hatchback version of the Accord with a slightly higher seating level than the sedan. It was initially only offered with a V-6, but later received a four-cylinder option, and we've rated it considerably lower than the sedan due to its heft (up to 650 pounds more than the sedan), poor gas mileage, and unimpressive safety ratings. The four-cylinder version of the Crosstour was a slow seller at first. The model was also renamed simply Crosstour to help differentiate it from the sedan, which has moved to a new generation while the Crosstour has not.
There were few other changes with this previous generation, but for 2012 Honda upgraded the navigation system, with a big eight-inch screen plus Zagat ratings, improved voice recognition, and a rearview camera system, at the same time making a USB port standard across the lineup.
Today's Honda Accord
The Accord was again completely redesigned for model year 2013. While the appearance of the current model is evolutionary, Honda has introduced a new, 185-hp direct-injection version of its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, plus a new continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that's been calibrated to feel more like an automatic transmission yet get improved mileage of up to 36 mpg. V-6 models are still around, and thanks to a new six-speed automatic and other improvements, they're rated up to 34 mpg. Back-seat room and trunk space have both been increased, even though the new Accord is slightly shorter than the previous version, and refinement is improved thanks to active noise cancellation on all models. This generation also gives up its double-wishbone front-suspension layout in favor of struts.
A number of standout features give the new Accord a lot of appeal in a marketplace that increasingly values connectivity and safety features. LaneWatch provides a wide-angle view from the right side mirror on the eight-inch display screen, while Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and adaptive cruise control are all offered on top trims. Automatic climate control and Bluetooth were newly standard on all models, while LED projector headlamps were introduced on top Touring Sedans. And with an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rating of Top Safety Pick+ (including a top 'good' score even in the new small-overlap frontal test) and an overall five-star federal safety score, the Accord is one of the highest-ranked mid-size sedans in occupant protection.
Beginning in the 2014 model year, the Honda Accord rejoined the hybrid-sedan battle with a pair of vehicles that challenge the likes of the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Energi. The Honda Accord Hybrid and the Accord Plug-In Hybrid sport a 137-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that runs on the ultra-efficient Atkinson cycle, combined with lithium-ion batteries and two electric motors. With its larger battery pack, the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid can go an EPA-rated 13 miles on electric power alone, with a 124-kW electric motor system working together with the four-cylinder engine. And the Accord Hybrid is rated at 46 mpg combined (47 mpg city, 46 mpg highway).