2012 Honda Accord Sedan Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
August 18, 2011

Though the 2012 Honda Accord now has one of the more dated four-door sedan designs--and Bluetooth connectivity remains hard to get--its comfortable interior and perky, refined performance hit the sweet spot for families.

The 2012 Honda Accord is no longer the freshest mid-size sedan--it's due for a full redesign in another year or two. But the current version remains one of the top choices in this class for interior space, styling, ride comfort, performance, and features--all with a sensible, economical, value-minded feel.

In the crowded field of mid-size sedans, the Accord still manages to stand out on the test drive. Whether you choose the sedan or coupe, four-cylinder or V-6, the Accord offers satisfying overall performance and is among the better-handling vehicles in this class. Four-cylinder models are gutsy enough, and very smooth; you won't need the V-6 unless you plan to haul lots of people or cargo. But with it, including the active noise cancellation that top trims get, the Accord feels more like a luxury car at times, and throughout the lineup you'll find responsive steering, good body control, and strong brakes. Gas mileage has long been a strength for the Accord, too, but its figures are lower than those of the new Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.

Most shoppers will find the Accord's interior layout refreshing compared to rivals, at least from a distance. Last year Honda gave a few of the controls a fresher look and feel; the Accord's rakish instrument panel looks great, but the placement of the buttons and controls sometimes feels as if it was done more for style than ergonomics.

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Interior space remains a strength for the Honda Accord. While it's a mid-size sedan by most eyes, it qualifies as a large car according to the EPA--and its interior really does feel big-car accommodating for driver and passengers. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, there's plenty of legroom in back, and the trunk is huge.

The Accord is just as well equipped as any of its rivals, with one significant red flag: It can be frustrating if you want some essential tech features, like Bluetooth hands-free, but don't want 'the works.' While Honda has just for 2012 made a USB connector standard across the lineup, you still can't get a factory Bluetooth hands-free option unless you step up to the to-of-the-line EX-L, with leather and navigation. The nav system has a big eight-inch screen and now includes Zagat restaurant ratings, voice recognition, and a rear-view camera system.

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2012 Honda Accord Sedan

Styling

Even if its design is no longer fresh, the 2012 Honda Accord looks stylish and handsome.

When the Accord was last redesigned, for 2008, its styling received mix reviews, with the more chiseled and voluptuous simply too conservative to some eyes. But the payback is that it still looks fresh (especially on the sedan) going into its fifth model year, and it fits in pretty well with the rest of the mid-size competition. Last year, the instrument panel got a refreshed look and feel, while both models received a new grille design, new wheel designs, and a number of other minor improvements.

While the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe and Sedan models call out to different types of buyers, the look is quite similar from the front. From the side or back, the Accord sedan has a softer, more conservative appeal than its Coupe cousin. The Coupe has styling that's bolder, with a smoother downward curve of its roof, more sculpted flanks, and what appear to be slightly different proportions. The Coupe really isn't much shorter (about three inches), but the curvier roofline makes it look so.

Depending on which trim you get, as well as your tastes in materials, the Accord is either fashion-forward, or a little drab and unintuitive—depending on your tastes and, frankly, which trim level you get. The Accord's rakish instrument panel looks great from a distance, but the placement of the buttons and controls sometimes feels as if it was done more for style than ergonomics. Materials for the instrument panel, console, and doors can feel a bit plasticky, and the base Accord interior has some especially drab materials, but the Accord remains more stylish and urbane than the likes of the Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry, yet more straightforward than the Hyundai Sonata.

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2012 Honda Accord Sedan

Performance

The 2012 Honda Accord is more enjoyable to drive than most other mid-size sedans or coupes, even if its specs aren't all that much different.

The 2012 Honda Accord remains one of the best-handling mid-size sedans, and whether you choose the base four-cylinder engine or the V-6, in coupe or sedan form, you'll find satisfying performance.

First off, get yourself away from that mindset that the four-cylinder is a penalty box, as it sure isn't in the Accord. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines are both smooth and responsive. Though both the 177-horsepower version and the 190-hp version (in EX sedans and all four-cylinder Coupes) feel about the same from a standing start, you the latter has some added pep for passing. Stepping up to the V-6 gives the Accord an all-out luxury-sedan feel; it makes 271 horsepower and has Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) to help keep the cabin hushed and vibration-free. Meanwhile, the V-6 can rocket the Accord up past the speed limit so quickly that you'll be glad you're in the camouflage of a mid-size sedan.

Four-cylinder models can be equipped with a manual transmission (five speeds in sedans, six in Coupes); it's enjoyable, though the automatic is particularly responsive and smooth.

Overall, the 2012 Accord doesn't feel like much of a compromise in any way, with respect to performance. Overall, the suspension is tuned for a great compromise between responsiveness and ride comfort, and there's a sporty personality that comes out when you push the Accord hard into corners. Strong brakes and good body control round out a package. Its steering can come across as a little heavy, especially in V-6 models, but the variable gear ratio steering keeps it precise and supple, with a confident on-center feel.
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2012 Honda Accord Sedan

Comfort & Quality

The 2012 Honda Accord models have cabin appointments that go beyond what typical, budget-minded mid-size buyers might expect.

The Accord is a longtime family favorite; look inside and it's easy to see why. While the cabin is stylish and well-appointed, Honda has made the most of its interior space, with roomy, comfortable seating. A smooth ride also helps cement this model's status as a great long-haul car for driver and passengers.

The U.S. EPA, which goes by interior space not outside dimensions, considers the 2012 Accord a large car, and it really shows in the back seat. Even six-footers will find a quite natural seating position, with none of the crunched, knees-up position you might resort to in smaller sedans. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, too. About the only issue is the sloping roofline, which might limit headroom for the tallest adults in back. In the Coupe, the backseats aren't so easily accessible, but average-size adults will fit.

Cargo space is about the only area of the Accord that isn't much better than average; a somewhat small opening limits its usefulness for larger items, and it's not particularly spacious. But you can make the most of it with a split-folding rear seatback.

The Accord rides well enough to please most passengers; it's not luxury-car smooth, but very quiet and well-isolated--especially in upper V-6 trims, where Honda adds active motor mounts and an active noise canceling system. In repeat drives of current-generation Accords, we've also found the swooping dual-cockpit instrument panel arrangement and nicely detailed trim, while it looks complex, to be completely free of creaks and rattles.

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2012 Honda Accord Sedan

Safety

The Accord has excellent safety ratings, as well as all the expected features for a roomy family sedan.

A robust list of safety features as well as a nearly perfect set of safety ratings point to the 2012 Honda Accord as one of the safest mid-size sedan choices on the market. 

Feature-wise, the Accord's list is strong, including electronic stability control, front side airbags, side curtain bags, active front head restraints, and anti-lock brakes.

The 2012 Accord achieved top 'good' ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in frontal and side impact protection, and with a round of updates, now earns a "good" rating for roof strength, which makes it a Top Safety Pick.

In the revised, tougher tests from the federal government, it's all good news; the Accord has been given five stars for frontal and side impact. It's worth noting that the Accord has an especially low center of mass and, when compared to taller crossovers and SUVs, is less likely to be tripped and roll over.

While those looking at the Accord Coupe should pay attention to outward visibility on the test drive, it's not nearly as much of an issue in the Accord sedan.

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2012 Honda Accord Sedan

Features

The 2012 Honda Accord offers a respectable feature list, but the way Honda keeps desirable tech features for its top leather-lined models can be frustrating.

Overall, the 2012 Honda Accord stacks up pretty well against most rivals with respect to features. Just like other mass-market mid-size sedans, it can be specified as a reasonably well-equipped--yet value-priced and sensible--family sedan, or a much more luxurious cruiser. And as the latter, it's surprisingly close in equipment, and look and feel, to something with the Acura badge.

Honda has thankfully made a USB audio interface standard in the 2012 Accord, but a number of other packaging frustrations remain. The chief one is that Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. Although it's offered as a dealer-installed add on throughout the lineup, true factory-integrated Bluetooth remains offered only on top Accord EX-L models. Also, the navigation system is still only offered with leather seats.

Basic LX models of the Honda Accord have no lack of standard features, though. Remote keyless entry, cruise control, power accessories, air conditioning, tilt/telescopic steering, a fold-down rear seatback, and a six-speaker, 160-watt sound system are all on the roster, and alloy wheels, upgraded seats, a moonroof are added to LX-P models. 2012 Accord EX-L models pack in the luxury features, including dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, and premium sound with noise cancellation. Zagat restaurant ratings, voice recognition, and an integrated rear-view camera system are all packaged with the navigation system.

Last year Honda added an Accord SE sedan that fits between LX Premium and EX models. With it, you get leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power seat for the driver, leather trim, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

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2012 Honda Accord Sedan

Fuel Economy

The 2012 Honda Accord is fuel-efficient, but it's not as green as mid-size hybrid or diesel alternatives.

Considering all the interior space and comfort in the 2012 Honda Accord is, this big sedan has impressive gas mileage.

The Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, fully redesigned last year, remain the 2012 mileage champs for this class (among base engines), at up to 24 mpg city, 35 highway. But the 2012 Honda Accord isn't far behind if you choose the four-cylinder model, which is rated at 23/34 in its most popular automatic-transmission combination. Beware, V-6 models aren't nearly as impressive; you might approach 30 mpg on a gentle highway drive, but in city driving the EPA ratings of 17 to 20 mpg seem a little optimistic based on what our editors have seen.

A number of other rivals, including the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, and Volkswagen Passat, offer higher-mileage hybrid or diesel variants. Unfortunately, you won't find that in the Accord. 

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September 8, 2016
2012 Honda Accord Sedan 4-Door I4 Automatic LX

Stylish and quick with impressive handling

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Love it but more importantly honda converted my wife a diehard Ford devotee.
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April 29, 2015
2012 Honda Accord Sedan 4-Door I4 Automatic SE

2012 Honda Accord SE is my affordable choice for a reliable maintenance free family vehicle.

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My 2003 Acura MDX was considered a "total" after a serious fender bender on a wet day. Very disappointing, but because the insurance companies put you in a rental car for only 7-10 days, the hunt was on. I... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2012 Honda Accord Sedan 4-Door I4 Automatic SE

Fantastic Automobile, has everything I need.

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This automobile has everything I need . It gets great mileage and is very comfortable. With power and heated seats, it makes driving a pleasure. It has a great line of sight, and there are no blind spots.
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April 14, 2015
For 2012 Honda Accord Sedan

noisy transmission spoils the whole experience. bigger car/bigger engine=poorer gas milage.cheaper details compared to previous(2007) accord.

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I got "New Car Fever" a year and a half ago. Did not want a new Accord, because they cheapened the suspension. Thought it would be a perfect opportunity to get a certified used/loaded 2012 Accord. Never liked... + More »
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Styling 7.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 9.0
Safety 9.0
Features 8.0
Fuel Economy 7.0
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