Performance offerings became only somewhat stronger with last year's redesign, but the thing to keep in mind is that the 2014 Honda Accord remains one of the most fuel-efficient mid-size sedans--with surprisingly nimble handling.In the base 185-horsepower (or 189 for Accord Sport) four-cylinder engine, you get direct injection technology, and you can choose from a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This CVT gives a much more linear feel than earlier CVTs on the market, so it might even fool some drivers into thinking it's a regular automatic transmission. Thanks to a unique G-Design shift logic, this CVT brings revs up quickly, then creates the feeling that it's locking onto 'gears' along the way--avoiding the steady drone and rubber-band sensations that plague some of these designs.
A V-6 engine is still offered across the Accord model line, and it's still a strong, smooth stunner with loads more refinement than most of the turbo fours on the market. It makes 278 hp and is coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission or (in Coupes only) a six-speed manual gearbox. It's also been fitted with full i-VTEC and Variable Cylinder Management to aid efficiency, and active noise cancellation helps make it feel more refined than ever.
Regular unleaded gasoline is just fine no matter which engine, and fuel economy ratings range up to 27 mpg city, 36 highway with the four-cylinder engine and CVT, and up to 21/34 with the V-6.
Separately, the Honda Accord has always been a little more engaging than most other mid-size sedans, and it continues to follow that tack; a manual transmission is offered in four-cylinder Accord sedans--and it's not just offered in base models, or an afterthought. With such a precise gearbox, neat clutch takeup, and the responsive, rev-happy feel, this Accord feels far more refined than other base-model cars. A manual gearbox is also offered with the V-6 in Coupe models only, but there it includes a rather heavy clutch pedal that we could see being more tiring in the commute. Meanwhile, the V-6 models are among the best highway-commuter and road-trip cars ever.
One of the more controversial aspects of last year's redesign is that Honda dropped its worshipped double-wishbone setup, instead opting for more tunable (and cheaper) MacPherson struts that it claims improve ride and handling while cutting cabin noise and harshness. So far, we can't say that's off the mark; the Accord drives with much of the verve of previous editions, and the new electric power steering is particularly good.
Electric power steering hasn't worked out well in some models, but it’s done right here. With its mostly linear weighting, good sense of center, and some feedback from the road surface, this makes it one of the more confidence-inspiring sedans its size for drivers.