Unlike many sedans in the segment, Honda offers its Accord with two different engine options and two transmissions choices, depending on coupe or sedan flavor. While it's expected soon that Honda will offer a smaller-displacement, turbocharged four-cylinder engine in its Accord, buyers today are still treated to a smooth V-6 option that borders on overpowering.
The base direct-injected 2.4-liter inline-4 makes 185 horsepower (189 hp in the Accord Sport) and mates with a 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Unlike other CVTs on the market, this one does well with the 4-cylinder engine, working with its thick mid-rev torque curve, avoiding the rubber-band-like responsiveness and droning soundtrack, and even potentially fooling some drivers into thinking it's an automatic transmission. With its so-called G-Design shift logic, revs rise quickly, avoiding the standing-start flat spot that some such transmissions have, then it creates the feeling that it's locking onto "gears" along the way.
The manual transmission offered in base Accord sedans is available in other models, and isn't an afterthought. We like this transmission's precision, its neat clutch takeup, and the responsive, rev-happy feel of the combination—all while it feels more refined than most other mid-sizers.
Honda has kept the V-6 model around, at a time when rival models have gone to smaller turbocharged engines in their upmarket versions. But it makes sense here. The V-6 is a strong, smooth engine with much more refinement than most of those turbo fours. The 278-hp V-6 is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission; a 6-speed manual is available in Coupes. Full i-VTEC and Variable Cylinder Management aid efficiency, and active noise cancellation helps keep the atmosphere quiet and smooth inside the cabin.
The V-6 models are among the best highway-commuter and road-trip cars ever, but it's worth noting that the manual gearbox in the V-6 Coupe has a rather heavy clutch pedal that might prove fatiguing when driving in heavy traffic.
Neither engine requires premium gasoline—regular unleaded is recommended for both.
Electric power steering hasn't worked out well in some models, but it’s done right here. Thanks to its mostly linear weighting, good sense of center, and some feedback from the road surface, this makes it one of the more confidence-inspiring setups for those who like to drive.
One of the more controversial aspects of last year's redesign is that Honda dropped its once-heralded double-wishbone setup, instead opting for more tunable (and cheaper) MacPherson struts that it claims improve ride and handling while also cutting cabin noise and harshness. We can't say there's any big loss, honestly, as with the great steering and good body control, this one drives much like previous generations.