The Car Connection Honda Accord Sedan Overview
The Honda Accord mid-size sedan is an icon. It's been in the U.S. for decades and sold hundreds of thousands of examples. It's the go-to, hand-me-down car for millions of people.
With the Accord, Honda has evolved its family four-door in size and shape over the years, but its long-running qualities of space, efficiency, and safety have endured. It was our Best Car to Buy 2018.
A new Accord arrives for 2018, eschewing last year's naturally aspirated engines in favor of a pair of turbo-4s. The slow-selling Accord Coupe bites the dust, but enthusiasts can take note that both engines are available with manual transmissions. An Accord Hybrid is also on offer, but it's covered elsewhere.
Key rival models include the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Mazda 6, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, and Nissan Altima.
MORE: Read our 2018 Honda Accord review
The new Honda Accord
Marking the Accord's 10th anniversary, the all-new 2018 shares little with its predecessors. It's more dramatic looking with a fastback-like shape. It looks larger, but it's not. The Accord is a little shorter than before. But a longer wheelbase provides a couple of inches more leg room in the rear and helps the trunk's volume increase by nearly a cubic foot over the outgoing model.
A 1.5-liter turbo-4 mates either to a CVT or, in Sport trim levels, a 6-speed manual. It's rated at at 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. Optional on most trim levels is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that replaces the outgoing V-6. At 252 hp and 273 lb-ft, it offers more torque but less horsepower. The bigger engine is related to that used in the Honda Civic Type R and, like that hot hatch, it's available with a 6-speed manual on the Accord Sport. Most models will undoubtedly be fitted with a 10-speed automatic, however.
As before, all Accords are front-wheel drive.
Honda has made its Honda Sensing suite of safety features—automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitors—standard on every version of the Accord for 2018.
Honda Accord history
The Accord family has, over the past four decades, included coupes, sedans, hatchbacks and wagons—many of which were markedly more compact.
The Accord has been a longtime U.S. best-seller. Most U.S. versions have been assembled in Ohio since the early 1980s.
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 the late 1990s and the past decade, Accords with a 4-cylinder engine were satisfying and refined—unlike some of the base fours in rival models.
Even though the Accord has been redesigned at regular intervals, its overall shape has clearly evolved. Third-generation (1986 through 1989) Accord models had hidden, flip-up headlights 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 4-cylinder growing slightly, to 2.4 liters, and a V-6 joining the lineup beginning in 1995—which eventually grew to 3.0 liters.
Through the mid-1990s a wagon version of the Accord was offered, but it was eventually discontinued due to slow sales.
Honda offered the first Accord Hybrid model from 2005 through 2007. It was a somewhat unconventional approach, which used a 3.0-liter V-6 paired with the company's mild-hybrid system instead of a more modest 4-cylinder. As a result, it offered sprightly performance—60 mph arrived in just 6.7 seconds. Real-world fuel mileage wasn't great, however, and it was only slightly better than the non-hybrid, V-6 Accord model. That hybrid 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 for 2008, becoming more detailed inside and out at that time and really setting a bold look. This generation of Accord offered 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engines, making 177 or 190 hp, or a 3.5-liter V-6 making 271 hp, plus a long feature list and excellent safety ratings. An Accord Coupe received the same engines and features as the sedan, but with its own distinctive roofline and styling cues—especially in back.
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 4-cylinder option. Widely considered a flop, the Crosstour was a slow seller, with more heft (up to 650 pounds more than the sedan), poor gas mileage, and unimpressive safety ratings. It was discontinued after the 2015 model year.
There were few other changes with this previous generation, but for 2012 Honda upgraded the navigation system, with a big 8.0-inch screen plus Zagat ratings, improved voice recognition, and a rearview camera system, and made at the same time a USB port standard across the lineup.
The Accord was completely redesigned for model year 2013, in four-door sedan and two-door coupe models. While the appearance of the current model is evolutionary, Honda introduced it with new powertrains that made substantial gains in efficiency.
Those Accord 4-cylinder engine featured direct injection and made 185 horsepower (or 189 hp in Sport models). It was paired with a 6-speed manual or an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Some drivers may confuse this CVT, with its superbly linear feel, with a regular automatic transmission. The Accord offered a V-6 engine for many years that could be coupled to a a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual in coupes. Both engines used regular unleaded gasoline. EPA ratings with the 4-cylinder and CVT are 27 mpg city, 37 highway; with the V-6 you'll get up to 21/34 mpg.
Back-seat room and trunk space were improved too and the Accord was more refined with active noise cancellation on all models. That generation gave up the old double-wishbone front-suspension layout in favor of struts.
A Honda Accord Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid were available in 2014 and 2015, but briefly shelved for 2016. The Honda Accord Hybrid and the Accord Plug-In Hybrid sported a 137-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that ran 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 could go 13 miles on electric power alone, according to the EPA, with a 124-kw electric motor system working together with the 4-cylinder engine. The Accord Hybrid was rated at 50 mpg city, 45 highway, 47 combined.
For 2017, a new Accord Sport Special Edition sedan added even more choices to the lineup. The Sport Special Edition was outfitted with leather seats and featured red stitching for a modest $1,000 over the standard Accord Sport. It was the manual transmission-leather upholstery combination that enthusiasts pined for.