2018 Honda Accord first drive: equal and opposite reaction

October 1, 2017

The way engineers talk, the 2018 Honda Accord evolved from inattention.

A decade ago when money for research was expensive and hard to find, Honda skated on its reputation. Call it a byproduct of conservatism, not laziness. Cars like the Civic and Accord didn’t thrive—just survived.

When the new Accord started in earnest, the 10th generation of the storied sedan, an equal and opposite reaction was bound to happen.

MORE: Read our full review of the 2018 Honda Accord

It couldn’t have happened soon enough.

Behind the wheel, with the wheel, through the wheel and looking ahead, the new Accord isn’t only better—it’s better than it needs to be.

Their efforts are apparent in the way the sedan winds up, shoulders heavily into corner after corner, and responds more intuitively than people shake hands at first meeting.

The interior wouldn’t be out of place in a luxury car, and its exterior shape melds modern themes with classic proportions in a new, but familiar, tale that could be called a Hollywood remake.

Welcome back, Honda Accord. Glad to see you again for the first time.

2018 Honda Accord

2018 Honda Accord

Enlarge Photo
2018 Honda Accord

2018 Honda Accord

Enlarge Photo
2018 Honda Accord

2018 Honda Accord

Enlarge Photo

That Honda threw out its old V-6 was written on the walls. Specifically, the walls that line the hallways of the EPA. They weren’t the first, but they were the first to replace their V-6 with a mind-meltingly complex engine.

It’s the optional mill, but most entertaining. Cribbed from the Civic Type R, the 2.0-liter turbo-4 wears more abbreviated appendages than a physician’s office. The 252-horsepower endings sports VTEC, VTC and iMM, albeit for different reasons. The variable valve lift and timing regimes exist for fuel economy and refinement, a second balance shaft was added to seal its fate. Although the V-6 engines in mid-sizers were reaching their peak: tempting 300 hp, with only two wheels to worry about in most cases, some teamed to turbos, the Accord doesn’t need any of the above. Competency and compactness is the mission.

DON'T MISS: 2018 Honda Accord prototype first drive: V-6 deep-sized, and better

It’s smaller sibling starts with similar roots, albeit in muted performance. The 1.5-liter turbo-4 is borrowed from the Civic Si, and its performance is similarly steered toward comfort: 192 hp.

Both engines get a 6-speed manual that’s almost unnecessary. Its pedigree is impressive—it’s the same box from the Type R—but its throws and light clutch sour the experience. Want a driver’s mid-size? Go find a Fusion Sport, then consider what it’s like to live with.

Livability is the Accord’s first mission and it succeeds.

A two-door version of the Accord is missing from the lineup for the first time in a generation. It won’t return either; if the mid-size sedan market is shrinking then the market for a mid-size coupe derived from the mid-size sedan is gone.

We’ll miss it, but not as much as we could.

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