The Honda Accord is the automotive equivalent of an industry bellwether, but it has never been the dressiest or the most advanced mid-size sedan.
That's all changed for 2018 with the introduction of the 10th generation Accord. It's far more shapely, for one, with its sleek fastback-like shape setting the tone outside and a dashboard inside that wouldn't be out of place on an Audi or a Mercedes-Benz. Its looks make it appealing, but there's more to the 2018 Accord than its wrapper.
Beneath that shapely skin sits a choice between turbocharged 4-cylinder engines rated at 192 and 252 horsepower. The lower-output engine powers the vast majority of Accords to roll off the assembly line, and it's mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission or, on the Sport trim level, a 6-speed manual. The V-6-replacing high-po turbo-4 is plucked (and massaged, if we're honest) from the Honda Civic Type R and it's a gem in the Accord whether paired to a 10-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual.
The Accord may be this segment's new default enthusiast's choice, but the manual gearboxes are almost unnecessary up against the ultra-smart automatics. No matter the configuration, the 2018 Accord handles with aplomb and makes everything from a basic cloverleaf on-ramp to a winding country road a delight.
But there's more to a good car than just the way it drives. All Accords come with an unusually high level of standard safety gear—automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and LED headlights. Moreover, its interior is exceptionally roomy and is composed of materials that wouldn't be out of place in a car that costs thousands more and bears a luxury-grade badge.
If there's one but to the Accord, it's that consumers are shifting away from sedans to tall-riding crossovers. Will the Accord's exceptionally good sedan personality be enough to draw buyers—and our staff—back into the four-door fold?
We'll know soon if it the 2018 Accord has what it takes to be our latest Best Car to Buy.