2019 Honda Accord Sedan Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
November 10, 2018

The 2019 Honda Accord sedan should be on any four-door shopper’s list—sedan, crossover, or otherwise.

The 2019 Honda Accord proves that some automakers still save their best and brightest for sedan shoppers.

This year’s version is identical to last year’s model, which was a complete redesign. The new Honda Accord is sharper, lower, more comfortable and spacious than its predecessor and most rivals. It’s not just better than older versions and other sedans, the 2019 Accord is better than it needs to be. We thought so anyway, which is why we named it our Best Car To Buy 2018.

We give the 2019 Accord a 7.0 overall, which reflects our good feelings for its style and value. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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Like last year, the Accord is available in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels. Its base engine is an acceptable 1.5-liter turbo-4 that makes 192 horsepower, upgradeable to a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 252 hp. An Accord Hybrid adds batteries to a frugal 2.0-liter inline-4 and helps the Accord manage nearly 50 mpg combined.

Unlike some of its contemporaries, Honda offers a 6-speed manual as a no-cost swap on some trims with the 1.5- and 2.0-liter turbo-4 engines, but a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic on top trims or a continuously variable transmission makes the most from its engines and keeps the Accord more efficient.

The Accord’s ace is its interior space that, despite being 2 inches shorter from bumper to bumper, offers rear-seat passengers more than 40 inches of leg room.

Every Accord is equipped with active safety features that can help prevent or mitigate forward crashes and keep the Honda in its lane. Top-tier safety scores from federal and independent testers complement that equipment and optional features such as blind-spot monitors and a head-up display add to the 2019 Accord’s impressive safety resume.

Starting at less than $25,000 for a base version, the Accord’s value proposition is compelling. We think the best features are found in the middle of the pack at the EX trim level where 17-inch wheels, a useful 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, active safety features, heated front seats, two USB power plugs, and a moonroof can be added to the Accord without asking more than $29,000. Leather upholstery and a few more features nudge that price close to $31,000, but the Accord EX-L rivals some luxury cars there.

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2019 Honda Accord Sedan

Styling

The 2019 Honda Accord is among the best-looking sedans available today.

One year removed from a complete overhaul, the 2019 Honda Accord still wearssome of the best looks we’ve seen among sedans.

The rethink ditched the last generation’s dowdy bodysides and nose, and the new version found more right angles and hard edges. Inside, a single touchscreen and convincing high-end materials set the tone for a sedan that’s not only better than its predecessor and competitors—it’s better than it needs to be.

We give the Accord good marks for its interior and exterior and land at a 7 out of 10 for styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The new Accord’s beak borrows heavily from Acura but it’s better than that. A single line from the headlights wraps into the Accord’s top lip in a subtle, but distinctive way. Chrome on top trims adds somewhat unnecessary flair; the Sport version dials the look down with more black accents.

Honda’s bigger achievement is gifting the Accord with better proportions. The front roof pillar has been pushed back by 4 inches and puts more distance between the front axle and driver’s seat. The hood is lower too, which helps outward vision in the front and enhances the Accord’s curb appeal.

Honda has followed other automakers’ lead in giving the Accord more of a sportback shape but without the liftback that others like the Buick Regal offer. The stretched roofline reaches further back toward the trunk and gives the sedan a racier finish.

The decklid and trunk are virtually invisible in profile, and boomerang taillights in the back look sharp but aren’t too angular for our taste.

The thinner roof pillars do double duty inside and help present the windshield view out front in widescreen format. The lower nose and windshield usher in more natural light to the cabin and help the already bright interior seem bigger and more open.

Top trims get handsome wood trim accents and the Accord Touring punches easily into luxury territory. Sporty trims heap on darker upholstery and darker interior colors that mute the cabin’s airer feel. We’d save our pennies for more upscale trims, however.

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2019 Honda Accord Sedan

Performance

Better than average handling lifts the 2019 Honda Accord beyond its adequate base powertrain.

Like other popular sedans, the 2019 Honda Accord skips a thirsty V-6 version in favor of a menu comprised solely of 4-cylinder engines.

The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbo-4 that keeps pace with competitors from Nissan and Toyota that are thirstier. Mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) it’s the Accord’s best life—even if it’s not hugely entertaining to drive—and four out of five Accord buyers are likely to pick that combination.

The Accord gets a 6 on our performance scale for an adequate base engine, but better than average handling that you’d expect from a sedan that sits lower to the ground. The uprated 2.0-liter turbo-4 and 10-speed automatic might earn another point, but few buyers will consider that option. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Back to basics: The 1.5-liter turbo-4 is related to engines found under the hoods of several Honda vehicles, including the CR-V and Civic. In the Accord it makes 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. Most often, it’s paired to a CVT that keeps the turbo-4 efficient but Honda offers an adequate 6-speed manual on Sport trims as a no-cost swap.

Buyers who might be thinking that a manual transmission could wring out more from the base 1.5-liter might be surprised; our testing revealed that the Accord’s base engine is tuned better for off-the-line perk than outright speed. Opting for the 6-speed manual only highlights that engine’s breathlessness at higher revs. The CVT is a better pick.

A more powerful, optional 2.0-liter turbo-4 replaced the V-6 for this generation, a trend among Accord rivals. The 2.0-liter turbo-4, which was borrowed from the hot Civic Type R, makes 252 hp and 273 lb-ft in the Accord and is paired with a 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic. The automatic is a better pick again but for different reasons. Although the uprated engine is more powerful, the light clutch pedal, high takeup, and long throws mean that the manual isn’t a sportier option compared to the slick-shifting 10-speed. Despite our insistence that automatics are can be from the underworld, we’ve found religion in the Accord’s autoboxes. They’re just better.

The Accord offers an electric power steering system that changes ratio depending on steering angle and speed; slower in the middle during long interstate drives for better tracking, quicker on the edges for more response. It’s better than previous iterations and has a firm feel.

Most Accords get a standard base suspension that’s upgraded from previous generations with newer control arms and fluid-filled bushings in the front to filter out bad roads. Touring trims get adaptive dampers that toggle between sport and normal settings for better performance when the road turns twisty. The base suspension is more communicative but hardly annoying.

Buyers beware: Sport versions get 19-inch wheels that prioritize looks over comfort.

Accord Hybrid

The Honda Accord Hybrid returns for 2019 and features a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4 that makes 143 hp but doesn’t directly drive the car often.

Honda’s hybrid system is somewhat different than others—its two-mode hybrid system uses the internal combustion engine to power a generator that feeds the 181-hp electric motors, or clutches all of the above to power the wheels together.

The net power output from the engine and electric motors is 212 hp, which is relatively unspoiled by the weight savings from smaller batteries, which have moved underneath the rear seat.

According to the EPA, the Accord Hybrid returns roughly 48 mpg, which is impressive for the big sedan.

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2019 Honda Accord Sedan

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Accord makes a convincing comfort argument in its measurements alone. In person, it’s even better.

The mid-size Honda has a secret to tell: By some measurements, the 2019 Accord is actually a full-size car.

We won’t tell, but our legs appreciate the technicality.

Base Accords won’t impress much on luxury, but the dimensions are impressive. In top trims, the Honda challenges some luxury cars.

We’re impressed with the Accord’s ability to carry adults—up to five normal-size versions or four corn-fed Midwesterners—in comfort. Its 16.7 cubic feet of cargo in the trunk is impressive for sedans, too. We land at a 7 for comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This Accord is longer and wider between the wheels than the model it replaced from just a couple years ago, but the 2019 version is 2 inches shorter, bumper to bumper, than that last generation car. For passengers that means a better use of interior space, especially in the rear seats.

Rear-seat riders get more than 40 inches of leg room, according to Honda, and our knees agree. Shoulder room will be an issue for broader adults or a swim team, but average adults should fit three abreast without a fuss.

The base Accord LX is the only version without a power adjustable driver’s seat, more popular Sport and EX versions and higher get 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seats, and EX-L and higher versions get a power-adjustable passenger chair. Heated seats are standard on EX trims and higher.

A moonroof, which is standard on Accord EX and higher, cuts into the available head room, especially for rear-seat passengers. Tall torsos may rub the headliner in the wrong way, but 6-footers can sit behind other 6-footers without horsetrading for space.

Active noise cancellation is standard on all trims and includes a third microphone placed in the rear of the car to quell noises coming from the road or engine. EX and higher models are fitted with wheel resonators that hush noise coming from tires.

Base Accords feature a handsome cloth that doesn’t feel especially durable, while top trims get soft leather or cloth inserts that feel more substantial.

All Accords, including the Accord Hybrid, boast nearly 17 cubic feet of trunk space, which is relatively good among sedans. Slimmer, split taillights make the trunk’s opening wider than before, and split-folding rear seats tumble forward for even more space.

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2019 Honda Accord Sedan

Safety

The 2019 Honda Accord impresses on its standard safety scores alone but standard active safety features go even further.

A stellar safety report card and active safety systems propel the 2019 Honda Accord toward the top of our safety scale.

Federal testers gave the sedan a five-star overall rating, including five stars in every subtest, which is relatively rare among new cars. The IIHS agreed and gave the sedan top “Good” scores in every crash test, including the driver- and passenger-side front small overlap crash test. The Accord’s standard forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking earned a “Superior” rating for crash avoidance.

Those scores and standard active features do well on our scale. Traffic-sign recognition and active lane control go further and net a 9 on our safety scale. Better outward vision in the Accord would nab the final point. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The lone demerit on the IIHS scorecard is an “Acceptable” rating for the Accord’s headlights on most trim levels. The uprated LEDs on Touring trims oddly do worse, the IIHS rates those as “Marginal.”

Regardless of trim level, the 2019 Honda Accord is equipped with a suite of active safety systems that can help prevent or mitigate crashes. The suite includes standard forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and a rearview camera with multiple angles. Blind-spot monitors and a head-up display are optional extras.

Outward vision in the Accord is notably good in front, with thin roof pillars minimally obstructing the view ahead. Rear vision is better than most crossovers, but only on par compared with other sedans.

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2019 Honda Accord Sedan

Features

The 2019 Honda Accord is value priced among competitors and offers good equipment in base models.

Mid-size sedans like the 2019 Honda Accord represent some of the best values among new cars today.

For $24,615 to start, the Accord LX offers 17-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, a 7.0-inch infotainment display, one low-power USB charge port, and a suite of active safety features that we discuss above. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard on most Accords—just not the base model.

It narrowly misses a point by skipping entry-level shoppers with smartphones but aces our value consideration and our infotainment measures. The Accord gets a 7 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Accord is available in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels. The uprated 2.0-liter turbo-4 is available on Sport, EX-L, and Touring trims.

We think most shoppers will skip over the base version and head toward EX trim levels, with or without leather. (Honda calls those versions EX-L.)

The 2019 Honda Accord EX gets remote start, 17-inch wheels, blind-spot monitors, a moonroof, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, two high-power USB ports, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for $28,515. Opting for leather upholstery adds $2,500 to the bottom line but also adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and upgraded audio.

A more powerful 2.0-liter turbo-4 is available in the EX-L and costs an additional $2,000.

The priciest Accord Touring boasts a 2.0-liter turbo-4, 10-speed automatic, adaptive dampers,  leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels, a head-up display, navigation, a wireless smartphone charger, and wi-fi hotspot (subscription required) for $36,845.

We’d still stick with an Accord EX for $28,515, which represents the best value among the lineup and compared to other sedans in its class. A comparably equipped Toyota Camry LE with moonroof, blind-spot monitors, dual-zone climate control, and cloth upholstery costs $28,635. A comparable Chevrolet Malibu LT with remote start, advanced safety, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen costs $28,485 but skips the moonroof.

The Accord Hybrid is available in base, EX, EX-L, and Touring trims and adds $1,600 to comparably equipped models with a 1.5-liter engine.

Sport versions are equipped similarly to EX trims but skip some creature comforts such as heated seats and an additional USB power plug for sporty exterior accents and big 19-inch wheels. Sport versions start at $27,180.

Infotainment

Honda’s infotainment received a much-needed upgrade in the Accord and most models boast an 8.0-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. We’ve extensively used the system and found that the display is sharp and easily readable with big, bright icons that are easily navigable. Some configuration settings are buried in menus, but Honda’s system does a good job of placing settings and options in logical places.

The new system ditches an irritating volume slider in favor of a hard-button volume knob that we appreciate even more. Among infotainment systems, Honda’s is one of the most straightforward, although we recommend a 20- to 30-minute stationary orientation to familiarize any new buyers.

Baked-in smartphone compatibility nearly erases the need for embedded navigation for most owners, which helps save money.

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2019 Honda Accord Sedan

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Accord is a fuel-efficient family sedan, the hybrid version goes even farther between fuel stops.

The 2019 Honda Accord offers a trio of 4-cylinder engines that range from mostly fuel efficient to highly fuel efficient.

The most popular pick with buyers is a 1.5-liter turbo-4 and continuously variable transmission, rates 30 mpg city, 38 highway, 33 combined, according to the EPA. That earns a 6 on our fuel-efficiency scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Top-of-the-line trims get a higher power, 2.0-liter turbo-4 that rates 23/34/27 mpg on the EPA’s cycle when equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Sport and Touring trims equipped with the larger engine shave 1 mpg from each figure.

Both 1.5- and 2.0-liter engines can be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission that dents fuel economy: 26/35/30 mpg for the 1.5-liter turbo-4, 22/32/26 for the 2.0-liter turbo-4.

The most efficient Honda Accord is equipped with hybrid batteries and an inline-4. The EPA rates the Honda Accord Hybrid at 48 mpg everywhere—city, highway, combined.

Competitors rate similarly. The Toyota Camry is rated at 34 mpg combined in its most popular configuration, and the Chevy Malibu rates 32 mpg combined in its best-selling configuration.

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7.0
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 7
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 9
Features 7
Fuel Economy 6
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