- Handsome, crisp Accord styling
- Near-Prius fuel economy
- Strong electric-only drive
- Quiet engine, mostly
- Intuitive graphic displays
- Engine power, noise out of sync
- Plug-in model gone this year
- Blue accents an acquired taste
The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid remains a handsome mid-size sedan with excellent fuel economy; with Honda promising better availability, it should be a strong competitor.
Though the spotlight may be on crossovers and SUVs, the mid-size sedan segment remains as fiercely competitive as ever—but one model has long stood above others, at least as far as consumers are concerned: The 2017 Honda Accord.
Although it is outsold by the Toyota Camry, the Accord continues to narrow the gap—and it does that without relying heavily on fleet sales, as nearly all of its rivals are wont to do. For 2017, the Honda Accord is largely unchanged aside from a new Sport Special Edition that slots in about dead center among the LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels. An Accord Coupe also remains available, essentially unchallenged in what was once a popular segment. The Accord Coupe is offered in LX-S, EX, EX-L, and Touring trims.
Overall, the 2017 Honda Accord rates an 8.3. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Accord has stood the test of time against rivals like the aforementioned Camry, the Nissan Altima, the Hyundai Sonata, the Kia Optima, the Subaru Legacy, and the Ford Fusion, but a rejuvenated Chevrolet Malibu and an updated Mazda 6 remain worthy adversaries.
Honda Accord styling and performance
The Accord stands a few years into its ninth generation, building on a mild refresh last year that is most notable for its bolder grille design, redesigned taillight, and Honda Sensing collision avoidance technology. The Accord's design delivers enough flair and sophistication to stay relevant in a fashion-conscious market, but it is elegantly upright in the tradition of past generations rather than swoopy at the expense of visibility and practicality like some rivals. The Accord's styling won't turn heads, but it's handsome, fresh, and immediately recognizable as a Honda.
Step inside and, thanks to the low instrument panel and wide expanse of windows, the Accord has a sense of airiness not seen in most mid-sizers. Its controls are well-placed high on the dashboard, which has two separate screens on higher-specification models. Opt for an Accord Coupe and you will give up some practicality for a sportier look; although they're essentially the same as the sedans from the front seats forward, a wedgier tail and side sheet metal adds up to a more dynamic stance.
The base inline-4 utilizes direct injection technology and delivers 185 horsepower (or 189 ponies in Sport models thanks to a dual exhaust system). It can be paired with a 6-speed manual, an increasingly rare item in a mid-size sedan, or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Unusually for the segment, the Accord still offers a V-6 engine across the lineup, although it is relegated to only certain trim levels. It's coupled to a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission (or to a 6-speed manual in Coupes).
A Honda Accord Hybrid is also available and is covered separately.
Honda dropped its once-heralded double-wishbone setup in the Accord when it was redesigned, instead opting for simpler MacPherson struts that it claims improve ride and handling while cutting cabin noise and harshness. As much as we wanted to criticize that design, we can't: the Accord drives with much of the verve seen in previous models, and its electric power steering is particularly good.
Honda Accord comfort, safety, and features
The Accord makes clever use of interior space with a driving position that's pleasantly upright, above average legroom in the back, and easy entry and exit. Its upright greenhouse and good use of high strength steel for the roof pillars deliver excellent outward vision. A 60/40-split folding seat in all sedans except the LX improves on a previous affair that flopped down as one unit.
On the other hand, the dual-screen infotainment system in higher trim Accords can be confusing, but at least there is a volume knob, unlike in the automaker's Civic compact.
Last year's addition of the automaker's Honda Sensing suite of driver assists was a welcome change. Standard on Touring models and available on almost all CVT trim levels otherwise, it includes lane departure warning, a system that nudges a drifting car back into its lane, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking—all at a reasonable price point.
In the past, Honda hasn't had much of a reputation for cramming value and convenience features into its vehicles. But that's all been turning around lately. The base Accord LX includes dual-zone automatic climate control, 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera system, and an 8.0-inch i-MID display with Pandora audio streaming and text-message capability. V-6 models get some nicer cabin appointments, and EX-L models have a 360-watt system with Aha internet radio streaming. Tourings are nearly luxury car-grade inside and out.
Both engines use regular unleaded gasoline, but EPA figures have been ratcheted down slightly for 2017 due to some testing changes. The volume 4-cylinder CVTs come in at 27 mpg city, 36 highway, 30 combined—but be advised that the Sport model's special wheel and tire package nudges those figures down to 26/34/29 mpg.
2017 Honda Accord
Pleasant and thoroughly modern, the Accord isn't the sexiest thing in its class—but that's okay.
Eschewing a general push toward high belt lines and low roofs, Honda's Accord is a careful compromise between the upright elegance that the automaker's loyal buyers expect and the high style of competitors like the Ford Fusion and Mazda 6.
The result is a coupe and sedan that deliver more practicality than the segment's most swoopy designs, which merits an 8 for styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
But that's not to say that the Accord is slab-sided and dull. A mild refresh for 2016 brought a re-contoured aluminum hood, and LED taillights; coupes likewise gained a new look for their front and rear ends with reworked designs for the grille, headlights, and taillights. The Touring trim level now rides on big 19-inch wheels.
If it still feels as if Honda has designed its Accord line from the inside out, there's a good reason for that notion: The automaker says that's exactly how it was done, which results in a smart, efficiently packaged interior that balances comfort and modernity with visibility. A low instrument panel pushed as far forward, and out at the corners, as possible maximizes space and places important controls up very high. The look is a little awkward, but it pays dividends in functionality.
EX-L and Touring trim levels utilize a touchscreen audio system with two separate screens that adds unnecessary clutter.
While trims and materials do get a more premium look as you rise up the ladder to the top Touring models, both EX-L and Touring trims get a touchscreen audio system that introduces the need for two separate screens and we think ends up adding clutter and complexity to the interior look. Coupes are mostly the same as sedans from the front seats forward aside from some red touches on its instrument panel.
That red theme is carried into the sedan range with the new-for-2017 Accord Sport Special Edition, which has standard leather seats with red stitching.
2017 Honda Accord
CVTs aren't our favorite transmissions, but the Accord makes up for that with its excellent ride and handling.
Honda offers an unusually wide range of engines and transmissions in its Accord lineup, including an Accord Hybrid covered in a separate review. Depending on trim level and sedan or coupe flavor, you'll have a choice between an inline-4, a V-6, a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed automatic, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
This lineup of engines, combined with stellar road manners, nets a solid 8 for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
But most Accords you'll find on a dealer lot make use of the automaker's direct-injected 2.4-liter inline-4 makes 185 horsepower (189 hp in the Accord Sport) mated to the CVT. Unlike many CVTs on the market, this transmission works well with the 4-cylinder engine, staying in the engine's thick mid-rev torque curve, avoiding the rubber-band-like responsiveness and droning soundtrack, and even potentially fooling some drivers into thinking it is actually a conventional automatic transmission. With its so-called G-Design shift logic, revs rise quickly, which avoids the standing-start flat spot that some such transmissions have, creating the sensation that it's locking onto "gears" along the way.
Honda has kept its V-6-powered around, at a time when many rival models have gone to smaller turbocharged engines in their upmarket versions. The automaker's V-6 is a strong, smooth engine that delivers considerably more refinement than most of those small turbos. The 278 horsepower V-6 is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission in sedans and most coupes, although a 6-speed manual is available in EX-L trim level two-doors. The V-6 can shut down two cylinders to save fuel under low load situations and the V-6 models feature active noise cancellation to dial out road rumble.
Neither engine requires premium gasoline—regular unleaded is recommended for both.
Electric power steering hasn't worked out well in some models, but Honda has figured out how to do it right with the Accord. 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 the Accord's most recent redesigns is that Honda dropped its once-heralded double-wishbone setup, instead opting for less complex MacPherson struts that it claims improve ride and handling while also cutting cabin noise and harshness. And, as much as we hate to admit it, we have to agree: the latest Accord rides and handles at least as well as its predecessors.
Step up to the range-topping Touring trim and you'll be treated to an even better experience thanks to standard amplitude-reactive dampers and hydraulic subframe bushings, which contribute to a slightly more poised ride.
2017 Honda Accord
Comfort & Quality
Honda has fitted the Accord with a nice interior with excellent space for all passengers.
The 2017 Honda Accord is a little smaller than its predecessor on the outside, but clever interior packaging makes it feel far roomier inside.
The Accord's inner trappings are comfortable for all passengers and the automaker's material selection is upscale all around. All Accords we've driven have felt especially well screwed together, which helps the model net a 9 out of 10 for comfort and quality. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
You'll find excellent back-seat space and a roomy trunk in all Accord sedans, as well as some of the best cabin refinement in any mid-size car, let alone some luxury class vehicles.
The Accord's cabin also ranks as one of the quietest in the class thanks to active noise control that, working like a set of Bose headphones, cuts out unwanted road and wind noise to good effect. That said, models with the larger 18-inch and 19-inch wheels make their rubber a little more audible inside.
Outboard passengers will find excellent room all around in the sedan, and the coupe is even relatively spacious given the obvious ingress and egress compromises forced by just two doors.
Trunk space is not only larger (15.8 cubic feet in the sedan) but the cargo floor is now flat. Buyers will certainly appreciate 60/40-split folding seats, now standard in all Accord sedans with the exception of the base LX.
2017 Honda Accord
The Honda Accord scores nearly top marks from the IIHS and the NHTSA.
With the expansion of Honda's suite of driver assists to the Accord lineup, the 2017 ranks among the safest mid-size cars in its segment.
The Accord's widely available safety tech and its good crash test ratings net it a solid 9 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Honda Sensing, as the automaker brands its technologies, includes an automatic emergency braking system, forward-collision warnings, lane-departure warnings, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. The kit is standard on Accord Touring and is an option on every automatic-equipped Accord other than the new Sport Special Edition (but it is, rather inexplicably, available on the regular Sport). By contrast, most rivals restrict automatic emergency braking to higher trim levels only.
Moreover, the Accord receives five stars overall from the NHTSA with five stars in all tests except a four-star score in the frontal crash test. The IIHS rated the Accord with its top "Good" score across the board in its crash tests, and with advanced safety technology it's also rated a Top Safety Pick+. (The coupe is only a Top Safety Pick due to the performance of its headlights.)
One thing that makes the Accord stand out especially is its use of high strength steel in its roof pillars, which are thinner than many rivals and thus afford significantly better outward visibility.
Except for the base LX, Accords include a nifty feature called LaneWatch that greatly enhances lane-changing vision with a live video feed from a camera mounted in the passenger-side mirror. It activates when the driver uses the turn signal and works well, although a higher resolution camera would make it even better.
2017 Honda Accord
Honda no longer skimps on the base Accord, but there are no individual options for any trim level.
Honda was once rather stingy, but the Accord's latest redesign has seen a major strategic shift toward value that's democratized across the entire lineup. Notably, a number of connectivity and safety features aren't limited to the top-spec trim levels. In many cases, they're actually standard (or optional) across the entire lineup.
On the other hand, Honda's strategy of lots of trim levels and few options may prove a little daunting for some consumers, and it results in a low degree of customizability. For that, we award the Accord an 8 out of 10 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Gone are the stripped-out Accord Sedans. Instead, the LX that anchors the lineup includes a high level of features: dual-zone automatic climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, a rearview camera, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Pandora audio streaming and SMS text-messaging capability, a multi-angle rearview camera, and LED taillights.
Slotting in above the LX is the Sport, which includes LED running lamps, 19-inch alloy wheels, and black cloth seats. A new Sport Special Edition builds on that with leather seats outfitted with red stitching.
Step up to the EX and you gain a power moonroof, heated side mirrors, a proximity key, 17-inch alloy wheels, and Honda's innovative LaneWatch system. The EX-L piles on heated leather seats, forward-collision warnings, and an upgraded infotainment system that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in addition to a 360-watt stereo. Navigation is an optional extra on the EX-L.
All automatic transmission variants except for the Sport Special Edition are available with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assists including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning.
The Touring tops the lineup with standard Honda Sensing, navigation, heated rear seats, automatic windshield wipers, and automatic high beam LED headlamps.
The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard on all Accord LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L models, while the Touring comes only with a 3.5-liter V-6. That V-6 is optional on the EX-L.
2017 Honda Accord
The Accord is a fuel-sipper, but some rivals now best it.
The 2017 Honda Accord delivers impressive fuel economy, and that's not just with its base 4-cylinder engine. In our testing, we have seen surprisingly good efficiency with the V-6 in the kind of real-world driving conditions that the EPA's testing doesn't necessarily replicate.
The Accord rates among the highest in its class, even using slightly revised EPA testing figures that have brought some models—including this Honda—down a bit, which means it scores an 8 for green. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Accord Sedans with the inline-4 and the CVT—the ones you're most likely to spot on a dealer's lot—earn an EPA-rated 27 mpg city, 36 highway, 30 combined.
Note that the Accord Sport's 19-inch alloy wheels and unique tires hurt its fuel economy a little; it checks in at 26/34/29 mpg.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the thirstiest Accord—a V-6 equipped coupe with a manual transmission—manages 18/26/21 mpg. But Accord Sedan V-6s with the 6-speed automatic perform much better: 21/33/25 mpg.