Few, if any, midsize cars—or any automotive nameplate, for that matter—command the level of respect as the Honda Accord. Debuting in 1976, the Accord has become one of the best-selling and most lauded cars in history. Now on the verge of closing out its ninth production cycle with the 2017 model year, the Accord is still on top of the competition, even if the competition is working much harder than ever before to topple it from its lofty perch.
The Accord is split into seven variants: LX, Sport, Sport Special Edition, EX, EX-L, EX-L V-6, and Touring. The 2017 model year marks the debut of the Sport Special Edition trim. The EX-L is merely a spruced-up version of the regular EX, and the EX-L V-6 is basically the EX-L with a larger and more powerful engine.
The base-level engine on the Honda Accord is the K24W. Manufactured as a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder, the K24W produces 185 horsepower at 6,400 RPM and 181 lb-ft of torque at 3,900 RPM. The output is tweaked to 189 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque on the Sport trim level (i.e., Sport and Sport Special Edition). If you go with the EX-L or Touring, the engine is the J35Y, which is a 3.5-liter V6. Producing 278 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 252 lb-ft of torque at 4,900, it is ideal for improved acceleration.
The LX, Sport trim level, and EX have their engines hooked up to a 6-speed manual transmission (6MT), with the option of switching it with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for gearless driving and consequently higher level of convenience. The EX-L is the only trim with the CVT as standard, and the V6 and Touring trims get a 6-speed automatic transmission (6AT). Worthy of note is the Sport Mode button that accompanies the CVT and 6AT for a heightened level of responsiveness and performance; this component is not available with the 6AT.
Depending on the trim and powertrain configuration, the Honda Accord can achieve a fuel efficiency of up to 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Regardless of trim, though, the car does come with an Eco Assist™ system to bolster fuel economy as much as possible.
The all-wheel independent suspension of the Honda Accord—with a front MacPherson strut design and rear multi-link layout—keeps each trip as nice and smooth as possible. A shock tower bar is added to the suspension for even more cushioning if you go with the Sport trim or higher. The rack-and-pinion steering makes turning and cornering sharp and precise, with power that is derived from electricity rather than from the engine for conserving energy. And the ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes—with ABS for preventing the wheels from locking up—keep stopping distances relatively short.
Seating and Accommodation
Designed as a midsize car, the Honda Accord provides up to 103.2 cubic feet of passenger volume, which is more than sufficient for up to five adult occupants. Cargo space is measured at 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
On the Sport trim, Honda adds 10-way power adjustability with power lumbar support; front-seat heating ability is added on the Sport Special Edition, in addition to the EX trim level. Go with the EX-L trim and higher, and Honda adds leather seat trim, two-position memory system on the driver’s seat, and 4-way power adjustability on the front passenger seat. The Touring stands alone with rear-seat heating capability. And the Sport Special Edition is unique with red accent stitching on its leather seating.
The Honda Accord is manufactured with Active Noise Cancellation™ and active sound control technologies to keep away unwanted noise from the cabin.
The Honda Accord starts off with a four-speaker stereo system that includes a CD player with WMA and MP3 playback compatibility, an 8-inch high-resolution screen, hands-free texting capability, and Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls and audio streaming. Upgrading to the EX adds two speakers, HD Radio, HondaLink® in-car connectivity, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to control the stereo system with your smartphone, a 7-inch touchscreen (instead of the regular 7-inch display), and a trial SiriusXM satellite radio subscription. Honda adds a 200-watt subwoofer and a voice-activated satellite-linked navigation system on the top-level Touring.
Comfort and Convenience
At the base level, the Honda Accord is loaded with comfort and convenience features like cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a multi-angle rearview camera, remote keyless entry, power side mirrors, hands-free trunk release, and illuminated steering wheel-mounted controls.
LED fog lights are added on the Sport trim for increased visibility; the halogen bulbs of the headlights are switched with longer-lasting LED ones. Upgrade to the EX or higher if you want to have smart entry, LED turn-signal indicators and heating capability on the side mirrors, a one-touch power moonroof with tilt feature, a push-button to start the engine instead of having to insert the car key, and a HomeLink® transceiver for remote-controlling your garage doors. On the EX-L and higher, Honda adds automatic dimming on the rearview mirror to reduce the glare of headlights from behind when driving at night. The Touring is the only trim with a sensor-based parking assist system to bolster the abilities of the rearview camera, as well as auto high-beam headlights for enhanced exterior lighting.
For collision protection, the Honda Accord comes with dual front impact airbags, dual side impact airbags installed on the front seats, and two front and two rear side curtain airbags installed on the roof. Also standard are electronic vehicle stability, brake assist for additional stopping pressure if necessary, and hill start assist for preventing the car from rolling down a steep slope when shifting from Park to Drive.
The EX trim level and the Touring variant have LaneWatch™, which is Honda’s trademarked blind spot monitoring system. Exclusive to the Touring trim are collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.
Although the midsize car segment is brimming with formidable offerings, the Toyota Camry has the all-rounder approach of the Accord, and it has been around for almost as long. Consequently, the Camry has remained the Accord’s perennial and most direct rival. However, the Chevrolet Malibu and the Hyundai Sonata are also top-tier, having improved considerably over the past couple of years.
Other vehicles, however, hone in on certain aspects. For instance, the Mazda6, focuses on sporty driving, and the Ford Fusion and the Kia Optima are some of the finest-looking vehicles in the segment.
Pros and Cons
It is virtually impossible to top the Honda Accord. The vehicle is able to combine remarkable fuel economy, ample interior space, composed handling, responsive mechanics, efficient powertrains, and a high level of safety and projected reliability in one very attractive package. The only general complaint with the Accord is the lack of user-friendliness with some of its interior features, namely its touchscreen interface.
Ratings and Starting MSRP
The 2017 Honda Accord is a “Top Safety Pick Plus” vehicle. That’s the highest honor bestowed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which evaluates vehicles with a series of crash tests. The starting MSRP of the car ranges from $22,205 to $34,680.