Many of my readers have pointed out that I always review exotic, expensive cars, ones generally out of reach of the everyday consumer, and they aren’t wrong. These cars are more unique, more exciting to create a thrilling, yet informative piece on, a work of art as great as the car itself. As a car enthusiast, I can’t be close – minded; The automotive world is just as complex and diverse as the cells in our bodies, the particles in our universe! This is why I took the opportunity to drive something “normal”, the 2018 Honda Accord.
When I laid eyes on the 10th iteration of the longtime Honda best seller, a feeling of pure excitement and pride ran through my body. It was beginning to dawn that every carmaker is finally producing something worthwhile; Cars I’d never batted an eye to, like the A Class, the Camry, even the Civic, have actually gotten incredible. So the new Accord; Well we have a car which is a lot sportier, loads more eye – catching, and miles more technologically advanced than its predecessor, selling over 300 000 units a year. I give Honda the utmost praise for the countless hours of design and development put into the Accord’s latest generation, especially due to the fact that crossovers pose a great threat of eliminating this market completely. For a mainstream vehicle of this caliber, a starting price of $23 570 is not even fair… To Honda.
After a brief test drive, I can conclude it’s worth at least 5 times this amount and is one of the few cars out there that heavily makes me regret buying the Chrysler. Yes, I’m talking about a mass market Honda! No, I’m not drunk.
I felt obligated to test the top trim Touring 2.0 T, intending to get the most out of my experience driving one of the best selling Hondas of all time. As many may have guessed by now, the power plant is a 2.0 L turbocharged I4, outputting 252 HP and 273 lb • ft of torque. What many may not know is that this engine is a derivative of the one found in the performance – oriented Honda Civic Type R, the fastest front wheel drive car to ever lap the Nurburgring. Anyone who knows the Accord knows its synonymity with a V6 for the upper trim levels; This generation dropped the engine completely. I’d lie if I said I wasn’t worried about this drastic change; The V6 gave the car what I call this “free” element.
We’ll come back to this.
0 to 60 MPH arrives in 5.7 seconds, which is more than respectable for an “economical” car. Power is channeled through an all – new 10 – speed automatic transmission, which despite not being a smooth dual clutch, still clicks through the gears at a quick and sporty pace. Fuel economy comes in at 22 MPG city, and 32 MPG highway in the Touring trim, offering a slight improvement over the V6.
Driving this car was more of an eye – opening experience than anything; Despite not having the V6 powerplant, the car moved swiftly and effortlessly, more than deserving of the “free” aspect I alluded to earlier. It never had any sense of restraint, linearly responding to each pedal input despite the presence of a turbocharger. Sure, the note and purr of a V6 were definitely lacking, but the torque increase more than makes up for any shortcomings this 4 cylinder could possibly have. Steering was relatively light, much easier to maneuver than my Chrysler by far around corners or into parking spaces. We have three driving modes available, heavily influenced by optional dual – mode adaptive dampers. Normal offers a smooth daily driving experience, with light steering, and a softer configuration for the dampers, a cloud – like ride if I may. Sport tightens and sharpens everything up, most noticeably through the throttle response. Economy mode cuts power and decreases throttle response, but in turn, offers immense fuel economy gains.
The biggest driving dynamic comes not within the actual experience, but through a system by the name of “Honda Sensing”. This radar – camera system not only holds the Accord’s safety ratings in the upper tier of its class but also provides features aiding in a more simplistic and relaxing driving experience. Lane keeping assist keeps the car centered in driving lanes as necessary, imperceptibly correcting sway. Road departure mitigation helps the car detect when it may run off the road, flashing visual warnings, and actually steering the Accord back onto the road; I tried it out, fearful at first, impressed in conclusion. Collision mitigation braking is a feature I thankfully didn’t get to try out, which will automatically brake the car when the system senses an impending collision. To top it off, we have our run of the mill adaptive cruise control, a system I have heavily grown to love in modern cars, that sets the cruise control in accordance to a three – tier following distance rather than a given speed.
This is standard on all Honda models, great to know that some companies place safety as their number one concern, no matter the cost. A little easter egg I found while driving the car was a brake – hold feature, which will hold the car in place after a stop without pedal depression, for instance, at a red light! This was probably one of my favorite features, and I really wonder why this is the first time I’ve ever seen it in a car.
Besides the NSX, this exterior is by miles the best one from the brand. WOW! Lower and wider than the previous model, this sportback design not only offers a more aggressive look, but also a sleekness I never really expected to see coming out of this segment. Standard LED headlights and fog lights not only add to an extremely modern design but also increase overall safety and visibility at night through a brighter, whiter output; Wonder who they got that idea from… The grill may be a simplistic strip of metal bearing the logo, but the car still has an overwhelming presence on the road. The 19 – inch spoked wheels are definitely on the larger side for this segment, but they only add to the modern sporty nature intended by designers. It continuously blows my mind that I’m looking at a Honda while writing this… And it actually looks good!
You know the drill… Let’s see that interior!
My first experience with the interior of Accord started behind the driver’s seat, literally, behind the driver’s seat, and it also happened to be the greatest surprise; The legroom was absolutely insane! I’ve sat in the back of an S Class with the executive rear – seat package, and despite the Honda not having a level of comfort near that caliber, I just felt like I had a lot more space, a lot more room to move my feet around; Big boy needs his room. For a sportback shaped car, the rear headroom wasn’t too bad either, a huge problem that many rear seat passengers face in my sportback designed Chrysler. The leather coverage was insane, I almost forgot I was in a Honda! Every tactile point, even where the driver’s knee rests on the console, is covered in a nice, soft cushioning. Wooden accenting flanked the upper center console, only adding to a surprisingly luxurious experience. Huge fan of the darker wood designs.
Seating was nice and low, fitting for that sporty exterior design. A little compartment in front of the button – only gear shifter (which was awesome by the way) offered full wireless charging, a feature I could definitely get used to; If only I didn’t have to take the case off every time… We have physical buttons for climate controls and the radio, a huge gripe fixed from the last generation, which allow for easier use during that dreaded part of the year for us island – folk. An analog speedometer is flanked on the left by a digital unit which shows anything from a tachometer, to fuel range, time, audio, navigation, traffic signs, the list goes on. It’s no virtual cockpit but is definitely a huge step in the march towards digitization.
The technology, plain and simple, is crazy for a car of this segment. We have rain sensing wipers, which will both turn on and adjust frequency automatically depending on rain intensity. There is a 4G WiFi hotspot capable of hosting many devices, great for a long road trip or job site. A very well executed heads – up display projects information seemingly outside the windshield, be it the ground speed, traffic signs, or even the adaptive cruise control; I rarely looked at the dash thanks to this incredible, almost futuristic, feature. Our infotainment system is no iDrive, but is extremely intuitive thanks to large icons and vibrant colors. Seeming to become the norm, Apple CarPlay is standard on all trims, and that’s a good thing. I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it forever; CarPlay is what infotainment should have been from the very beginning.
Maybe I’ll do an article for the iOS 12 updates to CarPlay, I’ve heard crazy things.
It’s quite simple what Honda has done here; They’ve brought the latest and greatest technology, with extremely modern design language, to the lower tier of the spectrum. I’m honestly lost for words trying to explain this because I finally feel like I am obligated to buy a Honda. It looks just as good as the big name players, it has just as many bells and whistles, it’s really hard to say this, but buying a Mercedes, or a BMW, finally doesn’t make sense. We’re entering an age in the automotive sector where pretty much every car will be good, and it’s weird. Honda puts pressure not only on luxury manufacturers but also on the everyday manufacturers, to step up their game. This car has been one of the best selling vehicles in the United States for a very long time, and with the entrance of this generation, it seems like Honda’s there to stay.