The All-New 2018 Honda AccordNov 30th, 2017
The phrase “all new” is tossed out rather easily in the automotive industry and is usually used to refer to the major model change of particular nameplate that occurs every 4 or 5 years. In reality, there is usually a lot of carryover. However, “all new” is a pretty accurate description of the 2018 Accord.
Let’s start on the outside. For some time the Honda has given the Accord a fairly conventional three box design, benefiting visibility and packaging, two long standing Honda hallmarks. For 2018, the Accord has adopted the dramatic fastback design first seen in the current Civic sedan. The coupe is gone but the silhouette is coupe like, reminiscent of vehicles like the Audi A7. The new Accord loses a few cm in length and has shorter front and rear overhangs but gains nearly 6 cm in wheelbase. As a result, the already roomy rear compartment is even more so with class leading legroom. Cargo volume has increased over 25 L. It would appear that Honda’s excellent packaging remains intact. The Accord is also lower and wider. The lower centre of gravity and wider track aid handling and stability. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I think it’s safe to stay styling has taken a striking step forward without leaving functionality behind.
The Accord line still offers two engine choices but the V6 has been dropped in favour of weight loss and efficiency. Most Accords will be equipped with its own version of the 1.5 L direct injection turbo /CVT combo that has proved so successful in the latest Civic and CR-V models. Power (192 hp) is up and fuel efficiency is improved, now as good 7.2 L/100 km combined. Torque is also up (192 lb-ft) and available much earlier in the rev range, making for more satisfying throttle response around town and more confident highway passing. Accord owners who opted for the extra power of the V6 need not despair. The new 2.0 L turbo is a modified version of the engine used in Honda’s spectacular Civic Type R. Compared to the outgoing V6, power and torque virtually flip positions, with the two litre four putting out 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Maximum torque is available as low as 1,500 rpm and all the way up to 4,000 rpm. Honda has paired the 2.0T with a 10 speed automatic, a first for front wheel drive sedans. The 2018 2.0T auto has edged out the 2017 V6 auto sedan in acceleration comparisons and though testing is still underway, improved fuel efficiency is almost guaranteed, especially around town. Do you still like to row your own? A six speed manual transmission is available with both engines.
Slipping behind the driver’s seat you’ll find yourself in presented with a more streamlined interface. The infotainment system’s two screens have now merged into one high mounted tablet like 7” display, which is flanked by the return of volume and turning knobs. Hurray! The screen resolution is crisper and reaction time is swifter. A more responsive and simplified control panel is particularly welcome given the availability of more telematics such as a geofencing alert, a stolen vehicle locator, auto collision notification, and in-vehicle Wi-Fi connectivity.
Honda’s commitment to safety remains a priority. Every 2018 Accord will be equipped with Honda’s lauded SensingTM suite of driver-assist systems. These include Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, and, new for 2018, Traffic Sign Recognition. Crash testing is not yet complete but the Accord is expected to receive top marks.
Numbers and specs are all well and good but how does it drive? We have yet to receive any of the 2.0T Accords but I can give you my impression of our Sport 1.5T CVT test drive demo. When I first entered the car I found myself sinking into the seat bit more than I expected but was soon met with reassuringly firm support. I was pleased to encounter a characteristically low dash and generous greenhouse. The A pillars are slimmer this year. All of this added up to an airy interior with excellent visibility and a commanding view of the road. The door shut with a satisfying thunk. Styling is largely subjective but my first impression was one of elegant simplicity. Rich textures and soft surfaces met my hands and elbows. I pushed the start button and was greeted by the now familiar subdued whir of the 1.5T. The steering had a nice amount of heft around center and pointed the car with precision. Tight corners produced surprisingly little lean. Acceleration was typically CVT smooth but also quite linear, which is not always a CVT characteristic. The ride was absorbent but not wallowy, stable and secure. Expansion joints and other sharp ridges were quickly and deftly absorbed with muted thumps. I hadn’t explored the infotainment system before starting off but interface was quite intuitive and the responses rapid, so finding my favorite radio station was an easy task, even on the move.
I returned the dealership with a sense of relief and satisfaction. The Accord recipe has been updated but only for the better, and some well-loved ingredients (like volume and tuning knobs) have been thrown back into the mix. Just right. Goldilocks would be proud.
Now, you might accuse me of bias but the automotive press is also singing the praises of the new Accord. Here are just a few samples:
- “The Accord [interior] has moved past interesting and gone directly to sophisticated.” Motor Trend
- “Paradoxically, the new Accord’s cabin is both a return to the simplicity that was once a Honda hallmark and a leap forward in sophistication.” Car and Driver
- “Sublime ride and handling balance” Car and Driver
- “The Accord’s CVT remains the best in the business” Motor Trend
- “This latest Accord skews to the athletic side among family sedans, and the steering’s weighty feel contributes to a solid, substantial handling experience.” Consumer Reports
Explore our 2018 Accord inventory, book a test drive, and see if you agree. We look forward to seeing you.