2018 Honda Accord revealed: More refined, more efficient, fewer cylinders

10th-generation Honda Accord's sleek new look echoes the Civic.

About a month ago, we were lucky enough to get a brief taste of the all-new 2018 Honda Accord in Japan. While that drive allowed us to sample the car's new powertrains, we had to wait until today to get the full lowdown on the car, which was just revealed. The 10th-gen Accord follows one of the most successful iterations of Honda's midsize sedan ever. The ground-up design packs new styling inside and out and controversially, drops the solid but aging V6 for a turbocharged inline four.

The overall shape is similar to that of the current Honda Civic. It looks longer, lower, and wider than the outgoing model with a steep fastback-style roof. A 2.16-inch longer wheelbase should provide some high-speed stability while giving back-seat passengers a bit more legroom. Shorter overhangs, often difficult for a front-wheel drive car, give the Accord a sportier look. The large grille has a chrome bar running across the center and on certain trims is flanked by LED headlights and fog lights. In back, the Accord features LED taillights and dual-exhaust ports.

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The greenhouse angles more towards the center of the car with goal to make it look wider than it actually is. The seats are pushed in just a bit, improving hip room slightly. Passenger volume is up 2.5 cubic feet while trunk space is up slightly to 16.7 cubic feet. Honda also announced that the Accord coupe is dead starting next year. While we may love the looks, the coupe only made up a small portion of Accord sales. Like the V6, it just doesn't make sense in today's market.

Like the Civic and CR-V, the Accord's cabin is much improved over the outgoing model. The car uses better materials on most of the surfaces while the design is focused on maximizing space efficiency. The new seats feature improved shoulder bolsters and more heavily padded armrests. The driver's seat has 12-way power adjustment and is available with both heating and ventilation. The Accord is now also offered with heated rear seats.

The infotainment has an 8-inch screen and knobs for both tuning and volume, and the system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are a number of customizable tiles for various apps. The latest version of HondaLink packs emergency roadside assistance, remote locking/unlocking and engine start, stolen-vehicle tracking, remote diagnostics, geofencing, and speed tracking. Upper trim models come with a 6-inch heads-up display that shows a speedometer, tachometer, and navigation.

The Accord is more connected than ever. In addition to the now requisite Bluetooth pairing, the new model has 4G LTE in-car WiFi. The system also means the Accord can get over-the-air updates, similar to the Tesla Model S and Model X. Every Accord has two USB charging ports, with 2.5-amp ports on EX trims and above.

Arguably the biggest news with the 2018 Accord is the move to all four-cylinder power. As much as we love the V6, it wasn't a very popular option and was behind the times on both fuel efficiency and emissions. There will be three engines available for the Accord, two of them direct-injected and turbocharged. The third is the latest version of Honda's two-mode hybrid system. Three transmissions are available, a CVT, an all-new 10-speed automatic, and a six-speed manual. The latter is available with both turbocharged engines.

Honda's 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four replaces the 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated inline-four as the base engine. In the Accord, the engine churns out 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, the latter available as low as 1,500 rpm. While on paper it's not a big leap forward, the low-end torque should make the Accord feel stronger. The CVT is standard, though the Sport trim model is available with both the CVT and the six-speed manual.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four replaces the V6. This is no penalty. The engine is based on the 2.0-liter in the hot new Honda Civic Type R, though tuned and refined for use in the Accord. Horsepower is down from 278 to 252, but torque is up significantly from 252 to 273. Like with the 1.5 liter, torque is available at 1,500 rpm and should make the car feel stronger around town. The engine has i-VTEC and is mated to either a 10-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.

The hybrid system in the 2018 Accord is all-new. Production returns to Ohio after moving to Japan for the past few years. The setup uses a 2.0-liter inline four that runs on the fuel-efficient Atkinson cycle. Honda claims that the 40 percent thermal efficiency is the highest of any mass-produced engine in the world. The drive motors are the first to use magnets containing no rare-earth metals. The new battery pack is mounted under the floor rather than in the trunk. That means no trunk space is lost, and the rear seats can still fold down.

Improved building techniques and the increased use of high-strength steel and aluminum means the Accord's overall weight is down 110 to 176 pounds, depending on the trim. The same changes mean body rigidity is up. The front suspension uses aluminum control arms and is mounted to an aluminum subframe. An adaptive damper system and fluid-filled bushings should help improve ride quality.

As with more and more cars, all 2018 Accord come standard with the Honda Sensing safety suite. This includes automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, road-departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise with low-speed follow. All models also pack a rear-view camera. Blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and cross-traffic alert are all available as options.

Pricing hasn't been announced, but the new Accord will be available in a number of trim levels. The 1.5-liter engine comes in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi and Touring while the 2.0-liter comes in Sport, EX-L, EX-L Navi and Touring. The hybrid comes in five trims: Hybrid, EX, EX- L, EX-L Navi and Touring. The Accord will continue to be built in Honda's Marysville, Ohio, facility.

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