Engine2.0L Turbo I4
Power252 HP / 273 LB-FT
Curb Weight3,428 LBS
Cargo16.7 CU FT
MPG22 CITY / 32 HWY
As Tested Price$36,870
The Accord's low, wide and imposing shape is further enhanced by tight sheetmetal folds and a lack of extraneous vents and grilles. To me, it looks like a Japanese take on the Dodge Charger – aggressive, athletic, but leaner and cleaner – and I love that. That's not to say it's a perfect design. Some of my colleagues aren't big fans of the fastback roofline, as well as the huge, shiny, upright grille. At least you can tone down the grille a bit with one of Honda's optional designs.
The sheetmetal hides Honda's excellent turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, an engine derived and detuned from the maniacal Civic Type R. It's admittedly not as melodious as Honda's lovely naturally aspirated V6s, but as far as inline-fours go, it's a silky one that emits an angry purr when caned. And when it isn't being driven hard, it's quiet and unobtrusive. Any loss in engine note is made up for by the engine's output. It makes 252 horsepower and an even more noteworthy 273 pound-feet of torque that comes on at just 1,500 rpm, meaning there's no waiting for boost. The power holds on through the mid-range before starting to ease up at the high end of the tachometer, but you'll never notice on your daily commute, and only barely notice on an enthusiastic backroad romp.
Fuel economy comes in at 26 mpg combined for the Touring trim I tested, which is right on par with other high-output turbo and V6 engines in the class. If you care more about fuel economy than power, the Touring trim can be had with a hybrid powertrain that gets 48 mpg across the board.
Back in our test car, the 2.0-liter engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic instead of the 1.5-liter engine's CVT. It's an excellent transmission that shifts seamlessly and quickly. It picks gears wisely too, meaning no hunting or multiple shifts to muddle the demands of your right foot. And if you're feeling friskier, there's a Sport mode that holds gears longer for more rpm and more excitement. There are shift paddles for manual gear selection, but it still automatically upshifts a few rpm shy of redline. Combined with its excellent automatic selection, it's best to just let it do its thing.
If you really have to pick your own gears, the good news is that Honda does offer a six-speed manual on the lower Sport trim. It's available with either the 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter engines. It's a typically slick Honda shifter, and it's amazing it exists since manuals have disappeared from every other midsize sedan, even on the entry-level Mazda6.
The engine and transmission are fitted to a well-rounded chassis. The Touring model I tested had adaptive suspension (a standard and exclusive feature on the Touring), and in normal mode, it's quite soft, almost a little floaty. It's the ideal choice for long drives or rough city streets when comfort is your top priority. Sport mode stiffens things up, but not so much that it's uncomfortable. If I lived somewhere with better roads, I'd probably leave it in Sport mode all the time. Once you're done with relaxed driving, you can take advantage of the quick and well-weighted steering. It could have a bit more feel and precision, but it's a solid helm. The car reacts quickly and it grips pretty well. It definitely feels tuned for understeer, and there's a fair bit of body roll, but it's still an able handler.
The Accord is pretty nice inside, too, with instrument panel and infotainment screens that are bright and sharp. The infotainment system is the best in any Honda with quick responses and big, easily legible and easy-to-tap icons. It's a far cry from the ugly, unresponsive, low-resolution system still plaguing the Civic and Ridgeline. It's supported by nice physical buttons and switches. The temperature control knobs also get a little flair in the form of backlighting that changes to red or blue if you increase or decrease the temperature. The Touring has some extra exclusive gadgetry such as a bright, clear heads-up display, wireless phone charging, navigation and rain-sensing wipers.
The seating position is great and lets the driver get as low or as high as desired, and the low sills mean the cabin is airy and visibility is excellent. There's loads of space for front and rear passengers, too, though it would be nice if the front seats were a bit more sculpted. As they are, the bolsters are decent, but the middles are a little too flat. The weakest links of the interior are style and materials. The plastics are good but feel a little low grade in our top-spec Touring test car. It does have very attractive open-pore woodgrain trim that looks great until you touch it (solution: don't touch it).
And while we're on the topic of mild disappointment, it's worth noting that our Accord Touring's price of $36,870 is about $1,000 more than comparable competitors including the Toyota Camry XLE V6, Mazda6 Signature Turbo and Nissan Altima Platinum VC-Turbo. But unless you must have the Toyota's silky V6 or the Mazda's sumptuous interior, the Accord's combination of a strong engine and transmission, comfortable ride and quick handling, roomy interior, and easy, breezy controls and infotainment can't be beat. It's a conclusion echoed by our three-car comparison test in which the Accord came out on top.
All told, the Accord Touring is great at being a comfortable, classy car. And really, each version of the Accord is pretty damn good at being what it's supposed to be ( the 2.0-liter manual is convincingly sporty, for example). But what's really impressive is that none of the Accords sacrifice much to achieve their goals. In the case of our Touring, it's comfort-oriented but still quite sporty when you want it to be. Or in the case of a Hybrid Touring, it's still frugal while being plush. The Accord as a model line does everything well, and the Accord Touring adds to that by giving you everything the model has.