Honda has rolled out its redesigned Accord midsize sedan for 2018, giving it a complete makeover that brings cutting-edge styling, new turbocharged engines, more technology and other key interior and exterior changes.
The Accord, which marked its 40th anniversary in the U.S. last year, is virtually all new or “substantially re-engineered,” Honda says. As before, it comes in gasoline-only and gasoline-electric hybrid versions.
Under the hood of the gasoline-only models is a new 1.5-liter turbocharged direct-injected inline four-cylinder engine with Variable Timing Control, connected to a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission; or, in select trim levels, an optional 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo four-cylinder with a 10-speed automatic transmission and manual shift paddles.
The Accord Hybrid model comes with the third-generation Honda iMMD two-motor hybrid power unit, paired with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine.
Other new Accord features for 2018 include 29 percent ultra-high strength steel in the body/frame, a new ultra-rigid aluminum and steel sub-frame, variable-ratio electronic power steering, electronic brake booster, electric parking brake with automatic brake hold, and five new alloy wheel designs in 17- and 19-inch sizes.
There are six trim levels that come with the 1.5-liter turbo engine: the LX CVT ($23,570, plus $895 freight); Sport manual ($25,780), Sport CVT ($25,780), EX CVT ($27,470), EX-L CVT ($29,970), EX-L CVT with Navigation ($30,970), and Touring CVT ($33,800). Leather interiors are standard on EX-L and Touring models.
Models with the 2.0-liter engine are the Sport 2.0T manual ($30,310), Sport 2.0T 10-speed automatic ($30,310), EX-L 2.0T 10AT ($31,970), EX-L 2.0T 10AT Navi ($32,970), and Touring 2.0T 10AT ($35,800), which we tested for this report.
Accord Hybrid trims include the base Hybrid ($25,100, plus $890 freight), EX ($28,890), EX-L ($31,440), EX-L Navi ($32,440), and Touring ($34,710).
Connectivity and driver-assistance technologies include standard Honda Sensing with Traffic Sign Recognition, which on our test vehicle even picked up school and construction zone speed limits, projecting them on the head-up display at the bottom of the windshield above the instrument panel.
Our Touring model also had an eight-inch Display Audio/Navigation system with over-the-air updates, next-generation HondaLink telematics, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, wireless device charging and fast Bluetooth phone pairing.
The 2018 Accord is built on new architecture, with a lower, wider stance, lighter and more-rigid body structure; a lighter and more-sophisticated chassis; and Honda’s first turbocharged engines.
Only the two four-cylinder engines are offered; the V-6 option has been dropped. This helps to slightly reduce the Accord’s overall exterior profile, while maintaining a roomy interior. It does not reduce performance, especially with the turbocharged 2,0-liter four cylinder on our Touring tester, which had quite impressive off-the-line acceleration.
The new Accord has a 2.16-inch longer wheelbase, but is 0.39 inch shorter overall than the previous generation. It also is 0.59 inch lower, but has a body that is 0.39 inch wider, with a wider track, front and rear. The seating position is lower, as well – one inch in the front and 0.79 inch in the rear.
These changes were made to give the Accord a more-premium look, highlighted by shorter overhangs, a bold front fascia, a long and low hood, and a visual center of gravity closer to the rear wheels, Honda said. Overall weight has been lowered by up to 176 pounds, depending on trim level.
There is an additional 1.9 inches of rear legroom, and overall passenger volume has increased by 2.5 cubic feet. Seats have been moved inward to improve hip, shoulder and head room, while enhancing occupants' freedom of movement.
Trunk space is a roomy 16.7 cubic feet on all models, up nearly a cubic foot on gasoline-only versions, and up 3.2 cubic feet on the hybrid. The hybrid gained cargo space from relocation of the battery pack to under the rear seat.
A 60/40 split/folding rear seatback is standard on all models except the LX, which has just a one-piece folding seatback.
Outside is a new upright front fascia highlighted by a chrome-wing front grille positioned above a large air intake. Included are full-LED headlights and LED fog lights.
A new “laser brazing” process is used to attach the roof to the body side panels, and the Accord’s new wide rear end is finished with an upswept deck lid and LED light-pipe taillights. Integrated dual exhaust ports are available.
The Accord now has a more-upscale cabin, with lots of new and improved technology. The goal was to give the car the look and feel of a premium sedan, rather than the mass-market model it actually is, and the designers did a good job of it.
There is a new soft-touch instrument panel, a contoured sport steering wheel with deep-set thumb rests and paddle shifters (on Sport and Touring models), more deeply padded armrests, higher shoulder bolstering, more seat padding with variable firmness, and a new 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with height-adjustable lumbar support. Up front are new heated bucket seats, which are also ventilated on the Touring model. Our Touring model also had a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat.
The new Honda-developed 10-speed automatic transmission comes only with the 2.0-liter engine. The six-speed manual gearbox is available with either of the turbo engines, but only in the Sport trim.
The 1.5-liter turbo engine cranks out 192 horsepower and 192 foot-pounds of torque. That’s up from 185 horsepower in the 2016 model’s normally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder.
With the 2.0-liter turbo engine, you’ll get 252 horsepower and 273 foot-pounds of torque.
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 1.5-liter manual are 26 mpg city/35 highway/30 combined; with the CVT, 30/38/33 on the LX and EX models, and 29/35/31 on the Sport and Touring versions.
For the 2.0-liter engine, ratings are 22 city/32 highway/26 combined on Sport models with either transmission, and on the Touring model with the 10-speed automatic. The 2.0-liter ratings are 23/34/27 with the EX-L and EX-L Navi models with the 10-speed.
With mostly highway driving, we averaged nearly 31 mpg with our Touring model with the 2.0-liter engine and 10-speed transmission. We did use the standard radar cruise control most of the time.
The Accord Hybrid gets the third-generation Honda hybrid system with a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, paired with two electric motors and a special hybrid continuously variable transmission. EPA ratings are 47 mpg across the board on all hybrid trim levels.
Included on all Accord models is the newest version of Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure with a “crash stroke front frame, tailor-tempered rear frame members for improved crash-energy absorption, and the extensive use of structural adhesives for increased rigidity, cabin quietness and weight reduction,” Honda says.
Absent from our test vehicle was one of our favorite Honda exclusive features from the previous generation, the optional Honda LaneWatch, a blind-spot monitoring system for the right side that used a camera mounted on the outside mirror on the passenger side to project the view to the right of the vehicle when the right turn signal was activated. Instead, our 2018 Accord Touring had a standard blind-spot monitoring system that activated warning signals in the outside mirrors when there was a vehicle in the adjacent lane on either side of the car.
All models come with multi-angle rearview camera system with guidelines, the adaptive cruise control, traffic-sign recognition, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, collision and road-departure mitigation systems, forward collision warning, and, on all but LX and Sport trims, the blind-spot information system with cross-traffic monitor.
Our vehicle’s Lane Keep Assist System actually would steer the vehicle on the open freeway, keeping it centered between the lane-marker lines. But whenever I took my hands off the steering wheel for more than a few seconds, a warning sign would light up on the center of the instrument panel telling me that steering was necessary. It just wasn’t ready to take over control for me, I suppose.
Basic safety equipment includes electronic stability control with traction control, front seat-mounted side air bags, roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for both rows, driver and front passenger knee air bags, tire-pressure monitoring, and antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
Standard on all models is a security system, along with remote entry and trunk release, dual-zone automatic climate control, pushbutton start, dual illuminated sun visor vanity mirrors, and a capless fuel filler.
Our Touring model had comfortable leather front seats and a three-person rear bench with decent leg and knee room for the rear passengers. In the front center console area, there was a cubby/tray for phones to the front of the shifter, with both a 12-volt power outlet and USB port, which activated Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, depending on which phone was connected. There was an additional USB port inside the center console box.
Honda does not offer options – each model has its own specific set of features, with the Touring 2.0 Turbo model getting virtually every feature and upgrade you can get on an Accord.
Total sticker price for my Touring 2.0 Turbo model was $36,695, including freight.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @gchambers3.
2018 Honda Accord sedan
The package: Midsize, four-door, five-passenger, front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder gasoline only or four-cylinder gasoline-electric hybrid-powered sedan.
Highlights: Honda’s popular midsize sedan got a complete makeover for 2018, with dramatic new styling, an upscale interior and lots of new safety and driver-assist technology.
Engines: 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder, turbocharged (standard); 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, turbocharged (optional); 2.0-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gasoline engine and two electric motors (hybrid).
Transmission: Six-speed manual (Sport only); continuously variable automatic (1.5-liter models only); 10-speed automatic (2.0-liter turbo models); electric CVT (hybrid).
Power/torque: 192 HP./192 foot-pounds (base 1.5-liter); 252 HP./273 foot-pounds (2.0 turbo); 143 HP./129 foot-pounds (2.0 gasoline, hybrid).
Length: 192.2 inches.
Curb weight range: 3,131-3,428 pounds.
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Electronic stability control: Standard.
Side air bags: Front seat-mounted; side-curtain for both rows.
Trunk capacity: 16.7 cubic feet.
EPA fuel economy: 26 mpg city/35 highway/30 combined (1.5-liter, manual); 30/38/33 (1.5-liter, CVT, LX and EX); 29/35/31 (1.5, CVT, Sport, Touring); 22/32/26 (2.0, Sport, Touring. 10-speed); 23/34/27 (2.0, 10-speed, EX-L); 47/47/47 (hybrid).
Fuel capacity/type: 14.8 gallons/regular unleaded (gasoline models); 12.8 gallons, unleaded regular (hybrid).
Major competitors: Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Volkswagen Passat, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Subaru Legacy, Mazda6, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima. Hybrids: Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata.
Base price range: $23,570-$35,800, plus $895 freight (gasoline models); $25,100-$34,710, plus $890 freight (hybrid).
Prices as tested: $36,695, including freight (Touring 2.0 Turbo model)
On the Road rating: 9.3 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer's suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.