Honda's 2018 Accord Does It All, Even Better

The interior of the 2018 Honda Accord features quality materials and an ergonomic layout.

The interior of the 2018 Honda Accord features...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you were born in the mid-1970s or later, the Honda Accord is likely the best-selling car of your lifetime.

Remarkably, sales of Honda's midsize family sedan have held up, and even grown, over the decades; and now Honda sells more Accords each year than 30 carmakers sell vehicles across their entire fleets. Let that sink in.

So, as SUVs continue to eat up market share, the Accord remains a core vehicle for one of the world's premiere automakers.

The redesigned 2018 Accord represents the 10th generation of the classic nameplate. After a week in a top-of-the-line 2.0T Touring model, we can say with confidence that Honda has hit the bulls-eye with its sleek, new Accord, which has taken a leap forward in design sophistication and performance.

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Accords are available locally at Economy Honda, one of the highest-volume dealerships in the Chattanooga area, and at Honda of Cleveland, just up the road off I-75 at Exit 20. Both dealerships have an abundant supply of 2018 Accords in stock this week.

Fast Facts

-Model: 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring

-Exterior color: Radiant Red Metallic

-Interior color: Ivory

-Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder

-Horsepower: 252

-Transmission: 10-speed automatic

-Fuel economy: 32 mpg highway, 22 mpg city

-Local Dealer: Economy Honda (Chattanooga), Honda of Cleveland

-Price (as tested): $36,690

Our Radiant Red Metallic Accord 2.0T Touring tester, supplied by the manufacturer, represents the kitchen-sink version of the new model. It includes a powerful 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that replaces the V-6 variant which is no longer available. This year also sees the sun-setting of the two-door coupe version of the Accord.

Our tester has an MRSP of $36,690 — a pretty penny for a mass market family car. But, truth be told, the Accord Touring rivals many luxury sedans for refinement and features. A base LX starts at $23,570 and a mid-trim EX has an asking price of $27,470.

STYLING AND FEATURES

The new Accord has a 2.1-inch longer wheelbase and lower roof-line than the outgoing model. Sitting next to a new Hyundai Sonata in our driveway this week, the Honda was noticeably lower to the ground, giving it a sportier stance than the Hyundai. This represents a departure for Accord design, which has always been conservative with a tall roof-line for greater outward visibility.

A new LED headlight and nose assembly has an aggressive, wrap-around architecture that draws your eyes to the yawning black grille. The wide spacing of the grille bars leads to more transparency than we'd like to see, and takes away from the otherwise well-executed exterior.

Gently flared wheel-wells and long, horizontal character lines give the new Accord panache, as does its coupe-like roof-line which adds to the car's sporty vibe. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels compliment the upscale look.

Inside is where the new Accord really shines. The last generation Accord had a busy dash, with too much going on visually for our eyes. The new Accord interior strikes us as similar to the well-reviewed Mazda 6 design, only with more room and better materials. Our tester has an attractive ivory-and-black color theme, with light leather seats contrasted by dark dash and door panels.

Overall, the interior is simple and comfortable; two undervalued commodities in car design. The beefy steering wheel has that "just-right" feel in your hands. The gauges are all highly legible, and an iPad Mini-sized touchscreen in the middle of the dash is big and bright with intuitive controls. Many thanks to Honda for equipping the new Accord with volume and tuning knobs. Why some automakers took away knobs is one of life's great mysteries.

The leather-clad seats offer ample width and good support. Rear seat legroom, already generous, has grown even more with the longer wheelbase in the new model. Back seat passengers can travel in stretched-out comfort in the new Accord.

The Touring has Honda's full menu of safety-tech options including adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitoring.

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

Two engine variants are available on the new Accord. Lower and mid-trim models get a 1.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that makes an ample 192 horsepower. Our tester comes equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that makes 252 horsepower. The two-liter engine can propel the Accord from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, according to Car and Driver.

The smaller engine is mated to a CVT and the 2.0-liter comes connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission. If you can spring for the bigger engine and traditional transmission we recommend the reach. Fuel economy in the 2.0T Touring is a respectable 32 mpg highway and 22 mpg city.

In our daily commute along Highway 27 in Chattanooga, the Accord displayed refined road manners. Kicking in the turbo means getting deep into the throttle, but the payoff in acceleration is immediate. It's hard to imagine a pricier Acura sedan driving much better.

BOTTOM LINE

The Accord is a safe, solid choice. Ten generations of evolutionary improvements have resulted in a near-perfect family sedan with enough baked-in goodness to ensure state-of-the-art technology, great value and a blissful driving experience. It's a one-size-fits-all solution to car-buying that frees millions of loyal buyers from the worry of what their next car will be. They simply trade in their Accord on a new one every few years and reap the many benefits of Honda ownership.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/ mkennedycolumnist.

Source : http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/diary/story/2017/dec/16/test-drive-2018-hondaccord-hexcellend-baked-i/459326/

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