All-New 2018 Honda Accord is supremely excellent

By Jim Prueter

(June 2, 2018) For 2018, Honda has introduced an all-new 10th-generation Accord, a nameplate that has long been one of the most recognized and best-selling vehicles in the U.S marketplace. The new Accord was quickly bestowed with numerous “best-of” awards, including North American Car of the Year at the Detroit International Auto Show in January.

But despite being critically acclaimed, it seems no amount of plaudits have made car shoppers eager to buy midsized family sedans. Accord isn’t alone in this dilemma; sedan sales throughout the industry are more than struggling. Buyers just can’t seem to satisfy their appetite for higher riding SUVs, CUVs and light trucks, which account for about two-thirds of new car sales. Further, market experts expect the trend toward utility vehicles and trucks to continue for the foreseeable future.  

Slow sales of the new Accord means Honda had more than a 100-day supply on dealer lots as of May 1, much higher than the industry average 70-day supply. In response, Honda is cutting production at its Marysville, Ohio, manufacturing plant which has been building Accords by the millions since 1982.

Still, while sales are down and slowing, Accord does sell in high numbers; 83,342 were sold January through March of this year, compared to 96,753 during the same period in 2017. That’s a drop of nearly 14 percent.

But even as the sales of utility vehicles and light trucks increase, manufacturers, including Honda, remain committed to building and delivering a balance of cars and light truck/utility vehicles. The all-new Accord remains an important model in that mix.

Make no mistake, the new Accord is an extraordinarily impressive vehicle, not only in its midsize car class but perhaps overall. Its terrific driving dynamics, advanced driver assistance features, outstanding crash test scores, and predicted quality and reliability ratings give it great bang-for-the-buck value.

Among the most significant news for 2018 is the decision to discontinue the V-6 engine option in favor of just two powertrain choices: either a turbocharged 1.5-liter, 192-horsepower inline four cylinder with choice of a continuously variable automatic transmission or six-speed manual shifter; or a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder producing 252-horsepower, paired with an avaricious 10-speed automatic transmission, or the six-speed manual.

There’s also an Accord Hybrid powered by a two-motor 2.0-liter Atkinson inline-four engine with 143-horsepower output, combined with an electric motor for a total system output of 212 horsepower. The hybrid model uses a CVT automatic transmission.

Our test Accord was the top-of-the-line Touring trim level with the 10-speed automatic and a base price of $35,800. After spending a week behind the wheel, I can confidently say that Accord engineers made a brilliant choice by eliminating the V-6. Matched with the 10-speed automatic, the ebullient choice of the 2.0-liter arrives at 60 mph from a standing start in just 5.6 seconds, delivering all the power most every driver will demand.

With substantially more high strength steel for a stronger unibody construction, and an all-new suspension underpinning the new Accord, it drives and handles far beyond what we would have expected. And loaded up with gads of additional sound deadening materials, along with Bose-like active noise cancellation, it not only drives exceptionally sure and agile, it’s amazingly quiet.

Inside, the Accord feels much nicer than before, thanks to more soft-touch materials and the new stylish design. Both front and back seats are especially roomy with outstanding legroom in the rear. The Accord also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, operated with an easy-to-use touch screen with redundant physical knobs and buttons for most functions.

If there was one thing we didn’t like it was the new exterior design. Reasonable people often disagree on issues like taste, so some may actually find it attractive. The profile almost looks like it’s a hatchback rather than a sedan, á la the Audi A7. It’s certainly a departure from the previous Accord redo, but it certainly left me scratching my head in bewilderment. For those who were wondering, Honda has also eliminated the Accord coupe for 2018.

Standard equipment includes the full suite of Honda’s driver assistance systems, including front-collision mitigation (emergency braking), lane-keeping assistance and road-departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, i.e., the traffic-jam function. Accord also adds driver and front-passenger knee airbags for the first time, plus rain-sensing windshield wipers, an electric parking brake and available LED headlights.

Our Touring model includes HondaLink telematics for remote engine starting, cabin temperature control, locking and unlocking doors via smartphone, a Wi-Fi hotspot, automatic emergency calling, stolen-vehicle tracking, and rear cross-traffic monitoring.

The new Accord earned a 2018 Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and highest possible five stars in all categories from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It’s easy to see why the new 10th generation Accord was chosen as 2018 North American Car of the Year. From excellent engines and transmissions, superb road manners, an all-new, attractive and supremely hushed interior, to a long list of standard safety features and crash test scores, the new Accord is a no excuses vehicle that will sell itself. That is, unless car shoppers are also test-driving a light truck or utility vehicle.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $23,570 - $35,800
Price as Tested: $36,690
Powertrain: 2.0-liter 252-hp turbo-charged 4-cylinder and 10-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
Fuel Economy: 22-MPG City – 32-MPG Highway
Seating: 5

Crash Test Ratings: IIHS – Top Safety Pick, NHTSA – Overall 5-Star

Competes With:
Chevrolet Malibu
Ford Fusion
Hyundai Sonata
Nissan Altima
Toyota Camry
Volkswagen Passat

Fab Features:
Spacious, comfortable, quiet, upscale cabin
Loaded with standard safety and driver assistance features
Engaging driving experience