Honda Accord Review
Few vehicles over the past four decades have garnered as much respect in America as the Honda Accord. It hasn’t achieved this status by being sporty, glamorous or sexy. Instead, every year it has offered what most Americans want out of their daily transportation. Take an Accord for a test drive and you’ll find it comfortable, roomy, intelligently engineered and easy to drive. Research it, and you’ll find it backed by a solid reputation for reliability, strong resale value and an emphasis on safety.
It is true that some competing sedans or coupes hold certain advantages over the Accord. Some are faster; others are more prestigious or less expensive. What’s special about the Honda Accord, though, is its scarcity of faults. It scores well in all of the categories that matter to people shopping for a family-friendly vehicle, not just a few. When examined from a holistic standpoint, it’s easy to see why this Honda model has become an automotive icon and one of our editors’ top recommendations.
The Honda Accord is offered as a sedan or coupe and in a number of trim levels. Sedans’ trims include LX, Sport, Sport Special Edition (Sport SE), EX, EX-L, EX-L V6 and Touring. Coupes come in LX-S, EX, EX-L, EX-L V6 and Touring trims.
The base sedan and coupe are well equipped with such features as alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7.7-inch central display, Bluetooth connectivity, rearview camera, height-adjustable driver seat, one-piece folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system. Moving up through the trim levels adds such niceties as power seats, sunroof, LED lighting, upgraded infotainment systems, remote start and leather seating. A suite of advanced driver safety aids, including forward collision warning and mitigation, is optional on most Accords.
Standard power comes via a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The same engine in the Sport trim level produces 189 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque, while opting for the EX-L V6 nets a 3.5-liter powerplant rated at 278 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque paired with a six-speed automatic.
In reviews, we’ve been impressed with this Accord’s agile demeanor, spirited acceleration (especially with the V6), refined CVT performance, excellent fuel economy and roomy, comfortable cabin. On the road, the Accord provides a comfortable, composed ride while still offering excellent handling and light but positive steering feedback. We’re not particularly fond of the touchscreen interface, but overall this is a great choice for a midsize sedan or coupe.
Used Honda Accord Models
Unusually, the current ninth-generation Honda Accord, introduced in 2013, isn’t bigger and heavier than the one it replaced. That was likely a response to criticism that the previous Accord had become too large and too soft. As such, this slightly smaller successor not only boasts impressively high fuel economy but also marks a return to the sporty driving dynamics of much earlier Accords.
Compared to the previous model, this Accord’s interior has a more cohesive design, higher-quality materials and easier-to-use controls. And although it’s nearly 4 inches shorter in length than the preceding generation, this Accord has more rear-seat legroom and trunk capacity. So far, no major changes have occurred since its debut, but 2016 and newer Accords feature revised styling, an updated touchscreen with smartphone integration, and a more robust collection of optional driver safety features.
The eighth-generation Accord (2008-2012) was bigger than prior models yet boasted better engine performance without any loss of fuel efficiency. As before, it was available as a midsize coupe or sedan and in a variety of trim levels to suit almost any buyer’s needs. Entry-level LX versions provided the basic amenities, and the top-of-the-line EX-L featured items such as leather upholstery, Bluetooth and an optional navigation system. All Accords came with a full array of safety equipment, including side curtain airbags and stability control.
Engine choices consisted of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (with 177 hp for LX trims and 190 hp for EX trims) and a 3.5-liter V6 with 271 hp (268 hp for 2008). The four-cylinder came with a five-speed manual transmission as standard and a five-speed automatic as optional. The V6 sedans came with a five-speed automatic, though V6-equipped coupes also were available with a six-speed manual. The most notable changes to this generation took place for 2011, when it saw a bump in fuel economy and the availability of previously lacking features, such as an iPod-USB interface, a rearview camera and shift paddles for the automatic transmission.
In reviews, we found this generation to be a satisfying family sedan or midsize coupe, despite increased competition from numerous rivals. Strong points included a roomy cabin, an agreeable ride-and-handling balance, crashworthiness and reliability, while points were deducted for a button-happy dash, merely average materials quality (previous Accords were known for high-quality cabins), noticeable road noise and mediocre braking performance.
Many other used Honda Accords you’ll encounter will represent the vehicle’s seventh generation (2003-2007). It was available as a coupe or sedan, and choosing an Accord from this generation should be rather straightforward. Initially, there were three trim levels: DX, LX and EX. The DX was pretty sparse on features, so an LX or EX would be a better choice. Side and side curtain airbags were typically optional on all trim levels.
Under the hood was a 2.4-liter inline-four with 160 hp or a 3.0-liter V6 engine with 260 hp. Four-cylinder engines could be had with either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual was only available on the V6-powered EX Coupe.
Honda introduced the Accord Hybrid in 2005. This model’s V6 gasoline-electric powertrain produced 255 hp and, in theory, the best fuel economy of the lineup. In real-world use, however, the car’s fuel economy was somewhat disappointing, and people balked at its higher price. Very few of those first Accord Hybrids were sold.
The most significant changes of this generation occurred in 2006 when the Accord received freshened exterior styling and more power for both engines. Stability control also debuted this year, as did minor modifications to trim-level organization. In reviews we praised the car for its roomy and stylish interior, tight build quality, smooth ride and good crash test scores. Downsides included tepid handling and mediocre brakes. All said, however, this Accord was an excellent choice for a family sedan or midsize coupe.
The sixth-generation Honda Accord (1998-2002) is also very popular in the used-car market. This model came in coupe or sedan body styles and had either four-cylinder or V6 power. In a nine-car comparison test conducted by our Edmunds editors, this car finished in second place. We noted that the Accord was not exactly entertaining to drive but was very user-friendly and competent in all areas. Buyers should feel relatively free to look at models throughout this generation because Honda didn’t make any drastic changes during its run, though cars built after 2000 have expanded safety features.
A well-kept fifth-generation Accord (1994-1997) should make for a smart choice for those on a budget. This model boasted the typical Accord attributes and, as a used car, should provide better than average reliability, assuming it’s been properly maintained by previous owners. This generation marked the first time Honda used its VTEC variable valve timing system. A VTEC-equipped four-cylinder engine came with the EX trim level. Accord models from 1995 on also had a V6 available. This generation was also the last for the rare Accord wagon.