It’s painfully obvious that the sedan segment is shrinking. It started with the full size sedan, which has largely died off and now the future of the midsize sedan is in jeopardy, all thanks to the crossover. Well Honda believes that there’s still life in the segment and to help combat the growing competition, Honda has completely revamped the popular Accord for the 2018 model year. Just like Toyota, Honda has also realized that if it hopes to keep the Accord alive, it has to give it more than a spacious interior and a reliable powertrain – it needs to stand out.
Compared to the last generation Accord, which had a sophisticated, yet somewhat restrained look, Honda has injected an extra dose of style into the all-new 2018 Accord. The Accord shares many of its design details with the smaller Civic and under the skin it even rides on the same platform. At the front the former traditional grille has been replaced by a much larger setup that’s more in your face, but not quite as much as the latest Camry. As you move back towards the rear you’re greeted with more creases and a more low slung look that makes that Accord look more planted than before. The C-pillar gets an interesting crease and the C-shaped taillights are a nice change.
Inside the 2018 Accord is just as spacious as before, but the biggest difference here is the more stylish and luxurious overall feel that sets it apart from the last generation. The dashboard is dominated by an 8-inch touchscreen that’s light years ahead of the former dual screen set up. The Accord’s infotainment system is now the best in the Honda lineup, with better graphics, easier functionality and more features. In front of the driver there’s also a second digital screen that’s fully customizable. The dashboard also looks cleaner with less buttons than before and there’s even a hidden well with wireless charging capability for your phone.
After over 20 years, the Accord is once again only offered with four-cylinder engines. But don’t worry, the six-cylinder may be gone, but the Accord now comes standard with turbocharged engines. The base 2018 Accord is powered by the same 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder offered in the Civic. It generates 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft. of torque. If you want something more fun, the Accord has borrowed the Civic Type R’s 2.0L four-cylinder, although it’s been detuned a bit. The 2.0L generates 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. The 1.5L is mated to either a CVT or six-speed manual transmission, while the 2.0L gets either a 10-speed automatic of six-speed manual. Yup you can get the 2.0L with a six-speed manual! Want something more efficient? The 2018 Accord Hybrid is available with a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine that’s mated to an electric propulsion motor. The hybrid system generates 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft. of torque.
The Accord’s fuel economy specs differ based on which engine and transmission you choose, the trim level. The 1.5L mated to a CVT is the most fuel efficient at 30/38 mpg, while the six-speed manual is rated at 26/35 mpg. Step up to the 2.0L and it’s rated as high as 23/34 mpg with the 10-speed automatic and 26/35 mpg with the six-speed manual. The 2018 Accord Hybrid is rated at 47/47 mpg.
Honda gave us the keys to a 2018 Accord Sport 2.0T with the manual transmission. Before we get into how great it is, it’s just a shame that more buyers don’t choose manual transmissions, since the 2.0L and the manual in the Accord is pure excellence. Push the start button, throw it into first gear and you’re greeted with an experience that you probably wouldn’t expect in a midsize sedan. So much fun. Pushing the six-speed manual through its gears is effortless and the shifter’s throws are tight and short. Pull away from a stop fast and you’ll easily spin the front wheels, you can even manage to do spin the wheels shifting between the second and third gears.
If there’s one thing that could be improved, the Accord’s steering is a bit too light. But once you get past that, the rest of the experience is superb. The Accord feels light on its feet and the suspension keeps everything flat, unlike some other midsize sedans. Push it hard and the Accord simply says “keep going,” but drive it like you’re not racing for pink slips and the Accord is effortless and comfortable.
It remains to be seen if the midsize sedan will be able to hold a good fight against the crossover, but Honda’s latest attempt is ready to fight. The 2018 Accord not only stands out on the outside, but under the skin it is a lot more fun than that “me too” crossover.
Pricing for the 2018 Honda Accord starts at $24,460.