Eager to keep its roll of new vehicles going, Honda has an all-new Accord for 2018 that it hopes will keep people interested in this well-known nameplate even as sedans continue to fight tooth-and-nail for sales against crossovers and SUVs.
This is no half-baked refresh of an existing model: The mid-size Accord has received as significant an update as the smaller Civic got in 2016. Beyond the completely new exterior design, the Accord gets a pair of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, one of which is a 1.5L to replace last year's naturally-aspirated 2.4L, the other being a 2.0L that kicks the old 3.5L V6 to the curb.
While the 1.5L sticks with a continuously variable automatic (CVT) like that used in four-cylinder models from the past few model years, the 2.0L gets a brand-new 10-speed automatic that Honda says is the first of its kind in a front-wheel drive car.
Power ratings are 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque from the 1.5L and 252 hp/273 lb-ft in the 2.0L, which Honda says owes much of its design to the engine in the Civic Type R hot hatch.
There will also be a new Accord Hybrid pairing a 2.0L non-turbo engine with a pair of electric motors Honda says are notable for their lack of any heavy metals. Those motors will be fed by a new, smaller battery pack that fits under the trunk floor to preserve cargo space.
This latest Accord comes right on time, as Toyota has a new version of its Camry mid-size sedan out for 2018 as well. These two have been close competitors for decades, but Honda's new turbo engines marks the first time the pair's powertrains have diverged significantly: Toyota has opted to stick with naturally-aspirated four- and six-cylinder engines rather than dive into turbocharging the way so many other automakers have in recent years.
The Accord's new look lends the car something of a fastback profile, though this is indeed a traditional sedan. A wheelbase stretched by 55 mm contributes to a back seat with 75 mm more legroom than the outgoing car, while a body 10 mm wider suggests there should be more shoulder room for everyone inside.
Honda says the Accord's interior is a more spacious, more tech-intensive environment than that of its predecessor, incorporating an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with physical knobs for volume and tuning and a seven-inch customizable gauge cluster display. There's also an available head-up display the driver can fine tune to show the information most important to them.
Notably, all Accords will come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety kit, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, LaneWatch blind spot display, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow. A multi-angle backup camera will be standard too, while blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors and cross traffic monitoring will be available as options.
Trim levels will include LX, Sport, EX-L and Touring for 1.5L models, Sport and Touring with the 2.0L turbo engine and base and Touring trims for the Accord Hybrid.