The latest automotive sales figures show that SUVs have been flying out of U.S. showrooms. Sales of sedans? Not so much.
But with the 2018 Accord, Honda’s not scared. The company’s attitude is like, “What decline in sedan sales?”
Later this month, Honda will bust out the 10th generation Accord, one of the best-selling cars of all time.
“News concerning the death of mid-size cars, or at least our mid-size cars, is greatly exaggerated,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of American Honda. After apologizing to Mark Twain, Conrad pointed out that the mid-size sedan segment still ranks third in the market, behind only SUVs and compact cars.
With four straight years of sales growth, Conrad said the Honda Accord outsells all but two SUVs in America – the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. In fact, if the Accord was a brand all to itself, it would rank 13th in the market, outselling 30 other entire brands, Conrad added.
The all-new 2018 Accord has a longer wheelbase, and it’s lower and wider than the previous generation. Overall, though, it is slightly smaller on the outside and significantly larger on the inside thanks to some innovative design work.
Backseat passengers are the primary beneficiaries, getting 40.4 inches of legroom, or an additional 1.9 inches.
Honda invited auto journalists to New Hampshire’s White Mountains to test drive the new Accord, which will go on sale at the end of this month.
For 2018, Honda is ditching the V6, turning solely to a pair of strong turbocharged 4-cylinders to power the Accord. A 1.5-liter turbo-4 will develop 192 horsepower and 192 lb.-ft. of torque, while a 2.0-liter turbo-4 will kick out 252 horses and 273 lb.-ft. of torque.
On the 2.0T trims, the transmission is a new 10-speed automatic, and the 1.5T models get a continuously variable automatic transmission. A 6-speed manual is still available on both.
The 1.5T is available in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L and a new Touring trim that adds significant new features like a heads-up display, LED headlights, wireless phone charging and ventilated seats, a feature especially useful in our south Louisiana heat. The 2.0T comes in Sport, EX-L and Touring.
I got behind the wheel in each trim, including a hybrid model. My favorite was the 2.0T Touring, and of course, it’s the most expensive model, starting at $35,800.
The least expensive 2.0T Accord is the new Sport model, which starts at $30,310. The least expensive 1.5T Accord is the LX, which starts at $23,570.
I pushed the new Accord through twisting New Hampshire roads and came away with the initial impression that it is much improved over what was already good. The turbo-4 engines are powerful, and the cabin is quiet as a church mouse.
Three selectable driving modes will be available – Normal, Sport and ECON – which help the 1.5T Accord get 30 city miles and 38 highway miles per gallon. Honda expects the 2.0T will get 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway when final EPA numbers are in.
The cabin is roomy and comfortable, and technology includes the Honda Sensing safety system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, traffic sign recognition, a heads-up display, wireless changing and Honda’s next generation of HondaLink Assist.
The exterior of the Accord is clean and sporty, but at the same time mature. Attracting new youthful drivers is important to every brand, and the Accord is cool enough to attract those young drivers. But it doesn’t pander to them.
Those of us old enou… uh, experienced enough, already know about the Accord’s reputation for durability and safety.
2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring
2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Manufacturer mileage estimates:
23 mpg city / 34 mpg highway
Estimated highway range: