Mid-cycle refresh for mid-size Honda Accord

Like the rest of its stable mates, the Accord Touring builds on a new, more structurally sound platform featuring reinforced components, and in this trim level, also benefits from bigger front brakes and upsized 19-inch wheels and tires.

  • accord touring

THE PROS & CONS

    • What’s Best: One of the most popular midsize sedans in the segment further evolved this year with improved driving dynamics, a cosmetic overhaul and with the latest apps and technologies.
    • What’s Worst: It’s all about the tech in the latest Accords, with voice recognition and smartphone like touchscreen operation. Modern, but not necessarily better. Just more scrolling and hunting.
    • What’s Interesting: Despite the current CUV craze, there’s a dedicated customer base still providing strong sales stats for mid-size family sedans.

Let’s turn the clock back 40 years and picture the launch of the then all-new 1976 Honda Accord, a new “bigger small”, as the press release of the time put it.

And, yes, it was a three-door hatchback, larger than the diminutive Civic it was following up on, but still officially rated a subcompact with a wheelbase footprint smaller than that of the current Honda Fit.

My, how things have changed.

Flash forward to 2016 and, after nine generations worth of upsizing, upgrades and upticks of construction quality, new content levels and new technologies, the current mid-size, almost full-size Accord has evolved with the kind of premium panache that makes you want to squint to see if it’s not actually wearing an Acura badge.

Honda accord touring

And, maybe we should make that nine and a half generations of Accords because, for the 2016 model year, the Accord lineup has been further refreshed with a mid-cycle makeover.

It features chassis reinforcements, component weight reductions, improved steering and handling, a cosmetic facelift, new wheels, new editions of infotainment/connectivity apps and a newly packaged suite of dynamic driver assist technologies.

The Accord comes in sedan or coupe configurations but, for this story we’ll concentrate on the four-door sedan, available in four trim level choices – LX ($24,350), Sport ($26,890), EX-L ($30,190) and, as tested here, in top-of-the-lineup Touring ($31,290).

Like the rest of its stable mates, the Accord Touring builds on a new, more structurally sound platform featuring reinforced components, and in this trim level, also benefits from bigger front brakes and upsized 19-inch wheels and tires.

accord touring

The Touring model also adds Amplitude Reactive Dampers this year, along with hydraulic subframe bushings designed to provide a smoother, suppler ride experience.

The exterior facelift starts with a sharper, more defined front end, a more expressive grille, restyled available LED fog lamps, stronger defined character lines and a new aluminum hood that weighs eight kg (18 lb) less than the former steel hood.

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The edgier design is echoed in back with new LED tail lamps, a more aggressive rear bumper fascia design and our Touring model also adds new side-sill garnish and a rear deck spoiler.

For the 2016 model year, all Accords feature a standard Multi-Angle Rearview Camera built into the passenger side exterior mirror, displaying blind-spot imagery on screen for the driver. An Expanded View Driver’s Mirror aids visibility on the driver’s side.

accord touring

A new 60/40 second row replaces the previous one-piece folding rear bench and our Touring model also adds automatic high-beam headlights, front & rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers and a wireless charger for your cellphone.

A 7.0-inch Display Audio screen benefits from the application of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It offers a variety of features and functions including voice-controlled text messaging, smartphone-linked navigation and audio streaming, operated through a touch screen that, like smartphones, lets users tap, pinch and swipe to access data.

An upper 7.7-inch Intelligent Multi-information Display (i-MID) screen with steering wheel-mounted controls displays audio settings, turn-by-turn directions, time and trip information, LaneWatch and Rearview Camera displays, incoming calls, SMS text messages, and parking sensor alerts.

touring screen

Whew! All pretty impressive, even though old dinosaurs like me still lament the loss of radio tuning knobs.

But we should wrap up this techno party by mentioning the new Honda Sensing package that bundles the latest in safety and driver-assistance technologies, including Collision Mitigation Braking System with Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation with Lane Keeping Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.

This Honda Sensing package is a $2,300 option on the LX and Sport trims and comes included on EX-L and Touring trims.

Under the hood, our Accord Touring harnesses the standard 2.4-litre direct-injected i-VTEC four-cylinder engine making 185 hp and 181 lb/ft of torque with power translated through either a six-speed manual gearbox or, as tested here, a CVT automatic transmission ($1,900).

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This powertrain combo works smoothly and efficiently and offers an 8.6/6.4L/100km (city/hwy) fuel economy rating (better than the manual transmission rating).

accord engine

My real world results of mixed driving averaged out to 7.9L/100km (comb).

Honda also offers a 3.5-litre VTEC SOHC V6, the most powerful engine offered in a Honda sedan to date, bolstering the overall oomph to 278 hp and 252 lb/ft of torque with a bit of a corresponding pump penalty in fuel economy at 11.3/7.0L/100km (city/hwy).

The V6 would add $4,900 to the Touring price, maybe an acceptable premium for performance die-hards but customers won’t find much lacking in a regular Accord Touring model, courtesy of a spirited four-cylinder, smooth ride and handling and the latest in technologies and amenities, nicely bundled in one of the best-selling mid-size family sedans in the automotive industry.

And the Accord hasn’t stopped evolving yet.

Look for new Accord Hybrid versions boasting more power and improved fuel efficiency, slated to go on sale later this summer, pushing the Accord performance envelope even further with new variations on the theme of Honda’s most popular mid-size model.

Honda Accord Touring Sedan 2016 at a glance

BODY STYLE: Midsize sedan/coupe.

DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive with CVT automatic

ENGINE: 2.4-litre direct injection DOHC four-cylinder (185 hp, 181 lb/ft).

CARGO CAPACITY: 439 litres

FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) 8.6/6.4L/100 km (city/hwy); As tested 7.9L/100km (comb).

PRICE: Accord Touring $33,190 (CVT); As tested $36,190

WEB SITE: www.honda.ca

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