The 2018 Honda Accord Ticks Every Box
First Drive: The new Accord has been completely redesigned from the tires up.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Super smooth and quiet ride with sporty fastback styling.
- What’s Worst: Too early to say.
- What’s Interesting: It’s hard to believe that the Accord is now in it’s tenth generation and has been in Canada for over 41 years now.
JASPER, AB. – You would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place to drive a brand new car than in Jasper National Park.
Not only is the scenery breathtaking, the roads – now devoid of RV’s and tourists – are perfect for taking a car through its paces.
Its tight bends, inclines and long flat sections seemed to be designed specifically for the all-new tenth generation Accord.
The new Accord has been completely redesigned from the tires up.
A new sportier exterior with an upgraded interior take it up a notch but the addition of two new turbocharged engines and a new available 10-speed automatic transmission rockets it ahead of the outgoing model.
Gone is the old V6 in favour of two smaller but much more competent turbocharged engines.
The 1.5-litre comes from the Civic but has been retuned to produce 192 hp and 192 lb/ft of torque with the 2.0-litre coming from the Civic Type-R but slightly detuned to produce 252 hp and 278 lb/ft of torque.
A six-speed manual transmission is available with both engine choices with the 1.5-litre being matched up to a CVT transmission. The 2.0-litre gets matched up to a new 10-speed automatic transmission that is controlled by means of a new push button control panel situated in the centre console.
The new platform is now built with 29 per cent ultra high-strength steel – this reduces the body weight by 5 percent while increasing bending rigidity by 24 per cent and torsional rigidity by 32 per cent.
The overall length of the Accord has been reduced to 4,880mm but the wheelbase has been extended by 55 mm adding an impressive 49 mm of rear legroom.
The cabin has been pushed back with the roofline being reduced and now flows smoothly down to the shorter rear deck giving it more of a fastback look.
The front end has a shorter overhang and the hood height has been lowered giving a stronger and wider stance. The front suspension has been updated from the previous A-arm to a new L-arm that now reduces the transmission of road vibration into the body.
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The Touring trim now comes with an adaptive suspension damper system which makes a big difference in ride comfort.
LED daytime running lamps have been added as standard along with turn signals as are the C-shape LED tail lamps. LED headlamps are available in the upper trim levels.
The cabin is airy and spacious with the dash neatly wrapping around the cockpit from door to door.
The dash itself is fresh, uncluttered and minimalistic with the freestanding infotainment screen rising up and out in the centre.
The use of soft touch materials and leathers has certainly increased the premium quality feel and look to the Accord. Instrumentation is bright and easily read especially with the new seven-inch TFT digital drivers meter that is neatly integrated into the instrument cluster.
Now added to the Touring trim is the new six-inch Head Up Display that is customisable to display a number of different driving, infotainment and warning information. The A pillars have been slimmed down improving forward visibility.
Honda Sensing safety package is now standard across all trim levels that includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation, multi angle rear-view camera, straight driving assist and auto high-beams.
Moving up the trims levels will add a lane watch camera, blind spot information and cross traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors.
I spent much of my driving in the Touring trim with the 1.5-litre engine and any anxiety I had about a smaller engine pulling along a fair sized car were put to rest the second I put my foot down on the pedal.
The engine is responsive and agile, the CVT transmission was impressive and handles more like an automatic with pre determined shift points, but becomes even more enjoyable when going through gears using the steering column mounted shifter paddles.
Handling on some of the twisty roads was commendable with the Accord staying flat in the corners even when pushed. The noise levels in the cabin were impressive to say the least, extra insulation and an active noise control system have taken the accord to the next level more akin to a luxury sedan rather than a utilitarian people mover.
Honda has even gone as far as adding noise dampers to the wheels in the higher trim levels to decrease the levels further.
I can see now see why Honda is predicting that 80 per cent of Accord sales will be equipped with the 1.5-litre engine.
I did get to try the 2.0-litre engine matched to the new 10-speed automatic.
You do notice a difference when pulling away with the 2.0-litre engine, it is a tad more responsive and with the automatic transmission being bit smoother.
Where I did notice a big difference was in the high range especially when overtaking. The engine doesn’t seem to work as hard when extra power is needed especially in some uphill sections.
The new 10-speed transmission is now controlled by an easy to use pushbutton panel situated in the centre console, it seems strange to use at first but after a couple of times using it becomes second nature and manages to free up a lot of space in the consul.
Honda have done a great job with the Accord, I think they may has just done enough with the Accord to attract customers back to what is a diminishing market segment.
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2018 Honda Accord Sedan
BODY STYLE: Five-seat, four-door midsize sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: Six-speed manual transmission, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) 10-speed automatic transmission
ENGINE: 1.5-litre 16-valve, Direct Injection, DOHC, turbocharged four-cylinder (192 hp, 192 lb/ft); 2.0-litre, 16-valve, Direct Injection, DOHC, turbocharged four-cylinder (252 hp, 273 lb/ft)
FUEL ECONOMY: 1.5-litre four-cylinder: manual, 8.9/6.7L/100 km city/highway; CVT, 7.9/6.3L/100 km; 2.0-litre four-cylinder; manual – TBA, auto – TBA
CARGO: 473-litres (Seats up)
PRICE: Base: LX $26,490, Sport $29,790, EX-L $32,490, Touring $35,790