The Honda Accord competes at the top of the midsize sedan category, outsold only by the Toyota Camry, and this has been going on for almost as long as we can remember.
Now in its ninth generation, the Accord sedan got a mild freshening for 2016. The 2017 Honda Accord has few changes over 2016, but two models have been added to the 2017 Accord lineup: an Accord Sport Special Edition and, after a year’s absence, an Accord Hybrid. (The plug-in version is gone, however.) The 2017 Accord Hybrid gets new features that weren’t available on the 2015 model.
We found the Honda Accord delivers excellent ride and handling, above-average gas mileage, and fine visibility from a spacious cabin. Even in today’s fashion-focused market, the Accord displays sufficient sophistication to remain a contender in the styling department.
Standard for most trim levels, Honda’s direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 185 horsepower (189 hp in Sport models, with their dual exhaust). Either the standard 6-speed manual gearbox or optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) may be installed.
Unlike many rivals, Honda continues to offer a V6 engine, in top trim levels. Developing 278 horsepower, the 3.5-liter V6 mates with a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission. In addition to more power, V6 models get upgraded cabin appointments.
Revived for 2017, the Accord Hybrid couples a 2-liter four-cylinder engine to an electric motor that powers the car. Another electric motor operates as a generator to keep the battery pack charged. Combined output is 212 horsepower. The 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the trunk is smaller for 2017, raising trunk volume to 13.5 cubic feet. A power-meter graphic is especially intuitive. Honda says Hybrid production has doubled, promising stronger sales than before.
Honda also continues to offer an Accord coupe.
Honda Sensing, an optional suite of driver assists, includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and a lane-departure warning. Upper-trim Accords include LaneWatch, which helps greatly when changing lanes. Activated when the turn signal is switched on for a right turn, a camera in the passenger-side mirror shows the view to the rear in the adjacent lane.
The Accord received a five-star rating overall and in each crash-test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, except for a four-star result in the frontal collision. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the top Good score for all tests. With optional safety technology, it’s rated a Top Safety Pick Plus.
2017 Honda Accord sedans come in six trim levels plus three Hybrid trims.
Accord LX ($22,355) comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, power mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, a multi-angle rearview camera, and LED taillights. LX comes with manual gearbox or CVT ($800). Prices are MSRP, destination charge ($835) is not included.
Accord Sport ($24,415) includes LED foglamps, 19-inch alloy wheels, power driver’s seat, black cloth upholstery. Sport Special Edition ($25,415) adds leather-trimmed heated seats with red stitching.
Accord EX ($25,730) moves up to a moonroof, heated mirrors, pushbutton start, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Accord EX-L ($28,820) features heated leather-trimmed seats, power passenger seat, 360-watt audio with Aha internet radio, CVT. Navigation is optional. V6 engine ($2,075) comes with conventional automatic.
Accord Touring ($34,830) comes loaded with the V6 engine, navigation, Honda Sensing, heated outboard rear seats, new 19-inch wheels, and automatic high-beam LED headlights.
Accord Hybrid ($29,605), Hybrid EX-L ($32,905), Hybrid Touring ($35,955) feature the gas/electric powertrain and come with LED headlights and taillights with blue accents, but are otherwise equipped similarly to the other models.
It may not be a fashion standout, but the Honda Accord is pleasantly shaped and wholly modern. While other automakers have moved toward low roofs and high beltlines, Honda favors compromise. Its more traditional, more upright elegance is more practical than other, swoopier four-doors.
Light freshening for the 2016 model year gave the sedan’s aluminum hood new contouring, LED taillights were added, and the grille grew bolder. (Accord coupes got a more extensive reworking.)
Efficiently laid-out, the Accord cabin balances comfort with easy visibility and contemporary design. The low, broad instrument panel maximizes space, while positioning vital controls high, to ensure best functionality. Coupled with expansive windows, the Accord feels more airy than other midsize sedans.
All passengers in outboard positions get plenty of space, surrounded by upscale materials, for a level of refinement that few midsize sedans achieve. The driving position is helpfully upright, and backseat riders get above-average leg space. Entry/exit is easy, too.
Helped by Active Noise Cancellation, the cabin is among the quietest, quelling wind and road sounds. The only exception is models with bigger tires.
Twin touchscreens in EX-L and Touring trim levels add clutter. So does the abundance of buttons.
Trunk space is bountiful, at 15.8 cubic feet, with a flat cargo floor. All models except the LX have a 60/40-split back seat.
The Accord delivers an excellent ride and nicely balanced handling. Road manners rank as stellar. Unlike some electric power steering systems, Honda’s inspires confidence, offering good centering and largely linear weighting. As mentioned, it’s quiet underway with the windows up.
Unlike many CVTs, Honda’s works nicely with the four-cylinder engine, evading the droning sounds and stretched-out responses common to continuously variable transmissions. G-Design shift logic lets engine revs rise promptly, avoiding the flat spot that some CVTs suffer when starting off. This one feels almost like a series of gears. Driving enthusiasts may prefer the easy-shifting 6-speed manual transmission available with lower-level models.
Honda retains a V6 option, with a conventional 6-speed automatic. Strong and smooth, the V6 is markedly more refined than the turbocharged four-cylinders used in many competitors. During light conditions, two cylinders can be shut down to save fuel.
The Accord Hybrid isn’t quite as light or lithe as a standard four-cylinder Accord, but it handily beats the Toyota Camry Hybrid and bests hybrids from Kia and Hyundai. Engine noise is muted ordinarily, but rises to a howl when pushing the gas pedal hard. It’s difficult to discern when the gas engine switches on, a good thing.
Fuel economy for the Accord lineup rates among the highest in its class. Accord sedans with the four-cylinder engine and CVT are EPA-rated at 27/36 mpg City/Highway, or 30 mpg Combined. The Sport model’s special wheel/tire package drops the estimate to 26/32 mpg City/Highway, or 29 mpg Combined. The V6 Accord with the 6-speed automatic is EPA-rated at 21/33 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined. An Accord Hybrid is EPA-rated at a fuel-sipping 49/47 mpg City/Highway, or 48 mpg Combined.
The Honda Accord remains one of the most sensible midsize choices and is offered in a wide variety of possibilities. Even the base LX sedan is amply-equipped. Inside and out, the top-end Touring sedan comes close to full-luxury level.
Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz and John Voelcker, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.