The Honda Accord offers surprisingly nimble handling and sprightly performance. For 2016, the Accord gets minor styling revisions and additional safety features.
A mainstay midsize sedan since the days when there were far fewer competitors, this ninth-generation Honda Accord was launched as a 2008 model to compete with a racy Ford Fusion, a stylish Chrysler 200, a sporty Nissan Altima and Mazda 6, and a feature-filled Hyundai Sonata.
Changes to the 2016 Honda Accord consist of a bolder grille, reshaped aluminum hood, and redesigned taillamps with LED brake lights. (Also, the Hybrid model has been discontinued.)
Honda Sensing, a package of driver assistance programs, is new to the 2016 Accord. Honda Sensing includes collision warning and braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.
The base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection making 185 horsepower. The four-cylinder is available with a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission that feels like an automatic. The four-cylinder with the CVT is EPA-rated at 27/37 mpg City/Highway.
There’s also a V6, with a 6-speed automatic transmission, rated at 278 horsepower and 21/34 mpg.
Accord’s safety ratings are strong. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives both the Accord sedan and coupe five stars overall, with four stars for the sedan in the frontal crash. The 2015 Accord earned the top Good ratings from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
The 2016 Honda Accord Sedan models include the Accord LX, Accord Sport, Accord EX, Accord EX-L and Accord Touring.
Standard equipment includes two-zone climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, rearview camera, and eight-inch touchscreen. Accord LX includes Pandora, SMS text, and 360-watt sound system with Aha internet radio streaming.
The Accord sedan’s roofline suggests a coupe, though not as radically as some sedans do because spaciousness inside is important. It’s a handsome and fresh design, with subtly chiseled sides, low beltline, and thin pillars (thanks to high-tensile steel).
The new grille design is unfortunate, Honda is following Acura by putting its emblem all over the face of the car in shiny plastic.
Honda designed the Accord sedan from the inside out; a cabin wasn’t squeezed into a shell, rather a shell was built around a cabin. Priorities made clear.
The instrument panel is low, which gives a feeling of space to the cabin. The most-used controls are placed high on the panel. Still, we wish the controls were less confusing, especially for the available dual-screen infotainment system that adds clutter and complexity.
With that low beltline and thin pillars, visibility from the driver’s seat is good.
There’s good rear legroom with easy entry and exit, with a 60/40 folding rear seat in all models but the base LX.
We like Honda’s innovative video display when you put on the turn signal, of the lane behind the car from a camera in the sideview mirror. Active noise cancellation helps keep the V6 model quiet in the cabin.
The current-generation Accord uses MacPherson struts for the front suspension like everyone else, instead of double wishbones, citing a smoother ride from the struts. Electric power steering adds to confident handling, with its mostly linear weighting, good sense of center, and road feedback.
The CVT is good, sometimes you can’t even tell it’s not an automatic. The revs rise quickly and the continuously variable transmission goes through steps that feel like gear changes. It uses programming called G-Design shift logic.
We also like the manual transmission. It shifts with precision and a tight clutch engagement, a combination that makes the piece responsive and refined.
The Honda Accord remains steady and predictable without being boring. The cabin is roomy, the shape is clean and modern; the speed is good enough and handling nimble enough. The acceleration won’t snap your head and the body won’t turn others’ heads, but the Accord will always be there for you.