Still tied for segment leader | Things like impressive build quality, plenty of power, and reliability are always attractive features to buyers
Since its introduction in the 1970s the Honda Accord has been competing with the Civic as the brand’s top seller. The ninth-generation Honda Accord is cut from the same cloth and has been a staple in the Honda lineup for the last few years. Available in various configurations and trim levels, Accord buyers can opt for four-cylinder, V6, and hybrid powertrains, a coupe or sedan, a manual transmission or an automatic; Honda has ensured that there is an Accord for everyone. Personally, I have always had a fondness for the 278-horsepower V6 Coupe equipped with the manual transmission. Things like impressive build quality, plenty of power, and reliability are always attractive features to buyers, and the 2015 Honda Accord Touring is no exception to any of these.
Two of my relatives both own sixth-generation (1998) Honda Accord sedans. Both are painted Dark Emerald Pearl, both have their original 3.0-litre V6 engines and both have over 320,000 kilometres on the odometer. Is it a coincidence that both cars would last this long? I think not. The build quality and engineering that was put into cars 15+ years ago is different from today, and with the introduction of high-tech gadgets and other pieces of engineering often leave consumers wondering “how will this (insert part name) behave 10 years from now?” To see if Honda still has its magic, I borrowed an Accord Touring sedan for a week.
Fitted with the Earth Dreams 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, my tester painted in a shade of ‘Modern Steel Metallic’ boasts about 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. A bit far off from the numbers the 6 cylinder version puts up, but they are still respectable and competitive with other cars in its class. Design wise, the Accord Touring has LED lighting at every corner. The LED daytime running lights are very stylish, but I cannot get over the ‘Ice-cube’ headlights that are prominent on several Hondas and Acuras.
Further, at the rear there is only one tailpipe even though the bumper is shared with the V6 and Sport versions that boast two tailpipes. Not having an alternate bumper with a different design for single-tailpipe leaves the rear end of the Accord looking a bit incomplete. However, these minor flaws are not the end of the world, as the rest of the car is quite stylish with straightforward lines cast into the bod. Simply put, this is not something a 20-something would find him or herself in – the Accord is for adults with class and sophistication.
As I mentioned earlier, I would gladly take an Accord with a manual transmission, and originally hoped my test car would feature one, but I found myself handling the two-pedal model instead, with the continuously variable transmission. The last few examples of CVT from the Japanese automaker I have tested, including the Honda CR-V and the Honda Fit, have all been great, and the Accord was no different. The CVT was not very noisy and assisted in keeping engine RPMs as low as possible in the city as well as out on the highway. Unfortunately there are no paddle shifters with this CVT on the Touring model, but there is a sport setting to the transmission. The lack of paddles makes complete sense, as this car is more than happy with you letting the transmission manage itself without driver input. Buyers will have to opt for the Sport model to gain the paddle shifters.
As with other CVTs I did notice that under harder acceleration, there is always a sense of the engine struggling in the higher end of the rev range in order to get you going quickly. Again, in a Touring model that is clearly earmarked for long range cruising, this is not that big of a deal. The upside to this was the fuel economy it gave me, as I averaged 7.9L/100km throughout my test week consisting of almost 50% highway and 50% city driving. The four-cylinder Accord will also happily sip regular-grade fuel, and there is an “Econ” button that dulls throttle response and adjusts the transmission for optimal efficiency.
Cruising is also a strong feat of the Accord Touring. A comfortable ride and smooth power delivery, along with crisp and predictable steering give this Accord a very pleasurable driving experience. Even though this cushy sedan isn’t anywhere near being track ready, the 2015 Accord still felt very planted on the road, even after taking a few twisty corners rather quickly.
Inside, the Accord Touring lives up to its name as well; the materials used and build quality are excellent and the upholstery feels like it belongs in a car that is easily double the price. I found that as with other Hondas, the gauge cluster, steering wheel controls, and center console controls are very well placed out. I did not feel overwhelmed by a plethora of buttons and knobs as with competitors from other manufacturers. To go from the base model Accord LX sedan to the Touring model requires an additional $7,000, bringing the total for my tester to $34,350. This does add all the features you would expect, such as HondaLink, the 360-watt premium audio system with a subwoofer, LaneWatch, and a multi-angle rear view camera. All of this gives the Accord exceptional value for its price tag.
If you are comparing the Honda Accord Sedan to its competitors such as the Toyota Camry and the Mazda6, I would say the Honda Accord is definitely a segment leader right now. This is a car that proves that the recipe for success Honda takes such pride in is still in play. With the addition of several safety features and technologies that are designed to keep you on the road, the Honda Accord has not lost its intuitive character. It’s a fantastic sedan that gets the job done, day in and day out.