The Accord plays the balance just the right way for its audience.
The Honda Accord has been around for 10 generations over 40 years of history. The Accord has an impressive list of accolades and awards throughout the years. It was recently named Canadian Car of the year by AJAC in 2018 as well North American Car of the Year in 2018. Even though Honda completely rebuilt the car from the ground up in 2017, it continued to garner high praises from just about every outlet.
Being such a highly accredited car for so many years and repeating the same formula generation after generation, you know Honda has fine-tuned the formula for making the perfect family sedan. This makes us very interested in digging deeper into see what makes the new Accord so special. We got our hands on the range topping 2019 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T to have a thorough look and see if it lives up to the hype.
As the range topper of family sedans in the Honda lineup, the Accord needs to look the part. Nearly two full years since its last redesign, the Accord still looks fresh. This is thanks to Honda choosing to break out of the shell and be more creative this time around. Even though it is a family sedan, Honda created a sporty silhouette giving the Accord a long hood and sloping roofline into a short trunk lid. These proportions are traditionally reserved for sport coupes.
The LED headlamps are wide and sleek flowing with the wide front grille. The lower front bumper and side sills are beautifully sculpted to create a lower and chiseled look for a sportier exterior without the need for additional body kits or aftermarket add-ons that have become popular with the Accord. When looking at the car head-on, the Accord approaches with style and presence.
In the past, when you put your foot down in your V6 Accord, you would scoot off swiftly but without any emotion. In 2019, this changes because you have a motor that’s sourced from the popular Civic Type R (reviewed here). It’s not exactly the same, but the Accord uses a detuned version of the same 2.0L 16-valve VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Here, the engine produces 252 horsepower at 6.500RPM and 273 lb-ft. from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm.
This engine is actually not as powerful as the V6 of the past, but has much more torque peaking at a much lower RPM. Like the Type R, this 2.0 revs eagerly and produces power all the way up to the top. It does not feel out of breath at high RPMs like your typical 2.0T setup. Paired with Honda’s own 10-speed automatic, power is always on tap with great response. In Sport mode, driving with the wheel-mounted paddles is quite entertaining. The transmission is responsive with crisp shifts; it’s approaching precision levels of the ZF eight-speed application that’s a current benchmark.
Handling is very surprising in the Accord, with great agility and stability. The adaptive dampers allow the car to have a much more athletic personality than it traditionally should be able to. The steering is very pleasant with good on-center feel and natural weight. It does not give you all that much feel, but the Accord responds much sharper and directly than you would traditionally expect.
In spirited driving, you can feel progressive understeer, but the nose tucks in nicely when you lift off the throttle. As long as you are patient with throttle application, the Accord will take corners just like more expensive European sport sedans. It really is eclipsing what you would find in the more upscale Acura models.
Honda always keeps efficiency as a priority in all their vehicles. With the new turbocharged 2.0, the Accord is able to achieve very good fuel efficiency. The official consumption is rated at 10.4L/100km city, 7.4L/100km highway and a combined 9.1L/100km. Our observed fuel consumption came in at 10.6L/ 100km; noting mostly city driving. More great news is the Accord runs on regular 87-octane fuel despite its turbo engine. With a fuel capacity of 56L, fill-ups will not burn a hole in your wallet.
Interior ergonomics have always been Honda’s strong suit and their strengths are on full display in the Accord. There is ample storage throughout the cabin. The seats do not look bolstered but somehow hold you in nicely even when driving gets spirited. The Touring trim comes with both heated and ventilated seats upfront to keep you comfortable in all seasons; rear passengers also get heated seats as well. Leg room is extremely generous both front and rear. You will have to be a giant to feel cramped in the Accord.
The wood trim kicks up the interiors appeal 10 folds, giving off a much more luxurious feel than you would expect in an Accord. Materials are top notch at all touch points, but you will still notice a fair amount of hard plastic used in the lower parts of the dash and center console. The center mounted display is vibrant and entertainment system has been improved and is now a peach to use. All the menus are intuitive and not hidden in layers with customizable short cuts at the top of the screen.
Physical buttons along both sides of the infotainment screen and a volume button bring the infotainment back in touch with the bigger audience. The gauge cluster is clear and vibrant but does look a bit boring. A peeve of mine is that viewing trip information means giving up the tachometer. Half of the gauge cluster is digital and only displays limited information at a time. Luckily, there is also a heads up display to split duties.
The Accord has most of the bells and whistles you would want, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The entertainment system has navigation, Bluetooth and HD/Satellite radio as well. Your usual suit of Honda Sensing safety features are on board as well. At an as tested price of $39,190, the Accord is a compelling package.
The lifelong rival Toyota Camry at an equivalent trim level is priced at $40,790. Mazda’s entry into this segment is even more expensive at $41,076 top of the range. Of the 3 options, the Accord is the best all-around option, Toyota have moved into a more polarizing appearance and the Mazda is now an older offering in its current generation.
The 2019 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T is truly the benchmark in the segment. Honda has found the ideal formula to a family sedan and has managed to perfect it. The high levels of comfort, practicality and ergonomics have always been the reason the Accord is so popular. The Accord plays the balance just the right way for its audience. It performs better than expected in many aspects and punches above its class in many ways.