We drove a $31,200 Honda Accord Sport sedan to see if it's still one of best cars in the world -- here's the verdict

Benjamin Zhang/Business InsiderOur 2018 Honda Accord Sport 2.0T test car.
  • The Honda Accord is one of the best-selling cars in the US. Last year, Honda sold more than 322,000 Accords.
  • Over the decades, the Accord has earned a sterling reputation for having strong build quality, great interior ergonomics, and impeccably engineered powertrains.
  • The 10th generation Accord is all new for 2018.
  • Our Honda Accord 2.0T Sport test car is powered by a 252 horsepower, 2.0-litre, turbocharged, inline-four-cylinder engine. A 192 hp turbo four and a 212 hp hybrid are also available.
  • We were impressed by the Accord’s new infotainment system, interior design, and powerful turbocharged engine.
  • The base 2018 Honda Accord starts at $US23,570 while our mid-tier Sport model starts at $US25,780. The top-spec Touring starts at $US33,800.

The Honda Accord has long been one of the best selling cars in the US.

Since 1976, Americans have purchased more than 13 million Accords. Even though sedans have had much of their market share stolen by crossovers and SUVs, they remain a sizable and highly competitive segment of the automotive universe.

So far this year, mid-size passenger cars account for roughly 9% of the US auto market with more than 627,000 vehicles sold. The Accord accounts for nearly 18% of those sales with more than 111,500 units rolling off dealership lots.

Only the Toyota Camry has done better with more than more than 150,500 sold.

In 2017, Honda sold nearly 323,000 Accords, making it the ninth best-selling vehicle in the US.

The Honda Accord is a car that’s near and dear to me. Long ago, my first car was a fifth-generation 1997 Honda Accord LX sedan in Heather Mist. It had a slick five-speed manual transmission, 130 non-VTEC horsepower, and a sunroof. I got it as a four-year-old used car with 94,000 miles on the clock. Yet, over the next decade, the Accord remained as faithful as the family dog and as reliable as the Japanese rail network. This is in spite of all the pain and suffering college-age me put it through.

Even at the end of its life, my Accord’s 2.2-litre, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine remained as silky smooth as the day I got it.

I still miss my trusty old Honda Accord.

It’s not just me. Over the years, the Accord developed a reputation for bullet-proof reliability, attention to detail, and perky driving dynamics. It’s generally considered, one of the best cars in the world.

This brings us to the 10th generation Honda Accord. It’s brand new for the 2018 model year. After a decade in the wind, Honda’s passenger cars have been resurgent in recent years. The Japanese automaker absolutely nailed the current 10th generation Civic back in 2016.

And Honda looks to return the Accord to its former glory after earning mixed reviews for its eighth and ninth generation models. (My mother actually drives an eighth-generation 2012 Accord EX-L and let’s just say I’m not exactly thrilled with the ownership experience.)

Recently, Honda dropped off a 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Sport in San Marino Red for Business Insider to evaluate. The base 2018 Accord LX starts at $US23,570, while the top-of-the-line Touring model starts at $US33,800.

Our mid-grade Sport model starts at $US25,780, but fees and the optional 2.0-litre engine pushed the as-tested price up to $US31,200.

So, has the Honda Accord returned to its former glory? Let’s find out:


Since its debut in 1976, the Honda Accord has been one of the most popular passenger cars in the US.

Honda

Through the decades, the Accord’s reliability,…

Honda

… Impeccable engineering, and…

Honda

… User-friendly demeanour has earned it droves of loyal followers.

Honda

For 2018, Honda is back with the all-new 10th generation of the Marysville, Ohio-built Accord.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

It arrives just in time to take on the all-new eighth generation Toyota Camry and…

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

… The new sixth generation Nissan Altima.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Aesthetically, I’d be hard-pressed to call the new Accord pretty. It’s not, at least in the traditional sense. However, it is edgy and eye-catching. I actually think it looks good in an off-beat sort of way.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The front end is dominated by this hammerhead shark-like front grille. Acura may have given up on the chrome beak look, but Honda is still at it.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Interesting, but not beautiful.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The Accord’s side profile is highlighted by its fastback roofline — a look that is seemingly in vogue with car designers everywhere these days.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

From the side, the Accord also looks a bit longer than before. That’s both true and false. The increase in length is a bit of an optical illusion. Even though the wheelbase has been stretched by 2.16 inches, overall length is actually 0.39 inches shorter.


The new rear end is perhaps the most traditional part of the car’s look. According to the Honda, the rear light design is supposed to be instantly recognisable as a “Honda.” I’m not so sure about that.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

However, I do really like the 19-inch alloys on our Sport model.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

In contrast to the edgy exterior, the Accord’s interior doesn’t exactly push the boundaries of styling norms. But the cabin is beautifully engineered and very well laid out. Everything is where it should be and easily within reach.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The 10th generation Accord’s cabin is truly a return to form for Honda. The Accords of past are renown for their exquisite cabin ergonomics. However, the company missed with the last two generations. The eighth gen had a couple dozen to many buttons on the front dash while the ninth generation’s dual screen setup was far from successful.

But, Honda has really nailed it with the 10th generation cabin that offers a healthy balance of buttons versus touchscreen.


In front of the driver are a traditional analogue gauge on the right and a seven-inch high definition configurable TFT display.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Using the steering wheel, you can toggle through various layouts including navigation, trip computer, audio, driver’s assistance features, and a tachometer. The tachometer is particularly handy for our manual transmission test car.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Our test car also came with a host of safety tech such as blind spot awareness, rear cross traffic alert, and Honda Sensing which includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigating braking, lane keep assist, as well as road departure mitigation.

The Accord is also available with an optional six-inch colour head-up display.


The center stack features an eight-inch touchscreen which houses the car’s infotainment system. Honda’s infotainment system has been heavily revamped for the 2018 Accord.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The system is quick to respond and is crisply rendered.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

It’s fairly easy to navigate and is packed with good feature content.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The presence of buttons and knobs make on-the-fly operation far less tedious. However, the user interface, while improved, isn’t perfect. For instance, I found channel selection using the touchscreen to be a bit cumbersome.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The system also comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

In spite of a few small hiccups here and there, Honda has managed to pull off an impressive infotainment system. It’s easily the best system of its kind we have ever encountered in a Japanese car and is competitive with the latest from Ford, GM, and VW Group.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The eight-inch touchscreen also houses the Accord’s multi-view reversing camera.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Overall, the Accord’s front and…

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

…Rear cabins proved to be roomy and inviting. Even though the new car is a bit shorter than its predecessor, it actually boasts an extra 2.4 cubic feet of interior space.

Honda

The Accord also boasts a robust 16.7 cubic feet of cargo room.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Under the hood, the old naturally aspirated inline four and V6 engines are gone. It’s all turbos all the time for the new Accord.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The Accord comes standard with a 192 horsepower, 1.5-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission. Our test car came with the top-of-the-line 252 horsepower, 2.0-litre turbo four that replaces the V6. There is also a 212 horsepower hybrid option.

In addition, there is a 10-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmission option.


Our test car came with the 252 horsepower engine and the six-speed manual.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

We found the clutch to be really vague while the shifter proved to be a bit rubbery. It’s certainly not the best manual we’ve ever seen from Honda, but it’s more than capable of doing to the job.


So, what’s it like to drive?

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The Accord is a blast to drive. Especially for what is, at its heart, a sensible family sedan.

The turbo-four is an absolute marvel. It’s torquey, powerful, silky smooth, and revs like there’s no tomorrow. While the six-speed isn’t our favourite, it works well with the engine. Being able to rip off shifts while the engine sings at 6,000 RPMs is virtually impossible in any of its rivals.

Our Honda handled confidently while also exhibiting a bit of understeer around corners to keep you from pushing too hard.


The verdict.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Like the current generation Civic before it, the new Accord is a return form of Honda’s venerable marque.

It’s fun, yet sensible. It’s a high-tech car, yet approachable. It’s lighter and smaller, yet roomier. It’s a great car.

This is really Honda at its finest. It’s not the NSX supercar. It’s not the HondaJet.

Honda’s forte has always been delivering exquisitely engineered and beautifully executed transportation for the masses.

And with the new Accord, this is exactly what you get along with an extra dose of fun and personality.

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