The mid-size saloon market is a very competitive one. With contenders from Europe, North America, and Asia at play, anyone shopping at this end go the segment can go a little mad considering them all. The sheer number of options available at this end of the market means that slow sales will greet any contender that’s less than stellar, like the Honda Accord.
While Korean alternatives like the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata have sought to differentiate themselves with style and dynamics, and European options like the Volkswagen Passat and Peugeot 508 aim to blur the line between ‘premium’ and ‘mass-market,’ the Honda Accord has chosen to stay bang in the middle, with a smart-yet-stoic design that’s never offensive, with similarly middling driving characteristics and technology.
It’s not to say that the Honda Accord is without appeal, but it seems that its pursuit to be inoffensive has left it a little pale against more vibrant competition. That said, it still packs the reliability and dependability that you expect from the ‘H’ badge, and offers one of the most quiet rides in the segment.
“This Accord is more about looking stylish than rewarding the driver.” - Driving CA
The Accord we get today is actually a facelift, which took the handsomely-understated styling and gave it some modern touches. There are LEDs used on either end of the car adding to visual flair. There’s little else really going for it, as the design of the Accord is entirely predictable.
VTI models ride on 17-inch alloys, while the VTI-L and V6L ride on 18-inch alloys of differing designs. The ‘Solid Wing Face’ dominates the… uh, face of the Accord, with the ‘H’ badge more prominent than ever. The LED foglights are neat too, as they can go almost unnoticed.
No longer having to jostle with the Accord Euro in the showroom, the ninth-generation model seems to adopt its size well, though it has shrunken slightly from the 8th-gen Accord. All-in-all it looks pretty good, though the Ford Mondeo and Mazda6 look more dynamic, and the Volkswagen Passat looks much more sophisticated.
Engine & Drivetrain
“Powertrain is an appropriate description of the engines…” - Motoring
There are two engines on offer here, each with its own gearbox. A four-cylinder 2.4-litre petrol provides motivation for the VTI and VTI-L models, with a claimed fuel consumption figure of just 7.9L/100km. This engine is smooth and quiet in operation, and offers enough performance for most applications, though it has to be worked a little harder when overtaking or climbing. Good thing i-VTEC mills like a little thrashing.
If it’s power you want out of your Accord, the range-topping V6-L gets a 3.5-litre V6, which offers more power and torque. Predictably, fuel consumption rises by about 15% with this engine, though its silky-smooth nature and generous power reserves means it’s the best companion for motorway journeys.
Four-cylinder models send power through a five-speed automatic gearbox, while the V6 gets a six-speed unit. Drive goes exclusively to the front wheels.
“A roomy interior will accommodate most passengers comfortably, and trunk space is on par with competitors.” - Motor Trend
The fan-favoured Accord Euro always lacked in outright interior space, something that the ninth-generation Accord has in spades. Honda knows that interior volume can make or break cars in this segment, which is likely why the Accord packs almost limousine-like room. While boot-space isn’t remarkable, the accommodation in the rear-half of the cabin is very impressive, further bolstering the Accord’s appeal as a motorway cruiser.
The business end of the interior (that’s the front half) boasts more soft-touch material than before, with Honda being especially keen to point out the plush, one-piece soft-touch dash top. That dash houses no less than two infotainment screens too, meaning fewer buttons clutter the centre stack (something that the old ‘wide body’ Accord suffered from). Instruments are clear and easy-to-read, with a central display nestled in the middle of the speedometer offering the usual driver-related information.
Behind the Wheel
“Around town, this is a seriously slick machine.” - CarAdvice
Remember when a Honda badge used to mean a more dynamic proposition? That was ever such a long time ago. Rather than attempt to reclaim former glory, the Japanese firm has seemingly leapt wholeheartedly in its new direction, with the Accord offering immense ride comfort. This big saloon tackles undulations and pockmarks with great ease, while noise intrusion is dealt with thanks to the active noise cancellation system (which identifies intruding sounds and pipes in opposing sounds through the speakers) that features as standard.
The motorway is where the Accord feels most at home though, where the sheer size of the thing becomes more welcomed. It sits planted on the road and shirks off crosswinds, and the electrically-assisted steering rack weights up nicely at speed. Corners will see the Accord roll a little more than some of its competitors, which is the price you pay for that pliant ride. Those after a more engaging drive ought to look elsewhere.
Safety & Technology
“We wish Honda would add a volume knob to the touchscreen infotainment system…” - Car & Driver
The Honda Accord fares well in terms of safety, with LaneWatch blind-spot monitor being an especial highlight. A reversing camera, tyre pressure monitoring, and six airbags also feature as standard.
Higher-end models get things like adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and lane-keep assist. VTI-L & V6-L cars also pack automatic high-beam, which dip the LED headlights to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic.
ANCAP have rated the Honda Accord as a five-star proposition, with its performance in pole-collision and side-impact crashes especially noteworthy.
Those of you who pay attention to sales figures have probably noticed that the Accord contributes very little to this segment, and spending a little time with the big Honda reveals why. As we said very early on in the review, in its pursuit to offend no one, it’s ended up being one of the least compelling entrants into the mid-size saloon category. Pair that with the model’s limited engine range, uninteresting drive, and merely acceptable levels of safety kit, and you see why the Accord has found few homes on Oz soil.
That said, what the Accord does do very well is cruise effortlessly on the motorway, with higher trim levels being able to do so with greater ease afforded by the intelligent cruise function and lane-keep assistance. If you want a petrol-powered mile-muncher that’ll waft you from coast to coast in near-silence, the Accord is certainly worth a look.
CarAdvice - 7.0/10 - “While the Honda Accord is still an impressive car, it’s let down by pricing, and a raft of competition in this segment.”
WhichCar - 3.0/5.0 - “The Honda Accord feels solid and well built, has ample interior space for a medium sedan, and is very quiet to ride in. The more expensive Accords are very well equipped, and come with an active safety suite that includes autonomous emergency braking.”
Motoring - 73/100 - “The Honda Accord is a refined, smooth performer that offers great passenger space in a luxurious cabin, and an enviable roll-call of safety electronics.”
Driving CA - 76/100 - “The Accord is a solid, well-engineered, and comfortable family saloon. There’s so much potential in the car to create a nice, affordable, sporty sedan… The fact the company hasn’t even given it a second thought makes me yearn for the Honda of old, when it had the other automakers running scared.”
Car & Driver - 4.5/5.0 - “It may not be the most exciting car on the block, but there are reasons why the Accord has earned our 10Best award more often than any other vehicle. It’s well balanced, efficient, and reliable, and it can be an excellent value when thoughtfully outfitted.”
MotorTrend - 4.0/5.0 - “The Honda Accord remains a solid competitor in the midsize saloon segment…”