Regardless of where you fall politically, I’ll hope we can agree on this: the current president doesn’t know the global car market and/or automotive trade. He calls out the Germans for their trade imbalance, apparently not realizing that Alabamans and Carolinians by the thousands are employed by those very Germans he’s lambasting. And while attempting to kick Japan for that same world view (if you can call it that), I’d ask this: Is there a more American car than Japan’s Honda Accord? The short answer – I don’t think so…
Honda established its American manufacturing base in 1982, locating its first U.S. plant in Marysville, Ohio. Since then, millions (MILLIONS) of Ohio-built Accords have rolled off of its line, and all of them have been built to the same standards of quality and reliability that initially established Honda’s reputation in the States. This newest iteration for 2018 is as new as an Accord generational change can be, and while aspects of its design and spec may have precipitated some head scratching among the loyalists, the end result remains a fully developed Accord…that remains wholly American.
From the outside, note that Honda’s design team hasn’t totally abandoned the last generation’s almost European ethos, but we have a tad more bling up front, more sculpting along the sides and, in profile, a look that is almost hatchback rather than sedan. The design isn’t as nearly overworked as that of Honda’s Civic (or Toyota’s Camry or Nissan’s Maxima), but then, neither is it as mature as Mazda’s Mazda6. Upon its showroom debut last fall I didn’t care for it, but like most things six months later, I can now say that (subjectively) I like it. Love or lust, however, will have to wait.
Underneath the sheetmetal is a substantially stronger unibody providing the foundation for an all-new suspension and drivetrain. That drivetrain no longer includes a V6 engine; in its place is a 2.0 liter turbocharged four, an optional supplement to the standard 1.5 liter turbocharged four. With 252 horsepower out of the blown two liters the V6 won’t be missed, except – perhaps – by those of us liking the simplicity of a normally aspirated engine. With 273 lb-ft of torque transmitted to the front wheels via a conventional 10-speed automatic, there was an immediacy to the Accord’s acceleration we would have never dreamed possible in 1982. (Unless, of course, you were driving the ‘82 off of a cliff…)
Inside, the leather interior of our 2.0T Touring was everything you might expect from a well-considered midsize sedan. Front seating was generous, the rear bench more than adequate, and headroom was expansive both front and rear. Our only visual disconnect was with what Honda chose to use as a ‘wood’ trim accent on the dash and door panels; whatever it is we wish they woodn’t.
Out back, the trunk’s 16.7 cubic feet of space is supplemented by rear seat backrests that fold almost flat. We didn’t try the bike test, but did try the let’s-grab-it-from-storage test; the Accord passed. It won’t substitute for the Suburban or, for that matter, Honda’s own Odyssey, but it will swallow your bike or, if absolutely necessary, your ladder.
On the road, the Accord serves credibly as daily transport, and when engaging the Touring’s ‘Sport’ mode does a credible impression of a sport sedan. In fact, with the softening (and parallel growth in size) of BMW’s 5 Series, those without $50K to spend on a 4-door might regard the Accord as a serviceable substitute.
Better, though, to consider the newest Accord as a credible replacement for Acura’s well-regarded Legend. In the absence of a compelling sedan in the Acura showroom, Honda dealers have your alternative, priced between $24K for the LX to about $35K for a hard-loaded 2.0T Touring. And it’s American.