The Honda Accord has, for many years, been many things. It’s affordable, reliable transportation for many people. It is a market leader and a vanguard as to what a large segment of car buyers want and expect, and therefore, if you’re smart and observant, a signal to other automakers as to what people will buy. But more than anything else, the Honda Accord is a virtual license to print money. It would have been more efficient if various governments from around the world had simply shipped Honda a bunch of printing presses from their mints, and cut out the middleman, so to speak.
So, when Honda gives the Accord a major redo, the world best pay attention.
Before digging into the 2018 Honda Accord, I should first go into what is not said in any of the Minato-based company’s press materials. Completely absent is any mention of the Honda Accord Coupe. And that is because, sadly, Honda will no longer produce a coupe version of the Accord. Yes, I know it’s hard out there for coupes. It’s a crowded market segment, and profit margins are blade thin, so pour one out for the Accord Coupe, because we won’t be seeing it on the road any time soon.
Styling & Design
The 2018 Honda Accord, coming this fall, is the tenth version of Honda’s bread and butter sedan. Indeed, the Accord is the best-selling midsize sedan in America, and given Honda’s conservative engineering and styling nature, they are not going to mess up a good thing. Honda’s designers and engineers took a “back to fundamentals” approach when it came to reimagining the gen-10 Accord. Overall, they went with proportions that give the 2018 Accord a “sporting and athletic appearance.” In other words, longer, lower, and wider, while trying to keep the lines, creases, and proportions taut.
The new Accord’s wheelbase is more than 2 inches longer, overall height has dropped more than half an inch, and the body is nearly half an inch wider. Similarly, the track has expanded, gaining 0.20 inches in front and 0.79 inches out back. The overall length, however, has dropped by 0.39 of an inch, so overhangs front and rear are less. There’s a lower, sportier seating position, while the greenhouse (windshield) is positioned farther back on the body to be more “sweeping.” The combined effect Honda wants is that of a more premium look, highlighted by shorter overhangs, a bolder front fascia, a long and low hood, and a visual center of gravity moved closer to the rear wheels.
Whether Accord buyers will find this appealing will be up to them. Honda has been known to miss the mark with styling in the past, so the jury is still out.
The front fascia sits more upright for 2018, highlighted by Honda’s now signature chrome wing front grille, positioned and flanked by available 9-lamp LED headlights and LED fog lights. Honda calls the hood “chiseled” with its raised center; the sides are deeply sculpted to give the 2018 Accord visual length. Honda also cleaned up the roof/body thanks to a new laser brazing process that creates a clean appearance without a garnish over the car’s rain channels. Out back, the whole “low and wide” thing keeps up with an upswept decklid, distinctive LED taillights, and integrated dual exhaust ports. Overall, this increased aerodynamic efficiency by approximately 3 percent.
Interior Treatments & Technology
Honda has used those new chassis and body hard-points to extract more room. Beneath the greenhouse that angles inward more dramatically, the seats have been moved slightly inward for better hip, shoulder, and head room. The longer wheelbase allows second row seats to be pushed rearward, giving almost 2 extra inches of rear leg room. Honda says there’s an extra 2.5 cubic feet of interior volume, and trunk space is up by nearly one cubic foot on the 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter Accords.
If you go for the Accord Hybrid, you’ll gain 3.2 cubic feet of trunk space for 2018.
The new soft-touch instrument panel features an ultra-thin profile and three-tier design that describes a continuous arc, from its outboard section through the side door sills. Honda says this is to give a sense of strength and visual continuity. So it goes. The “sport inspired” (gag) steering wheel is more contoured with deep-set thumb rests and available paddle shifters. Honda, an outfit always known for its knobs and switchgear, keeps up the tradition by paying lots of attention to the tactile and visual quality of surface materials throughout the cabin.
The 2018 Accord has an ultra-slim, 7-inch TFT driver’s meter and a new 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with physical volume and tuning knobs. Of course it’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible with the next-gen HondaLink telematics which includes emergency roadside assistance, remote locking/unlocking and engine start, stolen vehicle tracking, remote diagnostics, geofencing, and speed tracking. Higher trim levels get a new 6-inch Heads-Up Display. There’s wireless device charging, automatic Bluetooth phone pairing, 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates.
For those of us that care about things like engine specs, we’ll all be glad to hear the 2018 Accord gets three new powerplants: two turbocharged 4-cylinder engines and a two-motor hybrid powertrain setup. There’s a new, Honda-developed 10-speed automatic transmission for the 2.0-liter turbo mill, and an available 6-speed manual transmission for both turbocharged engines. Hooray!
The 1.5-liter plant puts out 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft. of torque. The 2.0-liter produces 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque. Both of these plants are substantially up from the engines they replace – we’d buy the 2.0-liter, of course. Honda does not mention exactly when this fall the 2018 Accord will be in showrooms nor how much it will cost, but c’mon, it’s a Honda Accord; it’ll probably be right within your budget.
All variants of the 2018 Accord will be produced at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio plant.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.