2018 Honda Accord Review

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2018 Honda Accord Review

Priced From $43,990Information

Overall Rating

0

3 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

3 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

3 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

3 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

3 out of 5 stars

Technology

4 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProQuiet to ride in; Honda reliability.

  2. ConLittle driver-appeal.

  3. The Pick: 2017 Honda Accord VTi-L 4D Sedan

What stands out?

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The Honda Accord feels solid and well built, has ample interior space for a medium sedan, and is very quiet to ride in. All Accords are very well equipped, and come with an active safety suite that includes autonomous emergency braking.

What might bug me?

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Reaching for a conventional hand brake lever – or an electric park brake switch – and discovering there isn’t one. The foot-operated park brake will take some getting used to and may never be as intuitive to operate as these more conventional brakes.

That you can’t carry skis for a trip to the snow while your small child rides in the back. Nor can you carry any other long item – a lengthy Ikea flat-pack, for example – with any rear-seat passenger. You can fold down the Accord’s rear seat-back, so that cargo can protrude from the boot into the cabin, but it is all or nothing: the entire rear cushion has to go down (rather than just one side of a split-folding seat).

What body styles are there?

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Four-door sedan only.

The Honda Accord drives its front wheels. It is classed as a medium car, lower priced.

What features do all Accords have?

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Dual zone climate control (which lets you set different temperatures for each side of the cabin). A multi-angle reversing camera, and parking sensors front and rear.

Adaptive cruise control, which can match your speed to slower cars ahead automatically – resuming your pre-set speed when the way is clear.

A multimedia system with a seven-inch colour touchscreen, an AM/FM radio, a CD player, Bluetooth connectivity for phone calls and audio streaming, HDMI and USB inputs, six speakers and a bass-boosting sub-woofer. Satellite navigation.

Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows you to display some apps from compatible smartphones on the touchscreen and control them from there (or with your phone’s voice recognition).

A smart key and a start button, which lets you unlock and start the car while the key resides safely in your bag or pocket.

Part-leather seat trim, power-adjustment and heating for both front seats, and a memory for the driver’s seat (which makes it easy to restore your adjustments after a companion has driven the car).

Very bright, long-lasting LED headlights that turn on automatically when it’s getting dark, and switch themselves to low beam for oncoming vehicles. LEDs in the daytime running lights and taillights. Windscreen wipers that operate automatically when it rains.

A power operated sunroof, roll-up sunshades for the rear side windows, and a power-operated sunshade for the rear window.

Eighteen-inch wheels made from aluminium alloy, which look good without the plastic covers found on some lower priced cars. A full-size spare tyre on a matching alloy spare wheel. A tyre pressure monitor, which warns you if a tyre has lost air (this can give you extra time to get a slow puncture seen to).

Autonomous emergency braking, along with lane-keeping assistance, and road-departure mitigation, and Honda’s Lane Watch blind-spot monitor.

Six airbags. Anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control - which can help you control a skidding car. (For the placement of airbags and more on Accord safety systems, please open the Safety section below.)

Every Honda Accord carries a five-year warranty, with no limit on distance.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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The 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder supplied with the Accord VTi-L uses the least fuel, consuming 8.2 litres/100km on the official test (city and country combined). It has enough power for city driving and comfortable highway cruising, but you have to work it hard if you want to overtake swiftly.

The main reason you might not choose this engine is that you want more thrust. The other available engine is the 3.5-litre petrol V6 that comes with the more expensive Accord, the Accord V6L. It uses about 15 per cent more fuel but has half again as much power, which makes overtaking and climbing hills easy.

Every Honda Accord has a conventional automatic gearbox. The gearbox in four-cylinder Accords has five ratios while that in the V6L has six – which is part of the reason why the V6 Accord adds so much performance for such a small fuel penalty.

(Power outputs and all other Honda Accord specifications are available from the Cars Covered menu, under the main image on this page.)

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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Spending as little as possible on an Accord will get you an Accord VTi-L, which has the less powerful, four-cylinder, engine, and the long list of features common to both Accords.

Spending much more for the Accord V6L gets you the much more responsive V6 engine and six-speed gearbox, as described above, and sporty exterior touches such as a rear lip spoiler and twin chrome exhaust outlets. The front passenger seat is adjustable eight ways rather than four, but features otherwise match those of the Accord VTi-L.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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The only upgrade is to the much stronger V6 engine, and its downsides are higher fuel consumption and – more significantly – a much higher initial cost.

How comfortable is the Accord?

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The Honda Accord’s cabin is invitingly finished and it is also invitingly equipped. In any Accord the ergonomics are excellent. The wheel adjusts for height and reach and the driver’s seat power-adjusts eight ways, and so it is easy to find a comfortable position up front.

On smooth roads, the Accord is impressively quiet inside, isolating occupants terrifically well from tyre, wind and suspension noise and vibration. What seems to be expertly engineered sound-deadening is augmented by an active noise-control system that works on a similar principle to noise-cancelling headphones, softening undesirable sounds with reverse-phased audio signals.

The only intrusion is the note of the 2.4-litre four-cylinder in the VTi-L when you’re working it to climb a big hill or overtake. It’s not an altogether unpleasant noise, but it’s out of place in an otherwise refined car. The V6 is quieter and smoother, and because it’s more powerful it doesn’t have to work so hard.

Roughly surfaced roads challenge the Accord’s suspension tune. At low speeds it feels too sensitive to sharp-edged bumps and bigger lumps, responding with a vertical jiggle that you might find annoying. Unfortunately, this low-speed firmness does not pay off at high speeds with superior body control. The Accord feels wallowy over undulations at highway speeds, sometimes settling into just the sort of floating vertical motion that can make passengers feel car-sick.

What about safety in a Honda Accord?

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The Accord is very well endowed with safety kit, with high points including anti-lock brakes, stability control, six airbags, a multi-angle reversing camera, tyre pressure monitoring, auto-dipping headlights, autonomous emergency braking, and lane-keeping assistance. It is a broad-based package that helps you avoid other vehicles (and bystanders) and maintain control of the car, while looking after you if you are in a crash.

The airbags are in the usual places: two directly in front of the driver and passenger; one on the outer side of each front occupant to protect the upper body; and a curtain airbag on each side protecting the heads of those in both seat rows.

The Accord’s auto-braking system is camera-based, and effective under about 100km/h. It warns you of obstacles in front of the car, typically a slower vehicle or a pedestrian, applies partial braking as a wake-up if you do not react, and initiates an emergency stop if required.

The Accord has two lane-keeping systems, again camera-based. One, titled simply Lane Keep Assist, is designed to take some stress out of long highway stretches by self-steering the car. The second, titled Road Departure Mitigation, is intended to protect you from drifting off the road altogether – from fatigue, for example. Again, it will attempt to steer you gently out of trouble.

The Accord also has a blind-spot monitor that Honda calls LaneWatch. This presents, on the car’s central multimedia monitor, a view that you would expect to get from a camera pointing back along the left side of the car from out in front. It helps you see whether it is safe to move left, and works automatically when you operate the left indicator (or you can turn it on by pressing a button on the end of the stalk).

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has awarded the Honda Accord five stars for safety, its maximum, most recently in October 2014. The Accord achieved perfect scores in the pole and side impact crash test elements, on its way to an overall score of 35.79 out of 37.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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If you enjoy having a nicely presented and built interior, with plenty of convenience and safety equipment, in a car that cruises very quietly, you might like the Honda Accord. However, you might also wish for ride comfort that matched the cabin serenity: in the Accord, that is lacking.

If your driving pleasure comes from crisp steering and handling, and potent, sonorous engine performance, you won’t enjoy the Accord so much. Certainly, not as much as you would enjoy a Mazda6, a Ford Mondeo, a Skoda Octavia, a Hyundai Sonata, a Kia Optima, or a Volkswagen Passat.

The Accord’s electromechanical power steering is resolutely uncommunicative. The soft, wallowy suspension behaviour at medium and high speeds detracts significantly from driver involvement and satisfaction, just as it removes ride comfort.

The 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine is smooth, but when accelerating hard it is intrusively noisy – which is grating in the otherwise eerily hushed cabin. However, it’s a willing worker, and a sport mode and manual gearshift paddles help you inject some enthusiasm and extract all the available power, despite the outdated five-speed automatic.

The 3.5-litre V6 is a smooth, refined and powerful engine that makes the Accord considerably nicer to drive, and it brings a more decisive automatic gearbox with six ratios. However the steering and handling shortcomings remain in the Accord V6L.

How is life in the rear seats?

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The Accord’s back seat offers generous leg room, good under-thigh support, and lots of head and shoulder room, which makes it comfortable for two and spacious enough for three.

A slightly raised seat cushion gives those in the back a good view forward and out of the side windows. The backrest is perhaps a bit too reclined for optimum comfort.

Back-seaters get their own air-conditioning vents in the rear of the centre console.

Just as in the front, it is very quiet in the back of the Accord.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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The Honda Accord’s 457-litre boot is on the small side compared with other medium sedans. The Skoda Octavia (568 litres), Subaru Liberty (493 litres) and Mazda 6 (474 litres), for example, have bigger boots. But while it cedes space to many of the alternatives, the boot is still big enough for a stroller and some overnight luggage.

The single fold-down rear seatback (rather than the usual 60-40 split fold) brings the ability to carry larger or longer items, but only when the back seat is not needed.

Where does Honda make the Accord?

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The Honda Accord is built in Thailand.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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Perhaps the terrific blend of effortless power and excellent fuel economy you get with a smaller turbocharged petrol engine, such as those available in the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Octavia.

If you expect to do a lot of highway driving, perhaps lower fuel use and a longer range from a turbocharged diesel, also available in the Passat, the Mazda6 and the Ford Mondeo, for example.

Possibly the loading ease of a liftback (rather than a conventional sedan boot), like you get with the Octavia or a Mondeo sedan.

An even longer warranty: Kia provides a seven-year warranty with its Optima.

Maybe the poor-weather grip and stability of all-wheel-drive, which you can have in a Subaru Liberty or Levorg.

Among other cars worth considering are the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

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There is not much cause for confusion here, as the main thing distinguishing the Accords is the engine and gearbox. Arguably the Accord’s chassis is not engaging enough to justify the extra spend for V6 power, which leaves the VTi-L as the sensible pick.

Are there plans to update the Accord soon?

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This ninth-generation Honda Accord went on sale in June 2013. A petrol-electric hybrid version joined it in 2015 but has since been discontinued.

The Honda Accord was updated in May 2016 with a new exterior look and extra features for the infotainment system. Additions to the safety suite included autonomous emergency braking in the more expensive VTi-L and V6L versions.

About January 2017 Honda ceased importing what had been the least costly Accord, the VTi, which did not have auto-braking, although cars remained available till mid-year.

On 1 July 2017, the new-car warranty on the Accord (and other Hondas) was extended to five years.

A new-generation Accord has been launched overseas, offering a choice from two turbocharged petrol engines. Honda Australia says it expects to sell that car here, likely from 2019.