One of my favourite sedans continues to do almost everything right.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
Click on any picture to see a larger version.
Pricing: 2016 Honda Accord
Base price (Touring trim): $32,990
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $34,785
Yes, I like the Honda Accord. No, I wasn’t a big fan in the past, but this generation has really won me over. Let me tell you why.
The Accord’s styling isn’t going to set the world on fire, by any means, but it’s clean, modern and sleek. I find it interesting enough so that my eyes don’t dismiss the car immediately, but it certainly won’t offend anyone. My review car’s blingy chrome grille treatment contrasted beautifully with the gorgeous Obsidian Blue Pearl paint. And when it comes to lighting, it’s LEDs for everyone! Daytime running lights, fog lights, head lights, front turn indicators, tail lights, brake lights – they’re all LEDs! I loved the Touring’s twin 5-spoke 19-inch rims, which come complete with some serious 235/40-sized rubber.
It’s easy come, easy go with the Touring trim’s proximity entry system and there’s a push-button starter. I like the sculpting that Honda has employed on the dash – much like the exterior, it’s interesting without being too out there. Once you’re in, the cabin feels spacious with plenty of head room. The Accord’s materials are very nice, in particular the stitched door panels and the perforated leather on the seats, which are power-adjustable, heated and very comfortable, by the way. I also found the fake grey wood trim attractive, although it is a bit too glossy for my liking. Almost every surface is crafted out of nicely textured soft-touch plastics, and it feels like a premium interior. Fit and finish appeared to be outstanding.
My Touring trim Accord had the two-screen Display Audio system, which is a bit of a misleading name because it actually handles the phone and navigation functions too. The upper screen is the display one, and the lower one acts as a display and a touch-screen, often displaying redundant information that mirrors the upper one. The sound system is great! I gave Apple CarPlay a try – it works very well and feels instantly familiar. As you’d likely expect, you get a dual-zone automatic climate control system and you’ll see a standard-sized sunroof above you.
If you pick the Touring trim, you’ll also be checking off every driver assistance technology box – it comes loaded with a multi-angle back-up camera, forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning system, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot display system. All of this works pretty well and is, for the most part, unobtrusive. If anything, I found the lane departure warnings to be a bit sensitive, and the system would often beep much earlier than other cars’ systems would. If it bothers the driver, it is easily turned off.
The back seats are very comfortable as well, and the two outboard ones are heated. First the good – there is a significant amount of leg room and head room – at 5’10”, I had several inches to spare. The middle seating position is one of the better ones I’ve found in a sedan as of late. There is a low tunnel sticking up out of the floor, but overall the position would work for an adult, and my three kids were just fine back there.
Now the bad – in terms of convenience, rear passengers get nothing other than some adjustable air vents. That always irks me for a top-line trim package – not even a charging plug for your rear passengers? That’s not cool, Honda.
I found a number of places to store my stuff around the cabin, and most of it (like the bin with 12V and USB charging plugs under the armrest lid) works really well. One weird exception – there’s a flip-up lid near the bottom of the centre stack that opens up (and is then in your way) to reveal a shallow, non-rubberized bin with a USB charging plug in it. Anything you put in there will slide around and rattle around.
The trunk can be opened with a remote release inside, and it’s quite spacious at 439 litres. You can bump that cargo room up by folding the rear seats down (they split 60/40) but you have to use the seat release levers in the trunk to do that.
Under the Hood
Honda’s tried and true 2.4-litre 4-cylinder is the base engine in the Accord, and with 185 HP at 6400 RPM and 181 lb.ft of torque at 3900 RPM, it will be enough for most drivers. The front-wheel drive only Accord is available with a CVT, and in this configuration, Honda rates the 3435 lb (1558 kg) sedan at 8.6 L/100 km (27 US mpg) in the city and 6.4 L/100 km (37 US mpg) on the highway. We ended up with an average 10 L/100 km (24 US mpg), which is neither great nor bad. Truthfully, I drove it with a slightly heavier foot than I do most weeks, and that likely dropped my fuel economy a bit.
The 4-cylinder CVT combination is a good match and it feels snappy off the line and around town. Obviously the car is lacking the power of the V6 at higher speeds, and freeway passing maneuvers require a little more patience, but by no means does the car ever feel under-powered. Honda’s ECON mode button is there, and it will dull the car’s responses a bit in order to return slightly better fuel economy.
The CVT seems to react quickly to any inputs. Things get a bit noisy if you’re really on the gas, but revs drop quickly once you’ve reached your desired speed. The transmission also has a Sport mode (which does make things a bit more responsive) and a Low mode, which keeps the transmission’s ratio limited to what might be the equivalent of second or third gear – perfect for engine braking in the mountains, etc.
Handling is good, although the suspension seems to be tuned more for comfort than sport – which is probably what most buyers in this category are after anyway. The ride is exceptional, even with the super low profile tires. I found the car to be reasonably quiet, although the road noise picked up a bit on the highway – I believe at least some of that was thanks to the winter tires.
Definitely some goodies here. I like the Qi wireless charging mat for your phone at the bottom of the centre stack – you’ll also find a 12V plug here. Another little bonus is the remote engine starter, which seems to have a great range and came in handy on chilly mornings.
And Honda’s square cupholders are my absolute favourite because they are among the very few that will accommodate my daily chocolate milk carton, thank you very much!
As I said, I really like the Accord. It does everything very well, and with a couple of little exceptions, it seems that Honda has really thought this sedan through. The drivetrain is outstanding, the interior is nicely crafted, there’s plenty of room in the back and in the trunk and it’s a good-looking car. That really checks off most of the boxes for me, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the 2016 Accord. If you can do without some of the bells and whistles, you can also save a bit of money in terms of which trim you choose. I really enjoyed driving the Sport trim, and it’s my personal favourite. Conversely, if you like what you see here but want some more power, the 278 HP V6 option is tremendous and pulls like an absolute rocket.
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was surprisingly high. She’s usually not a big fan of sedans, but liked the styling of this one. She also said it felt like a very expensive car to drive around town, and it was easy to operate.
The mid-size sedan category is insanely competitive, and is full of excellent offerings from all the manufacturers. There are plenty of great choices here, but the 2016 Accord should be one of the few “must-drives” on your shopping list.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Honda Canada.
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