The Honda Accord has helped define in recent years one of America's favorite segments: the mid-size family sedan. Now, with the proliferation of SUVs on the market, the family sedan category may represent some of the best value propositions on the new car market—automakers are still competitive and the sedans are more feature-rich than ever.
It's an increasingly competitive space with strong rivals such as the stylish Ford Fusion, the value-laden Hyundai Sonata, and the reinvented Chrysler 200. But the Accord thrives to this day, largely because it appeals to both sides of the brain, with plenty of practicality and a fun-to-drive nature, either as a two-door Coupe or as a four-door sedan.
The Honda Accord Sedan is offered in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trims, while the Coupe available in LX-S, EX, EX-L, and Touring models.
It's currently a few years into its ninth generation, and carries over into 2016 with a mild refresh that's most notable for a bold new grille design and redesigned taillights. Sedans also get a re-contoured aluminum hood. The Accord's design has enough flair and sophistication to stay relevant in a fashion-conscious market, but remains elegantly upright in the tradition of past generations. Honda isn't willing to sacrifice the Accord's spacious, comfortable goodness for an extra-swoopy roofline. The styling won't turn heads, but it's handsome, fresh, and recognizable as a Honda.
Interior design creates a sense of airiness with a low instrument panel and a layout that's pushed out to the corners. Important controls are well-placed, though, quite high within it. With Coupes, you give up some practicality for a performance look; they're mostly the same as sedans from the front seats forward, but their completely different, wedgier tail and side sheet metal adds up to a more dynamic stance.
Powertrains are both stronger and more efficient than they were just a couple of years ago. The base inline-4 features direct injection technology and makes 185 horsepower (or 189 hp in Sport models). It can be paired with a 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT). Some drivers may think this CVT, with its superbly linear feel, is a regular automatic transmission. Unusually for the mid-size segment, the Accord still offers a V-6 engine across the lineup. It's coupled to a a 6-speed automatic transmission (or a 6-speed manual in Coupes).
Honda dropped its once-heralded double-wishbone setup in the Accord last year, instead opting for more tunable (and cheaper) MacPherson struts that it claims improve ride and handling while cutting cabin noise and harshness. So far, we can't say that's off the mark; the Accord drives with much of the verve of previous editions, and the new electric power steering is particularly good.
The 2016 Honda Accord makes clever use of interior space with a driving position that's nice and upright, good legroom in the back, and easy entry and exit. There's plenty of window space for excellent outward vision. A new 60/40-split folding seat in all sedans except the LX is an improvement on the previous seat back that folded forward in one clunky piece.
Among all these models, we could do with a less confusing control set—especially the dual-screen infotainment system you get in some trims. Coupe models are of course a little tighter in back, with a slightly stiffer ride; but they pack all the goodness of the sedans into a vehicle with a far sportier roofline.
A significant change for 2016 is the availability of Honda Sensing, a suite of driver assists, throughout the Accord lineup. It's standard on Touring models. There's also a cool LaneWatch blind-spot monitor that provides a wide view of the passenger side of the vehicle on the touchscreen the moment you flick the turn signal. It's one of the coolest new features to debut in recent years.
Honda in the past hasn't had much of a reputation for cramming value and convenience features into its vehicles. But that's all been turning around lately. The base Accord LX model includes dual-zone automatic climate control, 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera system, and an 8.0-inch i-MID display with Pandora audio streaming and text-message capability. V-6 models get some nicer cabin appointments, and EX-L models have a 360-watt system with Aha internet radio streaming.
Both engines use regular unleaded gasoline. EPA ratings with the four-cylinder and CVT are 27 mpg city, 37 highway, 31 combined; with the V-6 you'll get up to 21/34/26 mpg.