Honda's 2011 Accord sedan and coupe are due to go on sale in mid-August. For the new model year, Honda has done a mid-cycle freshening of its best seller that includes new styling for the front grille, new front bumper shape, rear deck lid, new wheel design and added leather trim option.
The 2011 Accord has better fuel economy over the 2010 version. According to the EPA's estimated mileage rating, the four-cylinder Accord sedan with an automatic gets 23 city (two mile per gallon better than the 2010) and 34 highway (a three-mile per gallon improvement).
"For 2011, the Accord evolves again with sharpened styling inside and out, fuel economy gains and a broader application of popular features," said Erik Berkman, vice president of corporate planning and logistics for American Honda Motor Co.
The instrument panel has also been updated. Now the most-used climate-control buttons have been moved closer to the driver for easier use and the lesser used have been moved to the right.
Honda has added several new features on certain Accord models. They include a USB audio interface on the EX and EX-L sedan models and all coupes; steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the six-cylinder, EX-L version of the coupe; a two-position memory system for the driver's seat of V-6 EX-L sedans; and a rear camera on sedans equipped with the optional navigation system.
Pricing hasn't been released. Honda's suggested retail price of the 2010 sedan started at $21,805 and $23,305 for the base coupe, including delivery charges. Honda's last total redo of the Accord was for the 2008 model year.
John Wolkonowicz, a researcher at IHS Automotive, said that current eighth-generation Accord sedan is bigger than its predecessor and some Honda loyalists aren't fond of the new styling, although the coupe's looks get a thumbs-up. The new Accord has maintained its impeccable quality, reliability, low cost of ownership and great resale value, he added.
Accord is cross-shopped almost exclusively with only Toyota's Camry, Wolkonowicz said. "I would suggest the current-generation Accord became more Camry-like than ever."
Honda said it sold 160,970 Accords in the U.S., which includes 13,301 Accord Crosstours, in the first half of 2010, a 23.7% jump from 2009.
But Wolkonowicz said IHS data shows Accord's market share in its segment has slipped this decade, topping out at 19.7% in 2001. Although Accord bounced back in 2003 with a 19.3% share of its segment, IHS found it's been sliding since 2004 and last year was 15.5%.