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2016 Honda Accord: First Drive Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Jason Fogelson August 2015

The Honda Accord has been one of the best-selling cars in the United States for more than two decades. The 2016 Honda Accord is the subject of a light refresh for the venerable sedan and coupe, which is currently in the middle of its ninth generation of production.

The Accord is available as a 4-door sedan and as a 2-door coupe. The sedan comes in six trim levels, from the base LX ($22,105) to Touring ($34,580). The coupe comes in five trim levels, from LX-S ($24,775) to Touring ($34,125). This year, it's also possible to add the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technologies to every trim level (except Touring, which already includes Honda Sensing).

Sensing Technology

Honda Sensing is a sophisticated set of passive and active safety features, including Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control. Additionally, Honda is making a play for the tech-savvy consumer with its first implementation of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Jamming all of this technology into the Accord's dashboard creates a bit of a real estate issue. Honda solves this with dual display screens on upper trim-level vehicles, with one screen at the top of the center stack and one right below it. If you're not using a lot of tech, the screens are often redundant, with the same information available at the same time. It's not an entirely successful approach.

Good Looks and Tailoring

Still, the interior is attractive and nicely designed, with a tasteful mix of high-quality materials and surfaces.

Outside, there's been a bit of a face-lift, with new grille trim, new alloy wheel designs and LED daytime running lights and taillights. LED headlamps are optional (standard on Touring), which further enhance the modern look and function of both the coupe and sedan. Tailoring and trim enhancements on the exterior of the vehicle have resulted in better aerodynamics.

Power and Efficiency

Under the hood, two available engines get matched with both sedan and coupe. There's a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder (185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque) and a 3.5-liter V6 (278 hp and 251-252 lb-ft of torque). A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) will be the popular choice(6-speed automatic with the V6), but enthusiasts will be happy to hear that a 6-speed manual transmission is available in all 4-cylinder models, and can even be found in the EX-L V6 coupe. All Accord models are front-wheel drive only, for now. The Accord Hybrid is on hiatus this year, but it's said to be returning for 2017.

The EPA estimates that fuel economy in the 4-cylinder Accord Coupe will be 24 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission and 26 mpg city/35 mpg hwy with the CVT. The Accord Coupe with V6 and 6-speed automatic is rated at 21 mpg city/32 mpg hwy. The manual hasn't been rated yet.

The Accord Sedan does a little better still with its CVT and 4-cylinder getting 27 mpg city/37 mpg hwy. With the V6, it's rated to achieve 21 mpg city/34 mpg hwy.

Driving Toward the Finish

Suspension bits are familiar for the Accord, with MacPherson struts in the front and a multilink rear. Brake disc sizes have been increased, and wheels vary from trim level to trim level, from 16 inch on the LX up to 19 in. on the Sport and Touring.

Out on the road, the Accord performs well. The 4-cylinder versions provide adequate acceleration from a stop, and have no problem getting onto the freeway and cruising at speed. Handling is predictable and smooth, and little engine or road noise seeps into the cabin. The V6 has a nicely lusty engine note under a load, and quiets down to a quiet purr when cruising. The extra power of the bigger engine is seductive, and buyers who like having some oomph in reserve will appreciate the responsive performance and won't mind the fuel economy penalty.

Choosing From a Crowded Field

The Accord Sedan has some very worthy competitors to consider. The Toyota Camry continuously rivals the Accord for the sales crown. Nissan's Altima, Chevrolet's Malibu, Hyundai's Sonata, Kia's Optima, VW's Passat, Ford's Fusion, Chrysler's 200 and Subaru's Legacy all aspire to compete and offer their own strengths and weaknesses. For driving dynamics, the Mazda6 is the leader by a hair.

The Accord Coupe has a smaller competitive set, as sedans are much more abundant in this class. A certified pre-owned Nissan Altima coupe is one to consider.

While Honda hasn't injected a large dose of excitement into the Accord, it has demonstrated a continuing passion for quality, reliability and efficiency into both the sedan and the coupe. Owners of previous generation Accord vehicles will not be disappointed, and many will find joy in the prospect of another long relationship with a new, 2016 Honda Accord. The one thing that leads us to recommend the Accord over some of its competitors is the car's variety. The availability of a coupe or sedan, automatic or manual transmission, 4- or 6-cylinder engines and all the resulting combinations means there's an Accord for almost every type of driver.

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Used 2015 Honda Accord EX-L Hybrid Sedan
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Used 2015 Honda Accord LX Sedan
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Honda Accord: First Drive Review - Autotrader