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2016 Honda Accord: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader October 2015

When you think about the best-selling midsize sedan, it's likely one of two cars pop into your head: the Toyota Camry or the Honda Accord. These two models have reigned supreme for years, thanks to a nearly unbeatable combination of fuel economy, durability and affordability in addition to a wide array of trim levels, ensuring there's something for everyone. The 2016 Honda Accord continues this reign.

Faced with increasing challenges from rival automakers, the Accord and Camry have had to work harder to keep their reigns valid. For Honda, it meant a full redesign of the Accord in 2013 and another major update this year. The 2016 Honda Accord improved on a winning formula, sharpening up a few minor areas where we felt the old model lagged.

The Accord is now the midsize sedan to beat, standing at the top of the segment with the latest Camry and other rivals, such as the Mazda6 and Hyundai Sonata. If you're looking for a midsize sedan, we suggest adding this best-seller to your shopping list.

What's New for 2016?

The Accord receives a major update for 2016, including revised exterior styling, updated suspension, small interior changes and equipment revisions with the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a split-folding rear seat for most models and wider availability of the Honda Sensing safety package.

What We Like

Plentiful standard features; roomy interior; excellent ride; above-average continuously variable transmission (CVT); capable handling; wider availability of optional safety features

What We Don't

Base stereo only has four speakers; navigation system is only available on EX-L and above

How Much?

$23,000-$35,500

Fuel Economy

Gas-powered Accord models offer two engines, a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and a 3.5-liter V6. For drivers especially interested in fuel economy, there's also an Accord Hybrid and a plug-in hybrid Accord (unsurprisingly dubbed the Accord Plug-In Hybrid), which we've covered in a separate review.

Go for the base engine, and you'll have 185 horsepower, along with good fuel economy of up to 27 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway with the optional CVT automatic, or 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with the standard 6-speed manual.

The 3.5-liter V6 offers a muscular 278 hp but lower gas mileage. Opt for the automatic, and you'll have up to 21 mpg city/34 mpg hwy, while drivers who go for the 6-speed manual -- only available in the EX-L coupe -- will see a dramatically lower 18 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Accord sedan is offered in six trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EX-L V6 and Touring. The Accord coupe starts out at LX-S and can't be had in Sport or Touring, but it shares the sedan's other trims.

Honda used to punish entry-level buyers with bare-bones equipment offerings, but that's no longer the case. Even the base LX sedan ($23,000) includes perks, like 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, USB audio connectivity, Pandora Internet radio compatibility and the intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) infotainment system with an 8-in screen.

The Sport sedan ($25,100) adds 18-in alloys, a rear deck-lid spoiler, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 10-way power driver seat including adjustable lumbar.

The EX sedan ($26,500) features 17-in alloys, a sunroof, a 6-speaker stereo, keyless entry with push-button ignition, Honda's excellent LaneWatch blind spot camera and new-for-2016 smartphone app integration with HondaLink, which includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Siri Eyes Free functionality.

Next up is the luxurious EX-L ($29,500), which sets itself apart with LED brake lights, a rearview camera, 2-position memory for the driver's seat, a 4-way power passenger seat, a HomeLink garage door opener, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a touch screen audio interface and satellite radio. The EX-L V6 sedan ($31,600) adds the V6 engine and LED daytime running lights.

Finally, the top-of-the-line Touring sedan ($35,500) features automatic LED headlights, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, heated rear seats, a standard navigation system and all the contents of the Honda Sensing package.

Although Honda traditionally avoids options, the Accord offers two major ones. There's the navigation system with voice recognition (available on the EX-L and standard on the Touring) and the safety-minded Honda Sensing package, which is optional on all trim levels (except the Touring, where it's standard). It features adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning with automatic braking and lane-keep assist.

In terms of feature content, the coupe-only LX-S model ($24,400) is roughly an EX sedan without the sunroof and push-button ignition. From there, the coupe follows the sedan's equipment formula.

Safety

The 2016 Honda Accord comes with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain). Optional safety features include the Honda Sensing package (adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning with automatic braking and lane-keep assist), along with automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors and Honda's excellent LaneWatch blind spot camera.

In government crash tests, the latest Accord earned an overall safety rating of five stars. That rating consists of a 5-star side-impact rating, a 5-star rollover rating and a 4-star frontal-impact rating. The Accord also earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's excellent Top Safety Pick rating after earning high marks in the firm's crash tests.

Behind the Wheel

On the road, we're impressed with how well the Accord handles. The same goes for the ride, which is luxury-car smooth and surprisingly quiet, an improvement over past Accord models. Unfortunately, the brakes remain mediocre, and independent testing has shown little progress relative to the last-generation Accord.

In our interior evaluation, we immediately felt an upscale vibe that says Acura more than Honda. The materials are nicer in the current model, and there's no doubt the standard 8-in i-MID adds a touch of high-tech class to the cabin. Despite the influx of technology, Honda's ergonomic leadership shines through in the ease of use characterizing most controls.

The front seats are firm and highly supportive, while rear passengers in the sedan will be as comfortable as they were in the outgoing model's palatial back seat. In fact, rear legroom has somehow increased by an inch. The coupe's rear quarters are predictably tighter, but two adults can squeeze back there without issue for short to medium trips.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Ford Fusion -- The latest Ford Fusion is one of the few rivals that can give the Accord a run for its money technologically. The Fusion is great to drive, too, and there's a wide variety of trim levels, option packages and powertrains.

2016 Hyundai Sonata -- The current Sonata almost single-handedly started the trend toward good-looking, value-packed family sedans. Newly redesigned last year, it's still a formidable foe, especially with its powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

2016 Toyota Camry -- The Camry was heavily updated last year to give Toyota a fighting chance against major rivals from Honda, Hyundai and Ford. Unsurprisingly, the latest Camry offers a highly appealing package.

Used Acura TLX -- If you like the Accord's packaging but balk at the thought of paying nearly $40,000 for a well-equipped Accord Touring (or Accord Hybrid), you may want to consider the Acura TLX. Cabin materials are nicer, and it wears a more upscale badge, though higher prices mean you may have to consider a used model.

Autotrader's Advice

The LX is so feature-rich we're tempted to recommend one and call it a day. We love some of the features of higher Accord models too much to do that, including the excellent LaneWatch blind spot camera on EX models. As a result, we'd probably opt for an EX with the Honda Sensing package for the right balance of luxury and safety.

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Used 2016 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Sedan
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Used 2016 Honda Accord Sport 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: New Car Review - Autotrader