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2016 Honda Civic vs. 2016 Honda Accord: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro March 2016

If you're interested in a midsize sedan, the Honda you'll probably consider is the Accord. For years, it has been one of the top-selling midsize models on the market. But the all-new 2016 Honda Civic has recently grown dramatically in size, offering a larger interior and trunk than ever before -- and far more gadgets. With that in mind, what exactly separates the Civic and the Accord for 2016? And which one should you get? We've created a close comparison that carefully examines all the key differences between the two popular new models.

Exterior

On the outside, the latest Civic offers a futuristic look that's totally unmatched by the more conservative Accord. While the Accord still uses a traditional 3-box design -- albeit a sharp one -- the Civic has a sweeping C-pillar that runs from the roof to the end of the trunk and almost gives it the design of a 4-door coupe, much like the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. The Civic also touts an exaggerated new grille and bold, distinctive taillights that help it stand out from rivals -- and from the Accord. We don't mean to be gushing over the Civic, but it's important to point out that its futuristic design is a lot more head-turning than the Accord's look. In fact, we suspect the Accord will boast similar styling when it comes time for the sedan's next redesign.

Interior

Inside, the 2016 Civic offers a much more basic cabin than the Accord. While the Accord's interior design includes a large dashboard and a big center control stack with two separate screens, the Civic does away with the dual-screen look in favor of one screen and more traditional controls. The result is that the Civic's center control stack is a lot smaller than the Accord's. As for interior room, the Accord still has more than the Civic -- but not by much. We're impressed with exactly how much space is inside the smaller Honda, both in the front and back for passengers and in the trunk for cargo.

Mechanicals

Both the Civic and Accord are only available with front-wheel drive. The Civic offers two engines: a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in base models and a 174-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder in upscale trims.

The Accord offers a wide range of engine choices. Base models use a 185-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, which means that even the least powerful Accord has more muscle than any Civic. Drivers who want more power can get a 278-hp 3.5-liter V6. Two hybrid variants are also offered: a standard hybrid and a plug-in model, both of which offer 195 hp.

When it comes to gas mileage, the Civic is, predictably, at the top of the heap among gas-powered engines, touting up to 31 miles per gallon in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. While base-level Accord models only reach 27 mpg city/37 mpg hwy, the Accord Hybrid is the real winner here, with an amazing fuel economy rating of 50 mpg city/45 mpg hwy.

Features & Technology

Although the Accord used to offer a lot more equipment than the Civic, that's no longer the case. In fact, thanks to the new Civic, the two models are virtually identical -- and there are very few features that you can get in the Accord that aren't offered in the Civic.

For example, both models tout the cutting-edge Honda Sensing package, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning and automatic braking. Both models offer Honda's excellent LaneWatch blind spot monitor, which gives you a peek into your blind spot. And both models tout Apple CarPlay, a remote starter, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, automatic wipers and even LED headlights.

Simply put, if you're buying the Accord over the Civic just to get more features, you're too late: A well-equipped Accord no longer offers any advantages over a high-end Civic.

Driving Experience

As is typically the case with Honda models, both the Civic and Accord offer sharper handling and a sportier steering feel than most of their rivals. This year, the Civic also touts a better suspension, an improved ride and a more solid feel on the road than its predecessors -- though it's still noticeably smaller than its Accord stablemate.

It's also noticeably slower. While Civic models with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine have some zip, the Accord's larger 2.4-liter engine feels about as quick -- and the Accord's V6 is, of course, unrivaled by any Civic (at least, until the upcoming Type R model goes on sale). Indeed, though the Civic may offer an admirable driving experience among compact cars, it still can't beat out a midsize sedan for acceleration and solid road manners.

Safety

Although the latest Civic has not yet been crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the sedan a coveted Top Safety Pick+ overall rating. The Accord, meanwhile, has been tested by the NHTSA -- and it earned a perfect 5-star overall rating. The Accord also earned an excellent Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS.

As for safety equipment, both the Civic and Accord offer just about everything you might want. Both models come standard with anti-lock brakes and side-curtain airbags, while both offer lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, forward-collision alert with automatic braking and Honda's excellent LaneWatch blind spot camera as options. Interestingly, neither the Accord nor the Civic offers any major advantages over the other when it comes to safety equipment and features -- right down to the available LED headlights.

Conclusions

With its latest redesign, the 2016 Honda Civic has really entered the realm of the Honda Accord. The new Civic is larger, more advanced, more comfortable and faster than ever -- and it offers bold new styling that almost makes it more desirable than the larger Accord. Our take: Unless you really need the Accord's larger interior, you should get the Civic. You can put the money you saved into buying a higher-level model with even more equipment.

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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 Civic vs. 2016 Honda Accord: What's the Difference? - Autotrader