The 2018 Honda Accord represents the most radical overhaul of this best-seller in decades. It’s lower and wider, it has a sleek fastback roofline, and its brash face is a far cry from those of past conservative Accords. Under the hood, its two available engines are now turbocharged 4-cylinders, while a new 10-speed automatic transmission is joined by the return of a 6-speed manual as a no-cost option. Inside, the cabin is just as huge, but it looks far better, and the elevated materials help dip the new Accord into near-luxury territory. A standard allotment of accident-avoidance tech is a big addition as well.
So, it’s radically different, but is it better? Oh yes, considerably, which is saying something, since the outgoing Accord was still a highly desirable car. It’s honestly hard to find areas where it falls short or isn’t a class leader. Even the equally new and rather impressive Camry is playing catch-up in a few areas. Really, if you’re in the market for a midsize sedan, the new Accord needs to be on your test-drive list.
What’s New for 2018?
The Honda Accord was completely redesigned for 2018. It features a dramatic new design with a coupe-like fastback roofline and a higher-quality interior boasting much improved electronics. New turbocharged engines highlight the mechanical changes. Note that the Accord Coupe has been discontinued.
What We Like
Standard accident-avoidance tech; powerful and efficient engines; large and upscale interior; composed and comfortable to drive; available Sport model
What We Don’t
Higher base price than rival sedans; less responsive steering than past Accords
The Accord’s engine choices are fundamentally different for 2018. The standard engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. With the standard continuously variable automatic (CVT), this engine returns 30 miles per gallon in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg in combined driving in most trim levels. The Sport and Touring trims reduce fuel economy to 31 mpg combined, as does the Sport’s optional 6-speed manual transmission.
A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is available on Sport, EX-L and Touring trims. It comes standard with a 10-speed automatic. Fuel economy is 23 mpg city/34 mpg highway/27 mpg combined in the EX-L trim. The Sport and Touring trims reduce fuel economy to 26 mpg combined, as does the Sport’s optional 6-speed manual transmission.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Honda Accord is available in LX, EX, Sport, EX-L and Touring trim levels. There’s also a Hybrid version, which we will review separately.
Standard equipment on the Accord LX ($23,600) includes 17-inch wheels, a rearview camera, forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a full-width folding rear seatback, one USB port and a 4-speaker sound system with a 7-in display, Bluetooth, a media player interface and Pandora streaming internet radio control.
The Sport ($25,800) adds 19-in wheels, bigger brakes, LED foglights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8-way power driver’s seat (includes 4-way power lumbar), an upgraded USB port, an 8-speaker sound system and an 8-in Display Audio touchscreen interface that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and HondaLink in-car apps. Only the Sport can be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission as a no-cost option.
The EX ($27,500) reverts to the LX’s wheels and brakes, and does not include the leather-wrapped wheel. Otherwise, it gets the same extra content as the Sport, plus blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, passive entry and push-button start, heated mirrors, a sunroof, heated front seats, a 60/40-split rear seatback, a second USB port, satellite radio and HD Radio.
The EX-L ($30,000) adds leather upholstery, the leather-wrapped wheel, a 4-way power passenger seat, driver memory settings, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a 10-speaker sound system.
The Touring ($33,800) gets different 19-inch wheels than the Sport, plus automatic wipers, bi-LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, ventilated front seats, rear heated seats, a head-up display, Wi-Fi, wireless smartphone charging, an enhanced instrument cluster and a navigation system (optional on the EX-L) integrated into the standard touchscreen.
The Sport, EX-L and Touring can be upgraded with a more powerful turbocharged engine paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Every 2018 Accord comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and a rearview camera. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems are included on the EX trim and above.
The government gave the 2018 Accord a perfect 5-star rating in all crash-test categories. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick for its best-possible scores on all crash tests as well as for its crash-prevention tech and LATCH ease of use. Its Acceptable headlight rating also contributed to the award.
Behind the Wheel
For those who remember the Honda Accord as one of the sharpest midsize sedans to drive, you’ll be happy to hear that the latest version has recaptured some of its old mojo. True, the steering might not be as responsive as that of earlier models, but the new Accord handles smartly and inspires confidence when driving on a back road or in an emergency maneuver. Ride comfort is excellent, as are the brakes, which haven’t always been a Honda strong suit.
The rest of the driving experience depends on which engine you get. For the majority of buyers, that means the base 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and its CVT. With that pairing, you’ll find a car that feels a little stronger off the line than past base Accords (and non-turbo competitors) due to its greater torque available at lower engine speeds. This advantage will disappear at higher engine speeds and in full-throttle acceleration, say when merging onto a highway. Unlike other CVT transmissions, this one responds better to throttle inputs and mimics upshifts for a more natural feeling.
The new engine upgrade, a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, behaves in a similar way to the 1.5, albeit with considerably more oomph. We don’t think you’ll miss the old V6, and the new 10-speed automatic is a gem. Interestingly, though, you can get either engine with a 6-speed manual transmission in the Sport trim.
Inside, you’ll once again find an enormous amount of passenger and cargo space. Materials quality has also been elevated, as has the new, more stylish cabin design. In-car electronics also take a big step forward, as the Accord’s new 8-in touchscreen (found on all but the base trim) is a big leap forward. It’s much easier to use and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Toyota Camry — Also all-new for 2018, the Camry is available in a diverse variety of trim levels that cater to diverse buyer tastes. Its available engines are also fundamentally different. We think both the Accord and the Camry should be closely considered.
2018 Mazda Mazda6 — The Mazda6 isn’t all-new for 2018, but it was significantly overhauled to provide sharper handling, a new turbocharged engine upgrade and a quieter, higher-quality cabin. Long ignored, the Mazda6 nevertheless deserves a look.
2018 Ford Fusion — The Fusion boasts a similar turbocharged engine lineup to the Accord, along with its own attractive styling, high-quality interior and sharp handling. It’s also available in hybrid, luxury (Platinum trim) and performance variations.
Used Lexus ES — If you’re seeking a large, premium car that won’t suffer from typical luxury car reliability issues, the ES is a great choice. It’s far pricier when new, so checking out a used or certified pre-owned one is smart.
Even the cheapest base Accord comes with the full gamut of high-tech safety features and a generous amount of equipment. However, we think most people will find the Sport and EX go above and beyond to provide an impressively elevated experience for a midsize sedan. They’re more expensive, sure, but we think your friends will think you spent considerably more.