The Honda Accord is an automotive icon. Perhaps, not the most exciting icon, but few automotive nameplates are as synonymous with value, thoughtful engineering, and general quality than the Honda Accord. Redesigned for 2017 the Accord is now available only as a sedan. Compared to the previous generation it’s wheelbase has grown by over 4 inches but it’s overall length is actually down slightly. The naturally aspirated 4 and 6 cylinder engines have been replaced by two turbocharged inline 4 cylinder measuring either 1.5 or 2.0 liters. 1.5 liter engines are paired to a CVT while the 2.0 liter get’s Honda’s new 10 speed automatic. Opt for the middle of the range Sport trim and Honda gives you the option of a 6 speed manual transmission at no cost on either engine. The car reviewed here is a 2.0 Sport with the 6 speed manual.
2018 Honda Accord Sport Driving Impressions
From behind the wheel the Accord is fantastic to drive. The engine is powerful and has plenty of low end torque which makes the car feel responsive regardless of what gear you are in. While the exhaust note leaves a lot to be desired, the way that the 2 liter delivers the power feels extremely sporty and premium. In typical Honda fashion the transmission feels great to use but the shifter throws are definitely on the longer side. Clutch action is light and easy to use in traffic. Suspension tuning is fantastic in this car, the ride quality is supremely comfortable and would not feel out of place in a premium offering costing 10s of thousand more than $31,360 asking price of the Accord. It does roll a bit in the corners and you don’t forget that it’s a big car when pushing it, but it has genuinely sporty and responsive chassis dynamics.
There is a bit of detectable torque steer when accelerating out a corner or on uneven pavement. A combination of all season tires and an open differential mean that you need to be careful on the gas on corner exit if you don’t want the car to understeer or have the traction control step in. Steering feel is a little numb and the ratio could be quicker but it is nicely weighted and responds well to midcorner steering adjustments.
The Accord Sport is absolutely the driver’s choice for a midsize car from a mainstream brand. Most buyer’s probably will not appreciate the light and playful chassis dynamics but anyone shopping in this class of car who truly enjoys driving should carefully consider the Accord.
2018 Honda Accord Sport Design
The newly redesigned Accord has a very handsome exterior design. A swoopy roofline with a short trunk lid evokes the 4 door coupes from Mercedes and Audi without sacrificing rear seat head room. My only real complaint with the exterior design is that the short dash to axle ratio clearly gives this away as a front drive car. The front fascia also seems very upright and slightly at odds with the curvy silhouette of the car as a whole.
The Sport trim get’s unique 19 inch wheels with black accents and a dark chrome upper grill element as well as a small lip spoiler.
The Accord’s interior is extremely sharp and premium. Materials look rich but some of the plastics are a bit hard and scratchy. The cloth seats are comfortable but not bolstered very well for aggressive driving. Despite a few of the materials leaving a little to be desired the interior design has some great little touches that make the car feel more expensive than it is. One example being the LED lighting and small screens on the climate control buttons. I also think that Honda’s implementation of a digital display in the instrument cluster is genius. The speedometer on the right is a traditional physical gauge while the middle portion of the cluster and the tachometer on the left are one continuous screen. Meaning that you get configurability to see radio or drivers assistance information in the left gauge but under most lighting the two gauges look identical. Some digital instrument clusters have been trending more cartoony (Mercedes MBUX) and it is refreshing to see a solution that is understated and that will never look dated.
The Accord strikes an uncommon blend of driving engagement, practicality, and comfort. It compares favorably to any of the luxury midsizers in most regards. Honda’s driver assistance features are well executed and don’t feel intrusive. The interior is absolutely massive but in most situations the car shrinks around you as you drive. The exterior is sporty and modern without being overwrought like some of the other available midsizers.
There are very few things to fault about the execution of the 2018 Honda Accord. Wind noise is more noticeable than I would like and some of the interior materials let down what would otherwise be a very convincing mid level luxury car.
My main complaint is with the Sport trim itself. This is undoubtedly the driver’s choice in the class, especially considering the availability of a manual transmission. However, it is not a true sport sedan. I would like to see Honda change the packaging slightly to make this car more of an Accord Si. It would raise the price but the inclusion of a limited slip differential like the one available on the Civic Si and Type R would be a huge step in the right direction. That, plus summer tires and a short throw shifter would make this a true sport sedan. The Civic Si even has 2 mode adjustable suspension. If Honda can make that work on a $23,000 car I’m sure it’s possible here. These changes would go a long way towards elevating the Sport trim from what is essentially an appearance package and would turn the Accord into a genuine sport sedan.
2018 Honda Accord Sport Value
There may not be a better value per dollar in the entire automotive world than the Honda Accord Sport. With the bigger engine and either transmission choice you have a genuinely fun and well equipped car at around $30,000. It is not perfect, but if you don’t need off-road capability or a hatch, this is truly all the car anyone can need. Road noise and some interior materials won’t compare favorably to a Mercedes E300 or Audi A6, but in all other metrics the Accord stacks up well against those two $50,000+ luxury sedans. Drive them back to back and you may find yourself wondering where the extra $20,000 went.
The 2018 Honda Accord is a superb automobile that will be cheap to buy and own but put a smile on your face every time you get behind the wheel. It’s balance of fun, comfort, size, technology, and efficiency are incredibly uncommon. That it is one of the last midsizers where you can get a manual transmission in the United States is icing on the cake. I would not hesitate to recommend this car to anyone.