With only 955 miles on the odometer, our silver over black Accord test car still had that lovely sense of newness about it. That sense was deepened, for me, because I haven’t been in an Accord for a couple of years. This year, the Accord certainly has been overshadowed by the Hyundai Sonata, but it was nice to get back into one and rediscover that it’s still a very good car, although this particular iteration has been around for a while. The exterior styling has not been deemed a success — I don’t think even within Honda. There’s an awkward formality to it; it doesn’t quite hang together. It’s not offensive, but it’s not particularly fluid. The interior is a perfectly pleasant place, if a little somber; ours was all black with a little bit of silver-colored trim. However, the ergonomics are pretty much faultless. The center stack controls are very clear; our modestly priced example did not have a nav system, just a small display screen at the top of the center stack showing the clock and radio information. As far as I could tell, there was no display for climate control information, which is something you now get in a lot of cars in this class these days.
There’s a nice crispness to the Accord’s controls, a general feeling of quality in everything you touch and operate. The steering, the brakes, the accelerator pedal, all are refined in operation. When you gun the four-cylinder engine, it’s a little more coarse than you might expect from a Honda. One of my favorite aspects about the Accord is that, in the great Honda tradition, the sightlines are fabulous. The A-pillars are not obstructed. The hood falls away nicely, giving a very commanding view of the road. The beltline is not overly high and the C-pillars are also not ridiculously big, so there’s good visibility in all directions. This counts a lot in everyday driving.
In any case, this car still has a lot going for it. The front seats are good; seat bottoms are easy to adjust for good thigh support, and the gathered leather is a nice luxurious touch. It will really be interesting to see what Honda does with the next-generation Accord, as they surely will have to respond to the resounding success of the Hyundai Sonata, which is stylish and loaded with equipment.
– Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
This Honda Accord sedan, not surprisingly, is a perfectly nice car but not terribly inspiring to drive. That’s exactly what most Accord buyers (and there are a lot of them) want, though. And for those who yearn for a bit more excitement, a lovely stick shift comes standard with the base four-cylinder edition, a 271-hp V-6 is available, and Honda also offers a coupe version of the Accord, where a six-speed manual, V-6 combo will appeal to the most sporting customers.
I was expecting the four-cylinder/automatic powertrain in this car to be a dud, but it was much peppier than I expected. Overall, the interior is good, the exterior is fairly attractive, and the car drives very smoothly. Joe DeMatio has a great point, though: the newly redesigned Hyundai Sonata is now threatening the Accord’s status in the marketplace.
– Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
I also drove the Honda directly after a spell in the Sonata, and though it hardly falls on its face, neither is it better in any substantial way. Even the handling and the engine refinement — areas where Hondas traditionally blow away the competition — only equal the Sonata. In terms of in-car technology, Honda will need to do some serious upgrading, as what’s available on the Sonata is as good or better than what one finds on most Acuras.
All this speaks a lot to the impressive strides made by Hyundai, but really, it’s indicative of how far the entire segment has risen. Long gone are the days when the Accord played in a league of its own. Even traditional also-rans like Ford and Chevrolet offer serious competition. We’ll learn a lot about where Honda is headed as a company by seeing how it responds to this challenge.
Having said all this, I’d hasten to add that the Accord remains high on my list of “no-brainer” car recommendations. Comfortable, good to drive, reliable, and popular on the resale market, it’s the sort of car that no one will ever regret buying.
– David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
We’ll have a new Honda Accord in showrooms in a little more than a year, so it’s no surprise this family sedan doesn’t shine quite like it did at its debut in 2008. In many ways, the Honda Accord still drives as good as the newer, better family sedans, like the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion. Those cars, though, make significant strides against the Accord with better styling and nicer cabins. This segment is extremely competitive, but it’s hardly emotional or passionate. For that reason, it’s still understandable that the Accord continues to sell very well for Honda. It packs everything a family needs-space, comfort, and efficiency-even if it doesn’t have that extra touch of subjective appeal.
– Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
2011 Honda Accord 4-Door SE
Base price (with destination): $24,480
Price as tested: $24,480
2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine
5-speed automatic transmission
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Vehicle stability assist
Electronic brake distribution
Tire pressure monitoring system
160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system
Steering wheel-mounted controls
MP3/auxiliary input jack
Tilt/telescoping steering column
16-inch alloy wheels
Options on this vehicle:
Special edition package – no charge: $1500 value
Heated front seats
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Driver’s two-way power lumbar
Key options not on vehicle:
Auto-dimming rearview mirror — $307
Backup sensors — $513
Fuel economy: 23 / 34 / 27 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Size: 2.4L DOHC 16-valve I-4
Horsepower: 177 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 161 lb-ft @ 4300 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Curb weight: 3301 lb
Wheels/tires: 16 x 6.5-inch aluminum wheels, 215/60R16 Dunlop SP Sport 7000 all-season tires