Does the Honda Concept C Give Sneak Peek of Future Accord?

It was once the brand that specialized in “surprise and delight” with its elegant and innovative engineering, responsive controls and a general level of class-leading refinement and sophistication. But Honda’s models are suddenly no longer the class leaders they once were, being upstaged by the Koreans, and a resurgent and determined Volkswagen in the form of the new Passat. With its upcoming line of Earth Dreams power trains, as well as the stunning NSX concept believed to be a close indication of the production model, things are looking up. But there is still some question if the revival is fully underway.

Remember the Accord Coupe concept shown at the 2012 Detroit show? Don’t feel bad if you don’t. For all intents and purposes, it looked like a mid-cycle refresh of the current model. The assembled media’s disappointment was palpable. Certainly, the new line of engines showed innovation and promise, but styling-wise, it broke no new ground.

If the coupe concept shown in Detroit is an indication of what the next-generation Accord is going to look like, then styling changes will be evolutionary, at best. However, a concept shown at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show shows an entirely different potential styling direction for a midsize sedan, and one we generally find a lot more interesting.

The Honda Concept C pairs a bold front-end styling treatment with a coupe-like side profile that shows influences from the Mazda6 and Hyundai Sonata, two of the more adventurously-styled models in the traditionally staid midsize segment. Although the chrome-laden beak on the concept may not be universally adored by all onlookers, overall, it is a huge improvement over the understated and somewhat dated lines of the current model.

If the Detroit coupe concept is indicative of a mid or late-cycle refresh on the current model with more comprehensive mechanical changes, we’d be inclined to be accepting of the mild change. But as the styling direction of a new, re-invigorated, re-energized Honda, we much prefer the Concept C.

Should the next Accord look more like the coupe concept from Detroit, or the Concept C from Beijing? Which do you think is a more likely candidate to be the next Accord? Share your thoughts below.