2018 AUTOMOBILE All-Star: 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Sport
What else is new?
What, you might ask, is a $31,200 (as tested) family sedan doing among these $100,000 to $300,000 stunners? Kicking their butts, mostly.
The Honda Accord is a legend among the car-buying public and automotive writers alike, and for good reason. It's consistently one of the best vehicles on the road, often not because it excels at any one thing but because it's so good at so many things for relatively little money. That's still true for the all-new 10th-generation Accord.
In fact, it might be truer than ever. "I stepped out of the Lamborghini Huracán and into the Accord and didn't feel the slightest bit of a letdown," editor-at-large Arthur St. Antoine said. "That's because the brilliant automotive engineering just shines through in this piece. In execution for its intended mission, the Accord Sport ranks as one of the true greats."
At the heart of the new Accord lies a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that shares much of its internal structure and parts list with the rabidly robust Civic Type R. "Particularly satisfying is the powertrain, which operates with such an absence of vibration it feels as if the entirety of its insides are coated in Teflon," contributor Basem Wasef said.
Although the new 10-speed automatic offered with the 2018 Accord is sure to be the most popular pick, our example was fitted with a six-speed manual transmission. Pro racer Andy Pilgrim enjoyed the power from the new turbo-four and pointed out that "the manual gearbox is a bit sloppy, but fast operation is flawless." Online editor Ed Tahaney took it a step further. "This is one of the rare vehicles that would probably be more enjoyable as an automatic instead of a stick," he argued. It wasn't the tightest gearbox we've handled in the past year, but the fact Honda offers a manual at all is a tick in the win column for most of us.
Wrapped around the potent yet smooth engine is an all-new body structure that's not just re-engineered but also redesigned. To many of our eyes, it's not a particularly attractive vehicle, either in silhouette or in detail. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder; in contributor Chris Nelson's eyes, "The most enjoyable commodity sedan you can buy is more handsome than ever—modern, bold, clean."
But regardless of its looks and its drivetrain, the Accord Sport is a winner for its overall package. Social media editor Billy Rehbock especially enjoyed the Accord. "I spent the most time in this of all the winners," he noted. "It's a no-compromise daily driver with loads of interior room, a big trunk, and driving dynamics that excite and engage." Detroit bureau chief Todd Lassa noted the Accord lacks the "rich materials" of the more expensive Toyota Camry ($39,300 as tested) but said its "satinlike cloth seat inserts are rather nice—a neat departure from the usual pleather in this class of car."
If there's a weak spot in the Accord Sport's likelihood for success, it's one it can't really help: It's not a crossover. This was a theme picked up on by more than one of our evaluators, including senior digital editor Kirill Ougarov. "Hard to say that it'll be a market mover," he argued, "given the trend toward crossovers." Contirbutor Marc Noordeloos expanded on the thought: "A shame that the sedan world is dying, because this car is better than nearly every SUV/crossover on the market—plus it's cheaper and gets better mileage."
We found the Accord Sport to be both comfortable and fun to drive in a way Honda has long been known for—not with hit-you-over-the-head performance like an AMG or even the finely tuned poise of a Porsche but with the simple, honest character of a car designed and built well—and built to be used, however you plan to use it. It's a prime example of why you should appreciate the inherent Honda-ness of the Accord. "As easy as it is to hate on the idea of the Accord (No Boring Cars!)," Wasef said, "the 2.0T Sport does what it does with elegant simplicity, just as we've found with the best Hondas over the years."
2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Sport Specifications
|PRICE||$31,200/$31,200 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||2.0L DOHC 16-valve turbo I-4/252 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 273 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,000 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD sedan|
|EPA MILEAGE||22/32 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||192.2 x 73.3 x 57.1 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.2 sec|
|TOP SPEED||124 mph|