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2018 Honda Accord: A samurai gets the mojo back

The 10th-generation, 2018 Honda Accord rides on a modular chassis shared with the CR-V and Civic and promises increased rigidity while also cutting weight. The latest redesign makes it the biggest Accord yet, with more passenger and cargo space. Here is a roundup of early reviews of various 2018 Accord trim lines.

“Paired with its six-speed manual the new 2.0-liter Accord is a smooth operator; this gearbox is obviously designed to be friendly to manual-transmission novices, offering a long and mushy clutch along with short, well-spaced throws. This is easily one of the most chill (to use a technical term) transmissions I’ve used, and the engine plays well here in all gears, never straining or asking for downshifts — there are plenty of horses on tap. The 10-speed automatic is an even more relaxed gearbox, and it goes about its business largely without me noticing — easily one of the least conspicuous transmissions I’ve sampled in this segment — but it’s always ready to go into European Action Flick Car Chase Mode and make the 252 horses hustle.

“Accord handling still errs on the side of comfort, working to mute the imperfections in the road surface, but it does so without drifting into a sensory deprivation experience. Along twisty mountain roads, the chassis serves up plenty of confidence with minor body roll and an impressively quiet cabin that permits just a bit of wind noise from the side mirrors. The steering is not as sharp as it could be, but knowing the point-A-to-point-B slogs Accords will be performing daily it doesn’t need to be sharper to impress car journalists or take aim at the Germans.

“The cabin is a study in quiet design and a quiet interior; Honda spent extra time eliminating sources of road noise, yielding a more Lexus-like mute button for the outside world than previous generations of the car.”

— Jay Ramey, Autoweek

“We were impressed with the slickness of the 2.0-liter turbo, 10-speed automatic drivetrain from the moment we stepped on the accelerator pedal. Although you might miss the sound of the V6, this punchy turbo-four delivers strong, smooth power, yet stays refined, even when the engine is really pushed. The automatic transmission is smooth and responsive, and it delivers almost imperceptible shifts. …

“This latest Accord skews to the athletic side among family sedans, and the steering’s weighty feel contributes to a solid, substantial handling experience. The Touring trim’s ride irons out bumpy roads, but considering it comes standard with two-mode adaptive suspension, we expected it to be a little more tied down. The standard 19-inch wheels on the Touring certainly didn’t help with its ride quality. Most Accords come with 17-inch wheels. A hushed cabin hasn’t been a Honda trademark, but we found that this one does a nice job muting the road, wind, and engine noise.”

Consumer Reports

“Despite the addition of batteries and a unique powertrain, Honda says hybrid models will add only 30 pounds or less to the weight of comparably equipped conventional Accord sedans with the larger, 2.0-liter turbo-4. The base Hybrid tips the scales at 3,342 pounds, and a fully loaded Hybrid Touring checks in at 3,428 pounds.

“That should be a boon to hybrid buyers eyeballing better fuel economy without sacrificing ride quality.

“Our limited turns behind the wheel of a Hybrid Touring model — the top trim — largely confirmed that suspicion. Although the battery operation was (fairly) seamless, the Accord Hybrid rode and drove like a typical Accord sedan.”

— Aaron Cole, Green Car Reports

“While front wheel-biased (most luxury chariots are rear-wheel drive), Accord handles with the confidence of a premium car. I tested Accord against an $ 82,000 BMW 540i X-drive and $ 46,000 Lexus IS 200 F-Sport (I have a big driveway), and the samurai was a worthy competitor.

“Let me count the ways.

“The Honda attacks corners with gusto, as predictable on turn-in as the Bimmer even without the BMW’s all-wheel drive advantage. A size smaller, the compact, tightly-sprung F-Sport was easier to rotate — until I hit the throttle.

“The Honda’s 252-horse, 2.0-liter turbo-4 — a detuned version of the Tasmanian Devil that possesses the track-ready Civic Type-R — blows away the Lexus’ 241-horse turbo-4. Mated to Honda’s first 10-speed tranny, the Accord beats the 8-cog Lexus off apex. Power has long been the ace in the hole for luxury brands, but this is a mainstream driveline that is superior to one of the world’s premier luxury brands.”

— Henry Payne, The Detroit News

“The 2.0T … is a straight-up tire chirper. Output of 252 hp might be down a bit from last year’s V6, but the 273 lb-ft of torque, delivered seamlessly to the front wheels, makes up for the loss, and is the highest torque figure ever for Accord. Paired up to the 6MT, the car is kind of a sleeper: Fast and agile, it’s a struggle to think of a car that can match this experience without moving down a class, or spending loads more on a luxury sports sedan.

“In fact, give me an Accord Sport, with the very good fixed-rate suspension, the bigger engine, and the six-speed gearbox. If you can get over the front-drive factor — and you should, because the handling is excellent — that’s about as practical a fun machine as you can buy for around thirty grand.”

— Seyth Miersma, Motor1.com

“The turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder has more than adequate oomph for a base engine, with enough on tap for sustained uphill climbs on twisting mountain roads. The automatic transmission has some telltale nonlinearity starting out, which is common of CVTs, but it fakes a nice kickdown sensation when you call for more power at cruising speed. The optional turbo 2.0-liter, which Honda hopes will account for a fifth of all Accord sales, is palpably quicker off the line. Stand on the gas, and it launches with a degree of fierceness reminiscent of the Chevrolet Malibu’s excellent turbo 2.0-liter. The Camry’s big V-6 feels quicker if you rev it all the way out — the Toyota thunders ahead while the Accord plateaus a bit — but Honda’s 2.0-liter turbo brings snappy punchiness that’s entertaining in its own right.

“Row your own gears, and the 1.5- and 2.0-liter engines feel more similar to each other. The six-speed manual has a high clutch take-up and medium throws but swift accelerator response, which makes for easy rev-matching. Aside from some noticeable turbo lag with the 1.5-liter, both engines bear similar power characteristics, with torque that comes early and stays late. The 2.0-liter just has notably more of it.”

— Kelsey Mays, Cars.com

“Sporty looks and handling that made the Accord just a bit more exciting than its prosaic competitors made the car a favorite for years, but recent models lost some of that edge.

“The new car changes that. The steering is fast and responsive. The 2.0-liter turbo and 10-speed automatic transmission in the Touring model I tested delivered confident acceleration. The sport mode changed engine sound and shift points noticeably.”

— Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

“The six-speed manual transmission it can be coupled to is straight out of the Type R according to Honda’s people. But a longer stick throw, much longer clutch travel and no automatic rev-matching give it a significantly less aggressive feel.

“But of course the driveline most people will end up buying is the 10-speed automatic, and frankly, it’s very good too. Its shifting is clean and consistent making for super-smooth cruising, passing and abrupt accelerating should you decide to do so.”

— Andrew P. Collins, Jalopnik

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