2018 Honda Accord 1.5L Touring
The Honda Accord will always have a special place in my heart. When I was young my family owned a 1987 Accord with those gorgeous pop-up headlights. From memory that car was in great condition when we scrapped it at 350,000kms due to a failed transmission, the car just wasn't worth fixing at that point. Fast-forward to the more recent past when I was daily driving a very mint 1990 Honda Accord LX, another base model but served us beautifully over the course of 3 years. We ended up featuring it on TestDrive a little while ago.
So I wouldn't say I'm an expect on the Accord, but I do have some background on the earlier models, so it was nice getting the chance to drive the most recent 10th generation. We had the fully loaded Touring trim for our week with the Accord, but featuring Honda's smaller 1.5L turbocharged engine. MSRP sits at $35,790.00 without any packages or options, Honda's trims feature everything you get, then you pick the paint and interior colour, pretty simple.
The 10th generation is all-new and uses Honda's current design language found on the smaller Civic which can be seen from any angle. We often mistook the significantly more popular Civic as a fellow 2018 Accord'er during our travels since the front ends of either car look very similar. The dead giveaway ends up being the fog lights, but to the casual driver you might not be able to tell the difference if one's approaching you. Honda isn't the only manufacturer going with a unified design across their family of vehicles, in fact the list of carmakers offering unique designs is significantly smaller, but let's not forget this isn't a new trend. BMW, Mercedes, and Audi models from the 90s all look the same, making a 5 Series and 7 Series share almost identical designs between them.
Back to the Accord. I personally like the look of this new Accord. I think Honda's design language translates better onto their sedans/hatchbacks than it does with their crossover SUVs. The Accord's front end is flat with LED front lighting and the Honda Sensing panel recessed in the bumper. We did snow during our week with the Accord, and we found that concave design would fill up with snow more than with sensor shields located where the badge would be. The headlights use Acura's Jewel Eye® design, but are fixed and not adaptive. Around back we find again that shared design language with a backup camera and parking sensors on the front and rear of the car.
The interior of the Accord feels more sporty than we've experienced on pervious models. You sit low and tight in the driver's seat, but very comfortable with plenty of legroom and visibility all-around. Features are plentiful, including the basic safety tech we expect from a near-$40,000 sedan such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and collision mitigation, however we also find a few extra like ventilated seats and a colour heads-up display. Front and rear heated seats are also included, along with a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8" infotainment screen which supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a Qi wireless phone charger.
We think this is the minimum amount of tech we should be able to find in a car at this price point, but does miss 2 features we often find on the competition such as power-folding mirrors and a panoramic sunroof. While those details are minor, they are missing, but the heads-up display certainly makes up for some of it, giving the drive display options such as navigation, direction, speed limit, and lane keep assist status.
Rear seating is good for a mid-size sedan, providing ample space for children, and adults shouldn't have an issue back there. No window sunshades are available on the Accord, but USB chargers are found below the rear heat vent.
The Accord has always been a great family sedan, and while the interior might not add all the features it still does give passengers in the back an enjoyable ride. Our daughter had no issue with space and the USB chargers certainly came in handy on our longer trips.
Performance is actually something I didn't think I'd be excited about with the Accord, given it's small 1.5L turbo engine, but it was actually a lot more powerful than I originally assumed. Coming in at 192 horsepower and pound-feet of torque, it actually had more power than the other base-model cars we've driven with larger engines, the 2018 Volkswagen Passat is the quickest to come to mind. We never had an issue getting onto the highway or speeding up to pass slower traffic, and found ourselves in Econ mode the entire time we had the car. We never needed to use Sport mode as the engine performed admirably every time.
We also found the ride and handling to be quite nice, eating up most of the bumps along our trips, and giving enough driver feedback to make our trips enjoyable. It's not the softest suspension we've had, but it's certainly in-line with the 2018 Kia Optima SXL Turbo from earlier this year. The CVT wasn't the best but a lot of Japanese auto makers are making the switch over to a CVT rather than a conventional automatic. You can still get an 8 speed auto with the 2.0L turbocharged engine, or the 6 speed manual with the LX, Sport, and Sport 2.0 trims.
We really enjoyed our week with the 2018 Accord and wish our time with it was longer. We think the 1.5L engine is plenty powerful for most buyers, but we expect the larger engine with a proper transmission to be more enjoyable for the enthusiasts who still want a larger car than the Civic.
You can watch our full episode of TestDrive Spotlight on the 2018 Honda Accord 1.5L Touring here: