Looking at what the Honda Accord embodied when it first appeared in 1976 is very much a study in contrasts. The first Accord was a tiny car and vastly different to the largish sedan we’ve become used to in recent years. Even so, it was very highly praised right from the start and today, the early ones even show up at classic car displays as a landmark product in the history of Japanese automobiles. Back in ’76, Honda was still very new to the auto business but it didn’t stop the company creating an icon.
Of course, the Accord is no longer a subcompact or even compact model. It’s a large, roomy, powerful and superbly built sedan and one of the most competitive in its class in the world. With a history like that, it’s no wonder that Honda does some serious thinking when a new Accord is contemplated. In July, Honda revealed the all-new 2018 Accord and it boasts all kinds of dramatic upgrades.
The 2018 model is the 10th generation Accord and among the highlights are two high-performance, high-efficiency turbo engines; the first ever 10-speed automatic transmission in a front-wheel drive car; available 6-speed manual transmissions for both engines; next-generation two-motor hybrid technology and a new and more aggressive design direction.
On the styling front, the new Accord has a more ground-hugging look that its predecessors and thus looks a little sporty and more purposeful. In profile, it looks more curvaceous than before and it’s almost a ‘fastback’ design. The nose picks up on earlier Honda cues and adds some new touches to freshen up the look. Even so, you’ll not mistake it for anything but an Accord, which long-time buyers will like. The challenge all automakers face with new designs is keeping brand-loyal customers while attracting new ones.
The interior is spacious and the controls and switchgear neatly arrayed. The currently popular ‘iPad layout’ is used for the large infotainment screen that sticks up from the fascia. On many trim packages, the steering wheel is packed with control buttons for minimum driver distraction.
The base engine is a 1.5-litre direct-injected DOHC turbo, which promises to be both economical and peppy. It uses a CVT transmission. For more power, Honda offers a 2.0-litre
VTEC turbo and this is the one that comes with the 10-speed automatic. There will be a hybrid available, but few details have been released as yet. We do know that it will use two electric motors.
Canadian buyers have purchased an impressive 880,000 Accords, a figure only surpassed by Honda’s smaller Civic model. For the first five months of 2017, the Accord was the top selling intermediate sedan in Canada. The car is built at Honda’s Alliston, Ontario, plant, so for Accord buyers, there’s the bonus in that lots of Canadian jobs are created and a lot of money pumped into the Canadian economy. According to Honda, it has invested over $4.7-billion in this country and sources $2.0-billion in goods and services here every year.
Expect this exciting new Accord, which arrives this fall, to easily maintain the car’s reputation and perhaps attract even more customers into the Honda fold. The Accord is an unmatched 31-year recipient of respected auto magazine Car and Driver’s coveted ‘10 Best Award’ and look for it to earn those accolades for 2018.
SPECS AT A GLANCE...
BODY STYLE: 4-door sedan
ENGINE: Three choices, two turbo 4-cylinders plus hybrid
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual, 10-speed auto, CVT
FUEL ECONOMY: TBA
PRICE: TBA, but expected to be close to current models