Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: May 18, 2019
The Honda Accord has been the go-to family sedan for decades, and that claim is now more relevant than ever despite slowing sedan sales and rising desires for larger and more practical SUVs. With generous room for five, a spacious boot, and a solid chassis, the Accord is a versatile all-rounder, and these signature hallmarks allow it to effectively shuttle families short and long distances without a hiccup. After spending a week with the 2019 Honda Accord Touring 2.0, we couldn’t think of any other mid-size sedan we’d rather have in our own garage.
The Accord is a sleek and sophisticated looking sedan, putting up a more mature demeanor than anything it competes against - think Toyota Camry with its droopy tail-lights and wannabe sports sedan attitude, and the comparatively uninspiring Nissan Altima and bland Volkswagen Passat. Bold styling, an imposing grill, and an almost fastback-like roof that tapers aggressively into the trunk, are key to the Accord’s global appeal.
But style alone is hardly enough to sway buyers these days. Much of it comes down to how it feels behind the wheel, outward visibility, infotainment learning curves, response from the engine, and overall comfort and drivability. That’s why I can say without a doubt, that the Honda Accord is the best driving and best handling mid-size sedan in its class. There is nothing out there with the same kind of chassis rigidity, supple and taut suspension tuning, and diverse offering of powertrains.
The Accord offers two engines and three transmissions on tap. The base 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder is good for 192 hp and 192 lb-ft through a manual transmission or CVT. The larger 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder punches out an impressive 252 hp and 273 lb-ft exclusively through a conventional 10-speed automatic transmission instead. Both are front-wheel drive only.
The 2.0-litre is our preferred choice - the Civic Type R uses the same engine for a reason - but the 1.5-litre is no slouch either. As a people hauler, most buyers will have zero complaints with the base engine and CVT. It’s far from lethargic and will offer impressive performance once the turbo has properly warmed up. You can read our full review of the 1.5-litre here. The 2.0-litre will be for those wanting more thrust at the command of their right foot, and want to stay as far away as possible from the drones and buzzing of a CVT, and the way it blandly revs up to the stratosphere. Keep in mind that neither engine is a VTEC screamer, so don’t expect an enticing exhaust note to match. Still, the mid-range punch of the 2.0-litre is much more potent, overflowing with torque for highway overtaking and aggressive maneuvers around left-lane hogs. There is a slight bit of lag from the get go, but not enough to disrupt the overall pace. The engaging 10-speed alternative is reason alone to upgrade to the larger engine, with imperceptible (both physically and audibly) shifts and smooth transitions in between. There are even paddle shifters for you to take the helm, though we hardly ever required it, even during spirited runs.
Married with a sprightly chassis, the Accord stands at the top of mid-size sedan pedestal. Road manners are excellent and the ride quality is phenomenally soft and absorbent, soaking up the majority of bumps without taxing occupants. It’s more comfortable than a Civic, yet sports the same kind of agility when pushed around corners. The adaptive dampers in the top-spec Touring model make a difference to ride quality but it’s not enough to justify the splurge. The Accord is front-wheel drive only but free from torque steer, the resulting understeer is mild, and the tires are seldom overwhelmed by the 2.0-litre’s power. Still, the front tires will chirp and spin if they are cold and you add too much throttle in first gear. Unlike the Civic, there’s a lightness to the steering that gives a bouncy kind of feedback, not the kind that promotes driver confidence or sportiness. The same goes for the vague brake pedal, which feels like those regenerative springboard pedals that you would typically find on an electric vehicle. Furthermore, engaging Sport Mode summons a neat graphic of the Accord with the affected “parts”, such as the suspension and steering, highlighted in red, and though it feels more agile and responsive behind the wheel, we wouldn’t call it a night and day difference. Still, for a front-driver, the Accord handles sublimely.
The Accord is host to a clean interior that doesn’t try to be anything than it’s not. You won’t find faux carbon fibre trying to convince you that it’s a sports car, or glitzy chrome and fancy gimmicks to put on a show for the premium-minded buyer. Instead, the Accord impresses with an inoffensive and orderly design without appearing sterile, and is further garnished with durable and soft materials at high traffic areas. The 8-inch infotainment system has been overhauled since 2018, with actual dials and buttons. This remedies prior complaints of those haptic feedback sensors from before - a dreaded nightmare that many of us would rather forget about. The switches have a premium quality feel to them, lacking any of that “looseness” or rattling you might find in its competitors. The same goes for the steering wheel toggles. Nothing here wouldn’t look out of place in a base Audi.
There are a wealth of storage options for front passengers, including a sizable cubby dug deep below the center stack. Much of the center console is taken up by the push-button gear selector that replaces the standard gear knob. Like the Acura TLX, you select your gear by pushing the appropriate button, with the sole reverse gear requiring a “pull” instead. The rest of the cabin is enormous, with nearly full-size sedan rear legroom, though the tapered roof slightly cuts into headroom. As a guideline, I stand six-feet tall and when I lean back on the seats, my head will brush up against the headliner.
Despite an overwhelming majority of consumers preferring SUVs, the Honda Accord is case in point that sedans are far from becoming obsolete. With mature sheetmetal and top-notch interior refinement, the Accord is impressive in its own right and maintains its position as the golden standard for mid-size sedans. The price tag begins to swell as you climb the trim ladder, but the 2.0-litre engine paired with the superior 10-speed automatic are worth the premium, justified by its torque-filled performance, quieter shifts, and stellar ride quality. You would be hard pressed to find a more effective and focused sedan anywhere else.
Model: 2019 Honda Accord Touring 2.0
Paint Type: Lunar Silver Metallic
Base Price: $39,190
Price as Tested: $39,190
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,882 / 1,906 / 1,450
Curb weight (kg): 1,562
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four
Horsepower: 252 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 273 lb-ft @ 1,500 - 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 10.4 / 7.4 / 9.1
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.8