Few vehicles over the past three decades have garnered as much respect in America as the Honda Accord. It hasn't achieved this by being sporty, glamorous or sexy. Instead, it has, for every year, offered what most Americans want out of their daily transportation. Take an Accord for a test-drive and you'll find it comfortable, roomy, intelligently engineered and easy to drive. Research it, and you'll find it backed by a solid reputation for reliability, strong resale value and an emphasis on safety.
It is true that some competing sedans or coupes hold certain advantages over the Accord. Some are faster while others are more prestigious or less expensive. What's special about the Honda Accord, though, is its completeness. It scores well in all of the categories that matter to people shopping for a family-friendly sedan or coupe, not just a few. When examined from a holistic standpoint, it's easy to see why this Honda model has become an automotive icon and one of our editors' top recommendations.
Current Honda Accord
The 2013 Honda Accord represents the start of the ninth generation. And for once, it's not bigger and heavier than the one it replaces. This is likely a response to criticism that the previous Accord had become too large and too soft. As such, this slightly smaller successor not only boasts segment-leading fuel economy but also marks a return to the sporty driving dynamics of much earlier Accords.
Within the less bulky styling is an improved interior with a more cohesive design and higher-quality materials. The switchgear is less confusing than before and the HondaLink system allows connectivity for audio streaming and social media as well as iPhone and Android apps. And despite the newest Accord measuring nearly 4 inches shorter in length, there is more rear seat legroom and trunk capacity. Trim levels are the familiar base LX (sedan only), luxury EX, leather-lined EX-L and leather-and-navigation-equipped EX-L with Navi. New trims include the enthusiast-oriented Sport (sedan), loaded Touring (sedan) and LX-S (essentially the LX version of the coupe).
Under the hood, direct injection debuts for the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, adding power (now up to 185-189 horsepower) and greater fuel efficiency. Although a six-speed manual transmission is standard on nearly all four-cylinder Accord trims, most will likely be fitted with the optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The available 3.5-liter V6 provides 278 hp and is backed by a conventional six-speed automatic in all trims except for the EX-L coupe, where it can also be matched to a six-speed manual transmission.
In reviews, this Accord impresses with its more agile demeanor, spirited acceleration (with both engines), refined CVT performance, excellent fuel economy and roomy, comfortable cabin. The Accord's crisp handling should delight even those who don't consider themselves driving enthusiasts, as the car simply drives smaller than it is. However, the ride is on the firm side, which may not suit those used to a plusher ride in their family sedan or coupe. Overall, this is the best Accord we've seen in quite some time -- no small accomplishment considering how consistently well-regarded this segment staple has been.
Used Honda Accords
The previous-generation Accord -- which ran from 2008-'12 -- was bigger than prior models, yet boasted better engine performance without any loss of fuel efficiency. As before, it was available as a midsize coupe or sedan and in a variety of trim levels to suit almost any buyer's needs. Entry-level LX versions provided the basic amenities while the top-of-the-line EX-L featured items like leather upholstery, Bluetooth and an optional navigation system. All Accords came with a full array of safety equipment, including side curtain airbags and stability control.
Once again, engine choices consisted of a 2.4-liter inline-4 (with 177 hp for LX trims and 190 hp for EX trims) and a 3.5-liter V6 with 271 hp (268 hp for '08). The four came with a five-speed manual transmission as standard and a five-speed automatic as optional. The V6 sedans came with a five-speed automatic, though V6-equipped coupes also were available with a six-speed manual. The most notable changes to this generation took place for 2011, when it saw a bump in fuel economy and the availability of previously lacking features, such as an iPod/USB interface, a rearview camera and shift paddles for the automatic transmission.
In reviews, we found this generation to be a satisfying family sedan or midsize coupe, despite increased competition from numerous rivals. Strong points included a roomy cabin, an agreeable ride/handling balance, crashworthiness and reliability, while points were deducted for a button-happy dash, merely average materials quality (previous Accords were known for high-quality cabins), noticeable road noise and mediocre braking performance.
Many other used Honda Accords you'll encounter will represent the vehicle's seventh generation -- the 2003-'07 model years. It was available as a midsize coupe or sedan and picking an Accord from this generation should be rather straightforward. Initially, there were three trim levels: DX, LX and EX. The DX was pretty sparse with features, so an LX or EX would be a better choice. Side and side-curtain airbags were typically optional on all trim levels.
Under the hood was a 160-hp 2.4-liter inline-4 or a 240-hp, 3.0-liter V6 engine. Four-cylinder engines could be had with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual was available on the V6-powered EX Coupe.
In 2005, Honda introduced the Accord Hybrid. This model's V6 gasoline/electric powertrain produced 255 hp and, in theory, the best fuel economy of the lineup. In real-world use, however, the car's fuel economy was disappointing and people balked at its higher price. Very few Accord Hybrids were sold.
The most significant changes of this generation occurred in 2006 when the Accord received freshened exterior styling and more power for both engines. Stability control also debuted this year, as did minor modifications to trim level organization. In reviews we praised the car for its roomy and stylish interior, tight build quality, smooth ride and good crash test scores. Downsides included tepid handling and mediocre brakes. All said, however, this Accord was an excellent choice for a family sedan or midsize coupe.
The sixth-generation Honda Accord is also very popular in the used car market. Available from 1998-2002, this model came in coupe or sedan body styles and had either four-cylinder or V6 power. In a nine-car comparison test conducted by our Edmunds.com editors, this car finished in 2nd place. We noted that the car was not exactly entertaining to drive but was very user-friendly and competent in all areas. Buyers should feel relatively free to look at models throughout this generation as Honda didn't make any drastic changes, though cars built after 2000 have expanded safety features.
A well-kept Accord built from 1994 to 1997 should make for a smart choice for those on a budget. This model boasted the typical Accord attributes and, as a used car, should provide better than average reliability, assuming it's been properly maintained by previous owners. This generation marked the first time that Honda used its VTEC variable valve timing system. A VTEC-equipped four-cylinder engine came with the EX trim level. Accord models from 1995 and upward also had a V6 available. This generation was also the last for the rare Accord wagon.
Read the most recent 2013 Honda Accord review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Honda Accord page.
For more on past Honda Accord models, view our Honda Accord history page.