2018 Honda Accord: Monthly Update for November 2018
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Manager of Content Strategy
Where Did We Drive It?
The Accord logged over 2,000 miles this month, thanks largely to a couple of road trips at the hands of editors Takahashi and Lago. The former drove to Napa for an automotive event and came back with compliments about the car's long-distance comfort, while the latter treated the Accord to an oil change before hitting the road for Thanksgiving.
Back at the office, meanwhile, your humble narrator and a certain editor Kaufman logged dueling comments about the Accord's continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). I think it's notably slower to respond than some rival units; he thinks it's peachy. You'll find all that and more in the Logbook Highlights below.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Having averaged at least the EPA combined rating in October for the first month ever, the Accord couldn't keep it going this month, dropping to 30.7 mpg. That still seems respectable for a sizable sedan with decent punch, but the ongoing gap between our car's real-world fuel economy and the EPA's projections can't be ignored. At least our lifetime average keeps inching up, from 27.5 mpg last month to 28.2 at the end of November.
Average lifetime mpg: 28.2
EPA mpg rating: 33 combined (30 city/38 highway)
Best fill mpg: 35.2
Best range: 429 miles
Current odometer: 8,152 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Right as we left to visit the family for Thanksgiving, the Accord flashed its 'Service Due' warning light. Service A1 is an oil change, tire rotation and a visual inspection. I found a local Honda dealer who was able to service the car on Black Friday, which provided a convenient excuse to avoid the shopping madness that day. The service adviser noted that our car was due for a software update, but he was unable to perform it, as the techs had misplaced the thumb drive needed to make the update. Instead of waiting another hour for a tech to get a new thumb drive and load it with the correct software, I opted to have the A1 service performed so I could be on my way. Total cost was just under $100." — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content
"I continue to chug the CVT automatic haterade, but I will admit that not all CVT automatics are equally disappointing. Trouble is, the Accord's CVT automatic is on the wrong end of this spectrum in one key respect: When you stomp the gas from a stop for a quick getaway, there's a notable delay before anything happens. This is not the case, for example, in the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross that came through the garage recently. Subaru, too, has mastered the art of serving up quick CVT automatic throttle response from rest. But in the Accord — or the Civic or the CR-V — you have to wait that extra beat. And I don't like to wait." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
"As far as I'm concerned, this Accord is the benchmark for small-engine CVT automatic drivetrains. Honda's setup responds quickly and naturally, so I never feel like I'm stuck in the sucky part of the powerband and waiting for the system to catch up to driving conditions. It also doesn't have awkwardly artificial 'shift points' programmed in. The Accord embraces the CVT automatic and makes it work, and it's not just competent, it's good." — Will Kaufman, content strategist & news editor
"The adaptive cruise control in our Accord could use a retune. It takes just a bit too long to react to slowing traffic, resulting in an abrupt application of the brakes. In a lot of ways, it reacts like an inattentive driver who was caught off guard. In dense traffic, it feels as though it's brake-checking the driver behind you. Other systems, Subaru's in particular, do it much better." — Mark Takahashi, senior reviews editor
"On my return trip from Napa, I got in the Accord and saw that my hosts had filled up the tank. A nice sentiment, but that killed my ability to track the fuel economy. On the plus side, it gave me enough range to cover the 400-plus miles back to L.A. without having to stop.
"Over the next six hours, I realized that the seats are well-shaped for long stints like this. In some other cars, I'll periodically adjust the seat to shift contact points, but in the Accord, I never felt the need." — Mark Takahashi