What Did We Get?
The Honda Accord has been on sale in the United States for 42 years. Just let that sink in for a moment.
We're now in the 10th generation of what is, ostensibly, Honda's flagship model and one of the most significant cars sold in this country for four decades. And while not every generation of the Accord has been hugely impressive, game-changing or even award-winning, each one has helped define expectations of a midsize sedan.
This single model has given other manufacturers fits, left rival engineers scratching their heads, and simply driven competing models out of existence. But through all of that, Honda never really followed anyone else. It simply did its own thing at its own pace. That in and of itself is fairly remarkable.
But when this newest iteration dropped late last year, coffeemakers across the automotive industry fired up, energy drinks were opened and cigarettes lit because everyone knew they would spend the next few years playing catch up. Again.
Naturally, we had to add a 2018 Honda Accord to our long-term fleet.
What Options Does It Have?
For starters, ours doesn't have a V6 engine because, well, Honda doesn't offer one in the Accord anymore. You may have also noticed that it's not a coupe, and that's because the coupe is gone, too. The only engines available for 2018 are two turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engines, one sized at 1.5 liters, the other at 2.0 liters.
The smaller of the two engines is only available with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), while the 2.0-liter offers the option of a 10-speed automatic or — wait for it — a six-speed manual. No, we didn't get the manual.
For 2018, the Accord comes in five trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L and Touring. The EX-L, the Sport and the Touring are available with either the 1.5- or the 2.0-liter engine. (Accord Hybrid models come in different trim levels.)
Our Accord for the next year is the 1.5T EX-L. That 1.5-liter makes 192 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, but thanks to the turbo it also makes a healthy 192 pound-feet of torque from 1,500 to 5,000 rpm. That power goes to the front wheels via a CVT automatic with three modes — D, S and L — which we'll undoubtedly explore more in the coming year.
Standard across the Accord range is Honda's safety suite known as Honda Sensing, which includes adaptive cruise control, an emergency braking system, lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation. The EX gives you a power moonroof, blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats (ventilated seats are only available on the Touring trim) and a sharp-looking 8-inch center-mounted touchscreen.
The EX-L adds leather-trimmed seats, steering wheel and gear lever; driver's seat memory settings; and a 450-watt, 10-speaker audio system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also standard on the EX and the EX-L.
Other features to note are a rear cross-traffic alert system, push-button ignition, a driver attention monitor and LED foglights. We didn't get Honda's optional navigation system ($1,000) or either of the two 19-inch wheel options. Our Accord will roll on the standard 17-inch wheels with sweet, sweet sidewalls, and we'll find our way with smartphone navigation.
This particular Accord 1.5T EX-L stickers at $29,970 ($30,865 after destination charges). That's $2,500 more than the EX but $3,830 less than the Touring.
Why We Got It
This car is kind of a big deal, and not just for Honda. It's absolutely the new benchmark for everyone (except Ford; RIP, Fusion). It's also a big deal for the midsize family sedan, a once-dominant class of car that's starting to swim upstream against the onslaught of compact and midsize crossover SUVs.
Can a 1.5-liter engine pull its weight in a midsize sedan? Will the CVT automatic drive us up the wall? How will Honda's infotainment system stack up against the one in our long-term Toyota Camry? Will GM even notice? Will we meet the EPA's fuel economy numbers?
Follow its progress during our long-term road test for our latest thoughts on this 2018 Honda Accord.
The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.
Kurt Niebuhr, road test editor @ 737 miles