The Whole Package: The 2017 Honda Accord

When you ask most Americans to name a reliable, comfortable, well-known sedan, the first thing you’ll probably hear is Accord. It’s one of the best-selling nameplates ever made due to a careful balance of affordability, dependability, and performance, and has been wildly popular as a result. In fact, chances are high that you can get up from reading this, look out your window, and see an Accord for yourself. This is nothing new, however, and with continuous success going back to 1976, it should come as no surprise that the new Honda Accord upholding to that reputation.

The 2017 model has already received Car & Driver’s 10 Best award, marking the 31st time the Accord family has received this distinction. It is also the recipient of KBB’s Midsize Car Best Buy award, the NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating, and will likely continue to rack up the accolades as the model year goes on. These are signs of a truth that savvy car buyers everywhere already know: The Honda Accord was, is, and likely will continue to be one of the best cars on the road.

Which Accord?

The best-selling model is and always has been the sedan, and with an MSRP starting at $22,455 for 2017, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal. Naturally, this is for the base LX trim level, but don’t let that deter you: it still comes loaded from the factory with everything from Eco Assist to Active Noise Cancellation. Trim levels top out with the Touring model, starting at $34,930. This is not only the most comfortable ride on the road, but with Honda’s monstrous 3.5L V6 under the hood pumping out 278 horsepower, it’s by far one of the most fun to drive.

If that catches your eye, and you’re thinking of performance first, then you’ll be impressed with the coupe. The base LX-S trim starts at $24,125, and like the sedan, it’s not short on features. Also like the sedan, the top trim is the touring model, but the true prize for gearheads is the EX-L V6. This comes with the same colossal engine as the touring model, but gives the shifting control to you by pairing it to a six-speed manual transmission, capable of rocketing you from 0-60 mph in a breathtaking 5.8s.

For the more environmentally conscious, Accord also comes in a hybrid. Like most other dual-powered cars, the price tag is higher than its gas burning counterparts, with an MSRP starting at $29,605 for the base trim. The touring model, however, is surprisingly affordable: at $35,955, the starting MSRP for the top trim is only slightly higher than the non-hybrid sedan.

Features

The Honda Accord sedan is not only priced far below its value, it’s also remarkably comfortable for a midsize. With over 100 cubic feet of passenger volume, you can carry four friends with you and ensure that there’s no one fighting for space in the backseat. Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control ensures everyone is comfortable, and Bluetooth Streaming Audio with Pandora Compatibility ensures that no one misses the tunes.

The 2017 sedan is also one of the safest cars on the road, earning five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, and comes with safety features you may not have even known you needed. Included among these are the Collision Mitigation Braking System and Road Departure Mitigation System, part of the Honda Sensing suite of electronics; Vehicle Stability Assist, which includes and expands on traditional traction control; and Adaptive Cruise Control, which detects objects ahead of the vehicle and automatically applies the brakes while cruise control is engaged. There is also a full complement of driver assist systems included, such as LaneWatch, which displays a view of your blind spot when the right turn signal is engaged.

Competition

The mid-size sedan market has always been a battleground, and 2017 is no different. The Accord’s major competition comes from the Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda Mazda6, and the ever-venerable Toyota Camry. The Chevy and Mazda, while well-known and well liked, are only really competition for the new Honda Accord in terms of price point and class. The real threat to Honda’s market share is the Toyota.

The 2017 Camry has a comparable MSRP, available options, safety rating, and space. What really set it apart from the Accord are the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and the overall performance of the two vehicles. The CVT offered in the Honda is engineered primarily with fuel economy in mind, and while it accomplishes this goal, it sacrifices performance. The Toyota CVT, on the other hand, while only available as part of the hybrid Camry, responds to the driver much more like a traditional automatic transmission would. In comparison, the Accord feels a little slow to respond, leading to an overall lethargic driving experience.

With any other transmission, however, the Accord is just plain fun to drive. The Camry’s phenomenal sales rely on providing a reliable, efficient vehicle that will get you from Point A to Point B quickly and easily. The Honda, on the other hand, seems engineered to do more than just transport people and cargo. It makes the journey itself enjoyable. Steering response is precise and accurate, transmitting just enough tactile information to make it feel like you’re really in control of what’s going on without being overly harsh. When compared to the Accord, the Camry seems like an appliance, performing a required function and no more. The Honda is truly a driver’s car.

Fuel Efficiency

As the price of gas rises year after year, automakers are responding by focusing more on efficiency. Honda is no different, and as everything else involved in the new Accord sedan they exceed expectations.

Three engines are available depending on trim level: the “Earth Dreams” 2.4L I4 rated at 185 hp, a 3.5L V6 rated at 278 hp, and a hybrid powertrain rated at 196 hp that combines a 2.0L I4 with an electric motor. The gas-only I4 sips fuel at a combined mileage of 26 mpg, which jumps to 30 mpg should you mate it to the CVT, and the hybrid I4 comes in at a whopping 48 mpg. The V6, despite its size, makes a respectable 25 mpg combined due to Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology, which will disengage a cylinder bank when the power isn’t needed, turning the V6 into an I3 as driving conditions allow.

Pros:

• Spacious, roomy interior gives all the comforts of a full-size sedan with the form factor of a mid-size
• Lively performance easily makes this the most fun to drive in its class
• Every model is packed with safety features, making this a worry free drive no matter who’s behind the wheel

Cons:

• While every Accord is built with Active Noise Cancellation, the hybrid version can be a bit loud when the pedal is down
• The CVT transmission feels a little sluggish when compared to the competition
• The LaneWatch camera tends to interrupt navigation or other functionality on the center screen in order to show a blind spot that usually only contains a view of the curb