By on May 31, 2014

accord1

Earlier this year, the most important car purchase question in human history was answered by a Accord EX-L V6 Coupe with six-speed manual transmission. Having cleared the 6000-mile mark in said coupe and having put everything from a wheelchair to a Rainsong JM-1000 to a BMX bike in the trunk in the past four months, I’ve learned a lot about the Modern Steel two-door. At some point, I’ll sit down and write up a long-term report.

Today, however, we have an Accord of a different feather. The trim designation is the same: EX-L. The engine, transmission, and body are all from the other half of Honda’s all-too-frequently binary choice matrix, however. A 125-mile trip in a mix of local and freeway conditions gave me the chance to answer the question: What’s the Accord like in a configuration that normal people actually buy?

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Our test car was loaned to me for a rather quixotic mission involving Volkswagen replacement parts. For a destination-included MSRP of $29,070 against my Coupe’s $31,415, you get a choice of eight exterior and two interior colors. This one was “Champagne Metallic” with the beige interior. With just over 8,000 miles on the clock, it made for a very appropriate comparison with my Coupe.

In exchange for parting with about twenty-three hundred fewer dollars, you get:

  • An extra set of doors and a longer wheelbase
  • Seven cubic feet more passenger space and five inches more rear legroom
  • The 2.4L, 185-horsepower EarthDreams inline four
  • A continuously variable transmission
  • No Homelink, but you do get an auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Power passenger seat
  • Deletion of the LED running lamps
  • Seventeen-inch wheels instead of eighteen-inch ones
  • A forty-pound weight savings

The four-cylinder/CVT combo is, by far, the most popular Accord, and this is the nicest way to get it in the United States.

Stress and nervous tension are now serious social problems in all parts of the Galaxy, and it is in order that this situation should not be in any way exacerbated that the following facts will now be revealed in advance.

Honda has the CVT thing totally dialed.

Unless you’re a disaffected middle-aged man who is basically 50% Hank Moody and 50% a post-Minute by Minute Michael McDonald, the four-cylinder is more than powerful enough and it returns economy the six can’t think about touching.

In all other respects, the Accord continues its reign as America’s best mid-sized sedan, a reign that was horrifyingly interrupted by the chunky eighth-generation mistake-mobile but otherwise stretches back at least as far as 1982.

Okay. Feel better now? I certainly do. Let’s start with all the things this Accord sedan does very well, for those of you who have no experience with the 2013-up model: The beltline is lower than it is in any of the competition, sightlines are better, there is an airy, light feel to the cabin that cannot be had for love nor money anywhere else in the segment. You can argue that the Fusion, in certain trim levels, imparts a more convincing premium feel both in its interior aesthetic and the Germanic, lead-lined way it smothers external interruptions from noise to big bumps.

The Accord’s rear seat is simply enormous in precisely the same way that the Malibu’s is not. While in Las Vegas recently I saw a few of these in taxi service. You’d be lucky to get one; it’s spacious in all respects. The two-tone black-and-cream interior of our test sedan isn’t quite as convincing as the all-black interior of the V6 coupe is; if you want a top-notch light-colored cabin, you have to spend more money on the effort than Honda’s willing to do. This is where the Accord falls tangibly short compared to something like an Audi A4, but that will be small consolation to the German entry-luxury buyer who finds that the big Honda makes more friends on couples’ date nights.

All of that matters less in a market like ours where cars are owner-driven and frequently occupied by a single person. The Accord made headway in the Seventies as a dynamic proposition, a little low-cowled race car in a vast field of 204-inch personal luxury coupes. It was so good at replacing those bigger American cars that it eventually became a bigger American car. (See: “The Descolada”, Speaker For The Dead by Card, Orson Scott.) In a perfect world, the 2014 Accord would combine the thrift of the 1976 original with the effortless thrust of a 403-powered ’77 Cutlass Supreme Brougham.

Amazingly, it sort of does. Your humble author was impressed by the way Nissan used the CVT to make the Altima 2.5 acceptably quick, but trust me: compared to the CVT in this Accord, that Nissan was about as sophisticated as an episode of Friends. This one does the business. Around town, it responds to the typical half-throttle-in-a-mild-hurry by letting the engine rev immediately to 3500 or so, at which point it allows the revs to slowly creep as the ratio unwinds. The impression thus created, that of an engine accelerating mildly while the car sprints along, is exactly why people used to buy a big-block and pair it to a 2.73 axle ratio. Simply brilliant.

Once on the freeway, the four-cylinder Accord pulls a trick the six can’t touch: it drops the revs to a mildly astounding 1950 or so at eighty miles per hour, keeping the 2.4-liter on the very edge of lugging along. The result: over the course of seventy-plus fast freeway miles, the EX-L reported 36.4mpg. In the same conditions, my Coupe wobbles between 29.0 and 31.0. That’s outstanding economy that works in the real world. “Do you ever check the fuel economy?” I asked the car’s owner.

“I don’t know how,” was the response. So I pulled up the screen in question:

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Consistent 30-plus, in mostly urban driving, with someone who couldn’t care less about economy behind the wheel. In those same circumstances, the V6 Coupe is lucky to return 25. (My Audi S5, just to put this in perspective, would return between twelve and fourteen miles per gallon when driven the same places in the same way.)

When it’s time to accelerate for a pass or to facilitate a merge, the Accord simply swings the ratio high again and provides near-instantaneous acceleration. It fairly leaps for the fabled 100mph mark and just as quickly drops the revs into the basement when the throttle is eased out again. How could you want any more powertrain than this, in the real world? Alas, but the four-cylinder isn’t likely to be nearly as magic without the rubber band transmission, and in any event it fails to deliver the VTEC rush of the single-overhead-cam six.

It’s common among the journalists to praise the four-cylinder variants of midsized sedans for their superior balance and scale-friendly GVWR. In Accordland, there’s barely any weight penalty for choosing the faster coupe. A few pounds on the nose is it and in daily use you wouldn’t be able to tell which engine your car had if you weren’t allowed to floor the throttle. Still, it’s easy to see why the six doesn’t account for many Accord sales. Indeed, the true question is why Honda doesn’t offer the loaded Touring model as a four-cylinder here, the way they do in Canada. It would sell, no doubt. Perhaps such a vehicle would be too murderous a sibling to the similarly priced but nontrivially less roomy Acura ILX.

On the other hand, I seem to recall that the ILX has decent stoppers, which the Accord doesn’t. The rotors in our tester are already warped, and during testing at Putnam Park in March I quickly learned to interpret the mixed messages coming back through the middle pedal of my Coupe as carefully and fearfully as Indiana Jones examining temple hieroglyphs for warnings of rolling stone boulders and whatnot. These cars are simply underbraked, perhaps even for street use. Yes, the one stop you really need will probably be fine. It’s the thousand freeway off-ramps that will drive you crazy.

The reason this Accord works when the previous car didn’t is simple: Honda returned to some of their original virtues in this generation. Weight was shed, the engines were improved, the transmissions were finessed, and the interior electronics were brought as far up to date as Honda customers could comfortably handle. About the only un-Honda thing you can point to in this car is the strut-front suspension, but having double wishbones didn’t make the previous car a good one. Not only is this a major improvement on its predecessor, it’s truly better than the seventh-generation V6 in every way that counts and many that don’t, really, but continue to satisfy.

I’d spend every dollar of the difference between this solid-citizen Accord and my immature, overpowered coupe again, but compared to the rest of the mid-size field this remains the one to have. Assuming, that is, you can resist the Fusion’s siren song — but if it helps, just lie back and think about the ten-year-residual. In a month or so, we’ll evaluate the new Sonata to see if it can knock the Accord off its perch. Don’t bet on it.

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115 Comments on “Review: 2014 Accord EX-L Sedan CVT...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Jack Baruth, in praise of a CVT, 4-cyl, Accord.

    The apoplectic fits of the B&B begin below.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      CVTs and high-efficiency 4-bangers are going to be the mainstay of the future automotive landscape.

      I think JB is ahead of his time in recognizing this.

      Quite frankly, Honda can sell every 2014 Accord they can make, in any trim and any configuration. Sounds to me like Honda got something right, again.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’m not saying its my opinion, typically it is what the B&B do with CTV equipped car reviews.

        Although the comments below are remarkably sane.

        • 0 avatar
          Hemi

          If you look around the Accord forums, there do seem to be a decent amount of CVT issues. I almost bought this car in Sport trim (only way to get white exterior with black cloth intetior) until the CVT made horrifying grinding noises while pulling up to the dealer. I didn’t even drive the car hard and it had less than 6 miles on odo. I loved the front end, rear is ok.

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    My brother just got one of these. The whole package has me considering breaking my rules of car ownership (rwd, manual transmission, 4 doors). Since the selection of vehicles I can choose from is rapidly shrinking, I’ve been stuck with either getting an AT or getting a FWD (or sacrificing usability and getting a 2 door). The BMWs are too expensive to keep for long periods of time (I generally go 200K before replacing), the ATS back seat is a joke.
    That leaves making compromises, so go with FWD – Accord with 6MT, go with 2 doors – IL4 ecoboost Mustang may work, buy used – G35’s seem OK or go AT with a large number of choices. Well I think I can squeeze another year or two out of the Lincoln before being forced to decide.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Last year, my V6 Touring, on its maiden road-trip with two pax on-board, 80+mph on the ACC and A/C blasting, only a few miles out of break-in (~600), returned an observed (not T/C-derived, but calculated) 33mpg! (Although I don’t track mine, and my driving style, while aggressive, may not be as much as Mr. Baruth’s!)

    And yes, the CVT in the four-banger is really good–the first of these that I road-tested was a Sport model with 8 miles on the clock. It felt like a normal automatic without the upshifts, and the one time when I gave it a gentle part-throttle nudge just to see what would happen (not wanting to hoon a brand-new car with a factory gas fill, i.e. enough to drive it onto the truck and onto the lot), it felt like a normal downshift, with little if any “rubber-banding” going on.

    Honda’s had a couple software tweaks for some juddering issues, but that’s about it. Even Consumer Reports isn’t concerned about CVT reliability, and Motor Trend, for one buff book, praises Honda as having the best sorted CVTs (the Civic only a little less so than the Accord), so Honda hit the bulls-eye on this one!

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      The V6 returns decent mpg on highway because it deactivates some cylinders. In strictly the city cycle, the observed mpg can be a lot worse. Some guys on forums have reported as low as 18mpg, specially with manual transmissions, which are geared a bit lower.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Perhaps the well-executed CVT is the secret to it not being a slug?

    I notice a 6-speed automatic can get stupid in sub-optimal driving conditions. Stop-and-go, frequent-lights, some stretches at 55 then down to 35 – it doesn’t know what to do. At least the “primitive” four speed knew what to do because it had fewer choices. If Honda can keep the engine in the sweet spot by having continuous gear ratios and not make it feel like a slug, more power to them. You know GM would design it to switch to the EPA-targeted setting as fast as possible without any joy or hustle available in a soul-killing penalty box.

    I’ve always liked how Honda doesn’t have to kneecap the Accord, especially with the rear seat experience, because they aren’t trying to protect the slot for an Avalon or an Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      There was a lot to be learned from the Nissan CVT experience and I’m sure the Japanese auto industry has done its homework by now.

      Hey, even Nissan will warrant its CVT for a long, long time, and many, many miles (depending on model and configuration.)

      That ain’t all bad.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        The long warranty on Nissan was because of terrible reliability problems. They had a potential customer revolt on their hands as customers saw the transmissions failing as the end of warranty approached.

        The long warranty was a move to restore some confidence.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Exactly my point. Since Nissan had so many problems with their CVTs, I’m sure all Japanese CVTs have been strengthened and improved to last at least as long as the warranty period is long.

          With CVTs and tiny engines being the wave of the future in America, all automakers will eventually switch their passenger cars to CVTs, some sooner rather than later.

          IMO, the trick is to maximize the use of a vehicle up to the end of the warranty period and then trade it off or sell it. Let someone else be burdened by breakdowns and expensive repairs after the warranty expires.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Honda does tend to not “sweat the details” like it once did in order to keep from crowding in on Acura. Heaven forbid they bring a larger Honda to market above the Accord!

      Little things like glovebox lights and reasonable-quality carpet are missing from the Accord versus the Acuras; the stereo in the 9th-Gens took a step back, as well. In general, the quality of the interior bits, while above the Civic, isn’t quite as nice as it was, say, in the 4th-and-5th-Gen Accords (1990-1993, 1994-1997), which are still my benchmarks. Close, but not quite. It’s mproved from the bloated 8th-Gens, which were the nadir of Accords.

      All that said, the interior is screwed together well, and the car does have the vault-like feel of those earlier Accords I mentioned.

  • avatar
    JD23

    I’m wondering about the true mileage of the I4/CVT combo, not what is calculated by the trip computer. If the TC is anything like the one in my car, the reported mileage is overestimated by close to 10%.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      What car are you driving? One of my sisters owns a 2011 Accord, and she keeps track of gallons per fill up and miles, not exactly accurate in itself, but her trip computer is pretty close, far less than 10%. Her big problem with the Accord is that it’s been stolen twice, and recovered. My ’83 Accord hatch was also stolen twice, recovered once.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        So the question is, do you live in Compton, or Detroit?
        Sheesh I leave the keys in all my vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          My sister had her car stolen from her employer’s lot in Pawtucket, RI, and from a shopping mall parking lot in Massachusetts. I had mine stolen in San Diego, when I was parked in a private lot behind a convenience store, and from a motel parking lot in El Centro CA.

          Police recovered my sisters car and nabbed the perps because of closed circuit video. I got my car back the same way in the private lot, but the CCTV was out at the motel.

          It’s really not hard to get your car stolen pretty much anywhere, especially a common model like Accord. There are too many people everywhere with questionable ethics who know too much about Accord/Civic lock and ignition systems.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Another reference point, my 2012 Civic’s onboard MPG calculator is eerily accurate. We’re talking less than .5 mpg off on a 39 mpg tank. I always use the same Shell station by my apartment and even the same pump.

        Love these new Accords, the parking lot here is packed with them, much more common than Camrys even. About as common as 9th gen Civics, which are probably the single most prevalent automobile in my complex. Mostly young professionals so it makes sense. Even the LX looks good, although the empty exhaust cutout is a bit of a bummer, and the alloy wheels are a bit ugly IMO. I love Jack’s emphasis on the low beltline and cabin airiness and roominess, this means a hell of a lot to me.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          “even the same pump”. LOL – me too – I’ll wait for MY pump at Chevron….

          This gen Accord is so much better proportioned than the last….just better looking overall, and yes, the greenhouse matters tremendously.

          If I was family-sedan shopping, there is no question what I’d get….

      • 0 avatar
        JD23

        I have an A4 and the TC is always 7-10% too high. I guess the supposed obsessiveness of German Engineering does not extend to TC calibration.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The one in my 2014 Touring is, maybe, 1.5mpgs high, on average. (Though this last fillup was spot-on to my calculations!)

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      Do you reset it each tank?

      I also found that changing driving styles within 30 miles of getting gas will affect the results as well.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    >The impression thus created, that of an engine accelerating mildly while the car sprints along, is exactly why people used to buy a big-block and pair it to a 2.73 axle ratio.

    I think you’ve nailed the appeal of “waftability”, where there’s a pleasant mismatch between what you hear and what you feel when accelerating.

    I used to have a 76′ Grand Prix with a 350 4-bbl and 2.50 axle ratio. It was geared to reach 60 mph in first gear. I could torque my way to speed at 1/8th throttle, which didn’t trigger the secondary venturi’s and the loss of that sensation of oozing up to speed.

    If a modern CVT and 4 cylinder can recreate that sensation, there’ll be good days ahead.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I think the Malibu has bigger trunk than the Accord. Not sure of useable space but comparing back seat room of all seats in one position .

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This car could make me break my Honda embargo, but alas, I just added an Optima Hybrid to the fleet for a silly low price, and I really like it.

    • 0 avatar

      Would go for an Optima, too, probably if those were the choices. The Accord may be all that but is so bad looking.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Hey Marcelo, actually, “ugly” is in the eye of the beholder…..

        Our 22-yo grand daughter was cuddling with Grandma and Grandpa (that’s us!) on the couch when she saw the pic of the Accord on the screen I was holding, and she asked, “What a stylish car? What is it?”

        Like her grandmother, she’s not concerned with powertrains, just style.

        But if the 2014 Accord looks good to a young white woman, maybe Honda’s on to something.

        • 0 avatar

          Hey highdesertcat, as always you give a classy rebuttal and I thank you for that. Beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder and I bet that it looking good to your granddaughter is much more relevant for Honda than it looking bad to my old 42 year old eyes. But this pretty much puts together all sorts of design elements that I don’t like. A very look alike VW front end with exaggerated lights. Bland, vaguely German derivative side look with the arched roof I just don’t like. And the horribly non flush back lights. And the no doubt well screwed interior with elements apparently thrown around with no great thought.

          So bland, generic, derivative. Specially in white, no favors done.

          It’s sort of like art, some I don’t know why I like, some I know why I do. The above is a try at an explanation, but guess it just strikes me the wrong way.

          Which makes me very happy we still have a relatively large number of car companies. If this vanilla doesn’t strike your fancy, you can go on to the next vanilla :).

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Hey Marcelo, yes, I was surprised that she spoke up and made mention of it. Whooda thunk a 22 yo would notice. But she did.

            To me, the 2014 Accord does not stand out. IOW, it does not ring MY bell. But she thinks it’s classy, stylish even.

            But who knows how women think? I remember driving hard through Phoenix, AZ, keeping up with the flow of traffic on I-10 Eastbound, when my wife said, “Oooooooh, what was THAT? Let’s go back!”

            “THAT” was a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee strapped down on a trailer behind an F350.

            Within a couple hours she drove it home.

            And today we received the Chrysler Safety Recall Notice for the Brake Booster (P14/NHTSA 14V-154) on that same Grand Cherokee.

            Fortunately for us, we live in a very arid zone and corrosion should not be an issue, UNLESS moisture gets into the booster during the winter, from snow and rain, and then freezes.

            I’ve got to hold on until the 2015 Sequoia comes out at which time we will trade the Grand Cherokee for it.

            And, yes, I, too, am very happy that we in America have a relatively large number of car companies from which we can choose.

          • 0 avatar
            cpthaddock

            I’ll grant you it’s been quite a long while since Honda has produced any straight out drop dead gorgeous product, but I do sense they may be headed back in the right direction … fingers crossed. I completely agree that the current accord sedan is pretty derivative, but at least they managed to keep the ugly stick in the closet.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I’d hardly call the Accord ‘derivative.’ It’s very much an evolutionary styling, look at a 1990 Accord next to a 2014 and you’ll immediately recognize them as related. Conservative? Yes. Ugly? That’s a stretch by anyone’s standards.

            Try the same for an Optima or Sonata and each generation is some sort of completely different thing.

          • 0 avatar

            cpthaddock, I may have exaggerated a bit when I said ugly. To me it is ugly in the sense that most modern cars are ugly. Seems ugly, overinflated, muscular design is the thing nowadays. So it’s ugly to me though undoubtedly modern. I think pretty cars are a rare thing nowadays as that takes some finesse and less thick columns etc. The Fusion for example, strikes me as modern, not ugly, but it’s not pretty either. Like I said, to me, I stress to me, Honda just used too many elements that I dislike and my sensation is that it all put together came out rather unattractive.

          • 0 avatar

            gtemnykh, I can see your point but then again the front strikes me as derivative of what VW has been doing for a while, while the roofline is very reminiscent of what the Germans have been doing for more than a while.

            To me the 1990 Accord is much cleaner and nicer looking than the current one. And in those days Japanese cars were setting trends in design and not following. Many American cars in particular got inspiration from Japanese styling cues. Looking back, those were high water marks for many Japanese car companies, specially Honda and Nissan.

            Only my perception of course.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey highdesertcat! Yikes, you were waiting for it and it came, huh?

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            Not really:
            http://img2.netcarshow.com/Honda-Accord_2013_1280x960_wallpaper_09.jpg

            http://img2.netcarshow.com/Honda-Accord_2013_1280x960_wallpaper_4d.jpg

            I’d say the Sport has more panache than any Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Marcelo, the problem with the Kia Optima is it makes styling choices that significantly affect its utility. The low roof in back makes rear seat headroom unacceptable with the sunroof and marginal without the sunroof. The other problem is the thick c-pillars and general shape of the car make for some rather large blind spots. I agree that something is a little off in the exterior proportions of the Accord sedan, but the excellent outward visibility of the Accord make it much easier to drive in rush hour traffic.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    No Homelink? Sheesh. They probably lump that in with the sat-nav package, which this car doesn’t have.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My new Optima packages Homelink the same way, meaning I didn’t get it. Seems kinda chintzy to me, agreed.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Yes, that only comes on the V6s. The NAVI is extra, and my Touring is top-drawer US V6 Accord Sedan with Adaptive Cruise and LED Headlights. (Worth the extra $$$, BTW!)

      That said, Honda used to pre-wire the Accords for HomeLinks, and you could add them as an accessory. Now, a dealer in Ohio sells a “hacked” version with a regular lithium battery, but there have been folks who have spliced a regular HomeLink part into the wiring.

      I wish Honda would offer some of this “plug-and-play”-able stuff as dealer accessories — even stuff like LED Headlights would be pure profit, and there are enough people who would pay to have them done right. (They have all the advantages of bright, white light without the glare to drivers in front, or weird color-shifts. Just a nice, clear cutoff on top.)

      You could also install another aftermarket (Gentex) electrochromic mirror with integrated HomeLink.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    I’ve always thought the benefits of a well-implemented CVT would simply be irresistible, but I’ve simply hated the rubber band feeling of every CVT I’ve ever tried. If this one is actually as good as described I may finally be persuaded to give up the manual. I’ll have to try it out with an open mind, at least.

    Of course I’m still very skeptical about the longevity of these things. We know Honda owners are content to perform regularly scheduled transmission replacements, but I’m not.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “We know Honda owners are content to perform regularly scheduled transmission replacements, but I’m not.”

      Not even that. Hondas are relatively-unobtrusive cars that don’t generally create problems on their own. Thus, they are notorious for being under-maintained by people who think of them as appliances, and who aren’t all that interested in cars. Fortunately, a Honda can withstand that kind of neglect in a way that a Volkswagen or a Jaguar couldn’t…but the abuse will eventually bite the third, fourth or fifth owner in the behind.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I don’t know how many CVTs you’ve tried, or for how long. My Outback has one, and frankly it took a week or less for me to get used to not expecting discernable shifts. The rubber band feeling has never botherd me though.

      To my understanding the Honda CVT is even better….

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      My immediate family has had almost 10 Hondas and Acuras over the past couple of decades, still have a few of them that are over 10 years old. Have not replaced a transmission in one yet. Really only oil changes, brakes and scheduled maintenance really.

  • avatar
    kkt

    Is there a good aftermarket fix for the brakes?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Not yet. There are big-brake kits for the previous gen, which makes me think they will eventually arrive for this one.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        Does this really need a BBK or just better rotors? I had a Pathfinder that would warp factory front rotors during ski trips to Tahoe until I swapped them out for Akebonos and ceased having warpage/hardening issues.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I think that Hondas, like some Toyotas, do really tend to be underbraked. The 2008-2010 Accords had a TSB for rear pads wearing out in something laughable like 20k. My family’s old 1985 Civic Sedan seemed like it had perpetually warped rotors. That’s actually very sad that this accord had warped rotors in 8k(!!) miles, that’s frankly unacceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Try W-body Impalas for warped rotors! The rear ones warp easily. My old 2004 had rotors replaced several times in the 8 years I owned it, but that was the only issue with the car. My 2012 Impala’s rear rotors at just over 44K miles are slightly warped, but I’m not replacing them yet.

        Thing is, the rotors in my current ride appear to be more substantial than in the 2004, but perhaps not.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      My 2013’s brakes seem better than the 7th-Gen Accord which preceded it, which needed my first brake service in several cars owned! (Got 55K out of ’em!) These 9th-Gen brakes actually seem up to par.

      Then again, I’m not about to track my car — unless I could get some time at the high-speed oval at TRC! (I graduated from H/S with a guy who works for Honda in Marysville — perhaps I’ll ask at the next reunion! Unless you have connections, Jack?! :-) )

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Don’t forget the tires – the standard Honda rim-protectors need to go away with the standard Honda brakes.

      Having a tough time believing that the interstate roll-on up to triple-digits is quite as impressive as described, too – “fairly leaps.” Probably not.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Haha too true on tires as well. Our 2007 Fit (base) had the saddest wet traction ever with its LRR tires, any sort of snow driving was just short of impossible with Ithaca’s hills. The Goodyear Viva tires on it now are a vast improvement in the rain.

        My 2012 Civic LX on firestone affinity “fuel fighter” tires did okay in the snow I guess, but I’m in flat-as-a-pancake Indianapolis now. However, when I take it through the mini roundabout near my apartment, the front end lets go completely at laughably low speeds in the rain. My 1996 4Runner on General Grabber HTS does much better despite the super high center of gravity.

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        Actually, Honda has been fitting some of the 2013-14 Accords with really nice Michelins. Tire Rack also shows some decently rated Goodyears as OEM. The 215 mm wide rubber is a concession to fuel economy. Annoyingly, they use the 215 mm wide tires on the V6 models, as well, and it’s not quite a wide enough tire to put the V6’s torque to the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      The first think I’d try is to get a decent set of brake pads. A lot of OEM brake pads are optimized for smooth operation, longevity, and low dust. My favorites among aftermarket parts are Wagner Thermoquiet ceramic for street or aggressive use and StopTech Street Peformance for mostly aggressive driving.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Jack,

    For some reason, your musing in your previous article about how you could hire a flatbed for $100 to go get your new car from the factory yourself, but were stuck paying a destination charge at the dealer has been bouncing around in my head as one of the reasons that the existing dealer-franchise system is ultimately doomed.

    Ridiculous that such a fee should exist, if the customer can handle shipping himself.

    • 0 avatar
      psychoboy

      Destination is on the window sticker. Exactly the same dollar amount for every car on the line, regardless of the port of entry/point of build and location of final sale.

      If you live next door to the Ohio plant that built your Accord, your destination is no more and no less than the guy in far northeastern Maine pays for his Japan built hybrid. We all pay the same, no matter our personal benefit.

      IT’S SOCIALISM!!!!

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    “You can argue that the Fusion, in certain trim levels, imparts a more convincing premium feel both in its interior aesthetic and the Germanic, lead-lined way it smothers external interruptions from noise to big bumps”

    After recently riding in one of these, it felt like I was riding in Darth Vaders bath tub with how fat and tall everything was.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    The Fusion is mentioned a couple times as a strong alternative. The Mazda6 also gets positive reviews – how does it compare to the Accord?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I recently drove a mazda6 manny-tranny, I’ll write it up.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The Fusion is always mentioned as an alternative to any midsize sedan tested or evaluated, and the Camry is always discounted or overlooked as boring and inadequate.

      Yet the Camry remains America’s best-selling midsize sedan and the Fusion is not even a close second. To most buyers of this class, value for the money is the deciding factor, and the Camry has it in spades!

      The Mazda6? Now there is a fun-to-drive midsize sedan, especially in manual-transmission incarnation, but it isn’t even a contender for the booby prize when it comes to sales.

      I’d like to learn more about the 2015 Subaru Legacy, especially the version with the 3.6-liter H6. Hopefully JB will find the will to T&E one and give us his impressions.

      Then again, Subies are niche cars, not mainstream. Unique, but not extraordinary, as reasonably priced midsize sedans go.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Come on, you know we’re Camry fans here at TTAC, or at least I am:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/review-2013-toyota-camry-le-2-5-at-nelson-ledges/

        The problem is that the new Accord is effectively a superset of the Camry.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I should have been more clear.

          I should have stated,”… Camry is always discounted or overlooked as boring and inadequate by much of the automotive press.”

          My comment was not a criticism of your review.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hell Jr

          For a stripper 4 door, especially on Ohio’s wartorn roads, I want the 2.5 Camry SE. With all the boxes ticked, I want the Accord.

          I have a theory cooking that the big Toyota I4 is the GM 3800 of our time.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “I have a theory cooking that the big Toyota I4 is the GM 3800 of our time.”

            Very interesting! It is a pretty torquey little beast, and with the 6A in the Camry it gobbles up interstate at a sedate 2000rpm at 80 mph. Port injected, nothing to go wrong really. I think Camrys in general are morphing into the Chevy Impalas of yore but more reliable. Interiors are no longer super over built like in the 90s, bu they’re still solid cars, and can be bought at a bargain price for a mainstream I4 LE model.

          • 0 avatar
            Zackman

            Lease your first Camry, and Toyota will OWN you! Not necessarily a bad thing, for they will forgive whatever mileage is on the car.

            Our neighbor found that out. She wanted something different at the end of her last lease, but Toyota gave her a deal she couldn’t refuse! Her 4th Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        The Accord is, and most always has been, the best selling midsize to individual consumers.

        And that is one reason the Accord has the lowest depreciation.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          “…lowest depreciation…” “…nothing to go wrong…” “…the Camry remains America’s best-selling midsize sedan…”

          When did TTAC become Consumer Reports? I must not have been looking. I also seem to have missed JB’s discussion of the Accord’s offset front impact test results.

          When was the last time a co-worker walked into your office and said, “hey, guys – come out into the parking lot and look at my new TOYOTA CAMRY!” – ? And would you have followed him out there?

          Yeah, I want my car to start and run every morning, but you people act as though anything other than an Accord or Camry or (living on the edge…a Mazda 6) is going to have to be flatbedded home every evening.

          • 0 avatar
            LectroByte

            One of my co-workers did just get a Camry, and we did walk out to the parking lot to take a look and a ride. It’s pretty sweet. That V6 hauls ass, no doubt about it.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Yeah! Just what I want – a boring car available in my choice of 7-8 boring colors with a choice of 2 boring interior colors that there are 19 other examples of in the grocery store parking lot every time I go there. And it return for this it retains a few percentage points value over time over the next most boring car in the land. Hot dog! Just slit my wrists now please, I have lost the will to live.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “Yeah! Just what I want – a boring car available in my choice of 7-8 boring colors with a choice of 2 boring interior colors that there are 19 other examples of in the grocery store parking lot every time I go there.”

            In any left and most right coast cities you would be describing your cherished BMW, except that you’re crediting them with five more colors than they actually come in.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Dan

            I have a station wagon that has both a extremely rare exterior (if not Baruthian Lime Green) and a rare interior color – I am unlikely to see another one like it ever. I had a choice of a dozen or more exterior colors, and nearly the same number of leather colors. And a bunch of trim material choices besides. Despite BMWs relative popularity, Honda still sells 5x as many Accords. And they all look the same. Beige on beige. While many BMW buyers do go for the dealer’s choice silverblack on beigeblack, you certainly don’t have to. My 2-series will probably be dark blue on red leather. Or tangerine on oyster. Haven’t decided yet.

            I’d take an Accord over a Camry any day though. But I would walk before settling for either one.

          • 0 avatar
            Sam P

            “Yeah! Just what I want – a boring car available in my choice of 7-8 boring colors with a choice of 2 boring interior colors that there are 19 other examples of in the grocery store parking lot every time I go there.”

            Have you actually *driven* a recent Accord? I have an E46 330i with a 6-speed manual and the current and last-generation Accords are surprisingly sharp. In fact, I’d almost prefer them to the wallowy non-sport package E90 328xi automatic I had as a rental in Chicago a couple years ago. The Accord isn’t the dynamically challenged mess that the Camry is.

            “In any left and most right coast cities you would be describing your cherished BMW, except that you’re crediting them with five more colors than they actually come in.”

            In Seattle and Portland, Priuses outnumber the 3-series.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Have you driven the new Accord, by chance? It may look plain, but it’s got it where it counts.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          @ thornmark, because Honda doesn’t report fleet sales like everyone else does.

          http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/the-truth-about-hondas-fleet-sales/

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        “and the Camry is always discounted” Heavily, cash back with 0 interest financing and free maintenance for 2 and now more recently 3 years.

    • 0 avatar

      Fusion is not an attractive car for Americans. They are simply unable to appreciate it. Toyota Camry is an ideal American car in every aspect – cheap, simple interior, limousine like back seat, powerful V6, easy ingress-digress (flat and unsupportive seats). In Fusion you get 2.0 Turbo and seat like in cocoon focused more on the driving than relaxing or cruising – it is good car for Autoban not for Interstate. I run comparison between Audi A4 and European Accord (a.k.a TSX) once, side by side, which revealed the philosophical difference between Western and Asian idea of the car. I did similar comparison recently between Fusion Titanium and Mazda6 GT and the difference was similar – Mazda6 is the new Acura TSX while Fusion is more like Audi A4. For some reason Americans are more inclined to like Asian approach to building cars than European even though Americans immigrated mostly from Europe. Probably Asian approach gets you cheaper car with better value proposition and that is what Americans are concerned most about – a larger car for less money and which never break (myth in most cases).

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Why am I reading another Accord review and not the MKVII GTI review?

  • avatar
    dude500

    Hey Jack, what’s your opinion of the performance of the Accord CVT compare with the 2013+ Altima CVT?

    I’ve driven the Corolla, with its fake shifting, and that CVT was somewhat disappointing. I hope the Accord CVT is not like this..?

    I actually like that the Altima’s CVT pins the revs at 6500rpm from 15mph to 100mph++. Maybe it’s because of karting, but I don’t associate shifting with speed. I love the Altima’s smooth and instant acceleration.

  • avatar
    marmot

    Just replace those front rotors with AC Delco rotors and your brake problems will be over.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    What about the Accord Sport, 4 dr, 4 cyl, stick shift, price in mid 20s? That would be high on my list if I were in the market right now.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      I just drove the 6speed on Memorial Day weekend to Niagara Falls from SW CT and back.

      According to the computer, got close to 38 mpg despite going through the Catskills and being stopped by several Memorial Day parades and a major highway accident.

      One of those parades was in Wyoming, NY. Home of Brock Yates until recently. Cannonball started from Lock Stock & Barrel in Darien, CT and later went thru Wyoming, NY. The Cannonball Run Pub is now gone.

      Upstate NY is a very nice place.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        “Upstate NY is a very nice place.”

        It’s a beautiful place to visit but in general it’s a terrible place to try and earn a living without wearing a headset or saying “Welcome to Walmart” all day.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Bingo. GREAT car. The only bad news is that Honda only offers it in two boring colors, and you can’t even add a sunroof, heated seats or nav as an an option.

      Reminds me of the classic “options selection” from 25 years ago from Honda!

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    If I lived somewhere like Southern California, Florida, Texas, etc. I would strongly consider an Accord like this. Sure, I could afford something nicer, but this is basically an Acura from 10 years ago. There is just something about a Japanese car with a soft tan leather interior.

    Alas, skiing is my mistress.

  • avatar

    Considering a 2013 versus a 2014 model, the most significant change is perhaps the new seat fabric and updated auto-dimming rearview mirror.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Auto-dimming rear view mirror and seat fabric, plus:

      Change to strut front suspension from A arms, all new engine block with direct injection, intake manifold now on firewall side, and CVT rather than 5 speed auto all strike me as being rather more significant.

      But perhaps in the repair trade, maybe not.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      My deepest apologies and mea culpa. Somehow thought you meant difference between 7th and 8th generation, so I’m completely wrong.

      I did attend a rather special dinner party earlier tonight, which is my only excuse for metaphorically putting pen to paper before thinking things through.

  • avatar

    Nice job channeling Douglas Adams in this one … I noticed two references, and perhaps there were more …

    David

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    I have a 2013 Fusion with the 1.6/6M package. Purchased it new last July and have put on 28k miles. More than glad to write a review.

    • 0 avatar

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/barks-bites-the-car-you-want-to-buy-used-in-three-years-and-the-man-who-had-the-courage-to-buy-it-new/

      We did an article about exactly that car not too long ago. Great choice.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Call me when they build a new Prelude.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      @28: you’re so 1998!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        70 cent gasoline, strong dollar, bull market, standard V6s in almost all cars, actual full size models, actual Japanese cars still available to the masses, somewhat competent occupants of the White House and the Capitol. Yeah nothing good about that at all, forward to the abyss!

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    I have the Accord sedan with a manual transmission and the 4-cylinder engine.

    Only car short of the Germans that I could find that had a power front seat, manual trans and sunroof.

    The car is solid, and I think if you drive the MT you’d be surprised. The engine if pushed hard responds amazingly well. Honda I believe has mastered the 4-cylinder in a way no other company has.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    ” Honda I believe has mastered the 4-cylinder in a way no other company has.”

    Yeah, maybe all that research and development of Honda motorcycle engines has found its way into auto engines. Not that far removed and the watercooled engines hold their tolerances better because they don’t have to address metal expansion like aircooled engines do.

    I would like to see the tech of the Honda CBX I-6 motorcycle engine find its way into Honda cars, but that is unlikely because of the width or length of the engine. But it was a smoothie! Like a BMW I-6 with an enormous rev range.

    Since an I-6 in Honda cars is unlikely, the tech of the Honda Goldwing H-4 and H-6 motorcycle engines would be a nice application, like a one-up of Subaru H-4 and H-6 engines, but more refined.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    No Homelink, what the hell? My brother has a fully loaded 2002 Accord EX V6, the equivalent of this car that I know for a fact has Homelink. How does this not?

  • avatar
    baconator

    Just went sedan-shopping and test drove one, and I’m surprised at the positivity of this review. I found the general NVH of the car to be fairly annoying. It seemed to have both less sound damping and less body rigidity than the Fusion, the Passat, or the 300S, which were my cross shopping set. (Sat in a Malibu but didn’t even bother driving it – interior and exterior styling were dealbreakers.)

    The sub-$25k trim levels seemed to be reasonable value, but at $29 – 30k, I just don’t get it.

    I ended up with the Passat, with the Fusion as 2nd choice.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      It was a positive review but there does seem to be a lot of good attributes to this Accord. Not everyone agrees :
      http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1405_2014_2015_midsize_sedans_the_big_test/

      It does seem to be the Accord or Mazda 6 in top place in any comparison test.

  • avatar

    Back in January, I leased a 2014 Accord Sport CVT.
    My 2 last cars, Mazda 3 Hatch.
    I could simply get another Mazda, 3 or 6 but decided to break the mold since the 3 was way too expensive and the 6 made way too much noise, as if the engine was placed in the dashboard.
    All my concerns about the CVT disappear once I drove the car passed 1000 miles, it’s still amazes me how this car can go from 0 to 60 with the RPM not going passed 2k, and it’s quiet, very very quiet.
    I love the paddle shifters but I can’t understand why in S mode it’s impossible to go back to auto shift unless you move the lever to D and back to S, however, slowing the car on down hill could never be easier than simply flick the (-) button on the steering wheel.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    It sounds like Honda has finally nailed a perfect Accord formula: A traditionally dynamic Honda drivetrain, gobs of legroom, big trunk, stylish but conservative, frugal, cheap (if you buy an LX, Sport or EX)


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