2018 Honda Accord Interior Designers Believe Proximity Makes The Elbows Grow Fonder

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

The 2018 Honda Accord is not a refresh. It’s not a refurbished, reconditioned revamp.

The 2018 Honda Accord is very much a new car, a 10th-generation follow-up to the five-year, 2013-2017 run of the outgoing Accord. That’s obvious when you look at the design of the new Accord — another midsize car attempting to banish boredom in an attempt to maintain healthy U.S. car sale volumes when more and more people want crossovers. You see it in the 2018 Toyota Camry, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata’s new grille, and the 2018 Accord’s squarer nose and faster roofline.

But Accord buyers will spend far more time inside the car than they do looking at its exterior. For owners, Honda wanted to make the 10th-generation Accord roomier, more capacious, better suited for ferrying five passengers.

So Honda moved the two front passengers closer together.

According to Yosuke Shimizu, the interior designer for the Accord, there’s method to the madness.

“In previous Hondas, when we wanted to make the cabin more spacious, we’d actually move the people further apart,” Shimizu told Wards Auto, sounding perfectly sensible. “This time, by moving them a little closer together, it created more of that overall interior feeling of space and that helped to create the overall cabin environment.”

Rather than moving front occupants closer to the doors in order to create a sensation of space between people, Honda wants the sensation of space to come from the Accord driver’s distance from the outer shell of the car.

The verdict will be subjective, of course. Shimizu also tells Wards that the feeling of space is carved out by a slimmer instrument panel, creating additional space around the knees.

Yet according to Honda’s own specs, front hiproom is now 55.3 inches, down from 55.6 inches. Front shoulder room is down from the 2017’s 58.6 inches to 58.3. Front legroom is down by two-tenths of an inch in the 2018 Accord; front headroom is up by four-tenths of an inch.

The specs suggest scant difference; certainly no meaningful improvement. It’s in the back seat, where legroom expands by nearly two inches, that the 2018 Honda Accord’s 2.1 additional inches of wheelbase pays off. The new Accord is marginally shorter, bumper to bumper, than the ninth-gen Accord, roughly half an inch lower at the roof, and almost half an inch broader.

Honda says the 2018 Accord has 105.6 cubic feet of passenger volume and a 16.7-cubic-foot trunk. Those figures are up 2.3 percent from 103.2 and 5.7 percent from 15.8 cubic feet, respectively.

Back inside, to eliminate harsh contrasts that restrict the aura of roominess, there won’t won’t be any flashy interior materials in the 2018 Accord. “We wanted to make something that felt very simple, very clean,” Shimizu says, “so we deliberately kept it sophisticated.”

Sophisticated, eh? You can imagine, then, what Honda thinks of the 2018 Toyota Camry SE’s red leather.

[Images: American Honda]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • Chiefmonkey Chiefmonkey on Aug 01, 2017

    Well, Honda appears to have reached the pinnacle of ugliness in exterior design. I see they kept the lawn mower rims: Why mess with a good thing?

  • John Horner John Horner on Aug 05, 2017

    Hopefully Honda will finally get serious about improving interior noise levels. That has been Honda's weakness for many generations.

    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Aug 07, 2017

      Exactly - that figured in heavily into our most recent purchase after many years in a Honda. Still have the Honda (we still like it) and will replace that one with an HRV eventually. The bigger car will continue to be the travel car while the Honda will be the 100 mile radius car where noise isn't as big a deal.

  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.
  • Joe65688619 I agree there should be more sedans, but recognize the trend. There's still a market for performance oriented-drivers. IMHO a low budget sedan will always be outsold by a low budget SUV. But a sports sedan, or a well executed mid-level sedan (the Accord and Camry) work. Smaller market for large sedans except I think for an older population. What I'm hoping to see is some consolidation across brands - the TLX for example is not selling well, but if it was offered only in the up-level configurations it would not be competing with it's Honda sibling. I know that makes the market smaller and niche, but that was the original purpose of the "luxury" brands - badge-engineering an existing platform at a relatively lower cost than a different car and sell it with a higher margin for buyers willing and able to pay for them. Also creates some "brand cachet." But smart buyers know that simple badging and slightly better interiors are usually not worth the cost. Put the innovative tech in the higher-end brands first, differentiate they drivetrain so it's "better" (the RDX sells well for Acura, same motor and tranmission, added turbo which makes a notable difference compared to the CRV). The sedan in many Western European countries is the "family car" as opposed to micro and compact crossovers (which still sell big, but can usually seat no more than a compact sedan).
  • Jonathan IMO the hatchback sedans like the Audi A5 Sportback, the Kia Stinger, and the already gone Buick Sportback are the answer to SUVs. The A5 and the AWD version of the Stinger being the better overall option IMO. I drive the A5, and love the depth and size of the trunk space as well as the low lift over. I've yet to find anything I need to carry that I can't, although I admit I don't carry things like drywall, building materials, etc. However, add in the fun to drive handling characteristics, there's almost no SUV that compares.