2019 Honda Accord Sport 2.0T - The Long-Awaited Sixth Generation Prelude Si
2019 Honda Accord 2.0T Sport
It’s back, baby! Enthusiasts cried in 2001 when, amid The Fast and the Furious fever, Honda pulled the plug on their bigger sports coupe offering, the Prelude. It wasn’t selling well, as the Civic had grown to fit American tastes, and the beloved Acura Integra had just been supplanted by the more powerful RSX. Still, there are enthusiasts who lament the loss of the beloved coupe.
While I detest the “four-door coupe” moniker being applied to sedans with a steeply raked backlight, it doesn’t take a big stretch of imagination to see a coupe atop this page if you squint. Thus, I’m calling it – this 2019 Honda Accord 2.0T Sport is the return of the Prelude. The postlude, perhaps.
OK, maybe I’m being too clever. Honda has always offered a manual transmission in their flagship family sedan, after all, though they’ve never had a true Sport model with a significant (60!) horsepower bump over the standard trim. Now, with a turbocharged K20C4 engine closely related to (and built at the same Anna, Ohio factory as) the powerplant in the impressive Civic Type R, the Accord Sport 2.0T becomes a legitimate sports sedan.
The looks are what we’ve come to expect from the Accord, with just a few subtle tweaks for the Sport 2.0T model. The big change is the 19” alloy wheels, up two inches from those fitted to the standard Accord. I particularly like the dark finish applied to the polished bar connecting the headlamps, normally chromed on the regular car. Further, I love the Still Blue Pearl finish on my tester – we need more cars in this world that aren’t black, white, grey, gray, silver, silver-gray, silver-beige, or the like.
While it’s now quite familiar, I’m not completely in love with the fastback styling on the Accord. Paired with the Soichiro Kink of the rear quarter window, the long sloping roofline adds a good bit of visual heft to the tail of the Accord. I’m reminded of when my kids were young, and they’d toddle around with a loaded diaper, sagging. Only from certain angles, of course, but I still prefer a more traditional three-box profile.
Typical Honda sensibility reigns inside the cabin. These photos may be deceiving – the material on the seats may be shiny, but it’s a cloth material of some sort. It’s comfortable, and cool to the back of the thigh even when it’s been baking in the sun, but the texture makes me concerned that it might snag over time. The front seats are heated in this Sport trim, and are somewhat biased more toward comfort over support in the corners.
The eight-inch touchscreen works nicely, with no perceptible lag between touch inputs and response. Mercifully to those who’ve endured Honda touchscreens from a couple years ago, there is a dedicated volume knob at the bottom left. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard.
As the number of new cars with manual transmissions have dwindled, automakers seem to have forgotten the biomechanics involved in shifting – at least when designing cupholders. Too many cars have a cupholder/shifter interface that will cause the driver to hit any drink while shifting. Not here. The Accord has a deep well in the console aft of the shift lever that perfectly holds a large drink – no kidding, a 44-ounce plastic cup from White Castle fits without coming close to interfering with the action of the excellent shift lever.
Rear seat room is quite good. My bride, at five-foot-nine, fit easily behind me without scraping her knees on the seatback. The kids, thus, had all the room in the world. Trunk space is plenty – why do people buy crossovers when a more-efficient, fun to drive sedan has 16.7 cubic feet of space? Do we really need to carry everything all the time?
Don’t answer that. I know, I have a minivan and a midsize SUV in my personal fleet. But I must believe that I could manage nearly every motoring task in my life with a sedan, and at some point, I’ll have to put my bank’s money where my mouth is.
And, god, this would be a fun one to sign a note on. Few things are more enjoyable than dropping a gear or two on that serpentine road down by the river to power through a tight bend, and the Accord Sport 2.0T makes performance so accessible. All 273 lb/ft of torque are available at 1500 rpm, so it’s easy to get up to speed no matter what gear you’re in.
Oh, and it uses regular fuel, rather than the premium high-octane stuff needed in the high-po Civic Type R. I wasn’t particularly light on the right pedal, and still managed to get 28.7 mpg in my week of driving.
The steering is nicely weighted, giving plenty of feedback as to what the road is doing. The ride can get a bit harsh due to the 235/40-19 tires – I’d prefer a bit more sidewall on a daily driver to lessen the impact of potholes. As far as I can tell, the brakes fitted to all non-hybrid Accords are the same size, so dropping to an 18-inch wheel should be feasible, if not the 17s mounted on the base trim.
And, yes, I spent a few minutes shopping replacement wheels and tires for a car I don’t own. That’s how much I enjoyed this Accord Sport 2.0T. This is the part of the review where I’d post a screenshot of the build-and-price tool showing how I’d spec MY car – this is it. This is exactly, down to the paint, how I’d buy my Accord.
I’m not certain that the Accord Sport will prove to be a replacement for the Prelude, but I’d argue that it’s in the spirit of the original. Plenty of performance in a roomy, understated package is what the Prelude was – and is exactly what this Accord delivers today.
[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn]
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I don't get the styling of this car. It seems like they could've made this car good-looking but thought, wait, no we can't do that-- gotta make sure the rear looks like it's sagging and add a weird kink to the back window. If you're going to copy the Audi A5/A7 just copy it -- and while you're at it copy the hatchback too! The only good looking car the make now is the Honda Insight -- why didn't they just make the regular Civic look like that?!
Even today, when In ee the current model in a parking spot, it looks awkward because the fastback ends up with a trunk, not a liftback that would provide much more utility! Plus, their is a weird flow in the rear quarter panel that keeps me from buying the Accord.