Honda Motor Co. is recalling roughly 232,000 Accord and Insight models in the United States over a software glitch that may cause the rear-camera display to malfunction. While the number of recalled units is noteworthy, the severity of the issue is largely dependent upon how careful of a driver you are.
According to reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, certain 2018 Accords and 2019 Insight hybrids have center displays that may not function properly when asked to access the reverse camera. The NHTSA report specified that some Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trims of the Accord suffered from other potential software malfunctions.
U.S. sales of midsize cars plunged 16 percent to fewer than 130,000 units in October 2017, the lowest-volume month for the midsize sedan category since the winter doldrums of January.
For almost every player, from the forgotten Mazda 6 to the recently revamped Hyundai Sonata to the all-new Toyota Camry, there were fewer U.S. buyers in October 2017 than in October 2016. In most cases, far fewer. Hyundai Sonata volume plunged 49 percent, year-over-year, as Hyundai pulls away from daily rentals, clarifying just how little retail demand the Sonata truly musters. Double-digit percentage drops were also reported by the Kia Optima, Subaru Legacy, Volkswagen Passat, and Mazda 6.
But the sharp October tumble wasn’t reserved for each member of the midsize category. Newly launched this fall, U.S. sales of the 10th-generation 2018 Honda Accord predictably improved in October, driving Honda’s share of the segment up four points to 21 percent.
It’s a familiar story.
The 10th-generation Accord sedan has been thrust into a marketplace infatuated with crossovers and all-wheel-drive machines of every type and description. Lower, wider, and with more interior room than its predecessor, the Accord’s new clothes wear well, tapering to the rear with a fastback flair. You just know there’s at least one Honda sales person out there using the words “four-door coupe.”
Thing is, some folks are so brand loyal to the Honda marque that they’ll buy one simply because the word “Accord” is hammered onto the trunk lid. For the rest of us, let’s take a look at this year’s base model Accord and see if it measures up to our Ace of Base yardstick.
We learned in June that the 10th-generation Honda Accord, launched this fall for the 2018 model year, would lose its optional V6 engine. The impact in the marketplace would scarcely be felt, as the overwhelming majority of buyers didn’t select the V6 engine, which had steadily become an option only at the top end of the range.
Honda also made clear that the conventional Accord lineup would still include manual transmissions, would not include a coupe bodystyle, and would be exclusively linked to turbocharged engines. The basic 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, rated at 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque (at 5,500 rpm and 1,600 rpm, respectively) provided an upgrade from the 2017 Accord’s 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder, which produced 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque at significantly higher rpm.
Meanwhile, the 278-horsepower, 252-lb-ft 3.5-liter V6 is replaced by a 2.0T detuned from duty in the Civic Type R. The 2018 Accord loses 26 horsepower (and at 6,500 rpm, needs 300 more revs to hit peak bhp) but adds 21 lb-ft of torque while producing peak twist just off idle at 1,500 rpm, 3,400 rpm sooner than in the old V6. Paired now to a 10-speed automatic and not the six-speed of 2017, and tipping the scales with around 120 fewer pounds in top-spec guise, the 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T is expected to be only marginally more fuel-efficient than the old V6.
But what about acceleration?
From a historical midsize perspective, the all-new 2018 Honda Accord is rather thrifty with the Earth’s decreasing supply of oil.
It’s fuel efficient, in other words. Over the span of 10,000 highway miles, the basic 2018 Honda Accord is expected to consume 263 gallons of regular octane gasoline. That’s only 13 more gallons than you’ll consume in a 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback with the same 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It’s 15 fewer gallons than you’d have used in the most efficient non-hybrid 2017 Honda Accord.
The city improvement is more meaningful. The 2017 Honda Accord four-cylinder topped out at 27 mpg in the city, equal to $944 for 10,000 miles at the current fuel price of $2.55/gallon. The new 30-mpg Accord reduces city consumption in the same scenario to $850, a 10-percent decrease.
The 2018 Honda Accord is not, however, the most fuel-efficient car in America’s midsize sedan category. Honda thought it would be. Honda was wrong.
Let’s get this out of the way up front – I’ve always had a soft spot for the Honda Accord. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a fanboy, but I am a former owner of an ‘90s-era Accord coupe (I bought it used in 2005 or so and sold it in 2012) and I always felt that the Accord was sportier, generally speaking, than most other mid-size sedans.
Sure, the Mazda 6 has been the best driver’s car in the class for a while, and the Ford Fusion is fun to drive, but I’ve long thought the Accord had a sporting character the Camry and others lacked, at least until recently. Honda seemed to get more vanilla with the Accord in the past generation or two, even though the car still presented a strong package overall. Would the newest Accord, which comes with a choice of turbocharged engines and is available with a three-pedal setup, bring back the flavor of yore?
American Honda’s vice president for sales, Ray Mikiciuk, won’t provide a firm forecast for sales of the 10th-generation Honda Accord. But as far as next year goes, “I don’t expect to sell fewer Accords in 2018 with this great new product,” Mikiciuk tells CNBC.
With belief in the company’s new product, Honda has invested $267 million into its Marysville, Ohio, plant where the Accord, Acura TLX, and Acura ILX are assembled. With 300 additional employees, American Honda is following the lead of Toyota’s all-new 2018 Camry.
At the Camry’s Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant, production of the new TNGA-based Camry required Toyota to build up its employee count to the highest level ever. That’s certainly not the way rivals are approaching America’s midsize segment. You’ll recall that General Motors cut Chevrolet Malibu production — and consequently, jobs — in Kansas City earlier this summer. Prior to the new Camry’s launch this summer, the Malibu was the freshest midsize sedan on the block, yet Malibu sales have plunged by more than a fifth in 2017.
Ohio production of the 2018 Honda Accord began yesterday, September 18th. But what do Honda’s vague sales forecasts mean in the broader American midsize segment?
More market share.
It made perfect sense. In 2009, when Hyundai wanted customers to view its new Genesis luxury sedan as a premium bit of kit, Hyundai did not compare the Genesis to the Sonata. In an early marketing campaign, Hyundai’s voiceover said the Genesis is “as spacious as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, yet priced like a C-Class.”
When the time came to market the Genesis R-Spec, Hyundai reached way upmarket to compare 0-60 mph times with the Porsche Panamera. Hyundai wasn’t under the mistaken impression that the Genesis would steal thousands of sales from $100,000 Benzes and Porsches. But Hyundai was crafting an image. Hyundai didn’t require you to believe that the Genesis was a viable S-Class alternative — the company just wanted you to understand that this is premium-oriented S-Class-sized sedan at a C-Class-like price.
Long before the Hyundai Genesis tried to cultivate a premium persona, Acura was failing to keep up with Lexus in the quest to be viewed as a true luxury rival for the German establishment. It’s still a problem. So Acura dealers are now just trying to make sure you understand that the Acura TLX is better than the [s]Audi A4 Lexus ES Infiniti Q50[/s] 2018 Honda Accord.
The Honda Accord is by no means a younger sibling, operating as the senior member of American Honda’s fleet.
More specifically, the 2018 Honda Accord will never be viewed as the little brother in the American Honda family, not with these substantial dimensions and MSRPs that reach deep into the $30Ks.
But the 10th-generation Accord is still a Honda. Just a Honda. Merely a Honda. Only a Honda. And while you might expect Honda to enjoy technological hand-me-downs from the automaker’s upmarket Acura brand, that’s not the way it works. Not when it comes to the Accord.
As a result, we’ll wait and see which hand-me-ups appear on the next all-new Acura, the third-generation 2019 Acura RDX.
There are still sedan buyers alive in this world, you see. You might just be among them. Toyota and Honda will sell some 700,000 Camrys and Accords in the United States in 2017, roughly four out of every 10 midsize cars.
So, presented with two new options from the preeminent manufacturers of midsize sedans, what choice do you make? A 2018 Toyota Camry right now, with all the glory of a J-VIN and a 301-horsepower V6? Or do you wait a few weeks for the 2018 Honda Accord, a sports sedan on the cheap with a 2.0T and a six-speed manual?
Although it seemed hard to believe, we were under the impression up until a few weeks before the 10th-generation Honda Accord’s launch, that the 2018 Honda Accord would spawn yet another Honda Accord coupe.
On July 14, 2017, we learned the Honda Accord coupe would die an honorable death. The 10th-generation Accord sedan, according to Honda, will hold sufficient appeal for those former Accord coupe buyers — Accordians, who made up roughly 5 percent of Honda’s midsize clientele.
But the Honda Accord coupe, while futureless, isn’t dead yet. There are more than 5,000 on dealer lots across the United States right now. And according to CarsDirect, they’re pretty cheap.
The 2018 Honda Accord will be assembled in Marysville, Ohio. The overwhelming majority of its sales will occur in the United States of America. Its dimensions, inside and out, suit the U.S. market. In 2016, the Accord ranked second on Cars.com’s American-Made Index.
Open its trunk and a family of bald eagles fly out, having successfully incubated apple pies, having binge-watched every season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. There’s a subtle Statue of Liberty easter egg on the windshield, Hollywood signs engraved in its cupholders, and a 3D hologram of Mount Rushmore featuring a fifth character — Soichiro Honda — that emerges from the glovebox if you shift the manual transmission into sixth, say VTEC three times, and spit over your left shoulder.
The Accord, according to lead exterior designer Tetsuji Morikawa, “is an American car.”
To make sure of that, however, Morikawa said the design team, “wanted to feel like Americans.” And they wanted to finish their design of the 10th-generation Accord in the United States, not Japan.
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.
Honda’s probably right.
The coupe, long a staple of the American auto industry, is fading fast. Between automakers who insist on using phrases such as “four-door coupe” and “ SUV coupe” and automakers that are just plain killing off coupes and consumers who favor more practical bodystyles, one wonders how rare the bodystyle will be in 10, or even five years.
Now, the tenth-generation 2018 Honda Accord has appeared and the coupe variation we’ve known for decades is off the table. No coupe. Coupe be gone. Coupe discontinued. Coupe defunct. Coupe dead. Coupé de grâce, to thoroughly muddle the French.
Yet it’s Honda’s belief that the new sedan is enough to keep Accord Coupe buyers from straying from the fold.
After a brief history lesson underscoring just how important the Accord has been to North America throughout the last four decades, Honda unveiled the 10th generation of its midsize sedan to a semi-enthusiastic audience in Detroit today.
To be fair, it’s not the most exciting segment occupying the automotive landscape, but it is one of the most important — despite losing significant ground to crossovers and SUVs over the last few years. Honda clearly doesn’t want the Accord relegated exclusively to unimaginative buyers needing nothing more than basic transportation and fleet sales.
Despite sinking sales, automakers aren’t giving up on the midsize sedan, and Honda has placed some genuine effort behind the new Accord. That doesn’t mean they’ve converted it into a heart-stopping thrill ride, nor should they, since that’s not the kind of car it’s supposed to be. But they’ve taken steps to ensure the vehicle has improved in meaningful ways. While that didn’t stop Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of American Honda, from claiming it was “unquestionably the most dramatic remake of the Accord that we’ve ever done” at the unveiling, there is truth in that statement.
However, some the biggest changes coming to the 2018 Accord are what you won’t find in the upgraded model.