Quality of life is about making the best of your surroundings. There isn’t a car on the market today that reflects that ethos more than the Honda Accord.
After years of growing to make room for smaller models in the lineup, the Accord — which has gathered accolades as the most reliable choice in the family car segment for decades — has skipped having a midlife crisis, and is still playing like a kid. It would be easy to say the Accord has always been a favorite for us, but as the competition improves, we wanted to come back and give the Accord another go.
Here’s what we learned after several days of puttering around southern California in the Accord Sport, the value-priced model that hits the sweet spot of what you have and what you want.
If your neighbor tells you they’re thinking of buying or leasing a new midsize sedan, you wouldn’t be crazy to assume that they’ve likely visited the local Toyota, Honda, and Nissan dealers.
Yet the majority of U.S. midsize car buyers do not, in fact, choose the Camry, Accord, or Altima.
Diversity wins. The dominator isn’t all-conquering.
The CEO of Honda is pulling the car over and giving a stern lecture to the kids in the backseat.
That, a Scion gets a corporate makeover, Google goes in for autonomous feng shui, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is drowning in modules and a famous British racetrack could get even Britisher … after the break!
TTAC reader Brennan writes:
Long-time reader, first-time e-mailer. This might be a question for the TTAC’s Best & Brightest.
This all started when I was looking over the specs for the 2016 Honda Civic after reading your first drive review and really liking what I saw (both the car and your writing). I wanted to see how much of a size difference there was to my wife’s 2001 Honda Accord coupe, which is getting on in age and will need replacing soon. It turns out they’re almost identical in size.
That got me to thinking, how much bigger is the 2016 Accord than the 2016 Civic’s cabin and trunk?
I find myself in a situation uniquely suited to seek out the counsel of the wise and insightful folks at TTAC (Sajeev, Mark, and the B&B).
I have been a long time resident of Tampa, Florida, where my ’98 Honda Accord and my wife’s ’04 Honda Accord perfectly suit the needs of my family (which includes our two boys, ages one and three). The ’98 has about 175,000 miles on the clock. I am just handy enough to do all required maintenance and repairs myself.
My employer has offered me the opportunity to relocate to Ottawa for the next three years. My wife works as a CPA and all of her clients are here in Tampa or greater Florida. The plan for now is for her to spend the tax seasons in Tampa with the boys while I enjoy the Ottawa winters solo.
“Very little to dislike,” I found myself responding day after day during my week with the 2016 Honda Accord.
Rarely does a visiting test car generate as many questions and compliments. But the slightly restyled Accord, riding on the Touring’s eye catching, wheel-arch-filling 19-inch wheels, was deemed by friends, family, and neighbours to be quite the looker. And because it’s a car that’s squarely positioned in the affordable realm, they didn’t just compliment the Accord the way they did the $85,000 Audi A6 I drove earlier this fall. Rather, they’d ask, “Would I like it?”
You thought you saw one once, didn’t you? A hint of blue trim was visible in the distance; some unique badging, as well.
But then when you Googled the images at home later, you realized that no, the front fascia was too normal. You saw the ninth-generation Honda Accord’s hybrid model, not the plug-in hybrid.
Indeed, spotting a Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid is now statistically not all that different from catching a glimpse of a Porsche 918 Spyder. You roar ahead, trying to get a closer look, but it’s already pulled into Jerry Seinfeld’s exclusive parking garage. Or in the case of the Plug-In Hybrid, a Honda executive’s enclosed charging station.
As if Honda dealers haven’t had a hard enough time stocking Accord Hybrids, the Accord Plug-In Hybrid was so rarely built that only 1,030 have been sold in the United States since the car arrived in January 2013. That’s an average of 36 sales per month. No wonder Honda is, wait for it, pulling the plug.
After averaging around than 230,000 U.S. sales between 2007 and 2013, a period in which Honda averaged 295,000 annual Civic sales and 324,000 annual Accord sales, the CR-V was the second-best-selling Honda in America for the first time ever in 2014.
Much of the CR-V’s Civic-besting work was done in a second half which saw Civic volume slide 10%. Moreover, 54% of the CR-V’s 2014 U.S. volume was generated in a strong second-half.
But the CR-V didn’t stop with the Civic. In each of 2014’s final three months, the CR-V also outsold the Accord, America’s second-best-selling car.
In October 2014, for the first time since March 2012 and just the sixth time in the last five years, the Honda CR-V was American Honda’s best-selling model.
Finishing the month ahead of the Accord and Civic, given their longstanding status as two of America’s best-selling cars, is no easy feat. Only a handful of new vehicles typically do so every month, including the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Camry, and Ram P/U. (The Civic also trails the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Altima this year.) Yet in October, the CR-V outsold the Accord by 2129 units and the Civic by 15,103.
Compared with 2011, when the CR-V managed this feat on three occasions, circumstances have changed dramatically. Or rather, the numbers have dramatically improved.
America’s 35th president, John F. Kennedy, said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”
Automobile manufacturing is not public policy. ( Actually it is, basically all the time.) But virtually every automaker tries to make a difference in the midsize car sector, yet are the differences each manufacturer makes worthy of a mention here?
2014, like most years, is a time of great change for the segment. We’ve been steadily approaching a premature refresh of the Camry, America’s best-selling car. Chrysler Group replaced its Sebring-based 200 and Dodge Avenger with an Italian-based (can we call it that?) 2015 200. Hyundai’s avant-garde sixth-generation Sonata was replaced by a more conservative 2015 model.
Also recently launched was the sixth-generation Subaru Legacy. Subaru USA reported their best-ever Legacy sales month in September, when 6198 were sold.