Test Drive: Accord’s attributes make it the midsize choice

auto-Honda accord INT 8-25We were engaging in a bit of speculation last week when we wrote about the 2017 Acura ILX: “Some shoppers may not be able to resist the opportunity to step up to the Honda Accord, a bigger, roomier car, for Acura money.” A week later, we stepped up to a 2017 Honda Accord, for real. Although fully loaded and then some, the midsize 2017 Honda Accord Touring V6’s sticker price was just $1,735 more than the compact Acura’s.

Best of all, if we were buying an Accord, we’d save some big money by avoiding features like the balky touch-screen infotainment system and the 278-horsepower V-6 engine, which requires occasional (and expensive) timing-belt replacement. The standard 2.4-liter, 185-horsepower inline Four has a timing chain, which should last the life of the car. And this package beats the V-6 by 4 mpg.

Aside from these short- and long-term trouble spots, the Accord is nearly without peer in the crowded midsize-sedan category. Among the many strong contenders are the Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata. The Accord stands practically alone – unless you’re prepared to pay big money for European or Japanese premium nameplates – in driving dynamics, back-seat room, fuel economy, reliability and overall quality. The driving experience is diminished only by the moderate level of road noise; some of the other midsize sedans are a little quieter.

Our Basque Red Pearl test car was a top-of-the-line Touring model with no optional equipment and a very long list of standard features. The emphasis was on accident-avoidance technology: Collision Mitigation Braking System; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Keeping Assist System; Forward Collision Warning; Lane Departure Warning and Road Departure mitigation. It doesn’t quite drive itself – not yet – but this Honda is equipped to forgive a lot of human error.

Unlike the Acura ILX we drove the previous week, the Accord didn’t have blind-spot warning lights in the exterior mirrors. What it did have was a camera that’s activated whenever the right-hand turn signal is activated. The scene to the right of the car, looking toward the rear, is then revealed to the driver in the uppermost of two screens in the center of the dashboard. This system is called Honda LaneWatch. It is not activated for left turns and lane changes on the presumption that a driver looking into the left exterior mirror won’t benefit from turning toward the middle of the car to look at the screen.

Our beef with the touch-screen was pretty basic: It required repeated attempts to change the radio-station favorites. While the system had an impressive array of functions – AM/FM/CD/satellite radio; HondaLink system; navigation; voice recognition; Bluetooth hands-free link; and Pandora Internet Radio Interface – its response was sometimes sluggish.

The 2016 Accord, similar in most respect to the 2017 model, has been rated a Top Safety Pick Plus by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 

Steven Macoy ([email protected]) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.

2017 Honda Accord Touring

Price: $35,665

Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, 278 horsepower, 252 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: 6-speed shiftable automatic

Drive: Front-wheel

Weight: 3,554 lb.

Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear

Wheels: 19×8-in. alloy

Tires: 235/40R19 all-season

Seating capacity: 5

Luggage capacity: 16 cu. ft.

Fuel capacity: 17.2 gallons

Fuel economy: 21 mpg city, 33 mpg highway

Fuel type: Regular unleaded gasoline

 

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