With more consumers pivoting toward crossovers every day, it may be easy to downplay the importance of the launch of a new midsize sedan. When the new midsize sedan is a Honda Accord, however, it's still very much a big deal. Through June, the Japanese automaker sold 160,091 copies of the current Accord. While that number lags behind CR-V sales, moving 160,000 units of any vehicle in six months is no joke.
In the run-up to Friday's introduction of the 10th-generation Accord, Honda offered some powertrain details and a teaser sketch of the 2018 model. We also got the chance to sample the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in a camouflaged mule not too long ago in Japan. But now, we've got information about the Accord's impressive suite of safety technologies along with photos to view before the new model arrives in showrooms this fall.
Compared to the current car, the Accord is slightly lower and wider, and also shorter in overall length. A signature chrome wing grille, more aggressive fascia with large air intake, shorter overhangs, long hood and greenhouse pushed further to the rear give the new car a sportier look and stance.
And the sedan will need to take up some of the coupe's sportiness. For those who may be wondering about the details on the new Accord Coupe, there's bad news. Honda has killed the two-door for the Accord's 10th generation, so if you want one, you'd better claim a current Accord Coupe while you still can.
Heading inside, the front seats move inward, providing more hip, shoulder and headroom, while backseat passengers enjoy 2.5 inches of additional legroom -- you can thank the 2.16-inch wheelbase increase for that. The seats themselves feature taller bolsters for better lateral support and variable firmness padding for higher levels of comfort. Things should also be quieter, with an acoustic laminated windshield and standard Active Noise Control system.
On the cabin tech front, infotainment functions are handled by an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen that -- thank the gods -- has traditional knobs for both volume and tuning. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities are standard, while the HondaLink telematics system gains new tricks such as roadside assistance, remote locking and unlocking, engine start, remote diagnostics and speed tracking.
A new configurable 6-inch head-up display is included on range-topping Touring versions. Wireless charging, 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi over-the-air system updates are available as options.
The Honda Sensing suite of active and passive safety systems is standard on all 2018 Accords. It'll match speeds with the car ahead, nudge the wheel to keep you from straying out of your lane, and it'll even bring the car to a stop if it detects an impending collision. It can even recognize traffic signs and display them to the driver. A multiangle backup camera is also standard on all trims. Blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert and a driver awareness monitor are optional.
A pair of direct-injected and turbocharged four-bangers makes up the gas engine lineup. Base propulsion comes from a 1.5-liter engine making 192 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 192 pound-feet of torque between 1,500 and 5,000 rpm. That's good for a slight improvement over the outgoing 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder's 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission bolts to the engine for all versions, but Sport models are also available with a six-speed manual.
Replacing the 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 252 torques is a 2.0-liter turbo four churning out 252 ponies at 6,500 rpm and 273 twist units between 1,500 and 4,000 rpm. It comes connected to a 10-speed automatic gearbox -- the first time a 10-speed has come bolted to a front-wheel-drive car. Like its 1.5-liter little brother, the 2.0-liter is also available with a six-speed manual on Sport variants. No fuel economy information is available for either engine at this time.
After the gas models launch in fall, a new Accord Hybrid will arrive a bit later, combining a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine with an updated two-motor hybrid system. Unlike previous Accord Hybrids, the battery and control modules move to the rear floor from the trunk, helping maintain cargo space and a folding rear seat.
The Accord should be a sharp handler thanks to a stiffer body made from 54.2 percent high strength steel and the increased use of structural adhesives to increase rigidity and reduce weight. Depending on trim, total weight reduction ranges from 110 to 176 pounds.
A redesigned MacPherson suspension boasts aluminum control arms and bolts to an aluminum subframe in front. Out back, a more compact multilink setup is utilized. For the first time, adaptive dampers are available on the Accord. They're standard on the Touring trim, but are not available on lesser variants.
Finally, every Accord gets a two-mode driving system. Normal and Sport settings tinker with steering, gearbox, throttle mapping and damping, giving drivers the ability set the car up for a more relaxing ride or a more spirited run.
Pricing for the 2018 Accord isn't available yet, but it wouldn't be surprising if the new model starts around the $22,455 base price of today's car.