2018 Honda Ac­cord 2.0T Sport

Automobile - - All - Stars 2018 -

What, you might ask, is a $31,200

(as tested) fam­ily sedan do­ing among these $100,000 to $300,000 stun­ners? Kick­ing their butts, mostly.

The Honda Ac­cord is a leg­end among the car-buy­ing pub­lic and au­to­mo­tive writ­ers alike, and for good rea­son. It’s con­sis­tently one of the best ve­hi­cles on the road, of­ten not be­cause it ex­cels at any one thing but be­cause it’s so good at so many things for rel­a­tively lit­tle money. That’s still true for the all-new 10th-gen­er­a­tion Ac­cord.

In fact, it might be truer than ever. “I stepped out of the Lam­borgh­ini Hu­racán and into the Ac­cord and didn’t feel the slight­est bit of a let­down,” St. An­toine said. “That’s be­cause the bril­liant au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neer­ing just shines through in this piece. In ex­e­cu­tion for its in­tended mis­sion, the Ac­cord Sport ranks as one of the true greats.”

At the heart of the new Ac­cord lies a 2.0-liter tur­bocharged in­line-

Still One of the Best Cars You Can Buy

four that shares much of its in­ter­nal struc­ture and parts list with the ra­bidly ro­bust Civic Type R. “Par­tic­u­larly sat­is­fy­ing is the pow­er­train, which op­er­ates with such an ab­sence of vi­bra­tion it feels as if the en­tirety of its in­sides are coated in Te­flon,” Wasef said.

Although the new 10-speed au­to­matic of­fered with the 2018 Ac­cord is sure to be the most pop­u­lar pick, our ex­am­ple was fit­ted with a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion. Pil­grim en­joyed the power from the new turbo-four and pointed out that “the man­ual gear­box is a bit sloppy, but fast op­er­a­tion is flaw­less.” Ta­haney took it a step fur­ther. “This is one of the rare ve­hi­cles that would prob­a­bly be more en­joy­able as an au­to­matic in­stead of a stick,” he ar­gued. It wasn’t the tight­est gear­box we’ve han­dled in the past year, but the fact Honda of­fers a man­ual at all is a tick in the win col­umn for most of us.

Wrapped around the po­tent yet smooth en­gine is an all-new body struc­ture that’s not just re-en­gi­neered but also re­designed. To many of our eyes, it’s not a par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive ve­hi­cle, ei­ther in sil­hou­ette or in de­tail. But beauty is in the eye of the be­holder; in Nel­son’s eyes, “The most en­joy­able com­mod­ity sedan you can buy is more hand­some than ever— mod­ern, bold, clean.”

But re­gard­less of its looks and its driv­e­train, the Ac­cord Sport is a win­ner for its over­all pack­age. Re­hbock es­pe­cially en­joyed the Ac­cord. “I spent the most time in this of all the win­ners,” he noted. “It’s a no­com­pro­mise daily driver with loads of in­te­rior room, a big trunk, and driv­ing dy­nam­ics that ex­cite and en­gage.”

Lassa noted the Ac­cord lacks the

“rich ma­te­ri­als” of the more ex­pen­sive Toy­ota Camry ($39,300 as tested) but said its “satin­like cloth seat in­serts are rather nice—a neat de­par­ture from the usual pleather in this class of car.”

If there’s a weak spot in the Ac­cord Sport’s like­li­hood for suc­cess, it’s one it can’t re­ally help: It’s not a cross­over. This was a theme picked up on by more than one of our eval­u­a­tors, in­clud­ing se­nior dig­i­tal edi­tor Kir­ill Ou­garov. “Hard to say that it’ll be a mar­ket mover,” he ar­gued, “given the trend to­ward crossovers.” No­orde­loos ex­panded on the thought: “A shame that the sedan world is dy­ing, be­cause this car is bet­ter than nearly ev­ery SUV/cross­over on the mar­ket—plus it’s cheaper and gets bet­ter mileage.”

We found the Ac­cord Sport to be both com­fort­able and fun to drive in a way Honda has long been known for—not with hit-you-over-the-head per­for­mance like an AMG or even the finely tuned poise of a Porsche but with the sim­ple, hon­est char­ac­ter of a car de­signed and built well—and built to be used, how­ever you plan to use it. It’s a prime ex­am­ple of why you should ap­pre­ci­ate the in­her­ent Honda-ness of the Ac­cord. “As easy as it is to hate on the idea of the Ac­cord (No Bor­ing Cars!),” Wasef said, “the 2.0T Sport does what it does with el­e­gant sim­plic­ity, just as we’ve found with the best Hon­das over the years.” AM

BY NEL­SON IRESON

PRICE: $31,200/$31,200 (base/as tested) EN­GINE: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve turbo I-4/252 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 273 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,000 rpm TRANS­MIS­SION: 6-speed man­ual LAY­OUT: 4-door, 5-pas­sen­ger, front-en­gine, FWD sedan EPA MILEAGE: 22/32 mpg (city/hwy) L X W...

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