By Tom Crosby
Honda gave its top-selling Accord a complete overhaul in 2013, winning numerous awards, ensuring its status as one of the most popular mid-size sedans sold in the United States.
The sedan market is the largest segment in the automotive industry and Accord has been around for 31 years. For 2014, Honda has added a pair of hybrids to offer eight different models but left unchanged our test-drive EX-LNAV, which is understandable when considering 2013 awards included Accords being rated among the 10 best cars from Car and Driver magazine, and having one of the ten best engines by Ward's magazine.
Our test-drive used Accord's Earth Dreams Technology powertrain, which provided plenty of highway oomph and dead-stop decent acceleration for the EX's direct-injection four cylinder engine with a continuously variable transmission that has greatly improved the Accord's miles per gallon. A V6 engine is also available.
Accords now include more than 55 percent high-tensile, high-grade steel to improve body rigidity and reduce weight, helping performance and increasing safety in case of a crash. The EX-LNAV received a top safety rating overall in federal crash tests and a Top Safety Pick rating after testing by the independent, non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Blind spot alert, rear camera and passenger side roadway screen display for right turns, and performance assistance, like stability control and front collision warning are among several standard safety features on the EX-L.
With ample space for rear and front seat occupants and a reactive MacPherson strut front suspension plus multi-link rear suspension, the ride on 17-inch all-season tires is smooth and controlled; handling is appropriately responsive.
HondaLink pairs with the knob-controlled intelligent Multi-Information Display on the 8-inch dashboard screen for SMS text messaging, Pandora interface, Bluetooth and voice-activated music and social media. The navigation system is ergonomically and intuitively friendly, but had difficulty recognizing some verbal commands, requiring manual input for directions.
A seven-speaker sound system provides clean in-car acoustics with minimal road, wind or tire noise. Cabin feel is luxurious for the price, with leather seats and trim and ergonomic design. Trunk space appears more than adequate for a mid-size sedan.
Outside, the Accord has a sleek, modern look with a low beltline, narrow roof pillars, character lines low on the doors and curved rear fenders designed to give a power look. Chrome door handles and rear panel trim are additions to the EX-L and the top-of-the-line Touring models.
The Accord's decades-long record for reliability should continue with last year's re-do.
LIKES: Mileage, cabin comfort, trunk space, looks, quiet
DISLIKES: Voice navigation
BOTTOM LINE: Improvements and reliability help Accord remain a top-selling sedan
Base price w/destination fee: $30,835
Curb weight: 3,365 lbs.
Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
Length: 191.4 inches
Width: 72.8 inches
Engine specs: 2.4-liter, inline 4 cylinder, DOHC
Horsepower: 185 hp at 6,400 rpm
Torque: 181 ft.-lbs. at 3,900 rpm
Transmission: Continuous variable automatic w/sport
EPA Rating: 27 city, 36 highway
Range: 17.2-gallons, regular
Performance: 0-60 in less than 8 seconds
Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.