Honda Accord Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
Icons always get attention, don't they? If you're talking about autos, there's a case in point. Take the 2012 Honda Accord midsize sedan and just about every word regarding it is praise for its consistency, dependability and customer satisfaction.
As testers of several different entrants in this highly-contested landscape of models for Road & Travel, we doubt any competitor could knock Honda off its pedestal. At least not without one heck of a fight. It has simply worn that crown far too long.
Looking at what Honda brings to the table, we can cite some of the dependability and assurance ideals that always seem to identify a Honda buyer. And maybe that's from rarely being let down. The Accord is one of the first “bullet-proof” sedans ever to win over American buyers at a time quality for many autos was still an illusive goal. Most of those competitors now have reached previously wished-for quality levels or are just a shade off. But Honda's sterling reputation isn't about to go away any time soon.
For 2012, the Accord is changed little from a significant styling and fuel economy revision a year earlier. Among changes, a Special Edition (SE) trim level. And USB interface is now standard on all Accords, an addition for 2012.
As in past years, Accord is still a champion on the safety side. Honda cites a coveted “best-possible” 5-star Overall Vehicle Score for safety, with that coming for three safety standards as a combined rating, a first ever for one vehicle its says. They are overall frontal crash safety, overall side crash safety, and rollover resistance.
Anyone thinking of buying an Accord has a variety-pack of choices, with four sedan trim levels (not counting three Accord coupe models) and an alphabet soup sampling of variations vying for their attention. Four cylinder engine models include LX, LX-P (Premium) SE, EX and EX-L. Want more engine power? Then choose the EX or EX-L with a V-6 powertrain. That's really not as complex as it might seem at first, as Honda traditionally has offered well-rounded trim levels complete with a specific group of amenities for each rather than a cafeteria of available options.
All Accords are front-wheel drive, and all Accord sedans have five-speed transmissions -- automatics in upper level models while the base LX and EX come with manuals. The 2.4-liter inline four generates 177-horsepower, and 161 lb-ft of torque, and earns a best 23/34 mileage rating. A gutsier 190-horsepower V-6, (162 lb-ft of torque) rates at 20 city and 24 highway miles. Both engines perform well, especially for a vehicle that is somewhat larger than other midsize sedans, but lag behind some other competitive vehicles in the escalating MPG race. Those wanting more performance in their drive, or in areas with hilly terrain, might be happier with the V-6 despite the lower fuel economy rating.
That extra room inside, however, can put less wear and tear on the Accord's driver and passengers who have more stretch room throughout, although a bit at the expense of trunk storage. Unlike a growing number of vehicles lately, all Accord sedan models come with a compact spare tire, so having a tire problem on the road doesn't mean trying a temporary fix with a repair kit.
The Accord wears a handsome, but more subdued exterior and an interior that doesn't have the flash and dash or refinement of some more aggressive competitors, but has creature comfort throughout. High technology items, such as navigation system, require a move up the trim level, with corresponding price tag. Pricing starts at $21,480 for the entry level LX and tops out at $29,855 for the EX-L with navigation. While that set-in-stone price tag restricts the kind of bargaining one might try with options, it definitely seems more user friendly. And one thing is certain when choosing an Accord with that kind of pricing setup. There are no surprises. What you see is what you get.
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