The redesigned 2018 Honda Accord has won a slew of awards, including the 2018 North American Car of the Year, the industry's most impartial acknowledgment. Awards are like opinions, sure, and the 10th-generation Accord may not be good enough to stop the sales slide of midsize sedans to crossovers, but it should once again overtake the Toyota Camry as the best-selling car in America.
It's lower, leaner, sharper, better equipped, quicker, more fuel efficient, more powerful, more spacious than the outgoing model and pretty much anything else in its class. The top of the line Touring trim could compete with premium brands such as Buick, Infiniti and Honda's own Acura TLX. Sound crazy? For $36,000, it's a deal.
And it looks good. Lower to the ground with a longer wheelbase and shorter ends, it has an attractive fastback style with a sloping roofline tapering into the rear. It's no German sportback; the Accord has a proper trunk, with 16.7 cubic feet leading the class. Four sets of golf clubs should fit, or three extra teens sneaking into the drive-in (as if).
The coupelike design keeps headroom tight for taller riders, and with the seat at its lowest position it feels as if you're getting in and out of a sport sedan.
Accord is no longer offered with a 278-horsepower V-6 engine because the 252-horsepower 2-liter turbo four-nearly the same engine as the Honda Civic Type R-offered in Touring trim does better. It's all about the torque, which, grossly simplified, gets you going, while horsepower keeps you going faster. The outgoing V-6 Accord made 258 pound-feet, while the 2T4 with a 10-speed automatic pumps out 273 pound-feet of torque, most ever for an Accord.
It pops from a stop and drivers might notice a slight pull one way or another from the front-wheel drive system. Torque steer is nearly unavoidable with a car this potent. All that torque is available at just 1,500 rpm, so this Accord is ready for far more pressing challenges than just passing moves.
Combine its punch with a lower center of gravity and sharp handling, and the new Accord is downright fun. Yup, way more fun than the old V-6, and more fun than Camry's new V-6 in the XSE.
It gets better on the inside. The touch screen, flanked with a tuning AND volume knob is mounted high in the dash, which takes away from the overall neat design. Chrome strips and soft-touch materials balance the woodlike trim to keep it classy, though. The customizable instrument cluster-inch for inch the most valuable real estate in the cabin-is what other automakers should emulate. Audi sets the bar, but Honda has leapfrogged GM in setting the pace for mainstream makes. With a toggle of the steering wheel control, the tachometer becomes a 7-inch space to roll through audio or phone commands, view nav directions, or check active fuel economy or trip meters. Nothing revolutionary here, but it's safe, smart and easy, relegating the touch screen to a map display or device for the passenger to play with. The excellent head-up display furthers the premium-car feel. Auto awards are a dime a dozen. But the 2018 Honda Accord is the best midsize sedan on the market.
2018 HONDA ACCORD TOURING
Vehicle type: Midsize sedan
Base price: $35,800
As tested: $35,800 (excluding $890 destination)
Mpg: 22 city, 32 highway
Engine: 2-liter turbo four-cylinder
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Parting shot: Camry doesn't come close.