by Roger Biermann
How good does a marque have to be for it to continually succeed for ten generations in an increasingly difficult market? For ten generations, now, the Honda Accord has been a top-seller and a class-leader. While the midsize sedan segment is tougher than ever with Toyota’s Camry, Hyundai’s Sonata, and Ford’s Fusion all offering compelling packages, the Honda Accord appeals to enthusiasts with an upbeat chassis, two turbocharged engines, and the choice of a manual gearbox in place of an available CVT and on some models a 10-speed automatic. More than that, the 192-horsepower 1.5T and 252-hp Type-R derived 2.0T are frugal as well, and the front wheel drive chassis is playful and competent. Priced between $23,720 and $34,990 for the five non-hybrid trims, the Accord offers an abundance of technological features like wireless charging and a head-up display and is equipped with some of the most advanced safety features in its segment.
After a major redesign for the 2018 model year, Honda has kept the line-up relatively unchanged for 2019. The changes are limited to just a single item, with the Touring trim now only available with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine or hybrid drivetrain with the 1.5-liter turbo motor dropped from this particular trim. Aside from that, the Accord continues unchanged.
The Honda Accord features standard LED low-beam headlights with LED daytime running lights. Full LED headlights are made available on the top Touring trim. From the Sport trim upwards the Accord also incorporates LED foglights into the front bumper, while all trims from the Sport upwards are equipped with a power tilt-and-slide sunroof. 17-inch alloys are standard across most trims in various finishes. The Sport trim gets bespoke-design 19-inch alloys, machine finished with black inserts. All trims from the Sport model upwards now feature dual chrome exhaust finishers and chrome detailing.
The 2019 Honda Accord rides on a 111.4-inch wheelbase, with an overall body length of 192.2-inches, giving it typical proportions for the midsize sedan segment. The overall height of 57.1 inches is paired with a width of 73.3-inches across all trims, while the track width varies depending on the engine, with the 1.5T measuring slightly wider at 62/63.4 inches front/rear, and the 2.0-liter turbo measuring in at 62.6/63.1 inches. With curb weights ranging from 3,131-3,428 lbs, the Accord is one of the lighter sedans in its class, aiding handling and performance.
For 2019, Honda has slashed the color palette down from an available 11 hues last year to just nine. White Orchid Pearl and Kona Coffee Metallic are the colors to be taken off the options list.
Available on all trims is a palette comprising Platinum White Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, and Crystal Black Pearl, while the LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring Trims also have the option of Champagne Frost Pearl, Obsidian Blue Pearl, and Radiant Red Metallic. The Sport trim, however, gets two unique color choices, with Radiant Red and Obsidian Blue replaced by San Marino Red and Still Night Pearl respectively. On the Sport trim, the Still Night Pearl is exceptionally attractive, playing with various tones in changing light conditions, while on non-Sport models the Modern Steel Metallic looks particularly classy.
Of the Accord range, the Sport trim is the most performance-oriented, giving enthusiasts a six-speed manual gearbox to row. It’s most enjoyable when paired with the 2.0-liter turbo engine, whose 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque are derived from the Civic Type R, but the ten-speed automatic transmission is the quickest, getting the Accord from 0-60 mph in a sprightly 5.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of a limited 102 mph. The Accord’s flaw is in its front-wheel-drive only drivetrain, while others like the Nissan Altima offer all-wheel drive as an alternative.
On all but the Touring trim, a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard developing 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. On all trims, it comes standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). However, Honda offers a more robust 2.0-liter turbocharged engine - derived from the one in the Civic Type R - that develops 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque which can be equipped on the Sport and EX-L trims and is the only engine available on the top-of-the-line Touring trim. This more potent engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox. Unique to the Sport trim, a six-speed manual gearbox can be equipped to either engine.
Even the base 1.5T motor is a joy to drive, with a responsive drivetrain that responds quickly to inputs and provides smooth power delivery. The CVT isn’t ideal, but the abundance of torque helps to overcome the rubberiness often associated with this type of transmission. The available 2.0-liter engine is truly potent but doesn’t compromise on driveability, meanwhile the 10-speed automatic gearbox shifts almost seamlessly. Both motors will shuffle you about town smoothly, but the larger engine is the one you’ll want at higher speeds.
The Sport trim deserves special mention, giving enthusiasts the option of a six-speed manual gearbox to row their own gears. It may compromise outright performance, but a lot of work has gone into making it shift as sweetly as possible, and while this is no Civic Type R, the Accord doesn’t stray too far from the gene pool on this one.
Honda doesn’t just cater to enthusiasts with a manual gearbox, the Accord also boasts one of the most competent front-wheel drive chasses in the midsize segment. The suspension is firm yet comfortable and all but erases bumps on the road, even under duress, and mid-corner bumps fail to upset the Accords composure. Further comfort is provided by the Touring’s adaptive damper system for truly premium ride quality.
There’s an abundance of grip to be had from the front end, despite the front axle having to cope with powering the Accord along as well as the steering. Even on all-season tires, grip levels are impressive. Changes of direction are affected swiftly, and body roll is minimal, but the steering never accurately telegraphs information to the driver. It’s the only real weak point to the Accord’s otherwise exemplary handling, but the lack of feeling isn’t exclusive to the Accord. We’re also not particular fans of the lack of weight building through turns, and the steering also feels a little vague just off center.
The Accord is by far the most sporting sedan in its class, rewarding keen drivers as much as those who wish to waft along comfortably. It’s one of the most comprehensive vehicles around, with its only failing being the artificial-feeling steering.
Despite their smoothness and power, both engine options are extremely frugal. The 1.5T, when paired with the standard CVT, is good for an EPA-rated estimate of 33 mpg on a combined cycle, with the no-cost manual on the Sport trim dropping this to 30 mpg. The 2.0T motor compromises on economy slightly - if you want the horses, you have to feed them - with combined estimates of up to 27 mpg. All models feature a 14.8-gallon gas tank, so buyers can expect up to 490 miles with mixed driving from the 1.5T with the CVT, while the 2.0T will give a range of 400 miles with mixed driving.
A high-quality cabin greets you in the 2019 Honda Accord. Aside from a couple of cheaper trim plastics positioned at knee height on the center console, quality knocks on the door of the premium segment, and thankfully, Honda’s new infotainment systems take a huge leap forward compared to those of old. The seats are comfortable and supportive, even if they are mounted a little too low, but a range of standard power adjustment gives occupants the ability to get comfortable. Cloth upholstery is standard, as is leather on higher trims, and available options include heated front and rear seats and ventilated front seats. The interior dimensions are cavernous - the best in class - and the rear seats are replete with two full sets of LATCH anchors for child safety seats.
The Accord leads the midsize segment with interior volumes that the EPA classifies as full-size. Tilt-and-telescopic steering adjustment and a wide array of available power driver adjustment - up to 12-way adjustment with lumbar support - ensures a comfortable driving position. Visibility is decent, but the high shoulder line impacts it slightly. Head and legroom is generous up front, but taller drivers may find their knees rubbing harsh plastics on the center console. Rear legroom is massive, and while headroom is decent as well, the sloping roofline might be a bit low for taller adults. Still, the Accord seats five rather comfortably, with loads of available features including ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.
Interior upholstery is standard on the LX and EX trims in fabric upholstery, available in either gray, ivory, or black in color, depending on the chosen exterior hue. If you’d like the upgrade to leather upholstery, the EX-L and Touring trims get it as standard, with the same color choices, but equipped to perforated leather. The Sport trim, meanwhile, gets bespoke combination cloth and simulated leather upholstery, but unlike the other model, it can only be had in one color - black. Interior door and lower dash panels are color-coded according to upholstery color, while dash inlay options include wood-look paneling.
Most competitors in the midsize segment offer cavernous luggage space, but the Accord is the best of the lot. While most offer trunks with cargo capacity in the low 16 range, the Accord gets 16.7 cubic feet of storage. A Toyota Camry only offers 15.1 cubic feet by comparison. The cargo bay is large and the trunk lid opens tall. The aperture is, however, narrower than some rivals, and there’s no hands-free trunk opening feature. The rear seats do fold in a 60/40 split to increase storage volume.
Interior storage space is decent, but isn’t up to Honda’s usual class-leading standards. There are numerous storage bins and cupholders, and there’s an available wireless charging pad (standard on Touring models), but items like a driver-side seatback pocket are only available from the 2.0T Sport model.
The Accord is highly equipped in numerous areas, with technological features like active noise cancellation, available remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, power windows with auto up/down for the front seats, push-button start, cruise control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror on higher trims. Additional comforts include 12-way power adjustment with four-way lumbar support on the driver’s seat from Sport trims up, with memory from the EX-L, heated front seats from the Sport trim, four-way passenger power adjustment from the EX-L, and ventilated front seats on the top Touring trim with heated rear seats. The Touring also gets a head-up display with a range of driver information and assistance displays and integrated traffic sign recognition. A power moonroof is standard on all but the base LX.
The newest iteration of Honda’s infotainment takes a huge step over the horrendous old one. On the LX model Accord you’ll find a seven-inch touchscreen display with a four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth hands-free, a single front USB port, and AM/FM functionality. From the Sport trim up, the system gets substantially upgraded to an eight-inch system with eight speakers, a higher powered USB port, SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto functionality. HD Radio is added to the EX trim, along with a second USB port, while the EX-L upgrades to a 450-watt ten-speaker premium audio system. The range-topping Touring model gets satellite navigation, voice recognition, a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging, and near field communication (NFC).
Aside from the harsh plastic on the center console, build quality seems solid and engineering as reliable as ever. J.D. Power’s overall reliability rankings place the Accord near the top of its segment at 81 out of 100, matching the Chevrolet Malibu and beating the Toyota Camry and Kia Optima, among many others. There have been several reports from owners of dash rattles, which seems to be the biggest reported issue. Honda’s three-year/36,000-mile limited vehicle and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranties apply.
The 2019 Honda Accord scores high marks with government safety agencies, with the IIHS awarding it as a 2019 top Safety Pick (the Hyundai Sonata is a TSP+) and the NHTSA scoring the Accord five stars overall and in all categories.
While most models in this segment get seven airbags, the Accord gets eight - dual front, side curtain, front side, and driver and front passenger knee airbags. Particularly impressive is the standard fitment of Honda Sensing, a safety suite that comprises of lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with low speed follow function, traffic sign recognition, road departure mitigation, and forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking functionality. Available front and rear park sensors and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert further bolster safety on higher trims.
The Accord is one of the best buys available in the midsize segment, if not an outright class leader. It combines all the attributes of a capable sports sedan with the luxuries and premium features expected in the segment. Its huge interior volumes and cavernous trunk are paired with quality interior design and high levels of tech and specification. A pair of potent-yet-frugal drivetrains and the availability of a six-speed manual on the Sport model means there’s something for everyone in a package the entire family can enjoy, and Honda caters to enthusiasts when no one else does. High levels of safety are standard across all Accord models, and Honda now offers an infotainment system capable of rivaling those from other brands. After a year on the market, the Accord has proven to be reliable too, with the only issues being some trouble with cheaper plastics on the dash. The only question that remains then is, why wouldn’t you buy an Accord?
Five trims are available for the non-Hybrid Accord model range, starting with the cheapest model, the LX at $23,720. The Sport sits directly above the LX, with a base price of $26,180 while the Sport 2.0T for an additional $4,530. The EX is priced from $27,620, while the EX-L carries a base MSRP of $30,120 for the 1.5T model, but also available with the 2.0T for an additional $2,000. The Accord Touring tops the line-up at a base MSRP of $35,950, before a $920 destination charge, taxes, registration, and any dealer markups or incentives available.
The Honda Accord is available in five trims: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring.
The LX features a 1.5T engine and CVT transmission, cloth upholstery, and a basic infotainment system, but comes standard with Honda Sensing safety technologies.
The Sport sits directly above the LX, getting you the same 1.5T motor with either CVT or no-cost six-speed manual gearbox, but is also available with a 2.0T engine with a 10-speed auto or six-speed manual. The Sport gets larger wheels, bespoke Sport trim, and an eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The EX only features the 1.5T motor and is equipped with a power moonroof, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry, and HD/satellite radio functionality.
The first model to offer leather upholstery is the EX-L, available with either the 1.5T or 2.0T engine. In the EX-L, the front passenger gets power seat adjustment, the driver’s seat gets memory functionality, a premium ten-speaker sound system, and available navigation.
The Accord Touring tops the line-up, available exclusively with the 2.0T engine and ten-speed automatic gearbox. It ups the ante with 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive dampers, front and rear parking sensors, a head-up display, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, wireless device charging, navigation, and wireless device charging.
|LX 1.5T||1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Front Wheel Drive||$21,710||$23,720|
|Sport 1.5T||1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||6-Speed Manual, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Front Wheel Drive||$23,954||$26,180|
|EX 1.5T||1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Front Wheel Drive||$25,267||$27,620|
|EX-L 1.5T||1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Front Wheel Drive||$27,547||$30,120|
|Sport 2.0T||2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||6-Speed Manual, 10-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive||$28,086||$30,710|
Honda doesn’t offer package upgrades for the Accord but it does offer optional extras. On models with 17-inch alloys, 19s can be optioned from $2,270. Additional body trim is also available, including side skirt molding $225, a decklid spoiler (standard on the Sport trim) at $349, and gloss black fender emblems at $50. An auto-dimming rearview mirror can be equipped for $409 but comes standard on the EX-L, while wireless charging, standard on the Touring, can be equipped to all other models for $300. Available on all trims is a 2.1-amp dual rear USB charging port. On the Sport and EX-L trims, buyers can upgrade from a 1.5T engine to a 252-hp 2.0T for $4,530 and $2,000 respectively. This engine is the only option available on the Touring model.
It’s not often we recommend two trims for one model, but the Accord isn’t just any midsize sedan. Enthusiasts should opt for the well-equipped Sport model, with the 2.0-liter turbo motor and manual gearbox. It’s well-equipped for the price, stylish, gets cloth seats with leather trimming, and makes the most of exceptional driving dynamics. It also misses out on the cheap infotainment system in the base model. If you have your heart set on utmost luxury, the Touring trim rivals the likes of Audi and BMW, but at a discount price. Its all-inclusive luxury is massively appealing as an off-the-shelf premium package. Both feature extensive safety features.
The Altima is another top competitor in the midsize sedan, and one that’s often overlooked. Both are similarly priced, but the Accord has the Altima beaten in several areas. Both engine options are marginally more powerful in the Accord, and are more frugal as well. The Accord is a better car to drive with a more engaging chassis, and it offers more interior and cargo volume, though the Altima isn’t bad in these stakes and offers all-wheel drive which the Accord doesn’t. Overall quality is better in the Accord, with higher end materials and more standard safety features, but the Altima offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard across all models while the Accord doesn’t offer those features on the base trim. The Altima is a good vehicle, but the Accord is superior in almost all aspects.
After the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry is the next best thing in the midsize segment. Both vehicles are highly equipped and boast extensive safety and driver assistance features, and both offer huge cabins and are big on comfort. The Accord bests the Camry in cargo volume by a good margin with 16.7 cubic feet to the Camry’s 15.1 cubic feet. However, the Camry bests the Accord when it comes to outright power, with the V6 Camry offering nearly 50 horsepower more than the 2.0T four-cylinder Accord. The Accord’s pair of turbo engines give marginally better low-down performance and are quicker off the line than the Camry, but both are equally fun to drive. Enthusiasts may be swayed by the available manual gearbox on the Accord’s Sport trim. The Camry does not offer Android Auto functionality.