The current Honda Accord and I had a difficult beginning. When the automaker introduced the Accord Coupe Concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, I was wondering what real changes had been made and being more interested in the early 80’s Accord on loan from The Henry Ford in their exhibit. Then when Honda revealed the production Accord Sedan and Coupe, I was wondering what was going at Honda because it looks almost the same as the old one. But recently, I spent a week with a 2014 Honda Accord EX Sedan and I said, “Oh, I get it now.” Read on to see what I mean.
On the face of it, the 2014 Accord EX Sedan doesn’t look that much different from the last-generation model. The two models have a similar design profile. Honda made a couple of changes with the front end with a new grille surround and a set of LEDs running along the outer edge of the headlights. In the back, there is a restyled trunk lid. However, there is one big difference between the old and new Accord; length. Park the two next to each other and the 2014 model is about 3.6 inches shorter than the last-generation. Not only does this bring the Accord back into the midsize classification, it also makes the overall design look better proportioned.
Moving into the Accord EX’s interior, its the same story as the exterior. There really isn’t anything that breaks new ground. It’s just a lesson on how to build one that is very comfortable and well built. Materials range from soft-touch plastics on the door panels and dashboard to faux brushed metal trim. Build quality was excellent.
All Accords come equipped with a large eight-inch color screen that displays radio, audio inputs, trip computer, backup camera, and Honda’s LaneWatch system. LaneWatch uses a camera on the right-side mirror to keep an eye on the Accord’s blind spot. The system activates when you flick the turn signal to make a right turn or by pressing a button on the turn stalk. The system is a great idea as it provides that extra amount of security and certainty when making lane change or a pass. I would like to see Honda add a blind spot monitoring system as well to add a bit more security. Aside from LaneWatch, controlling the audio system and trip computer was very easy thanks to a well placed set of controls that featured large buttons.
The Accord’s interior space has to be at the top of the class. On the EX, they were wrapped in comfortable cloth with heat. The front seats provided excellent support and comfort. Despite a cut in overall length and a 0.2 inch reduction of headroom, space in rear seat is still large. My 5’7” frame was able to get comfortable and even stretch out back here.
For thoughts on the powertrain and handling, see the next page.
For most Accords, they’ll be equipped with the powertrain combination found in my tester; a new 2.4L EarthDreams four-cylinder engine with direct-injection paired with a CVT. The 2.4 produces 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. However, the new Accord Sport gets a slight bump in horsepower and torque to 189 and 182 respectively.
Honda is known for building four-cylinders that are very smooth, but have to be pushed to an inch of its life to get it moving at a decent clip. The new 2.4L follows that somewhat as its power delivery is very smooth. However, you don’t need to reach the outer limits to get moving. The engine builds power starting in the midrange, which makes power delivery more linear. More impressive is the CVT which takes the place of a five-speed automatic. The transmission has been engineered to simulate shifts to make it seem like you’re driving an automatic. This illusion works for the most part aside from pressing the pedal to the floor and the whine from the transmission comes into play. My average fuel economy for the week landed 31 MPG, which puts it right in line with the EPA ratings of 27 City/36 Highway/30 Combined.
Another item Honda is very well known for is using a double-wishbone suspension setup in the front and rear for the Accord. With this generation, Honda swapped swapped the double-wishbone in the front to a more compact MacPherson strut setup. This change may cause many to worry that the fun to drive aspect of the Accord would be lost. It hasn’t. The Accord feels confident and collected when being pushed around. Steering feels nicely weighted, giving more confidence to a driver.
Don’t think the Accord’s suspension is a one trick pony though. On the ‘fine’ roads of Michigan, the Accord’s suspension was able to provide a very smooth ride. Impacts from bumps and potholes were minimized. One area Honda still needs to work on is wind and road noise. Both were noticeable during my week with the vehicle.
On the face if it, you may think Honda really didn’t change anything with the 2014 Accord EX. But first glances can be deceiving. While the Accord does not have the sleek and sexy styling as some of its competitors, it does have a number of improvements to the interior, powertrain, and ride qualities that embarrass many of its rivals. To put it quite simply, the Accord just does everything right for a midsize sedan.
Disclaimer: Honda Provided the Accord EX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Engine: 2.4 DOHC 16-Valve i-VTEC EarthDreams Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
Horsepower @ RPM: 185 @ 6400
Torque @ RPM: 181 @ 3900
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/30
Curb Weight: 3336 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Marysville, Ohio
Base Price: $25,680.00
As Tested Price: $26,470.00 (Includes $790.00 Destination Charge)