2019 Honda Accord 2.0T
Radical changes are mostly successful
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- 30 Sep 2019
By James Park
When the all new tenth-gen Honda Accord materialized in 2017 as a 2018 model, this writer was not overly impressed with the venerable mid-size sedan’s exterior styling. Not an expert opinion, but the Honda (and Acura) designers, in general, may want to restrain themselves a little more. One thing for sure is that the new Accord gets more attention than the model it replaces.
This writer’s initial enthusiasm for the new car also declined significantly when learning of the fact that the 2.4 litre four and the 3.5 litre V6 – both naturally aspirated – were no longer available, being replaced by the force-fed 1.5 and 2.0 four-cylinders, respectively. Turbo motors generate lots of torque for their size, but they will never match the smooth revving satisfaction of the normal-breathing VTEC four and the V6 engines.
Still, the Accord continues to garner accolades as one of the better-driving top-quality family sedans. It is roomy, relatively fuel-efficient, on par with rivals in getting the latest technology and the new styling – beauty is in the eye of a beholder – may make it stand out little more.
The base 1.5 litre turbo-four generates maximum 192 horses and 192 lb-ft of torque. This engine mates to a CVT that feels like a CVT. This writer drove the model with this configuration in November of 2017 and found the engine to be useful enough in everyday situation, if bit loud.
The recently driven test-car with the optional 2.0 turbo-four fits in better with the crowd who yearns for more power and wants driving to be fun, rather than a chore.
Also found under the hood of the Civic Type R – the fastest front-wheel drive car to go around the Nurburgring circuit – the same engine is detuned to pump out 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of twist for the civilian duty more befitting a family sedan.
Compared to the Camry XSE’s 3.5 litre V6, the Accord’s 2.0 turbo comes up 49 horses short, but generates 6 lb-ft more torque. In real life, one can hardly tell the difference in power. The V6, however, is smoother.
Another annoyance to this writer has to do with the gear-selector. The 1.5 litre Accord gets the perfectly fine traditional lever. The 2.0 version ‘upgrades’ to the unintuitive buttons. This is not an improvement. Electronic shifters are fine as long as they have BMW-like levers. Even the dials used by Ford and others are better.
Once underway, the Accord displays more athleticism than its closest rivals – Camry and Hyundai Sonata (this writer has yet to drive the newest Sonata) and almost on par with the Mazda6. The Accord dives into corners with confidence and breaks away at the limits with predictable under-steer. The leather-wrapped steering wheel could be heavier and more communicative, but a true sports-sedan it is not.
As a family sedan, however, the Accord 2.0’s suspension seems to be on the tauter side. The stiff suspension helps with handling but does not soak up potholes and other minor road imperfections as efficiently. The ride can be little bit bumpy.
The car accelerates with gusto when pushed and the brakes are equally up to the task. The ten-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly to the highest optimal gear to save fuel in Normal and Eco driving modes. Push the Sport button and the tranny holds gears longer and the fuel-mapping becomes more aggressive. The car also rev-matches during down-shifts.
The base 1.5 model starts from $28,190 before taxes and mandatory fees. The top-of-the-line 2.0 Touring provided to this writer starts from $39,190.
Standard equipments include 19’ alloys, 452 watt premium audio with 10 speakers, navigation as well as Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, remote start, power moonroof, wireless charging, heated and cooled leather seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone auto climate, etc.
The latest safety equipments are also present and counted for, including lane departure warning, front collision mitigation and so on. Some of the sensors seem to be little too sensitive for this writer’s taste, however.
The Accord’s interior gets high marks for roominess, luxury ambience, above average fit and finish and top-quality materials. The touch-screen based infotainment system is easy to understand and to use. Thanks again Honda for bringing back the volume and tune knobs.
Overall, the Accord 2.0T provides power, handling and sophistication rivaling that of an entry-level luxury sedan. Enthusiasts wouldn’t mind this car, but if better price, fuel-efficiency and lower maintenance costs are top of your concerns, then the base 1.5 could be the better choice. (James Park is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.)
2019 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo four
Power: 252 hp/273 lb-ft
Transmission: 10 spd auto
Fuel: 10.4 litres per 100km (city), 7.4 litres (highway)
Best: power, athleticism
Worst: shift-buttons, too sensitive sensors
Competition: Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda6, Nissan Altima
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