The Honda Accord is difficult to beat in terms of overall performance, efficiency and refinement. Accord comes in sedan and coupe body styles. (There's also the high-riding Crosstour hatchback crossover, but it's reviewed separately.) The 2012 Honda Accord is available with a choice of four-cylinder and V6 engines, and manual or automatic transmissions.
Accords are roomy, comfortable and very easy to live with, largely free of niggling annoyances that can make otherwise good cars less appealing. Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have long been the benchmarks for midsize sedans because both do everything well. The Accord has a hint of sportiness that adds appeal.
The four-door Accord sedan competes with the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 6, and Chevrolet Malibu. The Accord offers roomier front seats than the competition. And the Accord comes off more polished than most, with an emphasis on power, fuel economy and space efficiency.
The stylish Accord Coupe offers a 6-speed manual with the V6, for a rare combination in mid-size cars. It comes with a sporty suspension package and low-profile tires on 18-inch wheels, and goes head to head with the Nissan Altima coupe.
With effectively five trim levels, the Accord can fit a wide range of budgets. There's a no-frills sedan with plastic wheel covers, essential features and a solid stereo; and high-trim models with sumptuous leather, mega-watt sound systems, active noise cancellation and navigation. All variants deliver high engineering standards, excellent finish, good build quality and all the important safety equipment.
The 2012 Accord carries over largely unchanged; a USB port comes standard on all 2012 Accord models. The Accord benefitted from a facelift for 2011, and some new features and efficiencies brought improved fuel mileage ratings. The Accord sedan and coupe were last redesigned for 2008, when they grew in exterior dimensions and offered improved occupant safety.
Some of the Accord's competitors have been redesigned more recently. Others can be more fun to drive. Yet there may be none that match Accord's overall combination of polish, refinement, efficiency and choice. For that reason, the Honda Accord remains a benchmark among mainstream, midsize automobiles.
The 2012 Honda Accord line-up includes sedans and coupes, with three engine choices, 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions, and a 5-speed automatic. Rather than offering traditional options or option packages, Honda tends to mark upgrades in equipment with a different model designation. As a result, by Honda's count, there are 21 different models or trim levels in the Accord line. (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Accord LX Sedan ($21,380) is the entry model, powered by a 177-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It comes with cloth upholstery; air conditioning; power mirrors, windows and door locks; a tilt-telescoping steering column; folding rear seats; and a 160-watt sound system with single CD, an auxiliary jack and, new for 2012, a USB port. The standard wheels are 16-inch steel with plastic covers, but the tailpipe sports a chrome finisher. The 5-speed manual transmission is standard, and the 5-speed automatic ($800) is available. The LX-P Sedan ($23,180) comes standard with the automatic and upgrades to alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, illuminated power window switches with express up/down for the front passenger, and a security system.
Accord SE Sedan ($23,930) builds on the LX-P package with leather seating, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and driver's power-lumbar support.
Accord EX Sedan ($24,305) gets a higher-revving, 190-horsepower version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, with standard 5-speed manual and no leather. It also adds a 6CD changer, 17-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof, heated mirrors and premium interior accents. The automatic is available.
Accord EX V6 Sedan ($27,280) features a 271-hp, 3.5-liter V6 with 5-speed automatic; fog lights come standard.
Accord EX-L ($27,555) and Accord EX-L V6 Sedan ($29,630) add leather on the seats and steering wheel, while the EX-L V6 also has two-position memory for the driver's seat. The four-cylinder EX-L comes standard with the automatic transmission, just like the V6 models. The EX-L models also come with 270-watt audio, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, heated front seats, compass and exterior temperature indicator, automatic on/off headlights and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Accord EX-L with Navi ($29,755) and EX-L V6 with Navi ($31,830) add a navigation system with rearview camera.
Accord LX-S Coupe ($22,980) is the entry-level two-door version, powered by the 190-horsepower version of the four-cylinder engine with a 5-speed manual or automatic. The Accord coupes are generally equipped comparably to sedans with the same letter designation.
Accord Coupe EX ($24,655) also offers manual or automatic transmission, but the Accord Coupe EX-L ($27,305) come standard with the automatic. The Accord Coupe EX-L V6 ($29,930) offers a choice of 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic with paddle shifters on the steering column. Accord Coupe EX-L V6 with Navi ($31,930) adds navigation and rearview camera.
Safety features on all Accords include six airbags, with two-stage front airbags, front passenger side-impact airbags and head-protection curtains for all outboard seats. Other standard safety features include active front head restraints, electronic stability control, antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, and a tire pressure monitor. The optional navigation system includes a rearview camera, which can help the driver spot children and other hazards behind the car when backing up.