All-New 2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T Test Drive

2018 Honda Accord Touring

Just about every Honda on the road glows with virtue – sort of like freshly scrubbed Boy Scouts on roller skates.

Nothing new there. Hondas live so long – and reliably – their owners forget when they bought them and occasionally, where they left them.

Then at some point, their kids inherit them.

I once saw an ancient mid-‘80s Accord crawling down a neighborhood street on three wheels, its engine still purring amid a shower of orange sparks.

Even in the most flattering light, Hondas just don’t pop, looking either like faceless, forgettable pods or intergalactic transporters styled on the back of a scotch-stained cocktail napkin.

“Hey, let’s put a big wing on back and paint it electric lime green.”

So, I’ve got to admit my Detroit-centric jaw dropped an inch or two the first time I saw the scintillating 2018 Honda Accord Touring.

What in blazes happened? Did Honda quietly abduct a dozen or so Audi designers?  Maybe, but the new Accord may be a benchmark vehicle for Honda – easily the best-looking Honda I can recall and one of the best performing.

With big change like that stirring in the air, I fully expect to be taller and younger by summer. Speedo, here I come.

In a real 21st century twist of irony, though, the sleek new Accord joins the wonderfully restyled 2018 Toyota Camry at the top of the mid-sized sedan segment just as it is losing buyers to crossovers and SUVs.

Frankly, if the eye-catching new Accord and Camry can’t slow that erosion, I doubt anything can. (I’ll tell you about the new Camry next week, incidentally.)

The chiseled white Accord Touring I had recently looked a little like an Audi from some angles. Honestly.

Although the top of its grille sported plenty of chrome, most of it was blacked-out and taut, abutting slender, nine-projector headlamps – probably lifted from the Acura.

A long, broad hood, meanwhile, conveyed a sense of power, as did graceful, slightly flared fenders with short overhangs.

Though the sides were mostly smooth, they wore a distinct character line above the door-handles and more definition down low that provided quiet tension.

Everything clung tightly to stylized 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped with 235/40 tires – as you might find in a smallish German sedan.

Still, the best style element, I thought, was a seriously curved top and sloping rear window that kind of gave the Accord the profile of an Audi A7.

Can life get much stranger? Unlike the otherworldly styling on the new Honda Civic, the Accord keeps it conventional in back, employing big wrap-around taillamps that complement the car’s crisp subtlety.

Moreover, as a long-time player in motorcycle, Formula 1 and other racing, Honda knows how to extract horsepower from small, high-revving engines and tune it for the street.

My front-wheel-drive Accord was equipped with Honda’s newest bad boy – a turbocharged 2-liter four spinning out 252 horsepower through a refined 10-speed automatic.

Despite the sedan’s 3,400 pounds of weight, the engine never seemed to struggle or display much turbo lag.

Its grunt and shove – a stout 273 lb.-ft. of torque – arrived at a diesel-low 1,500 rpm, meaning power seemed as ever-present as bad news from Washington.

Step hard on the accelerator and the Accord will briefly spin its front tires before settling into a rich thrum and clicking off rapid, 6,000-rpm shifts.

Sixty mph is a brief 5.5 seconds away, according to Car and Driver, and just as impressive were the Accord’s firmly compliant ride and pleasantly aggressive handling.

It dove eagerly into corners, leaning slightly but maintaining a clean line and grip through moderate-speed corners.

Granted, the Accord is not quite a sports sedan, but it would likely embarrass a lot of near-luxury sedans costing $10,000 more.

Even the steering felt ready to play, turning quickly with a little sporting heft in it.

With gas prices going up again, though, you may want to focus on the Accord’s frisky personality. Mine was rated at a so-so 22 miles per gallon in town and 32 on the highway.

All this goodness comes at a price, of course – nearly $37,000, in fact. But I never thought the car felt over-priced.

The dashboard in my Accord’s black interior, for example, curved gently down from a large, sloped windshield, wrapping around a tablet-shaped display screen that finally provided real buttons for the audio system.

A thin strip of dark wood divided the upper dash from the mid-dash, while a push-button shifter – with buttons for “P,” “N” and “D” and a lever for reverse – anchored the console.  (Trust me, you can easily get accustomed to them. Acura has had them for a few years.)

Likewise, smooth black leather seats beckoned with supportive bolsters and perforated centers, and the back seats offered really good Uber-like leg- and head-room.

The safety nannies, of course, reside up front, where Honda’s array of equipment included rear cross-traffic monitor; blind-spot and lane-departure warnings; adaptive cruise control; and lane-keeping assist, and get this: my top-of-the-line Touring model didn’t list a single option. Everything was standard.

Which made me wonder: Will the high-content, better-styled Accord cut into luxury division Acura’s modest sales?

I wouldn’t bet against it.

2018 Honda Accord Touring

  • What I liked most: Just about everything – fine styling, satisfying performance, excellent content and an upscale interior.
  • What I would change: How about a little gluttony and we ask for a Touring S model heated up with the same version of the turbo 2-liter in the Civic Type R?
  • MSRP: Base price for Touring model, $35,800; as equipped, $36,690 (which includes destination and handling charges).
  • Fuel economy: Rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 32 on the highway and 26 mpg combined with filler on the left.
  • Official color: Platinum White Pearl.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 142 miles.
  • Weight: 3,419 pounds.
  • Length-width-height: 192.2 inches long/73.3 inches wide/57.1 inches tall.
  • Fuel tank capacity: 14.8 gallons.
  • Towing capacity: 1,000 pounds.
  • Spare tire: Temporary compact.
  • 2018 Honda Accord Touring in a few words: The best Accord yet.
  • Warranty: Three-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty, and five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain protection.
  • Final assembly location: Marysville, Ohio
  • Manufacturer’s website: www.honda.com
  • E-mail me at terry@carprousa.com
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13 Comments
  1. Old Grandpa 5 months ago

    Thanks Terry,
    Anyone else disappointed in Japanese makes all turning to the cost-cutting plain black interiors?
    I remember years ago when I bought a new Toyota with *gasp* blue interior–blue dash, too; and a later model with “oak” tan interior–full tan dash area included.
    I fondly recall buying a 1968 Saab 96 —white exterior/RED interior.Way cool color combos back then…

  2. Susan Moore 5 months ago

    Is Honda Equipped with Heated Seats?

    • Amy Plemons 5 months ago

      Yes, the Touring model has heated seats, the base level trim is the only trim that does not come with them.

  3. kristen toscano 5 months ago

    Is there going to be a hybrid version?

  4. Gary Glick 5 months ago

    With AAA offering a great source to buy cars and Costco and through your specific dealers and probably many more places offering this kind of service to help the consumer, is there a difference between anyone????? I have asked before and I unfortunately have never seen an answer. Thank you. Just wondering ????

  5. Steve Thomas 4 months ago

    I was hoping to see Jerry’s/Terry’s thoughts on the road noise present in the new 2018 Accord Touring model. In the past I have read comments about them being on the loud side.

    Some reports I have read state that it is greatly improved and others say it is still loud for this calss of car.

  6. David C White 3 months ago

    Looking at this and an A5 Sportback. The Accord has similar power, handling, and more features, cordless phone charging isn’t available on the A5 at all, ventilated front seats cost another $1500 in the Audi but are included in the Accord. And for $15- $20K less. Answer seems pretty easy. But the Accord is the smart choice whereas Audi is a more emotional/fun choice. Do you think these cars are close enough that neither should be considered “smart”, “fun” over the other?

    A few other questions:
    Does Accord still use regular gas?
    With all the bells and whistles on the 2.0 Touring, do you think Honda will retain its lower cost of long term ownership over the Audi? I’d expect yes, but since car is brand new perhaps to early to tell.
    I need to buy a car but can wait until December. Do you think Honda will have incentives that make waiting worthwhile?

    Thanks for the review and your thoughts.

    • Car Pro 3 months ago

      The Accord Touring is awesome, fun to drive, and a great value. I like the Audi A5, and it’s more upscale, but it’s hard to justify the price difference. I think you can easily consider the Accord to be a smart choice.

      It’ll run fine on regular fuel. There is little doubt the Accord will have less maintenance required. And finally, Honda does VERY little in the way of incentives, so I don’t see timing as an issue here.

      I don’t know where you are but I have good Honda dealers all over at my website.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

  7. David 3 months ago

    Hi Jerry, thanks for the additional information. I am in Houston, Katy, TX specifically, and the Car Pro Certified Dealer for Honda is pretty far away. Honda Cars of Katy and Spring Branch Honda are much closer to me, though I’d like to use your Certified Dealer. If I buy from John Eagle, is there any reason I cannot, or should not, use one of the other two dealerships closer to me for service?

    I’ve noticed Honda doesn’t do much for purchase incentives. I have to buy as I drive way too many miles to be in a lease- where the incentives seem to be focused from all manufacturers these days. We are coming out of a corporate car program, it ends in December, so I can wait until then. And figure I might as well so I can put miles on that car before the one I own.

    Overall, do you have any insight on how well the Touring 2.0 models of the Accord are selling? I looked at the inventory on John Eagle and the other two a couple of weeks ago and again today. There seems to be little change, if any.

    Thanks again for the additional information. I listen to your show in 740 every Saturday morning. – David

    • Car Pro 2 months ago

      David,

      The Touring is doing well. You won’t see a lot of change in inventory because Honda is very efficient. When dealers sell a lot of Hondas, they replace them quickly so dealers always have the stocking levels they need. You are correct, Honda doesn’t do a lot of incentives, they don’t have to.

      They’ll make it worth your while at John Eagle, then you can service wherever you wish. Good to hear from you.

      Jerry

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