Mid-size sedans are most-often described with words like “ho hum” or “boring,” with appropriately “dead” handling and “appliance-like” performance. Still, drivers find it hard to simply rubber-stamp the 2018 Honda Accord with those same epithets, all thanks to Honda engineers’ determination to put some enjoyment back into the ride. Add in some new technology and safety packages, and the 2018 Honda Accord makes for a more-than-acceptable stepping-stone, something interesting to do after stepping out of a hot hatch toy Honda Civic, but not so large as the soccer-mom biker-dad Honda Odyssey.

With three powertrain options, the 2018 Honda Accord aims to please, whether you’re looking for a thrifty commuter, fun weekender, or something in between. All three variants are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, a 1.5-liter in the 1.5T EX, or a 2.0-liter in the 2.0T Sport and 2.0T Touring. The 192-horsepower 192 lb•ft-torque 1.5 takes over for the outgoing naturally-aspirated 2.4, yet outperforms it in every way: more power, more torque, and more miles per gallon. Similarly, the 252-horsepower 273 lb•ft-torque 2.0 takes over for the outgoing naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6, slightly less powerful but slightly more torquey. Interestingly, the 2.0 is a redesigned version of the hot-hatch Honda Civic Type R’s 306-horsepower engine, right at home under the hood of the Accord.

Three transmission options are available, depending on the model, and they’re all perfectly suited. The 2018 Honda Accord 1.5T is mated to a CVT (continuously-variable transmission). Drivers note is always seems to be in the right range, never intruding in the driving experience. The new CVT features an initial gear ratio 11% higher than previous versions, making a little more aggressive off the line. Purists will likely opt for the 2.0T, which is available with a six-speed manual transmission (Accord Sport) or ten-speed automatic transmission (Accord Touring). Either way you go, these are well-tuned transmissions, the six-speed offering a more fun and direct drive, while the ten-speed eliminates shifting and limits gear hunting. The 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid, unfortunately, hasn’t changed at all under the hood, but still offers almost double fuel economy, compared to the rest of the lineup.

Designers have given the 2018 Honda Accord a bit more character this year: longer wheelbase, shorter overhangs, and a strong character. Other changes have lightened the new Accord by up to 176 pounds, and a lot of new NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) tricks, such as structural adhesives, fluid-filled bushings, and a floating rear subframe, have quieted things substantially. The interior has been updated, for a more modern and upscale feel. Soft-touch materials swath the dash, and new front seat cushions feature variable-density foam, for more comfort. In an interesting design paradox, both rear legroom and trunk space have been increased.

Apt for the times, the 2018 Honda Accord comes with a bevy of standard and optional technology features. Standard, across the lineup, is Honda Sensing, including safety features such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous braking, lane keeping, and traffic-sign recognition. The 2017 Honda Accord was an IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick, but ratings for the 2018 model weren’t available at the time of writing this article. Available HondaLink telematics includes diagnostic, safety, and convenience features, such as roadside assistance, remote check engine light diagnostics, and vehicle tracking.

Truly, matching the needs of the modern mid-size sedan driver cannot be an easy task, particularly when price and performance is weighted against technology and emissions goals, and yet the 2018 Honda Accord is one of the most well-balanced on the market. For this balance, this sedan deserves a second look.

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