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Honda Accord Remains Benchmark for Family Sedans

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Introduced in 1976, the Honda Accord arrived with very little fanfare - it was a modest two-door hatchback. Who could have predicted that 38 years later the Accord would become the benchmark for midsize sedans?

The Accord went through a redesign a year ago, becoming the ninth generation. The "new" Accord is now slightly smaller and lighter than previous models. That went against Honda's normal redesign playbook for its high-volume selling sedan/coupe.

In previous revamping years, the Accord would typically be bigger, longer and heavier. More bulk was obviously not part of the latest redesign scheme.

Very little has changed with the 2014 Accord. It did introduce a pair of hybrids - a standard one and plug-in model. Neither vehicle is examined in this review.

The new redesign incorporated interior refinements (better audio, improved dashboard) and convenience. There were performance upgrades as well, with a new four-cylinder engine and updates for the V6 offerings.

2014 Honda Accord

  • Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 185 horsepower; 3.5-liter, V6, 278 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate range: 21-36 mpg
  • Price: $21,955 to $33,480
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 year/unlimited

No longer is this just a two-horse race between the always reliable front-wheel drive Honda Accord and its Toyota counterpart, the Camry. These two practical, family-oriented sedans and coupes haven't slipped in any area. In fact, they continue to improve.

While retaining its defining qualities - value, reliability, performance, passenger accommodations, resale capability - there's no doubt the competition is inching up on the Accord. Despite the overall performance, some rivals can match it, and also provide similar ride quality. That's not to besmirch the Accord or Camry; it just illustrates that the two Japanese automotive superpowers are no longer as dominant.

The list of legitimate rivals includes the Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, and Mazda 6.

Expect increased performance from all six Accord trims. Three of the models feature a beefed-up 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that generates 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The V6 Accords have a 3.5-liter engine that produces 278 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. The V6, which includes Honda's Variable Cylinder Management cylinder, is quick, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds.

As mentioned above, there are some nice interior changes that result in an upgraded cockpit. Practically all the materials are high quality and the center stack has been redesigned with more bells and whistles. The Accord continues to provide impressive interior room and comfort, and the sedan trunk has grown 1 cubic foot larger (15.8 cubic feet).

The ride remains practically unchanged. The Accord delivers a refined ride that gives any driver an added feeling of confidence behind the wheel. The feel is almost sporty and there's little apprehension when taking a corner a little faster than the speed limit. The braking is solid and the Accord has practically no noise issues.

Although the current Accord is slightly different than previous models, some things have not changed. The 2014 Honda Accord remains a very desirable family-friendly sedan that still delivers tremendous value and has high resale value.


Weidel on Wheels author Jeffrey Weidel is an award-winning writer from the Sacramento region who has reviewed automobiles for more than two decades. He can be reached at skiweidel@gmail.com
Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.