2018 Honda Accord: Sneak peek

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2018 Honda Accord (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

Last month Honda revealed the all-new 2018 Accord. And there were several newsworthy items regarding the 10th-generation midsize sedan:

  • The coupe isn’t coming back.
  • There will not be a V-6 engine offered.
  • Honda Sensing will be standard across all trims.
  • A six-speed manual transmission will continue to be available.

Oh, and did we mention there will be a volume and a tuning knob? Yeah, that’s big news after the touch-screen volume slider Honda played around with in some of its other models.

During a press preview with the Midwest Automotive Media Association in the Chicago area this week, Steve Kincaid, head of national media relations for Honda and Acura, said unequivocally that the sedan isn’t going away anytime soon and that this all-new model will compete very well against the all-new Toyota Camry.

“This is our F-150,” Kincaid said, alluding to the truck’s role in Ford’s lineup and dominance in the marketplace.

In fact, Kincaid pointed out that in a time when SUV sales are through the roof, the Accord still manages to outsell all but two SUVs, averaging more than 25,000 retail units sold each month.

The new design of the Accord is stately and conservative – as opposed to Toyota’s sporty and shocking Camry design. It’s more handsome than cool, but it’s attractive nonetheless. The interior tends toward minimalism with strong and clean horizontal lines and a decided lack of buttons on the center stack. Instead, there’s an available 8-inch Display Audio touch screen, which will embed all the infotainment systems.

But there are still hard-touch controls for the HVAC and, as previously noted, the volume and tuning dials.

The 2018 Accord will have a longer wheelbase and wider body, and passenger volume increases by 2.5 cubic feet, while cargo volume increases across the lineup – including the hybrid – to 16.7 cubic feet.

Although there might be some disappointed folks who will miss the V-6 engine and coupe body style, Kincaid said that only 10 percent of buyers opted for a V-6 and 5 percent opted for the coupe.

He also said Honda addressed the “fun-to-drive” factor first by keeping a manual transmission option and second by adding the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

Both are fair points.

The outgoing V-6 engine delivers 278 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque, whereas the new 2.0-liter turbo will deliver 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Sounds like a fairly decent trade-off.

What we think is the big news, however, is Honda Sensing - which includes high-tech safety features such as lane departure warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking – is standard. Toyota has also made its comparable Toyota Safety Sense standard on the Camry.

Hyundai is the outlier with the refreshed Sonata as it has standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert but makes the other features optional. On the other hand, blind spot monitoring is available on the Accord and Camry but not standard.

The trim strategy for Accord will remain the same with LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi and Touring levels. Plus, there will be two engine options: the aforementioned 2.0-liter turbo and a 1.5-liter turbo – both of which are four-cylinders. The 1.5-liter will deliver 192 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque.

A hybrid will also be available and will be powered by Honda’s third-generation two-motor hybrid technology and a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine.

Neither pricing nor fuel economy specs has been announced at this time. However, the current-generation Accord starts at $22,455, and we don’t imagine the price will increase too much.

Combined fuel economy for the current 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine ranges between 26 mpg for the manual and 30 mpg for the automatic. We expect those numbers only to get better with the new engines.

The 2018 Accord will arrive in dealers this fall.