2017 Honda Accord Sport Touring: A thorn in competitors’ sides

25 Apr 2017 | 848 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds It must be pretty frustrating as an automaker selling intermediate family cars when it comes to Honda's almost peerless Accord. While Honda has made judicious additions and refinements in the Accord in it current generation for the last four or five years, it still is the same basic model introduced several years ago. And it is still by far and away the best intermediate family sedan you can buy. Nobody even comes close--and that includes the archrival Toyota Camry. [caption id="attachment_8910" align="alignnone" width="532"] 2017 Honda Accord Sedan Touring[/caption] We will reserve final judgment until Toyota provides us a tester of the dramatically changed 2018 version of the Camry, but if we were choosing between the two, we would get the Accord, hands down. And by the way, the Accord is a master chameleon as cars go.  It has sport versions that, at least in my mind, could arguably compete with BMW's Three Series, for one hell of a lot less money. And yes, they are truly sporty cars in more than just name.  And there are more modest family style versions of the Accord that, while not as flashy or laden with equipment as the more expensive variations of the Accord, they still out-corner and out-accelerate and outhandle their competitors. Then there's the four door Accord  touring version like our test model.  It looks like a million dollars with sexy black and chrome wheels, tastefully applied exterior chrome and honkin' huge dual exhausts around back. It has everything you will conceivably need as standard equipment--and then some. Power comes from a 278 horsepower 3.5 liter IVETEC V-6 with a six speed automatic. Overall fuel economy is 25 miles per gallon, 21 city and 33 highway. It uses four gallons to drive 100 miles, and you spend $250 more in fuel costs over five years compared to the average new car. Each year you will spend about $1,450 on gasoline, and about $7,000 over five years, based on driving 15,000 miles a year at $2.45 per gallon gasoline. It corners flat, steers exactly where you want it to go, and has a superb braking system.  There's room galore in the elegant, contemporary interior, and it is tomb-quiet inside.  the "econ" mode system to help out with fuel mileage does its job unobtrusively, with drivability that exceeds what we have found with most intermediates we have tested. The base LX is powered by a 2.4-liter 185 horsepower four-cylinder engine (185 horsepower, 181 pound-feet) matched  to a six-speed manual transmission or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Feature highlights include 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7.7-inch central display (not to be confused with the touchscreen that's added on higher trims), Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a height-adjustable driver seat, a one-piece folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system. There is a Sport Special Edition version of the Accord sedan has , which has a 2.4 liter four with 189 horsepower 19-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights and foglights, cloth seating with imitation-leather bolsters, a power driver seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with shift paddles if the automatic transmission is specified). It also has special-edition badging, heated front seats and leather seats with red accent stitching. The Accord EX also builds off the LX, but it focuses more on extra amenities than sportiness, adding 17-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights and foglights, heated mirrors, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, remote ignition (with the automatic transmission), the power driver seat, Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot camera system, a six-speaker sound system with a 7-inch touchscreen interface (the standard 7.7-inch display remains as well) and satellite and HD radio. Also standard is smartphone app integration via HondaLink (with smartphone-enabled Aha radio features), Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The EX-L   trim comes with the CVT and adds leather upholstery, driver-seat memory functions, a power passenger seat, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded seven-speaker sound system.  A version of the EX-L can be had with a 3.5-liter 278 horsepower V-6with a six-speed automatic. If you are so inclined, you can order the Honda Sensing package, which includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning and mitigation. A navigation system is optional for the EX-L and EX-L V6. The top of the line Touring builds upon  the EX-L V6 's standard equipment list and give  and adds the features from the Honda Sensing package as well as 19-inch wheels, LED headlights (with automatic high-beam control), automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a rear decklid spoiler, heated outboard rear seats and the navigation system. Right here is where we should  tell you about the Accord's one and only problem--its infotainment system. It is frustrating and confusing. Trying to lower thee volume requires the use of a sliding control on the touchscreen and it is infuriating an unsafe, because you really need to take your eyes off the road to operate it accurately. And there are no redundant audio knobs to use either. To make things worse, the power on-off switch is located above the screen, a tiny hard to see little thing that blends in with the aluminum trim around the screen. Perhaps you can get used to this whole system with time, but if you think not, consider the Sport model, which doesn't have the infotainment setup. A rethink on the whole infotainment system is really needed. Safety equipment is generous, including driver and front passenger dual stage airbags drivers and front passenger side airbags with SmartVent, side curtain airbags with Rollover Sensor, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake distribution, ACE Body Structure, tire pressure monitoring system, side impact door beams, LED running lights. The warranty, by the way, is pretty much like most cars these days--3 years, 36,000 miles on the whole car. The Accord is such a good car overall that it is assuredly a no-brainer for most buyers looking for an intermediate sedan.    

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