They used to be the top selling cars in America. Now they may be going the way of the dodo.
Midsize sedans were once the roadmasters of the interstate and suburban cul de sacs alike. But tastes of changed, and Americans have grown to like SUVs and CUVs more.
This all started in the early 90s with the Ford Explorer, but a funny thing happened recently. Millennials developed a thirst for vehicles with big, hatch-like trunks—and not because they were going to Costco every weekend. It turns out they are actually doing what so many Madison Avenue car commercials portray—they’re taking their sport ‘utes on outdoor adventures like camping trips and paddle-board excursions.
Now the automakers at a crossroads. The midsize cars still sell, just not in the mass numbers as before. What can they do to get those younger buyers back in the driver’s seat?
Toyota (TM) was up first to take on the task last summer, with the all-new Camry. They made it sportier, dropped it lower with aggressive styling and loaded it with tech like adaptive cruise control as standard. All together, it’s a nice package, but my colleague Rick Newman and I thought the sports car theme was a bit phony.
Now comes Honda (HMC) with its 2018 Accord. And let me put it simply: Honda has a hit on its hands.
The Accord is all-new for 2018—and it starts with the chassis. Rick and I both loved its characteristics; the chassis was really well balanced and the car felt planted on the road. Chalk this up to Honda’s suspension geometry for the Accord (a combination of front MacPherson struts and rear multi-link with “rigid subframes”) and good tuning.
The design of the new Accord turns some heads as well. Yes, it has that Japanese-futurism thing going on with the front-end, but it isn’t over the top, and the swept back rear gives the car a cool coupe-like silhouette. Very Audi-like we both noted, and that’s a high compliment.
Your two choices for the Accord are actually quite good. The base engine is a turbocharged 1.5L inline 4-cylinder, rated at 192hp with 192 lb-ft of torque. Our tester in touring trim came with a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder, pushing out a robust 252hp with 273 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0L 4-cylinder mated with Honda’s 10-speed automatic was a great set up, surprisingly powerful and aggressive. We were both very satisfied with the true sportiness of this powertrain combination. Note that you can get a real manual transmission with this engine in Accord Sport Trim.
So the Accord looks good on paper and on the street. But can it save the sedan? Watch our review above to find out.