The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Heels on Wheels: 2012 Honda Accord Review


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2012 Honda Accord Sedan

HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE ACCORD VEHICLE More sophisticated than the Civic, Honda has been able to create a go-to mid-sized sedan with enough reliability and love that it is passed onto family members during its lifetime just as a cherished heirloom might. More versatile than what meets the eye, the understated Accord actually has five trims, three different engines, and sportier coupe with a specially-tuned engine and a strikingly muscular shape.

I drove a 2012 Honda Accord sedan with the bigger 271-horsepower 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control. With five trims to choose from, my top-of-the line EX-L came with the following standard features: leather-trimmed seats; heated front seats; leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls; premium stereo system with XM Radio and Radio Data System; Bluetooth connectivity; ten-way power driver’s seat; USB and auxiliary input jack interface; dual-zone climate control; dual exhaust; and fog lights. The only additional option was Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System. Total vehicle price came to $31,830.

Stalwart competitors have always been the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima. But more dazzling options featuring fresher and more aerodynamic designs that should make all mid-size sedan figures mentioned quite nervous are the Hyundai Sonata, Volkswagen Passat and Kia Optima.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The base LX trim features a USB audio interface, a six-speaker CD player audio system and steering-wheel mounted controls as standard highlights – generous for this modest level. The well-crafted leather seating in my EX-L trim test drive casts a premium appearance and adds to the cabin’s comfort, which by the way is generous with the head- and legroom for rear and front passengers. Being user-friendly is a strength with Honda’s navigation system – not keeping up with the vivid graphics found on many competitors’ infotainment systems is a weakness.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) lists the Accord as having “Good” ratings in all categories, making it a Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also gives the Accord 5-Star ratings in all areas.

Cost Issues: The Honda Accord’s base trim LX begins at $21,480 with the EX-L topping out at just under $32k. Toyota takes painstaking measures make sure the Camry offer almost identical prices. A fully loaded Volkswagen Passat is $29,895 while a decked-out 2013 Hyundai Sonata is $28,745 – and that includes a sunroof and a high-resolution touchscreen display with Blue Link.

Activity & Performance Ability: The Accord’s interactive steering, comfortable road dimensions and spot-on braking will perk up any driver’s interest as a sedan with some extra sass, but pronounced road noise and body roll at the corners does damper the spirits and will likely curtail your lead foot. The coupe features a specially-tuned V6 engine and a six-speed transmission not found on the sedan version. There is also no Accord hybrid version.

The Green Concern: Both the 177-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder and the 190-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine get 23 miles-per-gallon city and 32 highway. The 3.5-liter V6 engine gets 20-city and 30-highway. But the Hyundai Sonata’s 200-horsepower 2.4-liter twin-scroll turbo engine delivers 24-city and 35-highway.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The Honda Accord remains a safe and stylish choice for mid-size sedan shoppers, but loses a few cool points when compared to sassier competitors like the Hyundai Sonata that can deliver efficient turbo performance and a more engaging infotainment system.

©2012 Katrina Ramser