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Heels on Wheels: 2012 Honda Accord Review

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2012 Honda Accord Sedan

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.


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.

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