If under 40, you may not remember a time when GM, Ford and – to a lesser extent – Chrysler dominated the automotive landscape. What were then large sedans (and today would be regarded as midsize) were in everyone’s driveway, the pickup truck was rarely used by anyone outside of the cartage or landscape industries, and if Honda had made an appearance in your community, it was only with the idea of ‘meeting the nicest people’ – on a small-displacement motorcycle. Fast forward some 50 years and Hondas are ubiquitous. With their U.S. production centered in and around Ohio, home to the Wright Brothers bicycle shop and all that emanated from it, today’s Accord is more than American; it’s red, Wright and blue.
That American Honda would look to the manufacture of both motorcycles and cars in the U.S. less than twenty years after landing here still – in this detached view – boggles the mind. And in choosing Ohio there were, obviously, a multitude of factors considered, but I can’t help but think that a Dayton, Ohio bicycle shop housing the birthplace of aviation had to have influenced – if only subliminally – the end result. The overlap between the Wright Brothers, whose signature moment occurred in 1903, and Soichiro Honda (born in 1906) include not only a bicycle-centric background (Honda’s father owned and operated one in the Hondas’ home village), but formal educations that were abbreviated by the very real desire to simply get to work. Just as the Wrights would be known not for flight but powered flight, ‘Powered by Honda’ has come to represent the very best in both performance and efficiency for most of the last fifty years.
Our test Accord, a 2015 Touring V6, sits at the top of Honda’s 4-door food chain. And at an as-tested window of over $34K it should, as this figure tiptoes (or tromps) into territory once the domain of Honda’s upmarket sibling, Acura. Notably, one can purchase Acura’s newish TLX for a figure not too removed from what Honda will charge you for a hard-loaded Accord, but the TLX will ‘make do’ with 4-cylinder power, along with the still-fuzzy branding that goes with most things in the Acura lineup. At the Honda store or the grocery store, everyone knows what an Accord constitutes.
Happily, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. The lines of this Accord remain fresh, suffering none of the faddishness (at least for now) evident on Toyota’s Camry or Nissan’s Altima. Visually the Accord doesn’t offer the surprise/delight element of Ford’s Fusion nor the visual dynamic of Kia’s freshened Optima, but an easy-on-the-eyes execution is perfect for a product whose ownership period will easily exceed the number of monthlies. We wish it had a tad less front overhang, but then, we could say that about virtually any front-wheel drive sedan. And if its rear seems also slightly excessive, you’ll enjoy its generous carrying capability when or if it’s required.
Inside, the Accord Touring provides virtually everything you need to go, well, touring. You sit on leather-trimmed seats while the driver grips the leather-wrapped wheel. The audio system delivers its 360 watts through seven speakers while providing a Pandora Internet radio interface. In short, if infotainment is what you crave (we prefer the art and act of driving) in few ways does the Accord Touring come up short.
When actually engaged in that driving (we’re doing as much as we can while we can) you’ll enjoy the responsiveness of the Accord’s 3.5 liter V6, still matched – thankfully – to a conventional 6-speed automatic. Connecting power to pavement are MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link independent set-up at the rear. The ride is compliant, the roadholding secure, and in combination with an electrically-powered rack-and-pinion steering there’s little you won’t know about what the car is doing while it’s doing it. Performance, of course, is relative, and while the Accord won’t out-Hellcat a Hellcat, we think it would easily out-accelerate Lindbergh’s Wright-powered ‘Spirit’…until, of course, they both hit the Atlantic.
For efficiency, your money is better spent on the Accord Hybrid. The V6 comes with a 21 City/34 Highway/26 Combined EPA estimate, and our brief stint behind the wheel did nothing to dispute that. Honda’s more economical 2.4 liter four, in combination with a CVT transmission, certainly doesn’t embarrass itself when accelerating, but there’s something to be said – in a moment of $2/gallon gas – for the immodest pleasure of more power. With slightly better interior plastics today’s Accord Touring would make a convincing argument as a $40K sedan. Thankfully, you don’t have to pay that.
At Honda’s numerous manufactories throughout the U.S., beginning with Marysville in 1982, there are now some 21,000,000 stories. And this Ohio-built Accord has been one of them.
Specifications continue on next page…