Proof that there's plenty of life left in the family sedan
Conventional wisdom says sedans like the 2014 Honda Accord have been supplanted by SUVs when it comes to family-car priorities. But this latest Honda Accord proves there's still a lot of appeal to the 4-door sedan. Fully redesigned last year, the Accord soldiers into the 2014 model year virtually unchanged, with the exception of newly available hybrid and plug-in hybrid models (not covered here). But that's fine with us, because so far nothing has knocked the Accord off its perch at the top of its class.
The Honda Accord has been a top seller for literally decades, but this Accord is the most family friendly yet. The Accord has plenty of rear seat room for child boosters, and the trunk holds a stroller plus lots of groceries. The Accord's touch-screen interface is easy to use, and LaneWatch, Honda's cool new side-view camera, virtually makes your passenger-side mirror obsolete.
But beyond all the various features, the Accord is a midsize family car that you'll just want to drive. It's refined, competent on every road surface, the 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) combine for plentiful power and very good fuel economy, and it even looks good. If you don't want an SUV, and just enjoy driving, the Accord proves the family sedan still has plenty of life left.
Key Family Car Strength
LaneWatch uses a camera, mounted under the passenger side mirror, to provide a crystal-clear image of what's behind you. It's better than a blind-spot detector, because it allows you to see exactly how far away you are from other vehicles. Plus, you can turn it on any time at the touch of a button on the end of the turn signal stalk.
Key Family Car Weakness
We can't figure out why Honda won't put a split-folding seatback in the Accord. Nearly every other sedan with a folding seatback manages to make it split, so you can carry long objects and a rear passenger or two. The Accord, however, folds in a single piece. It's an oversight, and one that Honda really needs to fix.
Starting things off is the Accord LX, costing $23,545 with the CVT. It comes with a 185-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, hill-start assist, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and a USB port. Next up is the Sport model, which adds four horsepower, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, and fog lights for $25,203 if you want the CVT. EX models like the one we drove in our family car comparison test add a moonroof, LaneWatch, and push-button start for $26,470 with the CVT. Note that LX, Sport, and EX models offer a manual transmission, which reduces the price by $800. Accord EX-L models add forward-collision and lane-departure warnings, heated leather seats, a multi-angle rearview camera, and HondaLink capability for $29,060. If you want Honda's navigation system, add $1,775 to that price. If you'd rather have a 278-horsepower V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission, add $2075. And if you want a V6 and navigation on the EX-L, add $3,850. The top-of-the-line Touring trim adds adaptive cruise control and LED headlights to the EX-L V6 with navigation, and costs $34,270. All prices include a $790 destination charge.
Today's midsize sedans are often swoopy styling exercises, with coupe-like roofs that diminish rear headroom. The Accord retains a taller roof, giving you more room than many of its competitors to buckle in child seats using the LATCH system. That's good, because the lower anchors are actually stuffed between stiff cushions, and a little hard to reach. Rear leg room is good, so front passengers don't have to compromise their own comfort, even with Junior's infant seat securely mounted in place. However, experience has shown that the cloth seats in our Accord EX trim "scar" easily from boosters, so throw a towel or other pad down to protect them. If your kids are out of boosters, the Accord still pleases, thanks to the wide bench, plentiful legroom and a high roof. Adults will find the second row comfortable too, even if they're six footers.
On the safety front, Honda has a full suite of technology, as long as you're willing to step up. Lane-departure warning is available on EX-L trims and above, as is collision warning. Touring models can even be equipped with active cruise control for those of you who like to take long drives to Grandma's house. Like all the sedans in our test, rear-seat entertainment is limited to 20 Questions, or whatever your favorite road game is.
Cargo and Storage
The Accord's trunk proves there's more to trunk space than just cubic feet. The opening is broad and wide, meaning you can easily fit longer or taller objects. The flat floor lets you play grocery bag and luggage Tetris like a champ. We do wish the rear seatback split when it folded though, instead of the single-piece fold it does now.
There's plenty of small storage space inside, although it's not class leading. There are bottle holders in the doors, a nice covered bin ahead of the shifter, and a decently sized bin under the center armrest. Unfortunately, the large glovebox is mostly taken up with a comically oversized owner's manual, but there's still enough space for a few small items.
On the Road
This is where the 2014 Honda Accord really shines. Quiet and refined, it behaves a lot like a more expensive car. There's plenty of power from the 4-cylinder engine, the CVT responds quickly and without fuss, and it returns surprisingly good fuel economy as well. The Accord also has big side mirrors, making it easy to maneuver through traffic. Then, of course, there's LaneWatch, which is our new favorite thing.
In parking lots, it's pretty much the same story. The Accord's rearview camera offers guidelines, but the rear visibility is good enough that you can back up using mirrors and by turning your head, just like the old days.
Proof the family sedan isn't going extinct any time soon.
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The 2014 Honda Accord isn't just a top family pick this year, it also took the top spot on our annual list of 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000, while also claiming both a 2014 Best Resale Value Award and a 5-Year Cost to Own Award. Heard enough? Build and price your own 2014 Honda Accord to unlock its Fair Purchase Price and more.
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