By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 8.2
For nearly four decades the Accord and Honda have gone hand in hand. What began in 1976 as a tiny, no-frills 2-door hatchback has grown into today's full-featured family sedan and coupe. In the process it has set the benchmark for the midsize sedan segment, one that's crowded by rivals like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion. After reinventing itself in 2013 with a new design and more efficient powertrains, the 2014 Accord lineup expands with the introduction of two hybrids, a traditional version and another that can be plugged in to run on electricity alone. The additions further bolster the Accord's something-for-everyone appeal, while a starting price of under $23,000 assured it a spot on our list as one of the 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000 for 2014.
Beyond its history of reliability and high resale value, the Accord is now more varied than ever. Whether you want a no-fuss and highly economical sedan, a sporty V6-powered coupe or a hybrid that attains 50 mpg in the city, the 2014 Accord offers something for everyone.
Make that almost everyone. The Accord covers many bases, but it doesn't hit them all. If you require all-wheel drive, for instance, look to the Subaru Legacy or Ford Fusion. Diesel-proponents, meanwhile, can get their high-mileage happiness in the Volkswagen Passat or coming Mazda6 SkyActiv-D.
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After an all-new sedan and coupe were introduced last year, only minor changes are made on mainstream models. The big news for 2014 Accords is the introduction of a regular hybrid model and a limited-production, plug-in hybrid variant.
Driving Impressions With the Accord's various powertrains come different driving experiences, but most buyers will gravitate toward 4-cylinder models with an automatic transmission. Used in this setup is a continuously-variable transmission (CVT),...... and it's surprisingly refined. The Accord's CVT feels much like a normal automatic, mimicking gear changes. Even a base sedan has good power for acceleration and passing, yet attains up to 36 mpg on the highway. Ride quality in general is highly pleasing, with improved noise reduction vs. previous models. Versions with the 278-horsepower V6 are downright quick. Hybrid models offer an easy way to earn exceptional fuel economy. Their transitions from gasoline engine power to electric power are smooth, and the sedan is noticeably quiet when running on electricity alone. The only obtrusion we experienced from the hybrid models was a whine from the electric powertrain likely only to be heard by canines and human passengers whose ears can still sense higher frequencies.
This safety system sees where your eyes cannot by way of a tiny video camera under the passenger-side mirror that displays what's happening in the blind spot. LaneWatch – included in EX and Touring models – can be configured to stay on or automatically turn on when the right-hand turn signal is engaged.
The Accord offered a hybrid years ago, but it wasn't nearly as efficient as today's versions. The new hybrid earns up to 50 mpg. With the Accord Plug-In hybrid, initially limited to California and New York, you can drive about 13 miles on electricity before the small gasoline engine kicks in.
The 2014 Accord's 5-passenger cabin feels familiar yet sophisticated. The familiar part comes from its roominess, excellent visibility and the fact that controls are within easy reach. You don't have to hunt and peck to turn up the radio or fan. Among the premium touches are an 8-inch screen that sits prominently in the dash and relays audio, phone and navigation information. EX-L models and higher have a secondary screen for touch-operated audio and Bluetooth wireless streaming. The front seats are supportive and comfortable, and the rear seats are roomy for two adults (as with most midsize sedans, three in back is a squeeze).Exterior
The latest Accord sedan is curvier and shorter than the previous generation by over three inches, but it's still easily identified. The coupe, too, has gotten slightly smaller. Especially appealing is the Accord's grille with its classy horizontal bars and Honda's logo floating in the middle. Sedans boast a low "beltline" where the side windows meet the metal. This is relevant because it improves visibility, especially for children sitting in back. Higher trims have premium touches such as LED brake lights and daytime running lights. Accord Plug-In hybrids are distinguished by an additional "fuel cap" above the front-left wheel where the charging cable is inserted.
Even if you spend the least on a Honda Accord LX sedan, you'll get a well-equipped car that includes an 8-inch color display with rear-view camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, 16-inch wheels, and a 160-watt AM/FM/CD stereo with Pandora Internet radio compatibility. Sport models add a power driver's seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a slight increase in horsepower. EX models include a power moonroof and the LaneWatch system, while EX-L models gain leather, upgraded audio, heated front seats, and lane-departure warning. The top-line Touring model has a standard V6 engine, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. Hybrid models include LaneWatch, LED daytime running lights and a 10-way power driver's seat.
Except for choosing an automatic transmission in lower models instead of a manual, major options for the 2014 Accord are obtained by moving up trim levels. Among the most desired features are satellite navigation, the V6 engine, a 7-speaker/360-watt audio system, 18-inch wheels, leather seating, the multi-angle rear-view camera, HomeLink remote system, LED headlights, blind-spot display, and adaptive cruise control. Accessories for further personalization include a sport grille, underbody kit, rear spoiler, remote engine-starting unit, and illuminated doorsill.
Two engines and three new transmissions are offered in gasoline-powered versions of the 2014 Honda Accord. The base is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes a healthy 185 horsepower (189 in Sport versions). The optional engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 278 horsepower. In the sedan, 4-cylinder engines are linked to a 6-speed manual transmission or CVT automatic, and V6 engines are connected to a 6-speed auto. In the coupe, the V6 can be connected to a satisfying 6-speed manual. The Accord Plug-In uses a 4-cylinder gasoline engine and a 124-kilowatt electric motor. The lithium-ion battery recharges in less than three hours on a standard 120-volt outlet or under an hour on a 240-volt outlet. Electric-only range is rated at 13 miles, and total range when factoring in the gasoline engine is 574 miles.
185 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
181 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg (manual, sedan and coupe), 27/36 mpg (automatic, sedan), 26/34 mpg (automatic, coupe)
278 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
252 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 (manual, coupe), 21/34 mpg (automatic, sedan), 21/32 mpg (automatic, coupe)
2.0-liter inline-4 + 124-kW AC synchronous permanent-magnet electric motor (hybrid models)
141 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm (gasoline engine)
166 horsepower (motor power, hybrid)
55 horsepower (battery power, Plug-In hybrid)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 50/45 (mpg, hybrid), 47/46 mpg (gasoline-engine only, Accord Plug-In hybrid model)
The 2014 Honda Accord starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $22,745 for an LX sedan with manual transmission. Opting for the usual automatic transmission costs an extra $800. At the other end of the Accord sedan spectrum, a V6 Touring edition starts at over $34,000. Hybrid models range from just under $30,000 to over $35,000. At $40,570, the Plug-In hybrid is the most expensive Accord, not counting incentives. The Honda's pricing is in line with competitors such as the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Chevy Malibu. Undercutting the Accord's starting price are the Chrysler 200, Subaru Legacy, Volkswagen Passat, and Hyundai Sonata. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to get the latest pricing on the 2014 Accord and to see what others in your area are paying. Coming off its win for the Best Resale Value Award in the Mid-Size Car segment, the latest Accord is expected to retain its great long-term value.