Older, Wiser Choice

Midsize sedan comparison tests used to be fairly straightforward; there was the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, usually finishing in that order, and all the rest. And while the Accord still holds up quite well, it is now in the thick of a competitive set that has seen a couple of mid-model refreshes of the Mazda6 and Camry, as well as major model makeovers for Hyundai Sonata, Chrysler 200 and Subaru Legacy. All of which turns this category into a free-for-all.

Credit for the 2015 Honda Accord's competitiveness goes to its solid bones in the form of a roomy passenger cabin, strong drivetrain and high-quality materials expertly assembled. This generation Accord is the oldest in the bunch, but thanks to a timeless design, the vehicle doesn't seem to have aged in a segment where good looks are becoming as important as dependability.

In addition to a design that doesn't seem to age, the Honda Accord has always been a safe choice for its trouble-free operation, ability to comfortably transport five adults, good luggage space and a spirited, easy-to-drive nature. The dynamics in particular are a strong suit -- the steering is direct and communicative and light enough to make close-quarter parking easy while instilling confidence when the road begins to bend. The 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder has plenty of power to make freeway merging drama-free while delivering an EPA combined rating of 31 mpg (we saw 29.8 mpg overall during our test). Kudos also goes to Honda's Continuously Variable Transmission with sport mode -- it's one of the most seamless CVTs we've encountered to date and does its job without the elasticity and high rev droning for which earlier iterations of the technology are notorious.

2015 Honda Accord at a Glance
2015 Honda Accord Midsize Sedan Graph

Perhaps the best part of driving the Accord from an ergonomic perspective is that you don't have to think about much. The seats are comfortable, the visibility is good, there are plenty of cubbies and storage spaces for stuff in the center console (though it lacks a front cover that most the other cars in the test had) and the overall fit, finish and quality of materials are typical top-notch Honda.

As much as we like the Honda Accord, there are areas where it is beginning to show its age. One of the areas is the lack of surprise and delight features -- though one could say that the right-turn blind spot camera is one. While the trunk space on the Accord is big, the back rear bench is a single piece fold-down unit rather than the split seats found on key competitors. The other bugaboo is the twin-screen infotainment system. While some touch capability has been added to the lower screen, the split format with this use of a rotary dial takes some time to master. We wish it were more intuitive.

And while the design has held up well, perhaps it's time for a little more flash in the styling, perhaps some bolder character lines and a more identifiable face. Honda no doubt is working hard on the next-generation Accord and the fact that the current one was so impressive in this test should give its rivals some pause to think about what's to come.

Here's how the 2015 Honda Accord stacks up against the competition:

Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry

As the only V6 in the test, the Toyota Camry had a sticker price that matched the prodigious output of its 268-horsepower engine, pricing out at $34,870. The Camry is sharper dynamically than previous models, but despite the refresh, its interior is not quite as polished as the Accord.

Honda Accord vs. Chrysler 200

The Chrysler 200 is a newer design and the infotainment system is one of the best in the business. However, the 200's low roofline compromises the interior package -- the Accord has it beat on comfort. Also, the Honda's drivetrain is quieter and smoother than the Chrysler's, despite the 9-speed automatic.

Honda Accord vs. Hyundai Sonata

The Sonata acquits itself quite well with a handsome design, roomy cabin and lower sticker price, clocking in at $27,560 to the $31,015 Accord. The Honda offers the same 185 horsepower as the direct injected 2.4-liter 4-cylinder in the Sonata, but does a better job in delivering fuel economy.

Honda Accord vs. Mazda Mazda6

The Mazda6 mid-cycle refresh gives this sedan an interior to match its swoopy exterior along with additional sound insulation to make this one quiet ride. While the Honda's dynamics are almost up to par with the Mazda, Accord excels in the spaciousness of its cabin.

Honda Accord vs. Subaru Legacy

A smart new look for the Legacy is wrapped around Subaru's tried-and-true boxer 4-cylinder that delivers 175 horsepower, 10 short of what's on tap in the Accord. While both employ CVT transmission technology, the Accord comes off as much more refined than the Subaru.

More Midsize Sedans

Build and price your own 2015 Honda Accord, read our full review or check out our Midsize Sedan Buyer's Guide to see more options in the segment.

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