Honda's Accord has been a class leader for as long as just about anyone remembers and even though the competition has had a number of refreshes, the current car has soldiered on atop the heap. To be honest, though, in our last midsize comparison there were murmurs that some things need to be changed. Mainly, they involved styling as well as minor creature comforts it lacked relative to its rivals.

The company must be listening, for lo and behold, along comes the 2016 Honda Accord with a mid-cycle refresh that gives it bolder looks, better ride and some of those lacking features. Also, in keeping up with the industry's headlong rush into better connectivity and infotainment, the availability of Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Also: The Class of 2016 -- New Cars Ready to Roll

More aggressive looks

Both the 2016 Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe benefit from the redesign that gives the car a more aggressive face that features a large, single bar element with a prominent Honda logo. The new grille is flanked by multi-element headlamps (halogen on lower models, LEDs on higher ones) and standard LED taillights. The lower air intake has been redesigned to emphasize the car's stance. While the body shell itself is unchanged, the cosmetic enhancements give the Accord a more upscale and less anonymous appearance, though you can see a bit of Acura influence in the grille treatment. 

To go along with the more sporty looks are new and larger wheels, the sedan offers 16-, 17- and 19-inch alloys, while the coupe is equipped with a base 17-inch wheel and offers 18- and 19-inch aluminum rims as options. Powertrains on both models carry over-the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine produces 185 horsepower and 181 lb ft of torque. It can be mated to either a 6-speed manual or automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The 3.5-liter V6 again offers 278 horsepower and 252 lb ft of torque and is teamed with a 6-speed automatic. A 6-speed manual is available on the V6 Coupe EX-L.

Revamped interior

In addition to freshening the exterior, Honda has revamped the interior to include new seatback cushioning the rear, aluminum-trimmed sport pedals, a redesigned center console with a sleeker look that includes an open tray, optional wireless charger and repositioned USB port for easier access. The gauge cluster wears new graphics to make them easier to read and there's a new 7-inch auxiliary touchscreen on higher trim levels. Those looking for redundant traditional knobs will be disappointed, the only way to manually adjust volume are with the optional steering wheel controls. One of our earlier complaints was also the lack of a split-fold down rear seat, which the 2016 Accord remedies by offering a 60/40 configuration on uplevel models.

Beneath the exterior and interior upgrades, Honda also made significant improvements to the Accord's rigidity while using lightweight materials like an aluminum hood to reduce vehicle mass. It also paid particular attention to the suspension, upgrading the dampers and on Touring models, employing liquid seal bushings to improve ride and handling. Overall, the ride is much smoother; the steering more linear in feel and the end result is a more relaxed and rewarding driving experience. While the top line V6 with the 6-speed automatic is the quickest of the lot, the Sport trim level, which had the 4-cylinder mated to a CVT provided plenty of engagement on the twisty bits and had plenty of performance to hold its own in freeway traffic. Honda has one of the better, if not best, CVTs on the market.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

Broad lineup

The Accord sedan lineup covers a wide range thanks to six trim levels: LX; Sport; EX; EX-L; EX-L V6 and Touring. All these trims can be upgraded with the Honda Sensing option package that includes collision mitigation braking, forward collision and lane departure warnings, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control. Coupe models include the carryover LX-S, EX, EX-L and EX-L V6, to which it adds a ranging topping Touring model. The Coupes also offer a step up in each trim level with the availability of Honda Sensing.

Pricing on the 2016 Honda LX remains the same as 2015, starting at $22,105 with a 6-speed manual and tops out at $23,905 for CVT-equipped models with Honda Sensing. The Sport line starts at $24,165 with the manual. A CVT adds $800 and the Honda Sensing version sits atop the range for $1,000 more at $25,965. The EX models are priced between $25,480 and $27,280, while the EX-L starts at $28,570 for the 4-cylinder and tops out at $32,645. Touring models are priced at $34,580. The 2016 Honda Coupe LX-S runs from $23,775 to $25,625, the EX models range from $25,900 to $27,750. The EX-L base price is $28,745 for the 4-cylinder and is $32,925 for the V6 EX-L with Navi and Honda Sensing. The V6-only 2016 Honda Accord Coupe Touring model lists for $34,125. Sedans go on sale Aug. 19, followed a week later by the coupes.

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