THE 2012 HONDA ACCORD V6 SEDAN REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: Reliable, Yes…but Desirable?
The 2012 Honda Accord sedan is impressive for unimpressive reasons. It is safe, has a high resale value, and is one of the most reliable cars on the market. Unfortunately, it lacks some of the personality of its competitors. The sedan looks like the product of a committee of data entry clerks. At WOT, spirited competitors gleefully shove their taillights in the Accord’s face. In short, the Accord is all head and no heart, all plus and minus and no emotion. Honda’s icon remains a worthwhile choice for a family midsize sedan, but a host of rivals offer more pomp, pizzazz, and personality for a more affordable price.
What Does It Look Like?
2012 is a carryover year – assuming the world does not end in a fiery apocalypse, a la Harold Camping and the Mayans – for the Honda Accord. The Accord is not ugly, but it looks squat and less sculpted than modern rivals, disqualifying it from the red carpet. A new Accord is set to debut for 2013 and will offer a much more chiseled and aggressive style.
Trappings & Trimmings
Leave simplicity to the Scandinavians. In a presumable attempt to be austere and striking, an odd mix of German and Swedish design, Honda drew inspiration from the rental car lot. The Accord’s materials and quality of construction is only average for the class, and the aesthetic is even more pedestrian. What Honda terms as “premium accents” come standard on V6-equipped models, but the wood veneer looks incongruous with the lightly scalloped dashboard and ocean of unforgiving plastic.
Packin’ a Powertrain
Equipped with the 3.6-liter V6, the Honda Accord sedan makes 271 horsepower and achieves 20/30 mpg. (See annual fuel costs with the Accord V6). Honda’s V6 is more efficient and more powerful than the Ford Fusion’s 3.5-liter V6, but is bested by the turbocharged four-cylinders of the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata, albeit at the expense of turbo lag. The Chrysler 200 sedan has one of the most powerful engines in the segment, but gives up one mpg in both the city and highway for 19/29 mpg. Unfortunately, the sole transmission is not available with shift paddles. That indulgence is reserved for the Accord coupe.
Is Honda becoming Toyota? What happened to fun driving? The days of slushy suspensions are fast ending as midsize sedans meet the motoring needs of the entire family. In a fiercely competitive segment where competent handling is expected, the Accord’s performance is almost perfunctory. A V6-equipped Toyota Camry wallops the Accord on the drag strip. The Camry cannot rival the Accord’s communicative steering or handling, but the Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Suzuki Kizashi and Mazda6 certainly can. Professional drivers are quick to point out that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the Accord’s performance, but many feel that it fails to live up to expectations.
The Honda Accord has class-average safety features, including four-wheel disc brakes, front foglamps, daytime running lights, and automatic headlamps. In crash testing, the Accord proved itself the automotive equivalent of Notre Dame’s Rudy. The NHTSA gave the Accord five stars in every major crash test, and the IIHS named it a 2012 Top Safety Pick.
Comfort & Cargo
The original North American Accord debuted in 1976 as a compact hatchback. Thirty-six years later, the Accord has mushroomed into a four-door full-size sedan. It is one of the roomiest vehicles in its segment, offering space for plus-size Big & Tall passengers. Two other highlights include a one-piece folding backseat and comfortable, supportive accommodations. However, the trunk is slightly smaller than those of class leaders, and Honda is roundly criticized for downgrading its quality of interior materials.
Rolling on 17-inch alloy wheels, the EX sports a sunroof, six-speaker audio system with USB/iPod/auxiliary audio input, and heated exterior mirrors. That isn’t much of a bargain. The EX-L adds a gamut of technology, including Bluetooth, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded stereo system, and power leather-upholstered front seats, but runs close to $30,000. Competitors usually offer more for less.
The Honda Accord has become the perfunctory go-to choice for reliable family transportation, but there are a slew of other more affordable and engaging models on the market.
Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Horsepower & Torque: 271 hp @6,000 rpm, 254 lb-ft of torque @5,000 rpm
Transmission: five-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 20/30/24 mpg
Base MSRP: $27,380
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