On the heels of Toyota's launch of the 2018 Camry and amidst slowing midsize sedan sales, Honda looks to add more life to the segment with the reveal of the 2018 Accord. Sitting on a new chassis design, the Accord features a lighter, stiffer body and two all-new turbocharged engines. Additionally, it will offer the first application of a 10-speed automatic transmission in a front-wheel drive car. The Accord Hybrid will also live-on with a new generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid system.
Keeping pace with competitors, the Accord boasts more demonstrative styling as designers aimed for an athletic, yet premium appearance. Outside, the Accord is lower, wider and shorter in overall length, although the wheelbase grows over 2-inches. The extra distance between wheels gives rear-seat riders more leg room as overall passenger volume is up 2.5 cubic feet.
The premium focus persists inside with a new, soft-touch instrument panel, which features a 3-tier design. An 8" Display Audio touch screen sits on top of the dash, but we're happy to report that physical volume and tuning knobs have returned! Despite this retro touch, the cabin remains high-tech with available head-up display, wireless charging and 4G LTE WI-FI connectivity.
The most exciting news is the additon of two new turbocharged engines. The base-level 1.5L 4-cylinder produces 192-horsepower, up from 185 coming from the current naturally aspirated 2.4L. This new turbo-4 can be paired with either a CVT, or in Sport trim, a 6-speed manual transmission. Then there's the available 2.0L turbo, which shares a great deal of hardware with the Civic Type R engine and produces 252-horsepower, just shy of the 278-horsepower 3.5L V6. This larger engine is also the only way to get the first-in-class 10-speed automatic transmission. And, if you weren't convinced of Honda's intentions to add enthusiasm into the segment, they decided to offer a manual option with the larger engine as well.
Hybrid models will use a 2.0L Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder and combine with Honda's efficient two-motor system. Moreover, the inteligent power unit (IPU), which contains the hybrid battery pack relocates from the trunk to under the rear floor in an effort to add utility with a split-folding rear seat.
This all rides on a new chassis, which uses a new Macpherson strut front suspension mounted to an aluminum subframe, while the rear features a multi-link setup. Most notably, however, all Accords will come with an Adaptive Damper System; technology that improves both dynamic and premium ride characteristics. Likewise, all models will come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technologies such as collision mitigation, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
The 2018 Honda Accord will be built in Marysville, Ohio with the Hybrid rejoining production at the plant after it spent the last few years being built in Japan. More details and pricing will become available as the fall launch approaches, so stay tuned to MotorWeek!