The Honda Accord features contemporary yet conservative design highlighted by a strong character line that slopes down and forward like that of the Acura TL. Last redesigned for 2008, the current Accord features narrow windshield pillars and a low cowl for good forward visibility, Honda hallmarks. The rear door pillars share the kink popularized decades ago by BMW and becoming ever more frequent.
While the driver can see the hood and the top of the fenders where they meet the hood, the edges are not so visible; the swept-back light housings minimize protruding corners and ease maneuverability, but exercise caution until you're certain where they are. Many modern design elements are the result of auto/pedestrian collision standards. The wiper arm mounts are designed to break away when hit, for example.
Forward lights are aptly described as hawk-like and look fiercer on coupes because they use projector headlamps as opposed to the conventional reflector design on the sedans; V6 models include fog lamps. At the rear the lamp elements appear cut off at the style line rather than extending up to the top trunk seam. This contributes a sense of heaviness and more closely mirrors the rounded rear end styling of the Acura RL rather than the taut crispness of the TL.
The current Accord sedan is larger than any before, and although it competes in the mid-size market segment it is by EPA interpretation a large car. It is about five inches longer than primary competitor Camry, and more than three inches longer that the Nissan Altima and Maxima.
The Coupe, on the other hand, won't be confused with a large car. Virtually every exterior dimension save width is 2-4 inches smaller than that of the sedan. The Coupe is sleeker yet still fits the Accord mold. All Coupes use projector headlights, body-color rocker panels and add a passenger side easy-entry feature for rear seat access.
Honda owners will feel right at home in the Accord, one reason repeat buyers account for a good chunk of sales. It is light and airy, spacious, with thoughtful layout and plenty of elbow room. Everything you touch feels right for the price, everything you need seems to be here, and everyone on board should be comfortable.
Accord LX models provide pleasing design and materials and a variety of storage areas for modern conveniences and old-fashioned vices. Stepping up to an Accord EX-L with leather adds features, but the basics like seat design and driver ergonomics are shared by all models.
The tilt-and-telescoping steering column provides a good range of adjustment to complement the adjustable driver?s seat, so all the masses can find a good driving position. There's a clear view of what?s all around outside, and of the instrument panel with its proven dial-and-needle gauges. The information display or navigation screen is inset under a shade at the same height as the gauges, so glare is controlled, and the screen can be viewed with polarized glasses.
Accord EX-L models come with leather on the seats, steering wheel, manual shifter and door panels. The EX-L leather appears of high quality and assembly as does the rest of the car. The driver's seat has multiple power adjustments and good support for the long haul or around-town errands.
Our only complaints with the cabin were minor: The lumbar support on all front seats (regardless of power or upholstery) is stout and we occasionally wished for less of it; and the front seats have lots of room around them causing some slender pilots to say the door was too far away for a comfortable armrest or leg brace. The width of the Accord translates directly into a wide cabin, especially in front. The center armrest was designed to be big enough for two adults to share without awkward glances.
Rear-seat passengers will have few complaints as few do in large cars. Seat cushions and backrest carry right out to the door without wheelwell intrusion, offer space for a six-footer to sit comfortably behind another one, and easy entry and egress. The center seat is better padded than many, and as such it loses a bit of headroom to the outer seats. There are no rear reading lamps.
Three interior colors are offered on the sedans, black, gray, and ivory, while the coupe goes black or ivory only. Although it may show dirt more, the ivory includes wood-look accents where the other colors make do with silver trim pieces, so the ivory interior comes across as more elegant.
Accord Coupe models make use of the larger door panels by adding a return sweep and pull handle to the armrest trim.
Controls for lights and wipers are on stalks. Honda's graphics for the variable intermittent wipers are among the simplest: Rather than bars, lines or dots of differing size, the Accord uses one raindrop for long interval and three raindrops for more frequent wiping. The shifter is right at hand, and the proper handbrake has short travel.
Controls for sound, climate, and navigation are central below the navigation screen and vents. On lower-line models, the big round knob controls volume; on others it is the interface through which you work various menus. Even on fully equipped cars with navigation, the layout is less daunting than the number of buttons first suggests. One row of switches controls audio input (AM, XM, CD, etc.) and another row has six audio presets. Climate controls are to the sides, so you needn't wait to approve the legal disclaimer on the screen before you can ask for heat or air conditioning in extreme weather. For 2010 the climate controls are a lighter gray than the audio controls, which should make finding them even easier; while some of the graphics have been simplified and/or enhanced. As before, voice activation can handle a multitude of chores without a hand ever leaving the steering wheel.
All Accords except the LX sedan include active noise cancellation, but we were hard-pressed to notice the difference between LX and EX. Vibration and engine buzz are kept to a minimum on the four-cylinder engine and are negligible on V6, so all Accords come across as very quiet; with everything off and the windows and roof closed, tire and road noise come in first, but it's never anything more than background. Bottom line: The Accord is smooth and quiet with or without noise cancellation technology.
Trunk space in the sedan is 14 cubic feet in a fairly useful shape, and the contents need not be heaved waist-high to load in. The rear seatbacks fold for more room. A lock is provided on the pass-through behind the armrest on some models. The DVD-drive on the upper edge of the trunk is somewhat protected by a stout steel band.