The Honda Accord and Civic have been staples in the U.S. market since the mid-1970s, and neither is showing signs of slowing down. Recently, they both got brand-new looks. The Civic takes its restyling a bit further with enhanced powertrains and three available body styles, whereas the Accord received just a facelift.
Can the compact Civic use this redesign and new powertrains to overcome its big brother?
What the Civic gets right:
The Civic immediately gets the advantage by way of its number of body choices. Initially, the 10th-gen Civic came as a sedan and coupe, but a hatchback model has also entered the picture. The redesigned Civic also gained two new engines in a 158-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder and a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-pot that produces 174 or 180 horsepower—the latter is included only with the Sport Touring hatchback.
The restyled Civic sedan's body is also larger than before, allowing it to come within 0.7 cubic feet of the Accord sedan's trunk space and get within 1.1 inches of its rear seat legroom. The hatchback version adds even more cargo-hauling capabilities.
Also giving the Civic the advantage is its up to 42 mpg highway.
What the Accord gets right:
The Accord checks in with a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The Accord's 3.5-liter V6 easily best any of the Civic's standard engines, but it will be rivaled by the upcoming performance-oriented Si and Type R models.
Where the Accord really pulls away is in standard features, as it comes standard with top-line items like dual-zone automatic climate control, an illuminated vanity mirror, two power outlets, an overhead console, and 16-inch alloy wheels. On top of all of the additional features, the Accord is far roomier than the Civic, with 0.5 inches more front legroom, 2.3 inches more rear legroom, and an extra 3.5 cubic feet of cargo space relative to the Civic sedan.
Who the Accord is best for:
The Accord is best suited for buyers who need the extra roominess or the added comfort of a midsize sedan. In terms of apples-to-apples shopping, however, the Accord simply cannot stack up to the Civic in value for the money.
Our Verdict: Honda Civic
If you absolutely need the small amount of extra space the Accord offers, then it is a fine choice, but the new Civic is a better overall value. It is nearly as large on the inside as the Accord, but 10 inches shorter in length and far lighter. Plus, its new turbocharged engine makes the non-Si models quicker than ever before. Add to that the massive gap in fuel economy between the two and the versatility of the hatchback model, and you can see why the Civic is our pick.