Charming isn't a word we normally throw at mid-size family sedans, but it's just the case when we're talking about the 2018 Honda Accord. Freshly redesigned, it's arguably the best mid-sizer on the market, boasting driving dynamics that make the segment's former champ, the Mazda6, jealous, while doing the family-hauling thing as well as any of its competitors. Our complaints are few – the Accord is excellent.

Best Value

The 2018 Accord starts at $24,460 for the base LX trim, and pricing for the top-of-the-line Touring model begins at $34,690. The base engine for all models is a 192-horsepower, 1.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder paired with a continuously variable transmission, or a six-speed manual on Sport models. Optional on Sport, EX-L, and Touring trims is a 252-hp, 2.0-liter turbo that's a borrowed and defanged version of the righteous engine found in the track-ready Honda Civic Type R. A six-speed manual is still available, although Honda ditches the CVT for its more powerful engine and attaches a 10-speed automatic.

Aside from an engine choice, all trims are monospec, making the purchasing process an easy one. Even the base model includes LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, automatic high beams, and a rearview camera.

Honda's must-have advanced Sensing suite of active safety gear is standard on automatic-equipped models, providing peace of mind via adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and lane departure warning.

As fun as it was to drive, our tester, a manual-transmission Sport, is really not the best choice for the majority of drivers. Instead, we recommend the EX trim for the aforementioned safety goodies, along with its moonroof, heated front seats, eight-inch touchscreen, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and heated outside mirrors.

  • Model: 2018 Honda Accord EX
  • Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 192 hp / 192 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 30 City / 38 Hwy
  • Options: N/A
  • Base Price:$28,360 (including the $890 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$28,360

Performance

Honda Accord

The base engine pairs well with the CVT automatic and, tuned for low-end performance, steps briskly off the line; the bigger engine also works better when matched with the 10-speed automatic. Both take advantage of an adjustable-ratio steering system that's quicker at the edges for a nice combination of steering response and cruising repose. The ride is smooth and composed, especially on upmarket models equipped with the adaptive suspension.

But the smaller turbo, tuned for low-end grunt, runs out of breath quickly. Favoring the automatics is due in part to the six-speed manual's shortcomings – an overly-light clutch pedal, a high takeup, and overly-long shifter throws. On top of that, the "sporty" 19-inch wheel and tire combination prioritizes appearance over ride quality.

Style

Honda has managed to pull off what other Japanese automakers haven’t: a taught design – mostly lacking bling – in just the right proportions. The handsome shape starts up front by borrowing only the lights from Acura and using a far slicker grille and ends with a Sportback-like tail treatment.

Inside, occupants are treated to better seat bolsters, taller seat backs, active noise cancellation, and an expansive view thanks to thinner roof pillars, a lower nose, and a low horizontal dashboard. Fit and finish is excellent and, despite an overall length that's two inches shorter, a longer wheelbase translates to comfort for four occupants – five if necessary. Honda gets extra points for 40 inches of rear leg room and 16.7 cubic feet of cargo volume in the trunk.

Among the nits, the cloth seat trim on base models doesn't seem especially long-lasting, while rear seat room with three passengers is tight.

The Best and Worst Things

We like the Accord's combination of style, advanced safety features, and smooth automatic transmissions. We only wish the six-speed manual wasn't so wonky and the sport suspension was tuned for ride quality rather than firmness.

Right For? Wrong For?

Honda Accord

The migration from mid-size sedans aside, families owe it to themselves to check out the new Accord.

Enthusiasts won't find the ride, which is skewed toward comfort, or finicky manual transmission appealing.

The Bottom Line

Thin cloth trim, a base turbo tuned for efficiency, and an almost-unnecessary manual transmission are far outweighed by the 2018 Honda Accord's slick design, smooth-shifting automatics, and advanced safety features that make it a top pick in the mid-size sedan class.