Carrying over from last year's all-new model, the 2019 Honda Accord offers excellent driving dynamics, a handsome exterior, generous rear seat room, and a wide range of standard active safety features. Our complaints remain few – a less-than-stellar six-speed manual transmission, a small turbocharged engine that runs out of steam when pushed, and the lack of a touchscreen or smartphone compatibility on the base model.

Best Value

The 2019 Accord starts at $24,640 for the base LX trim, a $180 increase over 2018, while pricing for the top-shelf Touring model begins at $35,910. The base engine for all but the Touring model is a 192-horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), or a six-speed manual on Sport models. Optional on Sport and EX-L, and now standard on the Touring trim is a 252-hp, 2.0-liter turbo that's borrowed and detuned from the Civic Type R. A six-speed manual is still a no-cost option on the Sport, although Honda swaps out the CVT for a 10-speed automatic on both EX-L and Touring models.

Aside from an engine choice on Sport and EX-L models (the four Hybrid models are covered separately), all trims are monospec. Even the base model includes automatic LED low-beam headlights with high-beam assist, alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera. The Honda Sensing suite of active safety gear is standard on all models and includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and lane departure warning.

Our choice would be the EX trim that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, a power driver's seat, eight-inch touch screen, a 60/40 split to the folding rear seatback, and a more powerful audio system from the Sport model, and adds such niceties as remote engine start, heated outside mirrors, a moonroof, heated front seats, and the final piece of active safety: blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

  • Model:2019 Honda Accord EX
  • Engine:1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output:192 hp / 192 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Continuously variable transmission
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy:30 City / 38 Hwy
  • Options:None
  • Base Price:$28,540 (including the $920 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$28,540

Performance

Honda Accord

The smaller 1.5-liter turbo engine matches up well with the CVT automatic and, tuned for low-end performance, steps briskly off the line; the bigger engine also works better the automatic – a conventional 10-speed. Both take advantage of an adjustable-ratio steering system that's quicker at the edges for responsive cornering, but more relaxed during highway cruising. The ride is smooth and composed, especially on the adaptive suspension-equipped Touring model.

At the same time, the 1.5-liter turbo, tuned for off-the-line bursts, runs out of breath quickly, while the six-speed manual feels like an afterthought with a high takeup, overly-light clutch pedal, and long shifter throws. Finally, ride quality takes a back seat to appearance with the Sport's 19-inch wheel and tire combination.

Style

Unchanged from last year, Honda joins Mazda by pulling off what other Japanese automakers haven’t: a taught design, in the right proportions, lacking excess bright trim – on most models. It starts up front, borrowing the lights from Acura but adding a more stylish grille. Along the sides, thin pillars and graceful sculpting give it a class-above appearance, and the design is finished off with a sportback-shaped tail treatment.

Inside, occupants are treated to supportive seats, clear and intuitive instrumentation, an expansive view courtesy of thin roof pillars, a low nose, a low horizontal dashboard, and active noise cancellation that, on EX and higher models, is augmented by wheel resonators that quiet tire noise. Fit and finish is excellent and, despite an overall length two inches shorter than the previous generation, a longer wheelbase and increased width translates to comfort for up to five adults, with extra points given for 40 inches of rear leg room and 16.7 cubic feet of trunk cargo volume.

Nits are few. Top trims have a bit too much chrome, and the base model's cloth seats don't seem especially durable. While despite ample leg room in back, shoulder room with three passengers is tight, and the moonroof, standard on EX and higher trims, reduces the available head room and could prove to be a problem for passengers with tall torsos.

The Best and Worst Things

Honda AccordWe appreciate the Accord's combination of design, advanced safety features, and value proposition. Keeping it from perfection is a wonky six-speed manual, a sport suspension tuned for firmness over ride quality, and a base model that skips a touchscreen with smartphone compatibility.

Right For? Wrong For?

Families should set aside any bias toward crossovers and check out the latest Accord.

Enthusiasts won't embrace the finicky six-speed manual or a ride skewed toward comfort.

The Bottom Line

Despite a finicky manual, the base model's lack of a touchscreen, and a base turbo tuned for efficiency over performance, the 2019 Honda Accord's stunning looks, smooth automatics, and plethora of advanced safety features make it a top pick in the mid-size class.