CRITICS' CORNER

Honda Accord finds athletic groove with sport model

Honda's Accord does not receive much attention in the media anymore. But it remains one of America's top-selling family sedans. Honda offers a sport model with a tad more power, and it is available with a six-speed manual transmission, a rarity for a midsize sedan. Here are snippets from recent reviews:

"What's also cool is that a six-speed manual transmission is offered on the Accord Sport, which has won praise from us in previous review notes stories. Then there is the available continuously variable transmission, which is what we have here. In the past, a CVT would normally induce a gag reflex and thoughts of setting the darn thing on fire and rolling it off a cliff, but CVT development has come a long way. Subaru has built some impressive examples that are now in everything from the Impreza, WRX and Legacy, but Honda has done nice work, too, with the unit that's in the Accord.

"Compared to our now-departed long-term Honda Accord EX-L, this sport model does feel a little more tied down and athletic. The Accord often gets grouped in with the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Chevrolet Malibu as boring driving vehicles, but that's not really the case. The Accord has always been a slightly more entertaining midsize sedan, but the usually drab sheetmetal styling automatically makes people think it's a snoozer from behind the wheel. Get into an Accord, though, and you'll be greeted with direct steering, well controlled body motions through corners and always smooth and responsive drivetrains." -- AutoWeek

"Perhaps even better than the Accord's powertrain performance is the way it rides and handles in any given situation. Suspension tuning delivers a smooth and supple ride around town, with greater road feel provided by the Accord Sport's stiffer calibration. On a serpentine mountain road, the Accord Sport handily negotiated S-curves and hairpin corners with a minimum of body roll, demonstrating unexpected athleticism for a front-drive vehicle.

"The Accord's electric steering sure helps make it fun to drive, no matter the type of road. Precise, direct and expertly tuned, the electric steering works exactly as the driver wants it to. The brakes promote confidence even after repeated abuse and in normal driving conditions feel absolutely natural and predictable underfoot.

"Although most versions of the Accord lack the outright enthusiasm of a purpose-built sport sedan, this car's competent engineering and expert calibration shine brightly in almost every driving situation." -- Cargurus.com

"If you're like me and you find yourself drawn to the Accord Sport for its styling, and you're willing to accept its lack of technological complexity, you're likely to be very satisfied with the rest of the package. This is a car that does almost everything right. Please note, I did say ‘almost.'

"It needs a front passenger's seat height adjuster in order to make my wife happy. The Accord also really needs a 60/40-split folding rear seatback in order to improve usefulness and utility. Otherwise, Honda has capably addressed the main issues that car buyers care most about." -- New York Daily News

"Whoa. Strong four-cylinder. You leave every stoplight in a flurry of revs and wheelspin and torque steer. Kind of reminds me of the last early-2000s V6 Accord I drove, if it weren't for the sound and tiny bit of added vibration. Lots of usable space. Steering isn't quite as sweet as I remember it being in the previous-generation car, but dang, this thing moves. Our tester is a manual-transmission car; the shifter is still one of the best in the business. Busy interior kills it for me, though, as does the fact that the Accord keeps getting fatter and larger." -- Sam Smith, Road & Track

You can reach at autonews@crain.com. -- Follow on Twitter

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