It’s not easy to be a top-selling family sedan for nearly 30 years, and yet Honda has certainly made it seem like it is, garnering decades’ worth of praise from critics and loyal customers alike. Of course, if it were easy, more brands would manage to achieve that just-right recipe that Honda has mastered over the years and continues to perfect with the 2015 Honda Accord.
As has always been the case with Honda, the magic starts under the hood, with even the volume-selling four-cylinder versions providing an astounding combination of performance and fuel efficiency. Indeed, that powertrain boasts a swift 7.8-second 0-60-mph time along with a 31 mpg EPA combined fuel economy estimate — impressive stats for a compact car, let alone a roomy, comfortable midsize sedan. Folks looking for even higher fuel mileage may consider the Accord Hybrid (reviewed separately), which earns an impressive 47 mpg combined EPA rating.
Comfort and value factor into the Accord success story as well. There’s the supportive seating with plenty of head- and legroom for both front and rear passengers. The Accord also has a generous standard features list, which hasn’t always been the case. Even the base model comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, iPod/USB integration and a rearview camera — amenities that are often optional on much pricier cars. Unfortunately, some desirable features, such as heated seats and navigation, require you to opt for pricier trim levels that come packed with items you may not be as interested in (versus the individual options or smaller packages of other brands). This can raise the price higher than you may want, or leave you without some of the features you desire.
Of course, the Accord’s strong reputation for trouble-free ownership may make up for this potential lack of customizable choice. With its strong performance, outstanding fuel economy, precise handling, accommodating cabin and enviable overall reputation, the 2015 Honda Accord earns an Edmunds “A” overall rating and as such remains one of our top picks in our 2015 Sedan Buying Guide.
Yet the Accord is not the only excellent choice. The 2015 Nissan Altima is another of our favorites in this class, and it offers sportier handling, comparable mileage from its four- and six cylinder engines and impressively rich interior furnishings. Other “A”-rated picks include the Mazda 6, which is by far the most athletic car in the family sedan class, along with the value-packed 2015 Hyundai Sonata and stylish 2015 Ford Fusion. There’s also the 2015 Volkswagen Passat and redesigned 2015 Toyota Camry, which match the Honda’s interior space but give you a softer ride. Meanwhile, the Accord coupe has the midsize coupe segment all to itself.
Narrowing down your choices in this highly regarded group won’t be easy, but if you want a midsize sedan that does nearly everything right, the Honda Accord should be on your short list.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2015 Honda Accord is available as a midsize sedan and coupe. Four-cylinder sedans come in five trims: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L and EX-L with Navi. Opt for the Accord’s 3.5-liter V6 and three trims are offered: EX-L, EX-L with Navi and Touring.
The Accord coupe with the four-cylinder engine comes in LX-S, EX, EX-L and EX-L with Navi, while the V6-equipped version comes only in EX-L and EX-L with Navi trims.
The base four-cylinder LX comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, an 8-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a one-piece folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and Pandora Internet radio control.
Opting for the Sport trim brings a bit more horsepower, 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with shift paddles for the CVT (continuously variable transmission).
The Accord EX also builds off the LX, but in lieu of the Sport’s features adds 17-inch wheels, heated mirrors, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, the power driver seat, the leather-wrapped steering wheel, Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot display and a six-speaker sound system.
The EX-L trim adds leather upholstery, driver-seat memory functions, a four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, forward collision and lane-departure warning systems, a more sophisticated rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a premium seven-speaker sound system with a 6-inch touchscreen display, satellite radio and smartphone app integration (HondaLink with Aha). The EX-L with Navi adds, as you can likely guess, a navigation system with voice recognition.
The EX V6 feature content is similar to that of the four-cylinder EX models. The V6-exclusive Touring sedan tops the range, combining LED headlights and adaptive cruise control with the equipment from the EX-L with Navi.
For the Accord coupe, the base LX-S trim is similar to the LX sedan but comes with 17-inch wheels instead of 16s, while its audio system has six speakers instead of four. The coupe’s EX trims are also comparable to the sedan’s in terms of equipment, though the V6-powered EX-L has 18-inch wheels.
Powertrains and Performance
All 2015 Accords are front-wheel drive, and most are fitted with a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine. This engine is rated 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The Sport trim level’s less restrictive dual exhaust boosts output to 189 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque.
The standard transmission for all four-cylinder Accords, except the EX-L trims, is a six-speed manual. Optional for those and standard on the four-cylinder EX-L trims is a CVT, which takes the place of a conventional automatic. With the CVT, all Accords but the Sport trim earn an EPA estimate of 31 mpg combined (27 city/36 highway). The CVT-equipped Sport rates 29 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway). With the manual transmission, the four-cylinder Accord stands at 27 mpg combined (24 city/34 highway).
The Accord’s available 3.5-liter V6 is rated 278 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. Backed by a conventional six-speed automatic, the sedan V6’s fuel economy numbers are still quite impressive at 26 mpg combined (21 city/34 highway). On the coupe, this combo results in 25 mpg combined (21/32). The coupe V6 is also available with a six-speed manual transmission, which drops fuel economy ratings to 22 mpg combined (18/28).
Even with the base four-cylinder engine and CVT — the most popular powertrain choice for Honda Accord buyers — performance is relatively strong. In Edmunds testing, a four-cylinder Accord EX sedan with the CVT sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, a quick time for the class. The V6 is also one of the quickest upgrade engines in the segment: An EX-L V6 sedan we tested accelerated to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds.
Every 2015 Honda Accord comes with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is also standard across the board. Blind-spot, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems are available on the upper trim levels.
Notable is the LaneWatch blind-spot system (EX trim and above), which instantly switches the 8-inch screen’s display to a low and wide view of the passenger side of the car when the right turn signal is engaged. A camera in the right-side mirror provides the confidence-inspiring view, and acclimating to checking the center-dash display is quick and natural.
In Edmunds testing, Accord sedans with the four-cylinder and the V6 engine braked from 60 mph to a stop in 128 feet, a slightly longer than average distance for a midsize sedan.
In government crash testing, the Accord sedan received five out of five stars for overall protection, with four stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for side-impact safety. The coupe earned five stars across the board. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave both body styles the best possible rating of “Good” in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In the institute’s small-overlap frontal-offset impact test, the sedan received a “Good” rating, while the coupe got a second-best “Acceptable.” The Accord’s seat and head restraint design was rated “Good” for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
With a few exceptions, the materials in the 2015 Honda Accord have a high-quality look and feel. The overall design is elegant, and the cabin’s tight construction gives a much stronger impression than you’d expect from a workaday family car. At the top of the dash is the 8-inch display that offers varying levels of information and, depending on the trim level, audio and navigation interfaces. Below that, most Accords will have simple but effective audio controls, but the EX-L and above get a touchscreen interface (in addition to the top display) that relocates the controller knob underneath the climate controls. The touchscreen is sleeker looking, but you lose the traditional tactile buttons, and the menu structure can be confusing or needlessly complicated at times. This is a sentiment shared by many current owners.
Both front and rear occupants will find plenty of legroom and shoulder room. The sedan’s backseat is one of the best in this class, thanks to its combination of space and comfort. Road and tire noise — which in previous Accord generations could be rather annoying — are noticeably reduced now, thanks in part to two active noise-cancellation systems. We’re also fond of the clear outward visibility afforded by the fairly low beltline, relatively slim roof pillars and generous amount of glass — all traits that are increasingly rare in modern automobiles. As a downside, though, we’ve found the Accord’s front seats less comfortable on long drives than others in this segment.
At 15.8 cubic feet, the Accord sedan’s trunk is about average, with the coupe’s measuring in at 13.4 cubic feet. The rear seatback folds down to increase cargo capacity, but unlike that of most competitors, it is not split 60/40 for greater cargo and people-carrying versatility.
Most Honda Accord buyers end up choosing the four-cylinder engine, and they won’t be disappointed, as it revs willingly and delivers its power in a smooth and satisfying manner. Although CVTs typically don’t have the best reputation for refinement, Honda’s unit is the best of the breed, as it responds quickly for swift passing maneuvers and then lets the engine rpm drop back smoothly when the need for quick acceleration has passed. The Accord is downright quick when equipped with the V6.
The 2015 Honda Accord also manages to strike a near-perfect balance between a supple ride and engaging handling. Although the Accord has never been a truly sporty car, this latest version feels particularly well-balanced around turns. The Accord’s electric-assist power steering might feel pretty light the first time you turn the wheel, but it is precise and has a crisp response that adds to the driving enjoyment. One potential downside is that the Accord’s ride quality is on the firmer side. If you’re accustomed to a softer ride, a Fusion, Camry or Passat might suit you better in this regard.