Quickness is routine in 2020. You can buy a mainstream subcompact SUV—a four-wheel bottom feeder—that hits 60 mph in less than seven seconds. There are two-and-a-half-ton vehicles that achieve the same feat in less than four seconds. So when we call the Honda Accord a sleeper, we’re not talking about the fact that the proletarian-spec model (continuously variable transmission, standard turbo 1.5-liter inline-four) shoots to 60 mph in a spry 6.6 seconds. Nor do we have the quickest Accord’s 5.4-second sprint to 60 mph in mind.
This sensible family sedan is a sleeper because of how the Accord’s chassis responds when roused from a lazy commute. Alert steering and fluid handling turn every dogleg on-ramp, cloverleaf interchange, and 270-degree off-ramp into a momentary escape from the monotonous and the mundane. The precise action and satisfying weights of the steering wheel, the pedals, and the manual shifter suggest a kind of engineering harmony that you rarely find outside of sports cars. That’s right, Honda is the last automaker to offer a manual transmission in a mid-size sedan, generously offering the stick with both gas engines. Our pick is the $31,990 Accord Sport 2.0T with the six-speed manual, which requires just one decision: paint color.
The Accord’s excellence never rests, even if the driver does. At a slower pace, the tied-down body control manifests as assertive damping that sops up our broken roads. The cabin is calm at highways speeds, and both the front and rear seating areas feel cavernous. The hybrid Accord returns Prius-like fuel economy without Prius-like despair and ineptitude.
Driving an Accord has been a safe and sensible decision as long as the car has existed. It becomes something much more than that—rewarding, engaging, fun—when you hustle the car harder than most drivers do. The attributes that make it so special are likely missed by the apathetic, sleep-walking masses who don’t know what they have. The Accord’s dynamic competence is always lying in wait for a discerning driver to wake it.
You Might Also Like