With the 2018 Honda Accord, the automaker is betting that midsized-sedan buyers care more about gaining a couple of extra inches of rear legroom than losing a pair cylinders with the departure of the V6-powered model.

The Accord joins other midsized sedans that have relinquished their V6s. That’s not a surprise, because few customers chose the V6 versions. The sculpted exterior gives the popular family sedan a more dramatic, upscale look in a competitive field that includes rivals such as the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Kia Optima, and Hyundai Sonata. There is no coupe for this generation.

The Accord wasn’t updated just to make a styling statement. It’s the car’s 2.1-inch stretch in wheelbase that frees up 2.5 inches of legroom for rear-seat occupants. Honda has also positioned the Accord seats lower and slightly more inward to improve shoulder, hip, and headroom. We’ll weigh in on that once we evaluate the car.

But this increase in cabin stretch-out space doesn’t mean the Accord is stepping up in size. The 2018 Accord is 0.3 inches shorter, 0.3 inches wider, and 0.5 inches lower than the model it replaces. And it’s more than 100 pounds lighter thanks to weight-saving measures in the powertrain and chassis.  

2018 Honda Accord Touring
2018 Honda Accord Touring

Two turbocharged, four-cylinder engines are available. The entry-level version is a 1.5-liter that’s shared with the Honda CR-V SUV and Civic compact car. Delivering 192-horsepower—7 hp more than the previous Accord’s 2.4-liter, four-cylinder—this base engine employs a continuously variable transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is also available on the Sport trim, a rarity in this category.

Stepping up to the turbocharged 2.0-liter brings 252 hp and an all-new, 10-speed automatic transmission. This version offers a six-speed manual on the Sport trim as well. According to Honda, this is the first time a 10-speed gearbox has been applied to a front-wheel-drive car, although it’s also available on the Odyssey minivan. But the push-button gear selector with the automatic transmission can be a nuisance, as we have experienced in the Acura TLX and other Honda models.

It’s also worth noting that the Accord’s most powerful four-cylinder creates only 26 fewer hp than the 278 hp provided by the discontinued 3.5-liter V6.

A hybrid version, powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors, will also be included in the Accord lineup. Honda will release the hybrid’s power output and economy ratings closer to its fall launch.

One key detail about the hybrid we do know is that Honda engineers have managed to fit its battery pack beneath the rear seat. This means that unlike the previous Accord hybrid, the 16.7- cu.-ft. trunk and split-folding rear seats remain unaffected by bulky, space-stealing batteries.

2018 Honda Accord Touring interior
2018 Honda Accord Touring

Eagle-eyed Accord fans will notice that the total cargo volume is up about 1 cu. ft. over the previous model. But it doesn’t take a diehard Honda fan to spot the major changes made to the dashboard and infotainment system of this Accord.

Honda boasts about the presence of physical volume and tuning knobs for the infotainment system. It may seem like an anachronistic design detail, but it’s one that’s clearly a response to criticism that Honda’s current system is too fussy to use, with unintuitive touch-screen controls for simple tasks.

This new system was introduced with the 2018 Odyssey. It’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Available telematics include geofencing, remote diagnostics, and stolen-vehicle tracking, similar to GM’s OnStar.

Above average safety ratings have been a hallmark of the Accord—and they remain a vital consideration for consumers cross-shopping midsized sedans. The new Accord comes with standard safety equipment such as a collision-mitigation braking system, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow (the car will follow the path of the car in front of it at low speed), traffic-sign recognition, rearview camera, and lane-keep assist.

Optional features include blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, a rear cross-traffic monitor, and a driver-awareness monitor.

The new Accord goes on sale in the fall and is available in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels, depending on which engine is chosen. 

2018 Honda Accord Touring
2018 Honda Accord Touring