Canada is hot for compact cars and compact crossovers. Oh, and large pickup trucks. Go figure. By far these are the largest-selling segments, but there's another that is important for auto makers – the mid-sized sedan. And there is a wide range of mid-sizers that boast excellent quality, performance and features.
Maybe that's why the Honda Accord isn't the standout leader in the segment any longer. The competition has caught up. Well, that and the last Accord was, frankly, ugly. But this 2015 carry-over model still deserves to be on anybody's shopping list, a fact that becomes more apparent with time spent in the driver's seat.
This is the Touring model, so as such it needed a longer tour, into the wilds of Northern Ontario. Highway driving is where the Accord shines, with surprising power from its 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Perhaps that's partly because it's connected to the best-performing continuously variable transmission I have experienced; the combination is never thrashy, just velvety and quiet. In fact, wind and road noise, which is unusually bad in this Accord, overpowered that of the engine.
Besides the comfort and smoothness of the ride, the attention-getter is fuel economy. Its Econ drive mode lowers the transmission's rpm and the savings appear right on the info screen; it became an obsession to get the numbers lower and lower until, finally, I averaged 6.5 litres/100 km. No, not quite the official number of 5.5 on the highway, but still amazing accounting for the size of the Accord. Consider that the miserly Toyota Prius is rated at 4.9 litres/100 km on the highway.
And you don't give up the creature comforts for a frugal existence, either. The Touring has leather, heated seats, satellite radio and a unique side-view camera mounted in the passenger's mirror, which helps the driver see oncoming cyclists before inadvertently cutting them off with a right turn.
In the market for a mid-sized sedan? The Honda Accord will only make your decision that much more difficult. Or, if you spend any time with it, that much easier.
Price, as tested: $32,045
Engine: 2.4-litre four cylinder
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 7.8 city; 5.5 highway
Alternatives: Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima, Kia Optima, Chrysler 200
- Looks: No chances were taken in the design, but it’s still a sharp-looking car.
- Interior: More imaginative than the exterior, with excellent ergonomics and materials.
- Performance: Smooth is the best word to describe it.
- Tech: The side camera is a surprisingly good idea; the multiscreen infotainment system could do with fewer menus.
- Cargo: A large trunk, while cubbyholes abound throughout the cabin.
It doesn't stand out but it ticks all the right boxes in a mid-sized sedan.
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