Let’s not delay the verdict here: the 2020 Honda Accord needs to be on the must-drive list for anyone considering a midsize sedan. Heck, it’s also worthy of reconsideration for those who have abandoned the segment in favor of a CR-V or some other compact crossover. With the Accord, you’ll be getting a thoroughly well-rounded vehicle with a back seat that’s more comfortable and spacious than a compact SUV’s, fuel economy that’s superior, and a huge trunk that doesn’t sacrifice much in the way of utility. It also tends to be cheaper, and if you’re like us and appreciate some fun behind the wheel, well, a sedan is just generally a better way to go.
Against other sedans, though, the Accord also shines. We even put it atop the pedestal in a comparison test with the Toyota Camry and Mazda6. It offers unmatched interior space and generous feature content, including user-friendly infotainment technology. Its engines are powerful and efficient (especially the Honda Accord Hybrid that’s arguably the pick of the litter), and the driving experience in general has re-attained some of the zest lost in previous-generation Accords. The Sport trim can even be had with a slick-shifting manual transmission. That’s right, a manual!
Yet, if you’re just looking for an automatic-equipped spacious conveyance for going from A to B, you just can’t go wrong with an Accord. It’s both the best sedan in the segment, and thanks to the Accord’s superior residual values and long-standing reputation for reliability, a smart choice as well.
What’s new for 2020?
Nothing! The Accord is unchanged for 2020, as it was last year. The last changes occurred for 2018 when it was completely redesigned. You can learn about what changed at that time in our first drive review.
What’s the interior and in-car technology like?
The Accord’s cabin offers excellent fit and finish, plus materials that are among the best in the segment. The climate control knobs even click like an Audi’s. The design won’t wow you, but it’s tidy and in upper trim levels, sufficiently elevated in appearance. More importantly, the interior is arguably the most functional of any midsize family sedan. The under-arm storage bin is gigantic and the large squarish cupholders can fit vessels of all shapes and sizes (good news for boxed water enthusiasts), while the bin forward of the shifter features a USB port and is large enough to fit any number of phone sizes. We’re not a fan of Honda’s silly button transmission shifter included with 2.0-liter and hybrid powertrains as it doesn’t take up less space than the 1.5-liter’s traditional shifter. It’s different for different’s sake.
In terms of in-car technology, the Accord’s touchscreens are much better than those found in other Hondas (Civic, Passport, Pilot and Ridgeline). A 7-inch display with physical buttons and knobs is standard on the base Accord, but everything else gets an 8-inch unit along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an upgraded USB port, and an 8-speaker sound system. This upgraded touchscreen in particular has crisp graphics, a sensible menu structure and physical accompanying controls. It’s very good, and not just for a Honda, but compared even to competitors. We especially like that it’s easy to see mounted high atop the dash.
How big is it?
The Accord is gigantic. Even compared to a Toyota Camry, which is pretty spacious in its own right, the 2020 Accord provides more back seat space and, as we discovered during our midsize sedan comparison test, the trunk can stuff in more luggage than its competitors.
The same can be said about that back seat. There’s so much space between seating rows, even with tall drivers up front, that few cars (or SUVs) provide as much room to install a rear-facing child seat. Headroom is sufficiently average for the segment, but the Accord’s exceptional all-around visibility makes it more pleasant to ride in the back.
Note that the Hybrid no longer has a battery pack that intrudes on truck space. It’s now located under the rear seat, and retains the same truck volume as the gas-only models.
What’s the performance and fuel economy?
The Accord is available with three powertrain choices, including the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid, pictured above.
The standard engine on every gas-only Accord is a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four that produces 192 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. This makes it one of the most powerful base engines in the segment. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard. EPA-estimated fuel econom for the CVT-equipped 1.5-liter Accord is an excellent 30 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined in most trims (the Sport gets 31 mpg combined likely due to bigger wheels). The Sport trim can be equipped with a six-speed manual that reduces fuel economy to a still-excellent 30 mpg combined.
Standard on the Touring, and optional on the Sport and EX-L, is a 2.0-liter turbo inline-four that produces 252 hp and 273 pound-feet of torque. Its acceleration is mind-blowing for a family sedan, with many publications finding it’ll hit 60 mph in the mid-5-second range. It comes standard with a 10-speed automatic, but again, the Sport trim can be had with a manual. The auto-equipped car returns 23 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined in the EX-L. The Sport and Touring are reduced to 26 combined, as is the manual.
The Hybrid powertrain consists of the same distinctive setup utilized in the Honda Insight, albeit with a more powerful engine. During most driving situations, power comes from the electric motor while the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder mostly serves as a generator to feed the battery pack. Steady highway cruising is the most frequent instance when the engine is connected directly to the wheels. Total system output is 212 horsepower. Fuel economy is an excellent 48 mpg in the city, highway and combined cycles. That’s the same as the range-topping Honda Insight Touring, which is smaller and less powerful.
What’s it like to drive?
Despite being bigger than any previous Accord, the latest model re-acquires some of the driving mojo lost with the previous two generations. It actually feels quite light on its feet should you decide to hustle it along a winding road. It would be nice if the steering had more feedback, like Honda Accords of the past and the Mazda6 of the present, but we’re guessing most people will like that its light effort makes it easy to steer.
Ride quality is excellent in most trims, but models with 19-inch wheels have so little tire sidewall that there’s considerable impact harshness over bumps. That is despite the Touring trim’s adaptive suspension, which should otherwise enhance ride and handling. The Accord Hybrid Touring has a much better ride, thanks to 17-inch wheels that provide more ride-improving sidewall. It’s just one of the reasons we deemed the Hybrid the easiest Accord to recommend.
In fact, handling also improves a bit with the Hybrid. Moving the battery forward of the rear axle makes it the most balanced and poised Accord. We also like Honda’s hybrid powertrain, which uses the electric motor to directly power the wheels in most circumstances. This provides an almost EV-like power delivery of buttery smooth, right-now torque, which is pretty much the best part about driving an electric car with few of the downsides, like limited range.
As for the gas-only powertrains, both are excellent. You certainly don’t need the bigger turbo, but besides providing a bigger punch, we prefer its 10-speed automatic to the base engine’s CVT. As far as CVTs go, it’s not terrible and avoids excessive droning, but we prefer the more typical shifting performance of the 10-speed. There’s also the six-speed manual, which is excellent and we applaud Honda for making it available.
What more can I read about the Honda Accord?
Comparison Test: Honda Accord vs Toyota Camry vs Mazda 6
See how the Accord stacks up to two close rivals, which were also updated last year (Spoiler alert: the Honda wins)
2019 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T Review
We review the highest trim level possible: the Touring with the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
2018 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring Review
Our test of the Hybrid Touring, where we argued it’s actually the most appealing Accord available.
What features are available and what’s the price?
Pricing starts at $24,800 for the base 2020 Honda Accord LX, including the $930 destination charge. Standard equipment on the LX includes 17-inch wheels, the Honda Sensing accident avoidance tech suite (see Safety section below), automatic LED headlights, dual-zone auto climate control, a manual height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, one USB port, and a four-speaker sound system.
Given how much extra equipment you get for the money, however, we expect most consumers will start things off with the Sport or EX, which both add an eight-way power driver seat, an upgraded USB port, an eight-speaker sound system and the 8-inch touchscreen that brings with it Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Sport also includes some performance and styling add ons, while the EX counters with extra convenience features like proximity entry and push-button start, a sunroof, heated seats, a second USB port, satellite radio and blind-spot warning. The Sport’s manual transmission is a no-cost option.
From there, the EX-L and Touring add leather upholstery and extra convenience and luxury items. We’ve listed the MSRP for each trim level below, but you can see a complete breakdown of features, specs and local pricing for each Accord here on Autoblog. You can also see how the Accord Hybrid differs.
- LX 1.5 = $24,800
- Sport 1.5 = $27,460
- EX 1.5 = $28,700
- EX-L 1.5 = $31,200
- Sport 2.0 = $31,990
- EX-L 2.0 = $33,200
- Touring 2.0 = $37,030
Touring left, Sport right
What are its safety equipment and crash ratings?
Every 2019 Accord comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of accident avoidance tech: forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning are added starting with the EX trim. Agreeably, these various systems are more advanced than what you’ll get in the Civic, Pilot and Passport.
The government gave the Accord the highest possible five-star rating in all crash test categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick for its best possible performance in every crash test, plus a rating of Superior for its forward collision mitigation system. “Acceptable” and “Marginal” headlight scores kept it from getting the best-possible Top Safety Pick+ award.