Honda boosts fuel economy for the mid-cycle refresh of its popular Accord
Chris Bernius - CleanMPG
- June 26, 2010
The 2011 Honda Accord arrives in showrooms in mid August. Both the sedan and coupe are freshened inside and out, with some new styling cues and updated interior appointments.
The popular Accord could continue its current trend of strong sales with only that mid-cycle makeover. But the competition has advanced in the area of fuel economy, and the Accord has drifted toward the bottom of the list.
And so good news arrives with the 2011 version.
Both the sedan and coupe with the 2.4L four cylinder with automatic transmission gain EPA estimate increases from the current 21/31 to 23/34
- a boost of 2mpg in the city rating and 3mpg on the highway. With this improvement, the Accord moves to near the top of the pack, with the 2011 Sonata beating it's highway EPA rating by only 1mpg. The 2.4L engine is rated at 177hp in the Accord LX, LX-P and SE trim levels, while the EX, EX-L and LX-S get the 190hp version.
Even the 271hp 3.5L V6 with VCM improves its EPA numbers from the current 19/29 to a projected 19/30 - an extra mpg on the highway.
To improve fuel economy, Honda improved the aerodynamics of both the coupe and sedan, reduced engine friction, and revised the transmission gear ratios. The aero tweaks are included in the restyling, which includes a new front grille and fascia, new rear decklid, and new wheels.
The new SE sedan combines the features of the LX-P with heated leather seats, power drivers lumbar support, and leather steering wheel. Some trim levels will now be available with paddle shifters, and models with Honda's Satellite-Linked Navigation System can be equipped with a backup camera.
The new interiors in all trim levels include new seat fabrics for trim levels with cloth seats, updated instrument panel design, and some new interior accents. Part of the instrument panel update for 2011 is a revised HVAC panel, where the most frequently used climate-control buttons are now positioned on the left side of the control stack for easier reach by the driver, while less-frequently used buttons are moved to the right. They even added larger lettering on the buttons used for the clock adjustment. Seems like Honda has heard the complaints about the myriad tiny buttons with vague labeling and they have some improvements coming in the 2011 model.
Depending on trim level, the 2011 Accord will offer 16" steel or aluminum wheels, or 17" or 18" aluminum wheels.
Three audio systems are available – and all have MP3/WMA playback capability and an auxiliary input jack. The standard system is a 160 watt AM/FM/CD with RDS and six speakers. Steering wheel-mounted audio controls come standard on every Accord. The Accord EX Sedan and LX-S Coupe add a 6-disc in-dash changer. Next step up is a 270 watt setup - standard on EX Coupe and EX-L Sedan, with a six-disc CD changer and seven speakers including 8" subwoofer. All EX-L versions get XM radio as well.
Available on the EX-L is Honda's Satellite-Linked Navigation System, with an 8" screen and simple dial for user input.
The EX and EX-L versions include Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® standard for connecting to compatible mobile phones.
With a wide range of midsize sedans aggressively competing on price, equipment levels, and bragging rights for best in class fuel economy, Honda has made some progress in keeping the Accord positioned for success in the market. Other competing sedans offer more standard features at a lower sticker, and an extra mpg here and there. But Honda's excellent reputation, strong resale values and owner loyalty are powerful selling tools. And this mid-cycle makeover adds some very welcome gains in efficiency and ergonomics. Will Honda's update be sufficient to keep the Accord charging ahead in strong sales? We'll see that in the monthly sales figures posted each month here at CleanMPG. That number will be the ultimate measure of success.