Honda's strong-selling midsize Accord sedan underwent a massive redesign for 2003 that included more-powerful engines. A five-speed-automatic transmission replaced the former four-speed unit, and a V-6-powered coupe with a six-speed-manual gearbox joined the lineup. For 2005, side-impact and side curtain-type airbags became standard in all models.
Restyling of the front and rear ends marks 2006 models, which also contain more standard equipment. Output of the 3.0-liter V-6, which operates with drive-by-wire throttle control, has been boosted to 244 horsepower, and the four-cylinder engine increases to 166 hp. All V-6 models adopt Vehicle Stability Assist and brake assist. The sport-oriented EX V-6 sedan is available with a six-speed-manual transmission. All V-6 models have revised suspension bushings and damping rates to complement the upgraded 17-inch wheels.
A Value Package replaces the DX sedan trim level for 2006. Sedans also come in LX and upscale EX trim levels, along with LX V-6 and EX V-6 versions and a new LX Special Edition. LX and EX coupes are offered with four-cylinder or V-6 power.
An Accord Hybrid with a gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain went on sale late in 2004 as a 2005 model.
(Skip to details on the: Accord Hybrid)
Honda designers said they used the cheetah as an influence when styling the latest Accord. The sedan features faceted corners and geometric headlights. Sculpted bodyside panels are accompanied by nearly flush window glass. Updates for 2006 include a new grille and bumpers, LED taillights and a trunk lid with an integrated brake light.
Honda says the current chassis is tuned for a sportier, more European feel by using larger, more performance-oriented tires: 15-inchers for DX and LX sedans and 16-inchers for EX and V-6 models. The EX V-6 coupe with a six-speed gearbox gets 17-inch tires, while other coupes use 16-inch rubber. Sedans ride a 107.9-inch wheelbase, while coupes have a 105.1-inch p.
All models seat up to five occupants and feature a relatively high belt line. A sliding center armrest is standard, and the driver faces a large round speedometer.
All models have LED instrumentation, and a multifunctional key eliminates the need for a separate key fob. An optional DVD-based navigation system features voice activation and 3-D route visualization.
Under the Hood
The Accord's 2.4-liter four-cylinder now develops 166 hp. The available 3.0-liter V-6 generates 244 hp. A five-speed-manual or five-speed-automatic transmission can mate with the four-cylinder, but V-6 sedans come only with the automatic. EX V-6 models can be equipped with a six-speed-manual gearbox.
Antilock brakes, dual-stage front airbags and rear head restraints for all seating positions are standard. Side-impact and side curtain-type airbags are standard in all Accords. Daytime running lights are new for 2006.
The solid, quiet, refined Accord makes a fine family sedan. Any Accord model is exceptionally pleasant in virtually every respect, but the sedan trails a bit in the ride comfort category. Generally, the ride is smooth, but some bumps are bothersome.
Apart from slight steering deadness on-center, the firm suspension pays off in confident handling. Performance with the V-6 and automatic transmission also excels by delivering quick bursts of acceleration. Seat comfort and support are appealing, the brightly lit gauges are great, and the air conditioner is potent. Space is either adequate or ample all around, but the cockpit feels cozier than in some midsize cars.
Introduced for 2005, the Accord Hybrid uses a next-generation gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain that promises the power and performance of the regular Accord's 3.0-liter V-6 and the fuel economy of a four-cylinder-powered Civic sedan. Rated at 253 hp with its 3.0-liter i-VTEC gasoline engine, the Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system can deliver near-peak torque across its full operating range, according to Honda.
For additional economy, Variable Cylinder Management technology deactivates three cylinders while cruising and during deceleration. Special touches on the Accord Hybrid include a unique grille, a trunklid spoiler and special 16-inch wheels. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard.
Vehicle Stability Assist and a power moonroof are standard on the 2006 Accord Hybrid, which also gets a temporary-use spare tire. Spoilers have been revised, and mirrors now have built-in turn signals.
The Accord Hybrid performs as promised — delivering energetic acceleration — but its auto-stop system can be somewhat overzealous. In stop-and-go city driving and even in rush-hour highway traffic, the gasoline engine tends to shut off and restart repeatedly. The transition between gasoline-only operation and kick-in of the electric motor is often accompanied by a light thump. Honda's Civic Hybrid is more seamless in operation. Fuel economy in a moderate-length trial fell well short of the EPA's estimates. Otherwise, you get all the virtues of the Accord experience, including a generally comfortable — though less than gentle — ride, and confident, controlled handling. Back to top
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