CARS.COM — If you drive one of Honda's 2018 Accords, you've probably noticed an interesting-looking button on the car's dash. OK, it's not really a button — more like "N" marks the spot. In the Accord and other select Honda models, this spot provides an easy option for connecting your Bluetooth device. Pretty cool, right? Tap a compatible Android phone to the stylized N on the 2018 Honda Accord's dashboard and it's the shortest of shortcuts to Bluetooth pairing in your car, and it makes hand-free phone use fast and easy.
The N logo that's present on the dash of some models of cars from Honda stands for near-field communications, and under the N is an NFC tag. NFC is perhaps most familiar as the technology underlying Android Pay and Apple Pay touch-to-pay systems at retail checkouts.
In the Accord, touch the logo with an Android phone (which has been NFC-enabled) and the NFC Device Manager automatically appears on the dashboard touchscreen. Press "Connect Device to Vehicle Bluetooth" on that screen, touch the N again with your phone, and you're good to go (your phone may require you to confirm or ask you a question or two about your Bluetooth options.) Use it to sync your new phone with your car, to pair a friend's phone to listen to their playlists via Bluetooth, whatever. You also can use the Accord's NFC to transmit a wallpaper image to display on your vehicle's LCD screen from your Android phone's files. It's a little thing, but details matter.
If, like me, you are an iPhone user, you'll still have to pair up with Honda Bluetooth the old-fashioned way. We're still in the wilderness for NFC uses — iPhones have had NFC capability for a while, but Apple has limited the use to Apple Pay.
Down the road, however, we may be able to do similar fast pairing with an iPhone. Apple announced this summer that it is loosening the strings on the NFC functionality with the new iOS 11. At some point, on newer iPhones, this could include fast Bluetooth pairing with speakers and other devices, including your new Honda Accord. Stay tuned and we'll report back on that.
The NFC Bluetooth pairing is one of a number of ways Honda raises the bar on its standard and available tech options in the 2018 Accord and other select cars, led by a new multimedia and control touchscreen system with a user-friendly interface as well as physical knobs and shortcut buttons. It's the best in any Honda and is finally a match for other good Bluetooth systems available in other cars. Other phone conveniences in select Honda vehicles include a 4G LTE connection with Wi-Fi hot spot (subscription required) as well as available wireless Qi charging, which includes a range of non-Apple phones — and now, with the iPhone 8, Apple phones.
2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring as Tested:
- Powertrain: 252-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; 10-speed automatic with driving modes and paddle shifters
- Fuel economy: EPA ratings not final, Honda anticipates 22 city, 32 highway for the 2.0T Touring model.
- Key features: Redesigned five-seat mid-size sedan, adaptive suspension, upgraded multimedia system with navigation, HondaLink with smartphone integration and Wi-Fi hot spot (with subscription), head-up display and Honda Sensing safety technology (standard on all trim levels), including a front collision system with automatic braking, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, parking sensors, driver attention monitor and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow
- Price: $36,675 (including a destination charge)
Note: The N-Mark is a trademark or registered trademark of NFC Forum, Inc. in the United States and in other countries.
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