By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 26, 2016
About the video
The 2017 Accord comes in the fuel-thrifty hybrid, regular four-cylinder and Sport-themed V-6 trim. We put the four-cylinder and V-6 to the test in a head-to-head comparison to see if the V-6’s fun gains are worth the model’s price premium.
[Engine Starting] Just about every midsize sedan offers an optional, more powerful engine. In the 2017 Honda Accord, the base four cylinder makes 185 horsepower and the optional V6 makes 278 horsepower.
Now we gathered a four cylinder and a six cylinder Accord to test fuel economy and acceleration to show the difference. Spoiler alert, the V6 is faster and the four cylinder is more efficient. But we wanted to gauge by how much and tell you if it's worth it to buy the V6. Even with more horsepower than the four cylinder, the six cylinder surprised us in fuel economy numbers. On a 115 mile route, which was a combination of city and highway driving, the six cylinder got 26 miles per gallon compared with the four cylinders 29.4 miles per gallon. Now they both use various technologies to get their mileage. On the four cylinder you have a direct injected four cylinder with a continuously variable automatic transmission. And then on the six cylinder, you have variable displacement technology that shuts down three cylinders, so you're driving in a three cylinder or a six cylinder mode. And the transmission on the six cylinder is actually a traditional six speed automatic. According to www.fueleconomy.gov, the V6 Accord is only gonna cost you an extra $250 per year in fuel prices. Now that's of course accounting for fuel prices today, if you drive 15,000 miles per year, and if you get the combined ratings. The best part of the V6 though, is that it runs on regular gasoline. Now that's in contrast to other optional engines in competing vehicles that require premium fuel for the best performance and fuel economy. And that's not the case in the Accord with V6. With nearly a hundred more horsepower than the four cylinder, the V6 absolutely puts a gap on the four cylinder in acceleration. Now we know Accord owners don't necessarily care about zero to 60 in quarter mile times, but we put 'em on the track side by side to show just how much of a difference there is. In terms of numbers, zero to 60 for the six cylinder is 6.9 seconds, and the four cylinder 9.3. In a quarter mile acceleration, the V6 is 15 seconds compared with 16.9 seconds for the four cylinder. Now that doesn't mean a whole lot on its own, but in terms of acceleration, two seconds is an eternity. More than an additional hundred horsepower, the V6's six speed automatic transmission makes a big difference in how the car accelerates compared with the CVT in the four cylinder. On the V6 it has just snappy acceleration. As soon as you punch it the tires want to spin and it rips off the line. And it has great acceleration all the way down the track. The four cylinder on the other hand is a fairly typical CVT where it's tuned for fuel economy versus performance. Now it is one of the better CVTs out there, but there's still a lot of droning and delay when you first hit that accelerator pedal. When it comes to transmission choice, the driver engagement level, you definitely want that good six speed automatic versus the CVT. The Accord trims we're driving are the top trims on each engine. So the four cylinder is an EXL with navigation and Honda Sensing, and the V6 is the Touring. Now beyond acceleration, these two cars drive very differently. The Touring has a unique suspension, bigger brakes, bigger, wider tires, and bigger sway bars that create a very different handling experience. It's much more engaging to drive. It's tight, it's responsive. It drives almost like a completely different car than the four cylinder. The EXL four cylinder just felt more like an appliance than something that you want to drive, like the V6 touring. So the big question, is it worth it? Well on these models we're looking at about a $4,000 price difference between the two. The EXL with four cylinder is about $31,500, and the V6 Touring, it's about $35,500. Our responsible side says, you know what, you're buying a midsize sedan, it should be affordable, it should be fuel efficient, it should be practical. And it's what makes the V6 a hard sell despite it being so good. 80% of Accord sedan sales are four cylinders. But the V6 is a very special car, especially on this touring trim level. So if you decide to splurge for the V6, be rest assured you're gonna get a completely different experience than the four cylinder.