2018 Honda Accord makes huge break with tradition

As daring automakers go, you might not count Honda as high on the list of risk-takers, but that's certainly not the case with the new 2018 Accord. Honda revealed its brand new sedan over the weekend, and while you might have thought the equation for what makes an Accord an Accord was sewn up right now, turns out the Japanese firm has something new in mind. As well as the dramatic new design, there are some potentially controversial new directions Honda is taking the car.

The biggest is body style. Gone, in this generation, is the perennial Accord Coupe version. That's been retired altogether, with Honda execs arguing that the design of the four-door sedan will be sufficiently compelling on its own. "[With] our new styling direction and a Sport trim with a 6-speed manual for both turbocharged engines, we've injected a lot of coupe goodness that will make this new Accord sedan ... a car coupe intenders will want to take a hard look at," Jeff Conrad, Senior Vice President of the Automobile Division at American Honda Motor Co. said of the car.

It's not just hot air. The 2018 Accord has gained more than 2-inches in the wheelbase, while height has dropped and width increased. The wheel tracks have increased, too, while the length of the car as a whole is slightly reduced. Inside, the driver sits lower and further back than in the old sedan.

No, it's not going to convince anyone that those rear doors aren't actually there, and Honda sensibly hasn't resorted to visual trickery like hiding the handles or anything along those lines. The longer wheelbase has mostly been used for back seat passengers, too, adding almost two inches to their legroom.

That's not Honda's only big change for this generation of Accord, however. Gone is any V6 option, replaced with four-cylinder engines and a twin-engine hybrid. Entry-level is the 1.5-liter turbo, with 192 HP and 192 lb-ft. of torque. Power is up over the old 2.4-liter, despite the much smaller capacity, and peak HP and torque arrives earlier, too. It'll be paired with either a CVT or, optionally on the Sport trim, a 6-speed manual.

Alternatively, there's a 2.0-liter turbo which Honda says shares much of its tech with the engine found in the Civic Type R. That gets 252 HP and 273 lb-ft. of torque, the maximum power numbers both higher, and arriving earlier, than in the old 3.5-liter V6. Like the smaller turbocharged engine, there'll be a 6-speed manual option, or Honda's new 10-speed automatic.

Finally, there's the hybrid. Honda is debuting its new setup on the 2018 Accord, with a more efficient 2-liter Atkinson cycle engine paired with the next-generation of its two-motor hybrid system. The battery pack is now slung low, under the floor, meaning that it doesn't impinge on trunk space: that stays the same as in the gas-only models, as does the 60/40 split seats.

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Will the changes work in Honda's favor? The loss of the Accord Coupe may take some explaining in showrooms when the 2018 Accord arrives this fall, but there's no denying that this is a far more interesting car overall than has worn the nameplate in recent years.