What we'd like Honda to update vs. what Honda will probably change
Fun fact: The compelling Honda Accord came close to becoming the 2018 MotorTrend Car of the Year. The three-time comparison-winning Alfa Romeo Giulia was our deserving winner, but the Accord and Kia Stinger also earned first-place votes from judges. With the 2020 Honda Accord’s arrival right around the corner, we started to wonder how the midsize sedan will fight back against a Toyota Camry that now offers Apple CarPlay as well as a newly redesigned Hyundai Sonata that looks especially promising. Although Honda wouldn’t comment for this story, here’s how we’d like Honda to update the already solid Accord and, toward the bottom, what we think Honda will actually change for the 2020 model year.
Tone Down the Belt-Buckle Badge
If I bought an Accord, the first dealer-installed accessory I’d consider is a more subdued black chrome grille instead of the regular overchromed design. When we compared a base-engine Accord and Camry, we found neither front end stylish, and described the former as having a “brash, massive belt-buckle Honda badge [leaving] no question of its provenance.”
Looking even deeper into the crystal ball, we expect minor visual updates for the 2021 Honda Accord, along with a few other changes as part of a mid-cycle refresh.
The 2018 Accord knocked out the 2018 Camry in two comparison tests, but we still noticed more road and tire noise with the Honda than we would have liked, despite the current-gen model’s many quieting efforts including acoustic spray foam in the pillars and noise-absorbing carpet. Even though the Accord is already a refined package overall, we’d love to see Honda redouble its efforts to make the Accord quieter, but only if the required R&D won’t balloon the price.
Hold Me Tighter
Have you seen the Accord Sport? Like other midsize sedans with 19-inch wheels, it looks way flashier than some would expect from a sensible midsize sedan. And although we appreciate the Sport’s affordable curb appeal, two available engines, and even an optional manual transmission, thicker side bolstering on the seats would be a nice touch.
It’s tempting to ask automakers to include more features on lower trims, but as they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Nevertheless, we bet 2020 Accord Sport buyers would appreciate having what Honda calls “Smart Entry,” or hands-free keyless access (unlock the doors as you enter and lock the doors as you leave without having to take the key out of your pocket).
Are you ready for a 2020 Accord Convertible?
No, neither are we—just checking to see if you’re still paying attention.
What Honda Will Probably Do for the 2020 Model Year
The truth is that the 2020 Honda Accord will probably look and feel quite a lot like the 2019 model. The Accord Sport trim might actually get hands-free keyless access, as we suggest above. Higher up the price scale, the 2020 Accord EX may get a four-way power front passenger’s seat (currently standard on the EX-L and Touring), and a new exterior color option or two is always a possibility.
WHAT ABOUT US?
If your midsize sedan search includes the Honda Accord, you’re doing it right. But starting and stopping the search there shortchanges an entire segment full of possibilities:
Toyota Camry: A loaded Toyota Camry XSE V-6 doesn’t drive better than a loaded Honda Accord 2.0T Touring, but feature-loving extroverts should appreciate the Camry’s available red leather seats, surround-view camera system, and dual-panel sunroof, all options the Accord doesn’t offer at any price.
Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima: Then there’s the 2019 Hyundai Sonata and 2019 Kia Optima, two middle-of-the-road performers that can satisfy those looking for a good deal before the completely redesigned versions of both arrive soon.
Mazda6 and Volkswagen Passat: The Mazda6 will speak to those who love surprisingly sexy and entertaining four-doors, and the spacious Passat gets redesigned sheetmetal for 2020.
Nissan Altima: Aside from being one of the only four-doors to be available in orange, the new Altima has a clean interior and does its best work as a base model. There, the midsizer offers a smart package of standard equipment that competes well with base Accords and Camrys, for buyers who value features as much as how a car performs.
Pictured is the current Honda Accord.