It wouldn't be hard for Honda to build the sportiest factory Accord that's never existed
Honda’s Accord is an excellent all-around midsize sedan. It’s also oh-so-mainstream, and even though the Accord is actually quite sweet to drive, the sportiest version you can buy (it’s named, um, the “Sport”) isn’t exactly a BMW-chaser. Instead, the Accord Sport wears visual dress-up bits and unlocks the lineup’s only available manual transmission option. So, what would a harder-core Accord look like? We imagine a little something like this, a 350-hp-plus Honda Accord Type R. Interested?
We have no idea whether or not Honda is working on such an Accord Type R, and a spokesman for the company dodged comment. In all likelihood, it isn’t—but allow us to make the case for why Honda should be working on one. Honda’s fan club is a fervent bunch, and, like all of us, they eventually age. That means their automotive needs will grow beyond Honda’s dwindling supply of fig leaves to driving enthusiasts, which now includes only the compact Civic lineup’s Si and Type R models. No one wants to grow up and leave fun behind, however, so an Accord Type R would give Honda die-hards a performance model to step up to when the time comes to set down their wildly winged, flagrant-looking Civic Type Rs and slammed S2000 roadsters.
Besides, an Accord Type R would be an incredibly straightforward thing for Honda to produce. The company already has most of the components needed to transform the Accord accordingly, says Doug Macmillan, one of the founders of Honda tuner Hondata. (The outfit offers a series of affordable engine computer tweaks for the Civic and Accord, and thus is well versed in what either Honda is capable of, power-wise.) Doug immediately nixed our assumption that a Honda Accord Type R would simply borrow the current Civic Type R’s mighty 306-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
Even though that engine should and does bolt right in, given how it’s loosely related to the Accord’s optional 252-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, Doug says its sensor package and computer are German. (Thank the Euro market for driving the hi-po Civic’s development.) The stock, American-built Accord has a Japanese wiring harness. Therefore, surprise, the German-speaking Type R engine doesn’t play nicely together with the Accord’s Japanese computer, we’re told, and any efforts to make them would be colossally time-consuming and money-intensive. As Doug told us, it’s “far, far easier to bolt on the Civic Type R turbo and other go-fast bits and pieces and go from there.”
Skipping the Civic Type R engine, then, seems like the path Honda would take in creating the Accord Type R, if it were to undertake such a project. Per Hondata, running a computer tune (and premium fuel—the stock Accord recommends regular as the minimum grade) and bolting on the Civic Type R’s turbocharger in place of the stock unit nets an extra 60 horsepower from the Accord’s 2.0T engine. That brings output up to around 312 horsepower; go nuts with intake and exhaust bolt-ons, and there’s even more power to be found. Doug says he’s seen one earnestly modified Accord 2.0T engine with flex-fuel capability (it can run higher ethanol-gasoline blends) put down over 400 ponies. Dial the crazy down to dealer-salable (and warranty-able) levels, and you’d be looking at around 350 horsepower or so for a would-be Honda Accord Type R using a lightly upgraded, Accord-spec 2.0-liter engine.
Of course, to fully earn Honda’s Type R badge, the Accord would need some extra visual sizzle (as you can see in our exclusive renderings here) plus suspension, tire, and brake upgrades. We’d implore Honda to keep the Accord Sport’s optional six-speed manual transmission, too, although Doug from Hondata notes that their modified Accords are quicker when equipped with the available 10-speed automatic. Figure on a price of around $40,000 USD for this potential Honda-badged sport sedan, provided Honda is listening and gets to work creating it. Which, by the way, get to it, Honda.