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2012 Honda Accord Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Honda Accord was new.


Performance: 7.2

The 2012 Honda Accord is available with two different engines and transmissions. The Accord’s powertrain options allow shoppers to choose between fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines and V6 power. Regardless of engine power, reviewers remain mixed on whether or not the Accord is truly sporty. Test drivers like the 2012 Honda Accord’s capable handling and accurate steering. However, one reviewer says that on a twisty road, the Accord feels much bigger than it is.

  • "The 2012 Honda Accord's nicely weighted and communicative steering is one of its strong points." -- Edmunds
  • "Accords are on the sporty side of the midsize class, with light but direct steering and well-controlled lean in corners." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Accords I've driven in the past have all been pretty fun, light and quick to the helm, a little feisty. ... But I must say, the … Accord won't make anyone laugh those roller-coaster laughs." -- Los Angeles Times

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Accord sedan features two different engines. Base LX and SE sedans get a 177-horsepower inline four-cylinder, while EX and EX-L trim levels get a more powerful 190-horsepower version of the same engine. Stepping up to the optional V6 engine on EX and EX-L trims provides 271 horsepower to the front wheels. Accord coupes drop the least powerful engine. LX-S, EX and EX-L coupes come with the 190-horsepower inline four, while EX-L models can be equipped with the 271-horsepower V6. On Accord sedans, a five-speed manual transmission is standard on LX and EX trims, while a five-speed automatic is optional. The same five-speed auto is standard on LX-P, SE and EX-L models. The Accord coupe can get a five- or six-speed manual transmission, five-speed automatic or five-speed auto with paddle shifters. The EPA says the 2012 Honda Accord sedan will get 23/34 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder engine and either transmission, while the V6 will get 20/30 with the automatic. In 2012 Accord coupe models, the four-cylinder engine will achieve 22/33 mpg with an automatic transmission and 23/32 with a manual. V6 versions of the Accord coupe should get 19/29 with an automatic and 17/26 with a manual.

Generally, test drivers say that the base four-cylinder engine is underpowered, while the 190-horsepower four is a better choice since it achieves the same fuel economy. They do note that engine power from a stop is similar to the base engine, and drivers will only notice the extra horsepower when passing or going up a hill. If a powerful engine is your top priority, they suggest upgrading to the V6 engine because it provides plenty of passing power.

  • "The base four-cylinder engine is unremarkable, providing leisurely and rather raucous acceleration, but the upgraded 190-hp version is more refined and offers the same fuel economy." -- Edmunds
  • "V6 models are the quickest, with plenty of reserve muscle for easy passing." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Accord's four-cylinder makes 177 horsepower in LX, LX-P and SE models. It's tuned for 190 hp in EX and EX-L sedans, and in all four-cylinder Accord coupes. The difference in tuning becomes apparent only when merging onto the highway or pushing the car hard on hilly terrain. Stop-and-go oomph is similar. Both engines are quick enough, although neither is as sprightly as the four-cylinders in the Nissan Altima or the Suzuki Kizashi." -- Cars.com
  • "For many buyers, the 190-hp Four's silken operation and seamless power delivery will mean a V6 is beside the point." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "I drove the EX-L with the 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is ... an amazing lump of technology." -- Los Angeles Times

Handling and Braking

The 2012 Honda Accord gets high marks from test drivers for its competent handling. Most reviewers like the Accord’s solid feel and accurate steering. However, one reviewer points out that the Accord feels much larger than it is, especially going around a corner or on a twisty road.

  • "The Accord is a favorite of ours because of its willing powertrains and fun-to-drive personality, with good steering feedback and controlled body motions." -- Car and Driver
  • "All Accords feel refined and solid. Large bumps bring out some unexpected harshness in most models, but it's never bothersome." -- Consumer Guide
  • “While its steering remains responsive and tactile, the Accord has a tendency to feel super-sized when driven around corners or on tighter roads." -- Edmunds
  • "A drive in the … Accord showed that the car's big ace in the hole - fun, European-style handling in contrast to Camry's softer ride - was very much intact." -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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