2020 Honda Accord

Performance


#2 out of 10 in Midsize Cars

MSRP
$23,870
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Honda Accord Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.1

The 2020 Honda Accord offers superb performance because of two lively engine choices, a smooth ride, and nimble handling. It also has decent fuel economy.

  • "So how is the driving experience? The answer is long, but it can be summed up in three words: Pretty darn good." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "Most editors who drove the CVT proclaimed it among the best and most responsive in the business. It delivers reassuring 'gear changes' during wide-open throttle (or in the transmission's S mode), but it maximizes acceleration efficiency by holding whatever ratio is optimal in all other situations." -- Motor Trend (2018)
  • "I know, it sounds weird, but the … Accord is actually really pleasant to drive." -- CNET (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The entry-level Accord comes with a 192-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and it's paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Sport trims can swap the CVT for a six-speed manual.

Standard in the Touring trim and available in the EX-L and Sport is a 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission, though the Sport trim can be had with a manual.

Both engines are peppy and robust. Most shoppers will be satisfied with the base engine, but if you want something punchier, go with the stronger turbo-four. The automatic transmissions are smooth, and the manual helps the drive feel more engaging.

With the CVT and 1.5-liter engine, this sedan gets great fuel economy estimates: up to 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Opting for the stronger engine and 10-speed automatic transmission reduces those figures to 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, and models with the larger engine and manual transmission get 22/32 mpg city/highway.

  • "You certainly don't need the bigger turbo, but besides providing a bigger punch, we prefer its 10-speed automatic to the base engine's CVT. As far as CVTs go, it's not terrible and avoids excessive droning, but we prefer the more typical shifting performance of the 10-speed. There's also the six-speed manual, which is excellent and we applaud Honda for making it available." -- Autoblog
  • "The standard 192-horsepower 1.5-liter engine offers strong off-the-line performance and acceptable passing power, but the biggest advantage is its 33-mpg combined fuel-economy figure. Its continuously variable transmission (CVT) is among the best out there, feeling similar to a traditional automatic. Moving up to the 2.0-liter turbo brings a more robust response." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "Honda hasn't tried to make this CVT act like anything but what it is, and while purists may despise the droning engine note, its smooth, shift-free acceleration should be a hit with the masses. Even the most die-hard stepped-tranny snob will be forced to acknowledge how well the CVT does its job, snapping the engine up into its torque band when power is needed and promptly dropping it down into run-silent mode when the driver eases off the accelerator." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)

Ride and Handling

The Accord is closing in on sports sedan territory with its sharp steering, strong brakes, and firm suspension. It also offers a comfortable ride, though you may feel more jostling in models with the larger wheels. Front-wheel drive comes standard.

  • Despite being bigger than any previous Accord, the latest model re-acquires some of the driving mojo lost with the previous two generations. It actually feels quite light on its feet should you decide to hustle it along a winding road. It would be nice if the steering had more feedback, like Honda Accords of the past and the Mazda6 of the present, but we're guessing most people will like that its light effort makes it easy to steer. Ride quality is excellent in most trims, but models with 19-inch wheels have so little tire sidewall that there's considerable impact harshness over bumps." -- Autoblog
  • "The Accord is a mature sports sedan, tranquil and composed when you want it to be but ready and willing to play when asked. With a sense of harmony between the primary controls and a fluidity to the responses of the chassis, the Accord engenders confidence." -- Car and Driver (2018)
  • "This latest Accord skews to the athletic side among family sedans, and the steering's weighty feel contributes to a solid, substantial handling experience." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
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2020 Honda Accord

MSRP: $23,870 - $36,100

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