Honda announced earlier today that they’re ditching all naturally aspirated engines for the 2018 Honda Accord in favor of its turbocharged engines.
For 22 years Honda has included a more powerful V6 option for its Accord, but for 2018 they’re replacing two cylinders for a turbo. According to Honda on their latest press release that dropped earlier today (Jun 9, 2017) Honda announced that three new powertrains, as well as a more efficient 10-speed automatic transmission already doing duty in the Honda Odyssey, will find its way in the Accord’s engine bay.
First there’s the base model Accord which will use the 1.5T (174 HP/162 lb-ft in the Civic) already in the 10th gen Civic. No word how Honda will tune this 1.5T for power to suit the Accords slightly heftier weight but we do know Honda will have a CVT standard with a 6-speed manual as an option.
The big news is that Honda has axed its J35 engine which was making a healthy 278 HP and 252 lb-ft. Honda will instead use a differently tuned version of its 2.0T found in the Honda Civic Type R. The Type R makes 306 HP and 295 lb-ft. Again, we can only assume the final power numbers, but like most naturally aspirated options that go turbo, we can expect a slight increase in HP but a huge bump in torque over the previous generation. Standard on the 2.0T Accord will be a 10-speed automatic or an optional 6-speed manual.
Also available will be an Accord Hybrid that pairs a battery pack to their 1.5T. The 2017 Accord Hybrid made 49 mpg city, 47 highway and 48 combined. Expect Accord Hybrid to break the 50 MPG mark for all those figures.
The Honda Accord is a staple of Honda’s brand strategy in North America. According to GoodCarBadCar, Honda consistently sells about 350,000 units of Accord every year in the United States. Slight dips in numbers due to the popularity of crossovers might be present, but Honda can almost predict how well the Accord will sell based on its previous numbers. For 2017, Honda has already sold 130,000 units.
If according to The Car Connection, 20 percent of Accord buyers opt for the V6, we’re looking at a sizeable chunk of potential buyers being presented with this new option. On one hand buyers might be swayed by the likely higher advertised MPG numbers and newfound power but on the other hand, potential previous V6 shoppers might be turned off by the real world MPG they actually achieve once they catch wind of how turbocharged engines work in their day-to-day activities.
As far as the younger tuner crowd is concerned, this is mostly all good news. Most aftermarket engine modifications coming out for the Civic will be transferable to the Accord. That means a higher degree of personalization if an Accord owner so chooses.
When Autoblog tested a pre-production model of the Accord, Honda made sure that any concerns about power would be thrown out the window by taking their test Accord to its governor-limited top speed and buzzing all the journalists.
There is only the lightly rustling of leaves, a particularly annoying crow and then 1.2 seconds of fury as a 10th-generation Honda Accord prototype breaks all of the wind somewhere near 130 mph. There’s a sharp gasp and the young woman to my left is wide-eyed and staring at blank space where a car used to be.
Honda wants to let buyers and journalists know that they’ve doubled down on its turbo and are taking a calculated risk that’ll hopefully pay dividends. If the Civic is any indication how that usually turns out for them, they shouldn’t be too worried.