2011 Honda Accord Review and Prices
The 2011 Honda Accord is the best car for you if you appreciate precision engineering in your daily transportation, and don’t want to pay a bundle for it.
The 2011 Honda Accord gets a mid-cycle freshening that includes revised styling, improved fuel economy, and some reconfigured dashboard controls. It also adds a new leather-upholstered Special Edition (SE) model. The 2011 Honda Accord sedan is a blueprint for the comfortable and efficient midsize four-door while the stylish 2011 Honda Accord Coupe compares well to some pedigreed sports models. Together they form one of America’s most-popular car lines. The top value in a 2011 Accord is a sedan in midrange EX trim with the four-cylinder engine.
Should you buy a 2011 Honda Accord or wait for the 2012 Honda Accord? Buy the 2011 Honda Accord. It’ll sport the styling and features that’ll carry this car to its next full redesign, likely for model-year 2013. The 2012 Accord won’t receive any notable changes. Its styling will look stale sooner than will the 2011 Accord’s. And Honda, which has been offering the most liberal incentives in its history, may not be so generous once the 2012 Accord rolls around.
2011 Honda Accord Changes back to top
Styling: The 2011 Honda Accord sedan and 2011 Honda Accord Coupe get revised grille inserts and simplified front bumper appearance. The 2011 Accord sedan gains a new trunklid with red horizontal reflector bars that span most of car’s width. The 2011 Accord Coupe has new taillamps that relocate the clear, brake-light portion from the top of the lens to the bottom. There also are new wheel designs for the sedan and for six-cylinder Coupes. All the changes are subtle, but Honda says some make the 2011 Accord more aerodynamic for improved fuel economy. Unchanged are either body style’s critical dimensions. Unaltered as well are the Accord sedan’s busy body creases, which are far less harmonious than the swept-back lines of the Accord Coupe. The 2011 Accord sedan remains among the largest midsize cars thanks in great measure to its long wheelbase. This is the distance between the front and rear axles and essentially defines how much space a car can allot for the passenger compartment. The Accord sedan’s 110.0-inch wheelbase is exceeded among direct competitors only by the Chevrolet Malibu’s 112.3-inch stretch. For a sportier look and more nimble handling – at the expense of rear-seat leg room -- the 2011 Accord Coupe retains its 107.9-inch wheelbase and correspondingly shorter overall body length. The new 2011 Honda Accord SE is offered as a sedan only and brings to the lower end of the lineup several previously unavailable luxury features, including leather upholstery and heated front seats. The 2011 Accord sedan roster is otherwise a repeat. It begins with the LX and better-equipped LX-P models, adds the SE, and continues through and EX and top-line EX-L trim. The 2011 Accord coupe returns LX-S, EX, and EX-L models.
Mechanical: The 2011 Honda Accord sticks with a proven formula of front-wheel drive and a choice of carefully matched four- and six-cylinder engines. Modifications that reduce internal engine friction team with revised automatic-transmission gear ratios and the improved aerodynamics to boost fuel economy by as much as 3 mpg for 2011. (See the “2011 Honda Accord Fuel Economy” section below for details.) The 2011 Accords are otherwise mechanically unaltered. Their front-wheel drive layout places the mass of the engine over the wheels that propel the car. That’s good for traction in snow and it concentrates the powertrain in the car’s nose, leaving maximum space for passengers and cargo. Despite its relatively large size, Accord isn’t overweight, so Honda can use engines tuned for a balance of performance and fuel economy. The 2011 Accord doesn’t need to gain horsepower to stay competitive, and it doesn’t. Its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine again comes in two states of tune. In the LX, XL-P, and SE sedans, it has 177 horsepower. In the more expensive EX and EX-L sedans and in the all the Coupes it has 190 horsepower. All four-cylinder Accords are available with a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. The 2011 Accord’s V-6 is again a 3.5-liter with 271 horsepower. It’s available in the EX V-6 and EX-L V-6 sedans and in the EX-L V-6 Coupe. This V-6 has Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology that saves gas by deactivating three cylinders in low-demand cruising. All V-6 Accord sedans have a five-speed automatic transmission. The 2011 Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe is positioned as a performance-oriented two-door and its version of the 3.5-liter lacks VCM. The EX-L V-6 Coupe is the only six-cylinder Accord available with manual transmission; its six-speed manual is geared for quick acceleration. The Accord EX-L V-6 coupe is also available with the five-speed automatic, and 2011 models gain this car’s first steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles; they enable the driver to mimic the gear selection of a manual transmission.
Features: The 2011 Honda Accord complements its exterior facelift with a host of feature upgrades -- some long overdue. As per Honda custom, Accord isn’t available with individual options. Instead, Honda imposes a strict model hierarchy with a well-defined suite of standard equipment at each level. None of the features added to the 2011 Accord is critical, but Honda’s foot-dragging on some reveals how rivals are exploiting a weakness. For example, Accord finally gets a USB iPod interface, a basic 21st century convenience most competitors make standard even on their low-price trim levels. Honda, however, confines USB linking to the 2011 Accord coupes and to the EX and EX-L sedans. Similarly, Honda continues to offer a navigation system only on EX-L Accords at a $2,200 premium for sedans and $2,000 on the coupes. By contrast, the redesigned 2011 Hyundai Sonata, offers navigation even on its entry-level trim. In the Accord, Bluetooth hands-free cell-phone connectivity is limited to the EX-L sedan and EX and EX-L coupes. Bluetooth connectivity – increasingly viewed as a safety feature -- is far more widely available on most Accord competitors and is standard on many. For 2011, Honda finally enhances Accord’s navigation-system screen with a rearview backup camera – another safety adjunct – but only on the sedans. As before, the “L” in EX-L denotes standard leather upholstery; other Accord models have cloth seating surfaces and they get new fabrics for 2011. Power heated front seats are limited to EX-L models and for 2011, Accord EX-L V-6s gain a two-position memory for the driver’s seat. Finally, the 2011 Accord dashboard repositions the most frequently used climate-control buttons closer to the driver. This enhances Accord’s already laudable ergonomics, which are in fact just one of the assets that help this car overcome its occasional gap in features availability. Rivals may be more liberal with accessories, but Accord remains the class benchmark for cabin spaciousness, comfort, and materials quality.
2011 Honda Accord Prices back to top
Prices for the 2011 Honda Accord haven’t increased dramatically over those of the 2010 Accord, which means they remain competitive, not bargain-basement. Honda during 2010 reversed its historical aversion to factory incentives and lease deals, offering unprecedented levels of both to help buoy sales. Sales did increase, but the brand’s market share is stagnant in the face of ever stronger competition.
Any way you slice it, though, the 2011 Honda Accord represents attractive value with engineering that translates into a rewarding driving experience, good reliability, and robust resale values. Some rivals with weaker credentials have base prices that undercut those of the Accord. But Accord is among the few cars that manages to be both affordable and aspirational.
The 2011 Honda Accord prices span $22,030-$32,480. (Prices in this review include the manufacturer’s mandated destination fee; Honda’s fee for the 2011 Accord is $750.)
Four-cylinder Accords begin at $22,030 for the LX with a manual transmission ($22,730 with the automatic) and top out at $30,305 for the EX-L V-6 with Navi that comes with leather, sunroof, navigation, and other amenities. That’s not inexpensive for a four-cylinder car. But forgo a few creature comforts and for $25,655 you can land an EX sedan that includes the higher-horsepower four-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, power driver’s seat, heated power mirrors, power sunroof, and 17-inch alloy wheels. That’s a fine car and a fabulous value. It costs over $2,000 more for the same model with the V-6 ($27,830), but the four-cylinder is so well matched to this car that you’ll likely find the extra power superfluous.
Introduction of 2011 Honda Accord SE at $24,480 appears an astute move. It slots into the lineup just above the popular LX-P model ($23,730) and enables buyers to get a four-cylinder Accord sedan equipped with alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and power driver’s-seat lumbar adjustment without having to step all the way up to the $28,105 EX-L model.
The 2011 Honda Accord Coupes are priced slightly higher than comparably equipped 2011 Accord sedan counterparts. For example, the base 2011 Accord LX-S Coupe is priced at $23,530 ($24,330 with automatic transmission), while the 2011 EX-L Coupe costs $27,855 and includes the automatic. The 2011 Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe is priced at $32,480 with either the manual or automatic gearbox. Accord Coupes trade rear-seat room for racy styling, but are still more practical than most two-door cars of this size.
2011 Honda Accord Fuel Economy back to top
Hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry are the most fuel-efficient cars in the midsize class. But the 2011 Honda Accord’s EPA ratings are competitive with any gas-engine rival’s, and get even better this year.
Fuel economy ratings for 2011 Honda Accords with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder are identical for the 177- and 190-horsepower versions though they differ slightly among sedans and coupes.
With the five-speed manual transmission, four-cylinder 2011 Accords improve by 1 mpg in city driving and 2 mpg on the highway to 23/33 mpg city/highway.
With the five-speed automatic transmission, four-cylinder 2011 Accord sedans improve by 2 mpg in the city and by 3 mpg on the highway, to 23/34 mpg city/highway. With the five-speed automatic, four-cylinder 2011 Accord coupes improve by 1 mpg highway to rate 22/33 mpg.
V-6 Accord sedans come only with the five-speed automatic transmission and for 2011 rate 20/30 mpg, an improvement of 1 mpg in both city and highway driving.
Mileage ratings for the V-6 2011 Accord coupes improve by 1 mpg in highway driving, to 17/26 mpg with the six-speed manual transmission and 19/29 with the five-speed automatic. All Accords use regular-grade 87-octane fuel.
2011 Honda Accord Release Date back to top
The 2011 Honda Accord goes on sale in mid August 2010.
What's next for the 2011 Honda Accord back to top
The 2012 Honda Accord should bring down the curtain on a basic Accord design that dates from model-year 2008. The 2012 model could see further slight expansion of Accord’s features roster. Some sort of blind-spot detection system would be a competitive advance. And Honda could mix and match amenities to create another niche model, as it did with the 2011 Accord SE sedan.
Major changes would await the model-year 2013 introduction of the next fully redesigned Accord. Details about that car are a closely guarded secret. What is known is that Honda is rethinking much of its overall product strategy in the face of criticism – some from within the company -- that its cars have lost their sense of innovation and style.
Such criticism reportedly caused Honda to delay introduction of the next-generation Civic compact, making adjustments that pushed it back from model-year 2011 to model-year 2012. Honda is assuredly assessing Accord’s competitive landscape. If it finds the next-generation model now under development far off target, it could delay its introduction, too.
In general, look for the ninth-generation Accord – whenever it appears – to show evidence that Honda takes seriously threats to its design leadership. That could mean a startlingly futurist-looking Accord inspired by some of Honda’s brilliantly styled overseas models. The ninth-generation Accord could also be slightly smaller and lighter than today’s model, in the name of fuel efficiency and competitive repositioning.
2011 Honda Accord Competition back to top
2011 Toyota Camry: Accord’s arch rival for sales leadership, dependability ratings, and resale value. Camry reigns for isolating comfort and refinement at the cost of handling prowess. It comes only as a front-wheel-drive sedan with a choice of four-cylinder and V-6 engines and a gas-electric hybrid option. Base price range is about $20,400-$30,000. Estimated fuel economy is 22/33 with the gas four-cylinder, 20/29 with the V-6, 31/35 for the Hybrid. The Toyota Camry’s next full redesign is expected for model-year 2012.
2011 Hyundai Sonata: In the midsize-class sales race, Accord and Camry duke it out for No. 1 while the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima tussle for Nos. 3 and 4. Altima is still a leading alternative among Accord intenders. But no midsize car is attracting new buyers quicker than the redesigned 2011 Sonata. Its advanced styling, roomy cabin, and tech-rich standard equipment list are tuned to future trends in this class. Perhaps most predictive is Sonata’s all-four-cylinder powertrain lineup, including a naughty 274-horsepower turbo and a sophisticated gas-electric hybrid. Fuel economy starts at 24/35 mpg; the turbo’s at 22/34 and the hybrid’s rated 37/39. Base prices start around $20,000.
2011 Ford Fusion: Refreshed for model-year 2010 and riding Ford’s brand-wide momentum, this sedan is another fast sales climber. Fusion’s roomy and capable and is the only car in this group to offer all-wheel drive in addition to front-wheel drive. One attraction is the state-of-the-art Fusion Hybrid, a lively gas/electric with fuel-economy ratings of 41/36. A starting price around $28,000 is the cost of progress. Otherwise, Fusion four-cylinders rate around 23/33 and are priced from about $20,000. Two V-6s are offered, starting around $24,000 and rated to 18/27 mpg. Fusion’s next full redesign likely comes for model-year 2013.
UPDATED BY JIM GORZELANY