2012 Honda Accord Review and Prices

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2011

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2012 Honda Accord Buying Advice

The 2012 Honda Accord is the best car for you if you want a great midsize sedan in the sunset of a great run.

The 2012 Honda Accord has a USB iPod interface in every model, not just the most expensive ones, but is otherwise unchanged as the Japanese autormaker readies a redesigned replacement for model-year 2013. The 2012 Accord returns as a four-door sedan and two-door coupe. Both offer four- and six-cylinder engines and the sedan remains among the largest cars in the midsize class. Though newer Accord competitors furnish a wider range of features at various price points, none better balances roominess, build quality, and driving satisfaction. The best 2012 Accord value remains a four-cylinder sedan in midrange EX trim at $25,875 with automatic transmission.

Should you buy a 2012 Honda Accord or wait for the 2013 Honda Accord? Buy the 2012 Honda Accord and you’ll get an aged design that’s still appealing enough to be one of America’s top-selling cars. Wait for the 2013 Honda Accord and you’ll get the first of an all-new Accord generation and the fresh styling, technology, and features that go with it.

2012 Honda Accord Changes back to top

Styling: The 2012 Honda Accord sedan and 2012 Honda Accord Coupe carry over the subtle styling changes given the 2011 Accord. Those included minor alterations to the grille and front bumper, red horizontal reflector bars across the sedan’s rump, and revised taillights for the coupe. New wheel designs, repositioned climate controls, and fresh cloth upholstery were also part of the 2011 updates.

Key dimensions were unchanged so the 2012 Accord remains among the most spacious sedans in its class -- if not the most visually appealing. The 2012 Accord Coupe is smaller than the sedan, sacrificing some rear-seat room to achieve a more compact package with sportier handing and svelter lines.

Honda doesn’t offer options per se. Instead it creates individual models, each with an escalating suite of features. The carmaker has closed out previous generations of its vehicles by adding a commemorative model with unique trim and equipment. There’s no such 2012 model, Honda having instead jumped the gun for model-year 2011 by adding a mid-priced Accord SE (Special Edition) sedan that leached some luxury amenities from higher in the lineup.
Thus, the 2012 Accord sedan again begins its lineup with the LX trim level and ascends through LX-P, SE, EX, and EX-L versions. The 2012 Accord Coupe repeats an LX-S, EX, and EX-L model ladder.

Styling distinctions among the 2012 Accord models are minor. The LX sedan comes with 16-inch steel wheels with plastic wheel covers and the LX-P and SE sedans have 16-inch alloys. All other sedan and coupe models have 17-inch alloy wheels, save the EX-L V-6, which has 18s. Accords equipped with the V-6 get chromed instead of body-color door handles, fog lights, and dual exhaust outlets. The EX-L V-6 Coupe also has a body-colored rear spoiler.

Mechanical: The 2012 Honda Accord has no mechanical features that weren’t available on the 2011 Accord. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine again serves the lion’s share of Accord buyers. In the LX, XL-P, and SE sedans it returns at 177 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque (think of torque as force that gets a car moving, horsepower as the energy that keeps it moving). In EX and EX-L sedans this four-cylinder is rated at 190 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. This version repeats as the base engine in the 2012 Accord Coupe.

On four-cylinder Accords, a five-speed manual transmission is standard on LX and EX sedans and on LX-S and EX Coupes. A five-speed automatic transmission is available at extra cost on those models and is standard on all other four-cylinder sedans and coupes.

The 2012 Accord’s V-6 remains exclusive to the EX V-6 and EX-L V-6 sedans and to the EX-L V-6 Coupe. In the sedans, the V-6 again features Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system, which saves gas by idling three cylinders in low-demand cruising. This 3.5-has 271 horsepower and is rated at 254 pound-feet of torque in the sedans and 251 pound-feet in the coupes.

A five-speed automatic repeats as the sole transmission for Accord V-6 sedans. The Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe is positioned as a performance model and is the only six-cylinder Accord available with manual transmission – a six-speed in this case. It’s also available with the five-speed automatic and coupes thus equipped are the only Accords with steering-wheel paddle shifters for manual-type gear control.

Among Accord engines, the 190-horsepower four-cylinder represents the best blend of price, power, fuel economy, and overall balance. An overwhelming majority of Accord buyers choose automatic transmission, and while Honda’s five-speed automatic works well enough, Accord’s top rivals have more modern and efficient six-speed automatics.

Like the majority of midsize cars, the 2012 Accord again has front-wheel drive. This locates the weight the engine and transmission over the wheels that propel the car. That benefits traction in snow and, by concentrating the powertrain components in the front of the car, leaves maximum space for passengers and cargo.

Features: The 2012 Honda Accord continues to offer most every comfort, convenience, and tech feature available on its rivals. Most competitors, however, make the most desirable ones more widely available.

Indeed, recent additions to Accord’s roster of features suggest Honda realizes it’s been late to the party with such 21st-century basics as USB iPod interface, power memory driver’s seat, and a rearview camera. All those became available on Accord for the first time in model-year 2011. Only the USB interface, however, spreads to become standard on all 2012 Accords, not just the EX and EX-L versions.  

The Accord SE sedan is more evidence of Honda’s competitive maneuvering. It pulls luxuries such as leather upholstery and heated front seats from the EX-L models to a sedan priced lower in the lineup. Honda apparently is waiting for the model-year 2013 redesign to further enhance Accord by adding safety helpers such as blind-spot detection and lane-departure warning.

The 2012 Accord hews to a policy that reserves availability of a navigation system to top-line EX-L models. And while some competitors make Bluetooth cell-phone connectivity standard on most every model in the lineup, the hands-free linking system is limited to just the 2012 Accord Coupes and to the EX-L sedans.  

As for 2012 Accord audio systems, all now include both the USB and an auxiliary jack and continue with steering-wheel-mounted controls. EX Coupe and EX-L sedans upgrade from the base 160-watt six-speaker single-CD unit to a 270-watt system with a six-disc changer and subwoofer. XM satellite radio is standard on EX-L models. The navigation system uses an 8-inch dashboard touchscreen and responds to voice commands and steering-wheel controls; models so equipped get a rearview camera that displays on the navigation screen.   

Even without the most liberal features policy and even as it nears the end of its design lifecycle, the 2012 Accord remains an outstandingly executed example of an affordable midsize car. Rivals may be more lavishly outfitted, but none has yet left Accord behind for assembly quality, sound ergonomics, and family-sedan space. And credit Honda with including in the base price of every 2012 Accord all the pertinent safety systems, such as antiskid and traction control, as well as such convenience essentials as air conditioning, cruise control, and power windows, locks, and mirrors.

2012 Honda Accord Prices back to top

Base-price range for the 2012 Honda Accord is $22,150-$32,700. That’s a modest increase over the 2011 Honda Accord base-price span of $22,030-$32,480 and indicates Honda realizes the 2012 version must remain competitive as it shows its age amidst an aggressive pack of younger rivals.

The 2012 Honda Accord LX sedan starts at $22,150 with manual transmission and $22,950 with automatic. (Base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s mandated destination fee; Honda’s fee for the 2012 Accord is $770.) In addition to the items listed in the Features section above, Accord LXs come standard with a tilt/telescope steering column, front center storage console with sliding armrest, manual height-adjustable driver’s seat, and folding rear seatback.

The 2012 Accord LX-P sedan is priced at $23,950 and comes with the automatic transmission. To the LX sedans it adds such features as the alloy wheels, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, antitheft system, and illuminated power window switches with automatic up/down driver’s window.

Priced at $24,700, the 2012 Accord SE sedan is a tempting value. Like the LX and LX-P models, it comes with the 177-horsepower four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. But it adds such attractive amenities as standard leather upholstery with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, driver’s-seat power lumber adjustment, and heated front seats.

We’d forego a few of the SE sedan’s luxury touches to move up to a 2012 Accord EX sedan because it upgrades to the 190-horsepower four-cylinder. This engine is exceptionally well-matched to this sedan and, unlike the 177-horsepower version, has enough performance to be a credible substitute for the more expensive V-6 engine. And a small cadre of shift-it-yourself diehards will note that it’s available with Honda’s very good manual transmission.

The 2012 Accord EX sedan with the four-cylinder engine starts at $25,075 with manual transmission and $25,875 with automatic. The 2012 Accord EX V-6 sedan is priced at $28,050 and comes with the automatic transmission. To LX models, the EXs add such features as the 17-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof, additional interior trim, heated outside mirrors, and the upgraded audio system. EX V-6 sedans also have two-position driver’s-seat power memory.

The 2012 Accord EX-L sedans are priced at $28,325 with the four-cylinder engine and at $30,400 with the V-6. Both include the automatic transmission and add to corresponding EX four- and six-cylinder versions standard leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth with steering-wheel mounted controls, the 270-watt audio, and an outside temperature gauge.

The top-of-the-line 2012 Accord sedan is the EX-L with Navi (navigation). It’s priced at $30,545 with the 190-horsepower four-cylinder and $32,700 with the V-6. Except for the navigation system, EX-L with Navi models are outfitted identically to EX-Ls.

The 2012 Accord Coupes are comparably equipped to their sedan-model counterparts, with the LX-S Coupe playing the role of the LX sedan except it has the 190- instead of the 177-horsepower four-cylinder engine.

The 2012 LX-S Coupe is priced at $23,750 with the manual transmission and $24,550 with the automatic. The 2012 Accord EX Coupe is priced at $25,425 with manual transmission and $26,225 with automatic. Rounding out the four-cylinder 2012 Accord Coupe line, the EX-L two-door is priced at $28,075 and the EX-L with Navi is $30,075.

The 2012 Accord Coupe V-6 line starts with the EX-L and it priced at the same $30,700 with either the six-speed manual transmission or the five-speed automatic. Top of the coupe line is the EX-L Coupe with Navi; it’s priced at $32,700 with either the six-speed manual or the five-speed automatic.

2012 Honda Accord Fuel Economy back to top

Honda’s dedication to efficient design and engineering pays off in outstanding fuel economy throughout its model range and the Accord is no exception. It’s larger than most every competitor yet is in the top tier of midsize cars for gas mileage with both the four- and six-cylinder engines.

Honda achieves a satisfying symmetry in fuel-economy ratings for its 2012 Accord sedans. Equipped with either the 177-horsepower or 190-horsepower four-cylinder engine and with either the five-speed manual transmission or the five-speed automatic, every combination is rated at 23/34 mpg city/highway and 27 mpg combined.

The 2012 Accord sedans with the V-6 engine rate 20/30 mpg city/highway and 24 mpg combined.

Fuel-economy ratings for the 2012 Accord Coupes with the four-cylinder engine vary slightly. Manual-transmission versions rate 23/32 mpg city/highway, 26 combined. Automatic-equipped models rate 22/33/26.

Reflecting their acceleration-enhancing gear ratios and the absence of the gas-saving Variable Cylinder Management system, V-6 Accord Coupes rate 17/26 mpg city/highway, 21 mpg combined with the six-speed manual transmission and 19/29/23 with the five-speed automatic.

All 2012 Accord models are tuned for 87-octane gas.     

2012 Honda Accord Release Date back to top

The 2012 Honda Accord went on sale in August 2011.

What's next for the 2012 Honda Accord back to top

The 2013 Honda Accord will be the first all-new Accord since the 2008 model and it seems poised to reverse a trend. Accord made its U.S. debut for model-year 1976 and every succeeding redesign has produced a larger car than the one it replaced. That may not be the case with the ninth-generation 2013 model.

Reports say Honda management concluded that Accord has grown too big and that the redesigned 2013 model’s body will be shorter by several inches and probably narrower, as well. That could trim weight, to the benefit of fuel economy. But crucially, Honda may not chop much if anything from the next-generation Accord’s wheelbase.

Wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear axles and key to the amount of space a vehicle can allot to the passenger compartment. By maintaining the 2008-2012 Accord’s wheelbase but shrinking the body, Honda could preserve the car’s generous legroom while giving its midsize mainstay a sportier stance on the road. That would dovetail with pressure Honda may feel to give the next-generation Accord – the sedan in particular -- styling that appeals to a younger buyer.

Key rivals are also being redesigned for model-year 2013 and among them the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and 2013 Ford Fusion are expected to dump their available V-6 engines for an all-four-cylinder lineup. This is a midsize-car powertrain strategy pioneered successfully by the aggressively designed Hyundai Sonata.

Expect the 2013 Accord, however, to reprise four- and six-cylinder engines at roughly the same horsepower ratings as the outgoing versions. In that, it’ll reflect the decision made by Toyota in its 2012 redesign of Accord’s archrival, the Camry. It, too, retains a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines.

One minor 2013 surprise is the likely return of a gas-electric Accord Hybrid. Expect it to combine a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine with electric-motor power and to come in both self-charging versions and, eventually, as a plug-in hybrid.

2012 Honda Accord Competition back to top

Toyota Camry: Accord’s arch rival in sales, dependability, and resale value beats it to market with an all new design for model-year 2012. The 2012 Camry reruns its basic front-wheel-drive, four-door-sedan formula and keeps its exterior dimensions intact. But new styling aims for a more youthful feel. And while engineers have given it marginally more engaging road manners, it still trails Accord overall for handling sharpness. Engines are a four-cylinder with 178 horsepower and ratings of 25/35 mpg city/highway, 28 combined, a V-6 with 268 horsepower and 21/30/25 mpg, and a four-cylinder gas-electric hybrid with 200 horsepower and 43/39/41 mpg. The four-cylinder models start at $22,715, the V-6s at $27,400, and the hybrid at $26,660.  

Hyundai Sonata: South Korea’s Hyundai has seen the future and Sonata -- all-new for 2011 -- is the result. Eye-riveting styling, a tech-rich standard equipment list, and an all-four-cylinder engine lineup earn this roomy sedan a slot on a lot of shopping lists. The 198-horsepwer models start at $20,455 and rate 22/35/26 mpg with automatic transmission. Turbo models have 274 horsepower, rate 22/34/26 mpg and start at $25,405. Gas-electric hybrids have 206 horsepower, rate 35/40/37, and are priced from around $27,000.

Nissan Altima: Still a big seller, but it faces some of the same challenges as Accord and will  have to wait until a model-year 2013 redesign to address them fully.  The 2012 Altima continues in sedan and coupe form, both with some appeal to Accord sedan and coupe shoppers for performance, spaciousness, and pricing. Altima’s styling is still a bit more aggressive than Accord’s, but refinement and overall quality feel aren’t up to Honda levels.  Four-cylinder Altimas have 174 horsepower, rate 23/32/27, and start at $21,170. V-6 models have 270 horsepower, rate 20/27/23 and start at $26,190. No hybrid is offered. All Altima sedans have front-wheel drive and use a CVT in place of a conventional automatic transmission.