2012 Honda Accord EX-L
2012 Honda Accord EX-L. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Michael Schlee

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2012 Honda Accord

It is hard to believe that the Honda Accord has been on sale in North America for over 35 years.  During those years the accord has come in just about every body style known to man: sedan, coupe, wagon, hatchback, crossover, etc (sadly though, no convertible).  It has evolved from the original 1976 three-door compact hatchback, to an EPA-classified full-size sedan in 2012 (even though we still refer to it as a mid-size).   Despite all of these changes, one thing has remained constant for all 36 years: four-cylinder engines.  As the car has grown, so has the size, power, and sophistication of the inline-four unit under the Accord’s hood.  Our 2012 Honda Accord EX-L NAVI test car has a 2.4-litre unit developing 190 hp—a far cry from the 68-hp 1.6-litre engines found in 1976 Accords.
Toyota has a campaign right now claiming everyone at some point has either owned, or known someone who owned a Corolla; the same can be said for the Honda Accord.  Honda has always struck a near perfect three-way balance between economy, practicality, and ease of use with the Accord.  After all, you have to be doing something right to have a model sell successfully for 36 years running, and the Accord has always been one of the best family cars for the times.

2012 Honda Accord EX-L
2012 Honda Accord EX-L
2012 Honda Accord EX-L. Click image to enlarge

Today, however, the family sedan segment is packed with fierce competition.  Threats come from all over the world as Japanese, Korean, American, and German automakers have taken aim directly at the Honda Accord.  In fact, in 2011 two mid-size sedans were in the top ten passenger vehicle sales list and neither were the Accord (or Camry for that matter)—the Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata were the only mid-sizers to crack the top ten.  The Accord finished way down in sixth place in the mid-size sales pack, although much of this sales decline can be attributed to parts shortages caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. 
Now running at full capacity once again, Honda has not changed the Accord all that much for 2012 as it just received significant updates last year. Honda added technology for 2012 with a USB audio interface now standard on every Accord, but other than that it is pretty much a carryover from 2011.  For review, I am in the highest possible trim you can get when equipped with the four-cylinder engine, an Accord EX-L NAVI.  Although there is an optional 271-hp, 3.5L V6 available for the Accord, most leave the showroom floor in Canada with the more economical 2.4L four-cylinder engine.
At a starting price of $31,790, the EX-L NAVI Accord comes equipped with features like memory driver’s power seat, power passenger seat, heated seats, leather, leather-wrapped steering wheel, navigation, moonroof and, of course, power everything.  The interior is luxurious for a family sedan, but not to the levels of the similarly sized, yet more expensive Acura TSX.  I found the seats in the Accord were not very comfortable.  Even with the lumbar support at the lowest setting I could feel it digging into my back.  For those shopping the Accord it is important to note that heated seats are only available on the EX-L trim levels and up.  However, available on every Accord is a great 270-watt stereo.  Turn up the adjustable subwoofer volume and rattle the windows as you take the kids to the mall.

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