July 9, 2014
2014 Honda Accord Sport. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
Who on earth (okay, in North America) buys a manual-transmission-equipped Honda Accord these days? Sadly, not too many of us. It’s an evolution of our driving habits that has seen us move away from rowing our own gears and trusting the automatics and CVTs of today to do the job for us. It doesn’t help that most of these modern transmissions do a pretty good job at interpreting what we want from our cars a lot of the time. Heck, some of them even let us wrest an iota of control back in the form of manual gear changes using cool flappy paddles or the gear selector. But if you’re a driving enthusiast, and you want the ultimate level of control, no automatic can offer you that. Not even the best of the automatics.
And so it was with great keenness and genuine joy that I embarked on my week-long relationship with this, the rarest of beasts. A nice sedan with a smart engine, paired with a manual transmission – the combination of which begs you to work a bit, to get involved and to give a shift.
I like the current Accord styling. The lines, taut and mildly aggressive, balance a nice sedan aesthetic with a hint of athleticism. Is it exciting or off-the-charts fresh? No, but it is a great design in my opinion.
The Sport model gets treated to a couple of unique features that it doesn’t have to share. First of all, it gets a rear decklid spoiler. It’s difficult to overstate how much of a visual difference it makes. It looks fantastic and really finishes off the rear end, as does the dual exhaust. The Sport also gets its own special 18-inch rims that wear chunky 235/45 rubber – both normally reserved for the V6 Accords.
Overall, it’s a very nice, straightforward styling exercise and I think it suits the car’s intentions well.
Inside, the Accord’s styling is simple and clean. The materials are nice – the upper part of the dash and virtually all of the door panels are soft touch, and fit and finish is exemplary. The heated fabric seats are comfortable and provide good bolstering for this class.
Honda makes a good steering wheel; this one is leather-wrapped, grippy, nicely shaped and adds controls for the phone, media, cruise control and the driver information screen. Behind it is the typical Honda gauge cluster – tach on the left, large easy-to-read floating speedometer in the centre with a driver information screen in the middle, and temperature and fuel gauges on the right. There is a large eight-inch screen set far back into a hooded bin in the centre of the dash – it handles your media (media AM, FM, CD, USB and Bluetooth streaming), the phone, most car settings and some fuel economy–related readouts. The whole thing is controlled by a rotary jog dial button and a series of hard buttons; it’s clean and works quite well. There’s also a dual zone automatic climate control.
2014 Honda Accord Sport dashboard & centre stack. Click image to enlarge
The centre console houses the shifter (truly a rare sight nowadays), a traditional parking brake lever and a pair of genius square cupholders that fittingly enable my chocolate milk addiction on the road.
The Accord offers a number of spots to put your everyday stuff, including a lidded bin in the centre stack, a rubberized open drop-in space with 12V and USB plugs at the front of the console and a small carpeted bin under armrest lid (with another 12V plug).
In the back there are three seats, each with a headrest and a seatbelt. The two outboard seats are very comfortable, and I found the headroom and legroom to be very impressive (I’m 5’10″). The center position is unsurprisingly narrow, with a harder, raised seat surface and straddles a low (but still intrusive) tunnel on the floor. It’s fine to relegate your kids that don’t know any better to it, but any adult forced to sit there won’t be your friend for long. The middle seatback folds down to become an armrest with two cupholders in it but that’s it in terms of convenience. No plugs, no air vents.
2014 Honda Accord Sport front & rear seats. Click image to enlarge
I appreciated that the doors open wide making for easy ingress for passengers as well as for parents putting kids into child seats. Speaking of kids’ seats, you get two sets of LATCH anchors for them. We had all three of our kids back there and they thought it was pretty comfortable.
You’ll find a spacious 447-litre trunk that works pretty well for most cargo needs. I found it irritating that I couldn’t open from the outside, unless I was using the remote open button on the key. There’s no exterior trunk release button, and just as irritating is the lack of handle on the inside of the trunk lid. This 25-cent omission by manufacturers really gets my goat because it forces me to get handprints on my trunk lid and likely get my hands dirty in the winter.