The upcoming 2011 Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe will receive changes that include improved fuel economy, modified exterior and interior styling and the addition of a new leather-equipped Special Edition (SE) trim level. It’s a mild upgrade of the eighth generation Accord that appeared in 2008.
The Accord, of course, was the first Japanese-nameplate car assembled in the United States in 1982 when it was being made both in Japan and in a brand-new automobile assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio. The success of the Accord set a path for Honda’s huge American expansion, and proved that building cars in America was a viable proposition.
The fuel economy improvement is significant since Accord still lacks a sixth transmission speed, unlike Toyota and other competitors. Given the competitiveness of the segment – accounting for almost 20% of the cars sold in the U.S., Honda is still playing catch up here, an unexpected lag for what normally is a company that resides at the top of the innovation column of the scorecard. (See Driving the 2010 Honda Accord ) More ominous is the large drop in Honda R&D spending since 2008 when the reckless practices of Wall Street resulted in the ongoing Global Great Recession and cutbacks at all makers.
For the new model year, Honda claims that improvements to vehicle aerodynamics, engine friction and transmission gear ratios contribute to better fuel economy. It is projecting that the EPA fuel-economy rating for Accord 4-cylinder sedan models equipped with an automatic transmission will improve by 2 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 3 mpg on the highway, for a city/highway rating of 23/34 mpg.
Honda has already sold more than 100,000 Accords this year in sedan or coupe versions with 4-cylinder and V6 variations. Toyota Camry total sales are close to 97,000, meaning that Honda is threatening Camry’s, eight-year best-selling streak. Both Accord and Camry leases start in the $200/month range right now, and well-equipped models are offered at under $300. It will be interesting to see if Honda increases the price of the new Accord when it goes on sale in mid-August.
The 2011 Accord Sedan’s exterior has a new front grille, front bumper and rear deck lid, along with a new wheel design. The Accord Coupe’s stance is enhanced with a “bolder” front grille design, new front bumper shape, changed brakelights and a new wheel design for V6 models.