The Marrying Type

In my last column, I wrote about what I (and many other automotive types) consider to be the most compelling, if under-considered, family sedan on the market, the 2016 Mazda 6. This week, I’m writing about the one that everyone considers automatically, the iconic and eminently popular Honda Accord. It’s the equivalent of the guy or girl your mom would set you up with if she met him or her at the grocery store.

So here’s the kicker: your mom actually found a keeper. For 2016, the Accord coupe and sedan models both got a facelift, now making them good-looking in addition to intelligent, efficient and in sedan form, versatile.

The most appealing Accord by a bunch is the four-cylinder Accord Sport sedan, which gets snappier styling, sexy 19-inch wheels, and a fabulous available manual transmission. I know most of you don’t like manuals, but Honda is a longtime master of manual shifters, and true to form, this one is city-friendly delight. The good news for the rest of you is that even the Accord’s CVT automatic doesn’t suck, should you be of the automatic persuasion. The bad news is that the Sport is only available in four-cylinder form. Leadfoot drivers may be attracted to the V-6—the Accord is one of the few cars in the segment still offered with one of those—which brings heaps more power (and cost), though in my opinion, the lithe, featherweight four-cylinder is where it’s at.

New to the Accord this year (and relatively new to the market in general) is available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is integrated into the car’s new flat-screen, button-less infotainment system. The system integrates the phone’s embedded maps, music and phone/text apps and makes them accessible via voice and/or the touch screen, though you can’t text while driving except via voice texting. Depending on your relationship with Siri (if you’re an Apple person like me) this can be rewarding or frustrating. In my week with the car, I found plenty to appreciate (safety!) as well as fault (it doesn’t work with Waze), but just as many of my grievances had as much to do with the button-less screen as its logic. Worth noting is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces are spreading across the industry from Fiat to Ferrari, so it’s best we get friendly with the systems now.

And few cars are generally as friendly as the Accord, whose spacious interior, reliability ratings and refreshed styling make it worth checking out. But the fact that it’s tech-savvy and fun to drive is what makes it the marrying type.

2016 Honda Accord
Base Price: from $22,925–$35,400
Power: 2.5-liter four-cylinder (185–189 hp, 185 lb-ft of torque); 3.0-liter V-6 (278 hp, 252 lb-ft of torque)
Transmission: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic, continuously variable automatic
Fuel Economy, city/hwy mpg (EPA est): 21­–27/34–37

Or you could buy:
Mazda 6
Toyota Camry
Volkswagen Passat