Why Shouldn’t Wait For the 2015 Accord – And Why You Should; A Look Ahead at Honda’s Midsize Sedan

What changes will make it different? 

Don’t expect too much. Honda redesigned its popular four-door midsize sedan and two-door coupe for model-year 2013 and added gas/electric and plug-in electric hybrid sedans for ’14. The carmaker is working on a new family of four-cylinder engines with turbocharging and high-pressure gasoline direct injection, but those likely won’t be ready until model-year 2016 at the earliest. A full redesign of the vehicle isn’t expected until ’17.

Why should I wait for the 2015 model?

To see if Honda adds new paint colors that better suit your fancy. With the company having introduced redesigned and all-new models the previous two years, expect designers and engineers to take a breather with the ‘15 offering.

Should I buy the current 2014 instead?

Only if you want to be among the first in your neighborhood to own the brand new Hybrid or Plug-In. (Note that the Plug-In is only available in California and New York at the moment.) If you’re not sold on the whole gasoline/electric thing, you can pick up an excellent midsize sedan that probably won’t be too different from the incoming 2015 models.

Will the styling be different?

The current look is based on a concept vehicle that premiered at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The Hybrid and Plug-In have specific cues designed to enhance aerodynamics, while the coupe has its own profile. All should carry into model-year 2015 with no major appearance updates. Don’t expect the lineup to vary from LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring sedans and LX-S, EX, and EX-L coupes. The two-door body style will remain shorter than the four-door in wheelbase and overall, as well as having a lower roofline. That means you’ll trade some ease of entry-exit, as well as sacrifice the sedan’s large rear seat, for the coupe’s swoopier styling.

Any mechanical changes?

Engine and transmission choices likely won’t see any updates until the 2017 redesign. Conventional (non-gas/electric) coupes and sedans should reprise availability of four-cylinder and V-6 drivetrains. The former is a 2.4-liter with 185-189 horsepower, the latter a 278-horsepower 3.5-liter. The four-cylinder is available with a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A CVT performs the duties of a conventional automatic but without stepped gear ratios. The six-cylinder pairs with a six-speed automatic, though V-6 coupes are available with a six-speed automatic. Hybrids and Plug-Ins link a four-cylinder gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor for combined 195 horsepower. Like the regular Hybrid, the Plug-In can run on both power sources independently or in combination, but it can run on battery power alone for longer durations by capturing an initial charge from the electrical grid through a residential or commercial outlet.

Will fuel economy improve?

Gas mileage should be no different than it was for 2014. The EPA rates gas-only Accord models a bit strangely. The automatic and continuously variable transmissions have manual overrides that allow you to simulate gear “shifts.” Activating this mode lowers projected fuel economy. The four-cylinder/CVT combination rates 27/36/30 mpg city/highway/combined in standard mode but 26/34/29 mpg with the manual override. V-6 models with the six-speed automatic score 21/34/26 regularly and 21/32/25 in manual mode. Accords with the traditional manual transmission rate 24/34/28 with the four-cylinder and 18/28/22 with the six. V-6 editions with automatic transmission include automatic deactivation of three cylinders in low-demand driving as a gas-saving measure. The Hybrid rates 50/45/47 mpg, the Plug-In 47/46/46, but also earns a 115 mpg-equivalent rating. Mpg-e is a measurement of distance traveled per unit of energy consumed and is a rating the EPA requires for all plug-in and pure-electric vehicles.

Will it have new features?

Don’t expect major changes on this front. This automaker traditionally offers no packaged or standalone factory options and that should continue for model-year ‘15. Standard on every Accord will be antiskid and traction-control systems, dual-zone automatic climate control, two rear child-seat LATCH points, and an 8-inch dashboard touchscreen. A voice-activated navigation system will again be standard on the Touring and available on EX-L models. Also standard across the board: a rearview camera and Bluetooth cellphone connectivity with the ability to stream Pandora and Aha Internet radio. The usual complement of safety features will be included, with Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot camera should again be standard on all but the LX and Sport sedans. Likely again exclusive to EX-L and Touring versions will be pushbutton ignition, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and forward-collision and lane-departure warning. EX models and above will get a one-touch power moonroof with tilt feature and heated power side mirrors with integrated turn-signal indicators. All but the LX will come with a power driver’s seat; a power front passenger seat should remain limited to EX-L and Touring sedans. All versions will have alloy wheels, 16-, 17-, or 18-inches, depending on the model.

How will 2015 prices be different?

With the roster largely standing pat, look for the base-price range to remain roughly $22,800-$33,200 for gas-engine models. All price estimates include the manufacturer’s destination fee, which was $790 for 2014 models. The Hybrid should return in Base, EX-L and Touring trims and should have a starting-price span of $30,000-$36,000. The Plug-In should carry a sticker price of about $40,600, less any tax incentives.

When will it come out?

Look for the ’15 Accord in showrooms in the third-quarter of 2014.

Best competitors

Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat

What’s a cool feature?

Recharge times for the Plug-In are among the fastest of any plug-in vehicle. The battery can be replenished in as little as one hour when connected to a 240-volt charging station or as few as three hours when hooked up to a 120-volt household outlet. The Plug-In is capable of driving up to 13 miles solely on battery power, after which the car behaves like a standard gas/electric hybrid.

About Ed Piotrowski

Ed Piotrowski has more than a decade of experience as a community and automotive journalist. As a former editor for Consumer Guide Automotive, he wrote new car news and reviews for the publication's magazine and website. He served as the lead editor of Consumer Guide's auto show coverage, managed its short- and long-term vehicle test fleet, and made regular appearances on a suburban Chicago radio station. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association where he served as the lodging logistics manager for the organization's annual Spring Collection road rally. Ed writes from Chicago's northwest suburbs.