Will Sharper Styling And Better Gas Mileage Improve the 2016 Accord

What changes will make it different?

Probably styling and possibly a powertrain upgrade. This popular midsize four-door sedan and two-door coupe are due a freshening and it’ll likely come for model-year 2016. Look for designers to lift a few exterior styling elements from the 2015 RLX luxury sedan from Honda’s premium Acura brand and apply them to the 2016 Accord. The Accord Plug-In Hybrid could also switch to a turbocharged gas engine for more power. These changes would be a midcycle freshening to an automobile last redesigned for model-year2013 and set for its next full redesign around model-year 2018.

Why should I wait for the 2016 model?

For the newest styling and powertrain technology. A styling update would carry this car to its next full redesign, making your ‘16 Accord look current for the next few years. If you’re among the small percentage of this vehicle’s buyers interested in the Plug-In Hybrid, addition of a turbo could boost performance. Most Hondas sold in America are built at the Japanese automaker’s plants in the U.S. and production of the Hybrid and Hybrid Plug-In is likely to be transferred from Japan. That could reduce their prices.

Should I buy the current 2015 instead?

Yes, if the very latest in looks and tech is less important to you than getting an excellent automobile – before the inevitable model-year price increase. The 2016 Accord won’t change fundamentally, leaving the ‘15 a terrific choice in a midsize sedan or sporty coupe. And its reputation for reliability and resale value is already an industry standard.

Will the styling be different?

More deeply etched lines could provide a sleeker appearance – and benefit fuel economy through improved aerodynamics. The interior could get new colors, contours, and graphics but would retain analog-style gauges and a center dashboard control stack with functionality as its theme. Expect no major changes to the lineup. Four-cylinder sedans should be offered in five trim levels: base LX, dressier Sport, better-equipped EX, leather-upholstered EX-L, and EX-L with Navi (a navigation system). V-6 models likely would return in three trims: EX-L, EX-L with Navi, and top-line Touring. Coupes will mirror those designations, with four-cylinder two-doors also available in LX-S form. Again offered only as a sedan, the Hybrid will likely come in EX, EX-L, and Touring trim with the Plug-In Hybrid in one high-level grade roughly equivalent to an EX-L with Navi – though with the carmaker’s “bio-fabric” interior materials in place of leather.

Any mechanical changes?

The Hybrid will again combine a four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor, though reports suggest Honda could give it a turbocharged engine. That could generate more than the 2015’s net 198 horsepower – or allow the automaker to save gas by downsizing the engine from 2.0-liters. All 2016 Accords will retain a front-wheel-drive configuration. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder will again be the most popular choice and should repeat with 186 horsepower and a choice of a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. Instead of set gear ratios, a CVT delivers power like a rheostat. Expect the V-6 to again account for less than 20 percent of Accord sales. This 3.5-liter should return at 278 horsepower and link with a six-speed automatic transmission in sedans and a choice of manual or automatic in Coupes. The Plug-In Hybrid will again be able to capture an initial charge from the power grid for a range of around 13 miles on electric-only power. After that, the gas engine will kick in and it’ll run like a conventional hybrid. Initial charge time should remain between one and three hours, depending on the charger source. And a console button will again allow the driver to choose when to use EV mode. Both of these Hybrids use an electric motor that acts as a CVT.

Will fuel economy improve?

If the hybrid gets a turbo and uses it to reduce the size of its gas engine, its fuel-economy ratings could improve from 2015’s 50/45/47 mpg city/highway/combined. Otherwise, expect the hybrid and the other 2016 Accords to repeat at or near their model-year 2015 ratings. For gas-only Accords, the 2.4-liter four-cylinder should reprise a laudable 27/36/30 mpg city/highway/combined with the CVT and 28/34/28 with the six-speed manual. Expect V-6 versions to again rate approximately 21/34/26 mpg with automatic transmission and 18/28/22 for coupes equipped with the manual. This V-6 almost certainly will retain cylinder deactivation in which three cylinders are automatically idled in low-demand driving to conserve fuel. The Plug-In Hybrid should again rate 47/46/46 mpg. Note, however, that under the EPA’s electricity-to-gas conversion metric, the Plug-In earns an overall rating of 115 mpg-equivalent.

Will it have new features?

Don’t look for sweeping changes to Accord’s long list of available features. Honda does not offer options per se, electing instead to equip each model in a lineup with a well-defined suite of features. The entry-level LX version will again come nicely equipped, with an eight-inch LCD dashboard touchscreen display, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, cruise control, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, tilting and telescoping steering column, dual-zone climate control, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Repeating as standard equipment on all models will be antiskid and traction-control, antilock brakes, a tire-pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights (LEDs on EX-L and Touring versions), two rear LATCH points (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), child-proof rear door locks. All but the LX and Sport will return with a power moonroof and heated power mirrors. EX and EX-L levels will again add such features as Honda’s innovative and effective video-camera-based LaneWatch blind-spot monitor, with EX-L and Touring versions getting forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems. Heated front seats with memory driver’s seat will again be part of the Touring models’ standard features, along with adaptive cruise control, forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems, premium audio, and keyless entry with pushbutton start.

How will 2016 prices be different?

Prices shouldn’t increase drastically. Expect a base-price range of roughly $24,100-$35,140, including a destination fee of approximately $800. The Hybrid should start around $31,400, the Plug-In around $40,300 – though they could actually decrease in price if production is relocated to the U.S.

What Is the Expected Release Date?

Expect the 2016 Accord to be released in autumn 2015.

Best competitors

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

What change would make it better?

LaneWatch ought to be extended to LX models; it’s thus far been limited to EX, EX-L, and Touring models, where it’s standard. This surprisingly useful safety adjunct places a tiny color video camera in the housing of the passenger-side rearview mirror. It goes live when you signal for a right turn or a lane change to the right. You can also active it with a button at the tip of the turn-signal stalk. Projecting an enhanced view of the passenger-side roadway on the dashboard screen, it allows you to check your blind spot before making a turn or switching lanes.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]