The best cars stand out for value, dependability, performance, and safety. Our Best Overall Car of 2016 is an unmatched combination of those qualities, but we’ve also picked “bests” for more focused needs, such as best inexpensive car, best luxury car, best fuel-efficient car, best sporty car, and many more.
If you’re focused on an SUV or crossover, even cheap cars that make you look rich, we’ve selected the best of those, too. For those list, plus a stimulating selection of other “Best of” and “Buying Guide” articles, go to CarPreview.com. (And please note that the base prices listed here include manufacturer destination fees, which average around $850.)
The Best Overall Car of 2016 is the Honda Accord. Base-price range: $22,952-$35,400
All ’16 Accords retain front-wheel drive and a choice of unchanged but top-notch powertrains. An overachieving and economical 185-horsepower four-cylinder links to a manual gear box or a continuously variable (automatic) transmission in LX- and Sport-model sedans, and to the CVT exclusively in EX and EX-L sedans. A creamy 278-horse V-6 with a conventional automatic transmission is available in EX-Ls and is standard in the flagship Touring sedan. Like the four-door, Accord’s coupe seats five but with less rear-seat room and convenience. Its lineup roughly parallels the sedan’s, though you can get a V-6 two-door with a six-speed manual transmission if you want to rattle a BMW or two.
Look for Honda to resurrect the gas-electric Accord Hybrid for 2017 after a brief hiatus, but fuel-economy ratings across the 2016 line are very good for cars this size and performance. Depending on transmission, four-cylinder Accords rate 27-31 mpg city-highway combined, the V-6s 25-26 mpg.
Complimenting the freshened exterior is a dashboard revamped to accommodate a 7-inch screen that serves Honda’s Display Audio System. Included in all but the LX and Sport sedans and the entry-level LX-S coupe, the system introduces Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity to the Honda brand. Enabling smartphone-linked navigation and data streaming, it’s an efficient interface that responds well to voice commands but is otherwise controlled by touching the screen, which can induce some frustrating finger poking and leave lots of fingerprints. An embedded GPS navigation system is available on EX-L models and is standard on the Touring.
Headlining the new safety features is the Honda Sensing suite of driver aids: automatic braking to mitigate frontal collisions and self-correcting steering to prevent unintended lane and road departures. Also included is adaptive cruise control to maintain a set distance from traffic ahead. Honda Sensing is standard on the Touring and bundled with navigation on EX-L models in a $2,000 package; it’s a reasonably priced $1,000 extra for all other non-manual-transmission ’16 Accords.
The CVT and steering have been recalibrated for better response, the suspension tweaked for better control, the body structure stiffened. All models save the base sedan and coupe now have LED daytime running lights and LED fog lamps and 60/40 split/folding rear seatbacks. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard across the line.
Some rivals have a broader selection of powertrains and a few, particularly the Toyota Camry, have a cushier ride and quieter cabin. But every Accord feels solid, carefully assembled, and intelligently designed. The sedans have a refreshingly airy, notably spacious interior and a big 15.8-cubic-foot trunk. At the heart-of-the-line, the EX is an appealing deal, priced from $27,100 with the CVT and standard keyless entry with pushbutton start, power moonroof, 10-way-power driver’s seat, and Display Audio. Another $2,290 gets you into the EX-L with its leather upholstery and heated front seats with memory for the driver’s and power adjustment for the passenger’s. We’re fans of the Sport with the six-speed manual, a sweet-handling four-door that starts at just $24,985. But any Accord drives with an athletic manner and unflappable composure you’ll come to love whether fighting the urban grind, navigating suburban streets, or plying the Interstate.