“Way to go Honda—you just made Acura irrelevant.” That’s how I started my notes on the 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring after my first stint behind the wheel at our 2018 Car of the Year competition. After spending quite a few more miles with the new luxury-oriented Accord Touring (though before seeing the completely new 2019 Acura RDX), let’s dig into what makes the Accord Touring’s interior so special.
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The Accord Touring shares its basic design with the rest of the 2018 Accord lineup, but that’s where the similarities end. The standard Accord’s interior design is dressed up for Touring duty with standard gray, black, or tan leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, silver accents, and relatively convincing faux wood trim. The Accord Touring cabin is then accented with a large centrally mounted infotainment screen, deep storage cubbies, and a unique pushbutton shifter for the 10-speed automatic transmission. The shifter, which is unique to the 2.0T model, is probably the sole miss in the Accord Touring’s cabin design. That’s because it has all the drawbacks of a traditional shift lever—chiefly the real estate it takes up on the center console—with none of the benefits of other push-button shifters such as Lincoln’s dash-mounted shifter, which frees up storage space for phones and other accessories.
With screens becoming increasingly important in modern cars, the Accord Touring has three of them for the driver to interact with. The most obvious is the center-mounted infotainment screen. Though only 8.0 inches in size, the screen appears far bigger because of its high resolution, the way it’s mounted high on the dash, and visual tricks like its black border.
The second largest screen in the Accord Touring is the 7.0-inch screen mounted in the instrument cluster to the left of a traditional speedometer gauge. Controlled through steering-wheel-mounted buttons, this configurable high-res screen can display everything from a tachometer, fuel economy info, and range to empty, to media and phone information.
The final screen is invisible to all but the driver—a full-color head-up display (HUD). Configurable via two buttons mounted to the left of the steering wheel, the HUD displays the Accord’s speed, navigation directions, and even phone call information.
The Accord Touring’s center-mounted infotainment screen is the primary way most drivers and passengers will interact with the car. The 8.0-inch touch display handles navigation, music, and phone duties, and more. Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto compatibility is standard on every trim except the LX.
The touchscreen is snappy and easily as responsive as the latest iPhone and Android devices. The display’s layout is also intuitive and easy to navigate by either touch, or via one of the rectangular buttons or knurled metal knobs mounted on either side of the screen.
Honda has done an exceptional job of making the Accord Touring’s interior look and feel luxurious. Material quality, with few exceptions, is top notch. The leather seats are both thick and soft, and the leather on the steering wheel has a soft, satin finish to it, with attractive contrast stitching. The Accord Touring’s knobs are also particularly noteworthy, as the knobs feature knurled metal rims and turn with a satisfying heavy click. Also worth mentioning are the HVAC knobs, which are backlit in blue or red, depending on whether you’re cranking the heat or the air conditioning.
The misses in the Accord’s cabin are pretty minor. The faux wood trim—shockingly—feels like an imitation of wood, and while the plastics in the Accord Touring are generally of high quality, we noticed a difference in gloss and grain where the doors meet the dashboard.
Like the rest of the Accord lineup, the Accord Touring’s cabin is massive. The seats are roomy and comfortable, both in front and in back. The backseat in particular is incredibly spacious, with limo-like levels of passenger space. Even taller adults should find themselves with plenty of room to slouch down and spread out. Unlike some other automakers, Honda kits out the rear of the Accord Touring just as nicely as the front, continuing the wood and metal trim into the rear door cards, and even offering heated outboard seats.
As always, that depends on your priorities. If you’re in the market for a loaded mainstream sedan, at $36,690 out the door, the 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring is tough to beat. If you can live without the 252-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and its 10-speed auto, the Accord Touring’s standard engine—a perfectly adequate 190-hp 1.5-liter paired with a CVT—is $2,000 less expensive.
Ultimately, thanks to smart interior execution, the Accord Touring does mainstream-luxury more convincingly than any of its direct competitors. With many of its rivals pivoting away from sedans to crossovers, Honda may be left without any challengers that are as well rounded as the Accord in the near term.