The Honda Accord has been one of the all-time greats in the midsize sedan market, and the 2011 model year brings a few changes that keep Accord at the top of the heap.
There are now three engines from which to choose. Standard is a 177-horsepower, 2.4-liter four cylinder engine for the LX and SE sedans.
If you choose an EX sedan or coupe or an LX-S coupe, the horsepower rises to 190-horsepower.
The tester came with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 271-horsepower.
We were glad to get this version because it offered an unexpectedly exciting driving experience.
The engine is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission featuring Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management system, which shuts down cylinders in the engine when they aren't needed, allowing for fuel conservation.
So not only do you get a dynamic road presence, you also get great gas mileage.
For the V-6, fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city, 30 highway, according to EPA. In a week of mostly highway driving, we posted 29 mpg.
Honda says the Accord's gas mileage is assisted by improved aerodynamics, reduced engine friction, and an adjustment to the transmission gearing ratios.
But the power and displacement numbers are still the same as those from the 2010 model year.
Ah, the wonders of engineering.
From a design standpoint, the front and rear styling has changed slightly, including a new bumper and grille design up front. Honda says it also updated the wheel designs.
Standard on the sedan are 16-inch steel wheels, but 17-inch alloys are available. On the coupe, the 17-inch alloys are standard, with 18-inch alloys as an available option.
On the inside there are a few changes, but Honda's terrific fit and finish are still present.
Accords come very well equipped, with such standard features as air conditioning, cruise control, stereo with auxiliary input jack, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
Honda says the new SE sedan trim level includes leather seating, heated front seats, and a leather trimmed steering wheel. And a new bonus for the 2011 model year is that all Accords with the optional navigation system also contain a backup camera.
The Accord's safety features include side-impact and side curtain airbags, an electronic stability system, four wheel disc and antilock brakes, and active front head restraints.
The Accord has a certain refinement that drivers and passengers alike will appreciate. So even though it might not technically be considered a luxury car, there certainly are characteristics that give it that feel.
Plus, when you buy the Accord, you know you are getting the reliability that Honda has become so well-known for.
The Accord ranges in price from around $22,000 to around $32,380.