Honda Accord EX test drive

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As you might remember, I test-drove the new Honda Accord Touring Hybrid a few weeks ago and came out quite disappointed. I think the new Accord is basically worse than the previous generation in every way. But it is still a pretty nice car and I was curious to see if a much cheaper model like the $30 000 EX version could be a better deal than the loaded $38 000 Touring Hybrid.

Outside the main difference is the smaller 18-inch wheels, which are the same as the base LX model, but darker. I actually think the darker color looks cheaper than the ones on the LX. For $2000 more, the EX adds a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, an 8-speaker sound system (instead of 4 on the LX), heated front seats and mirrors, and a power driver seat. I think kit’s well worth it.

Inside, the EX comes with cloth seats. This is fine by me since I’m really not a fan of leather, especially on a hot day. A much lighter shade of grey is available, but my test car had a very dark, almost black, hue that looked very generic and drab.

The screen is of course smaller on the cheaper EX and doesn’t come with the fancy Google infotainment system. But the good old Honda System with Apple Car Play is just fine. I was also pleasantly surprised by the 8 speaker sound system which sounded very good. Although, just like the Touring, the EX does not offer Satellite radio.

The EX doesn’t come with a charging pad for the phone and Honda only offers USB-C plugs. Which requires a clumsy adapter for all iPhones except the new iPhone 15.

The back seat offers tons of legroom as usual. And just like the Touring, it is great for 2 but quite uncomfortable for 3 because of the angled shape on each side of the bench. The EX back seat area also lacks the USB-C plugs and the vents from higher-end models. Which will mean tears on hot days.

Since the EX uses Honda’s good old 1.5 Liter Turbo, it is a very different beast from the Touring Hybrid.

At idle, you can feel the engine’s vibrations through the seats. It’s not terrible but never great. The small 1.5 Liter engine/CVT combo is quite a noisy and rough one. There’s a lot of droning sound most of the time. Unless you drive the car very, very slowly.

The EX’s ride is also not very quiet. I thought the smaller 18-inch wheels would improve the ride, which is not that great on the Touring Hybrid (And worse than in the previous generation), but no. And road noise also starts appearing very early.

The steering is still much lighter than before. The lack of leather makes it feel plasticky and rental car-like.

The Accord EX is rated at 29/37MPG. Which is basically what I was able to get. Of course, this is less than the Hybrid with a rating of 46/41MPG. If you mostly drive around town, a 17MPG difference is a big deal. But 37 vs. 41 on the freeway is basically the same.

For $4000 more you can get the EX-L Hybrid with leather, memory seats, and more. Or you can access the Hybrid with the cheaper Sport Hybrid model at $32 200. Which also includes a larger screen and 19-inch wheels.

As you can see, there are many choices. The new Accord isn’t as good as it used to be, and I think the Touring Hybrid is too much money to spend on it. The Sport Hybrid could end up being the best version, with the more powerful much quieter, and smoother Hybrid powertrain standard. Although the disappointing ride and road noise would still be an issue for me. As well as the “bigger Civic” looking interior. I will be nice and won’t even mention the super-conservative and derivative exterior design.

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  1. Clarification: iPhone charging cables have been usb-c for several generations, so you don’t need the dongle if you have a newish charging cable.

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