The line separating what generally are considered “affordable” sedans and those of the luxury genre seems to get more blurry every year what with the high end versions of the former featuring amenities like keyless entry and push-button starts, leather seats, and well-designed interiors with the latest in technology, including voice operated functions.
Call it trickle down engineering.
One such example is the Touring edition of the Honda Accord.
The 2016 model has features like a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, leather seats with a10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with two position memory, seven-speaker audio system, 7-inch touchscreen display audio and navigation with multi-view rear vision, HD radio, Bluetooth connectivity, one-touch power moonroof, remote start, and more — all standard.
Also included in standard features Honda’s Sensing Package, a safety system with functions that include a collision mitigation system, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning.
About the only thing lacking in this Accord is the panache you get with badging from Honda’s luxury stable Acura.
Of course, this comes with price. Though the Accord starts at just over $22,000 for a base Accord LX with few frills, the Touring edition carries an MSRP of $35,400 for everything, including the destination and delivery charge of $820.
Yes, that’s as much as an Acura TLX but with considerably more niceties.
The Accord Touring edition comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that is rated at 278 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 252 pound-feet of torque at 4900. It is surprisingly quick, especially when the Touring’s standard six-speed automatic transmission is in Sport mode. Alas, manual gear selection, available via paddle shifters on Sport trims (not to be confused with Sport mode on the shifter), is not offered with the Touring.
Using regular fuel, EPA ratings for the Touring model are 21 miles-per-gallon city and an impressive 34 highway. That’s not all that far off from four-cylinder Accords (LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L) equipped with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) that check in from 26 mpg city to 37 highway and aren’t nearly as much fun to drive.
With an all-black interior and a few faux-wood inserts, the Touring’s interior as a very distinguished air rivaling that of typical luxury imports from Germany.
Both front- and rear-seat passengers get plenty of legroom, and the seats are supportive and comfortable. Trunk space is good for the segment as well, and the folding rear seats feature a 60/40 split.
There is one annoying feature, however, and it deals with the radio. Very annoying. Adjusting the volume and getting to different presets on the radio can be accomplished easy enough by using the duplicate steering wheel controls, but using the touchscreen to change stations not among your presents requires touching the correct arrow on the touchscreen and holding it until you get to the desired setting. It’s easy to jump several stations past your desired selection before you realize it.
Here is yet another word to designers. Old-fashioned dials may not appeal to your artistic sense and apparent desire to keep the dash panel as flat as possible, but they work! And they work easily! They have for years, probably since the first radios were installed on Chevrolets nearly 95 years ago! So you can’t improve that system.
That’s the end of the rant. For a look at the 2016 Honda According Touring sedan and some specs, check out the accompanying slide show.