2016 Honda Accord EX-L review

On the surface, the 2016 Accord features the sort of fascia updates that we expect from a mid-cycle refresh. The headlamps have been tweaked, the grill and front bumper revised. The hood is now formed from lightweight aluminum, rather than steel and throughout, the vehicle’s aerodynamic have tweaked. New wheel and rear bumper designs round out a makeover that makes the Accord sedan feel new without changing the broad strokes.

Beneath the sheet metal, the Accord’s chassis has been stiffened and its suspension revised to give refinement to the handling and ride characteristics. It’s difficult to tell with a seat of the pants measurement exactly how much the sedan’s handling has improved, suffice it to say that the Accord handles surprisingly well for a big, front wheel drive people mover. On my favorite mountain road testing circuit, the Accord was a pretty fun drive with planted, predictable handling that impressed me and felt like a good match with the performance of Honda’s chosen powertrain and brakes.

Over nine generations, the Accord has grown into quite a big girl, but Honda has somehow managed to keep intact a glimmer of the tossable, yet stable handling that made the early generations leaders in this class. The 2016 Accord feels a comfortable winding its way through sweeping hill country backroads as it does blasting down an Interstate.

However, the biggest improvements to the 2016 model may be of the digital variety. When the ninth-generation Accord debuted in 2013, I found it’s two-screened infotainment stack to be a confusing disappointment. That generation’s limited level of app integration also left me wondering, “Why bother?”

For 2016, Honda has almost totally revised its dashboard tech. Yes, there are still two screens stacked atop one another — a touchscreen below and an upper display controlled by the steering-wheel buttons — but their roles are more clearly defined, there’s less redundant information shared between them, and the entire ordeal has a smoother learning curve.

Overall system speed is greatly improved, taps are registered with smartphone quickness and capacitive sensitivity allows for pinching and zooming on maps and dragging icons around the home screen.

Speaking of smartphones, the 2016 Accord now supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. When a compatible Android 5.0 Lollipop device or iPhone running iOS 8 or better is connected to the standard USB port (which now also rapid charges connected devices with 1.5A of juice) the lower Honda infotainment display gets replaced with Google or Apple’s interface, respectively.

Both dashboard replacement interfaces feature their own navigation apps — which comes in handy if, like our example, your Accord doesn’t have Honda’s native navigation system spec’d — and support in-dash control of dozens of audio streaming apps with simplified controls. Both feature solid voice command for hand-free calling and text messaging, simply hold the voice command button on the Accord’s steering wheel to send voice commands to Siri or Google Voice Search.