The seventh generation of Honda's venerable Accord bows for the 2006 model year with fresh exterior styling including new front and rear styling with new bumper fascias, a new front grille, LED tail lights, and a new trunk lid design with integrated LED brake lamp. It also features more powerful engines, an available six-speed manual transmission (albeit only on the EX V-6), and updated interiors including a new steering wheel, new automatic transmission shift knob, a restyled gauge cluster, new seat fabrics, and a new rear window tray.
All Accords now come standard with a Smart Maintenance system that automatically calculates vehicle service intervals, daytime running lights, and enhanced sound-deadening materials. Additional refinements include standard Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control and brake assist on V-6 equipped models, while LX V-6 models get a power moonroof and heated side mirrors as standard fare.
Two new equipment packages also debut: the Value Package (which replaces the DX trim level) includes air conditioning, keyless entry, power door locks, and cruise control while the LX Special Edition package includes 16-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution, a 6-disc in-dash CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, body-colored side mirrors, and faux carbon fiber interior accents. Debuting last year, the Accord Hybrid also receives a host of upgrades, including a standard power moonroof, Vehicle Stability Assist, a temporary-use spare tire, revised bodywork with a different rear spoiler, new front chin spoiler and rear diffuser, heated side mirrors with built-in turn signals, and an exclusive tail light design.
Honda's Accord has been the flagship of the Honda lineup for 30 years. The 2006 version is available in eight trim levels: base Value Package (VP), LX, LX Special Edition, LX V-6, upscale EX, EX V-6, EX V-6 6MT, and fuel-sipping Hybrid.
In base form, the Accord comes with air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, keyless entry, 120-watt AM/FM/CD audio system, center console with armrest, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, remote trunk and fuel door release, rear window defroster, folding/lockable rear seatback, and immobilizer theft deterrent system. Climbing the model ladder expands standard features to include a 6-disc CD changer, steering wheel audio controls, 17-inch alloy wheels, and heated power outside mirrors. Other available options include leather seating surfaces with heated front seats, dual climate control, and XM Satellite Radio.
Motivation comes in the form of a 2.4L, i-VTEC four-cylinder engine producing 166 hp and 160 lb.-ft. of torque. A 3.0L V-6 with 244 hp and 211 lb.-ft. of torque drives the front wheels and is available in LX and EX models, while the Hybrid retains a 3.0L V-6 with Integrated Motor Assist, good for 253 hp and 232 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual (standard in VP, LX, and EX with the four-cylinder), five-speed automatic (included on V-6 and Hybrid models and available on 4-cylinder models) and a six-speed manual, which is offered with the EX V-6.
All Accords come equipped with a host of advanced safety features, including dual-stage front airbags, front side-airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System, side curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes. Daytime running lights are now standard across the line, and all V-6 models come with Vehicle Stability Assist.
The Midsize Conventional segment, where manufacturers vie for middle-class family dollars, is a fiercely competitive arena with no less than 20 models to choose from. It is, by volume, one of the largest segments in the U.S. light-vehicle market.
The Toyota Camry Sedan is the sales leader in the segment with 376,803 units sold during calendar year 2005, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM The Accord, however, was right behind with annual sales of 369,293 units. The Nissan Altima also had strong sales of 255,371 for the year. Other top-10 sellers include the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Sonata, Pontiac G6, Buick LaCrosse, Subaru Legacy and Outback, and Chrysler Sebring Sedan and Convertible.