The Accord is one of Honda’s most recognizable models. With more than 13 million models sold in the U.S. over more than four decades in production, the once-vanilla midsize sedan has come a long way. Now packing a pair of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, an available six-speed manual, high-end tech like 4G LTE and a Wi-Fi hotspot, and creature comforts like cooled seats, the new Accord also gets a major design overhaul. Speaking with lead exterior designer Tetsuji Morikawa and product planner Jay Guzowski at the reveal of the 2018 Accord in Detroit, the two pointed to some key design elements that take the Accord into its stylish 10th generation.
1. There are some identifiable design commonalities with other models in the Honda family, but for the Accord it’s about maturity and elegance.
While the front end has shades of the Clarity with its prominent LED headlights, and the CR-V and Ridgeline with its recognizable horizontal chrome bar, the Accord’s taillights represent a different take on the C-shape we know from the new Civic. “The Civic’s taillights have a younger style, while the longer, sleeker Accord’s lights are more adult,” notes Morikawa. To demonstrate this, he sketched out both designs on a notepad, where you can note the more stretched version on the new Accord.
2. Honda may have killed the Accord coupe, but designers believe the sedan’s coupe-like proportions will still satisfy the style-conscious.
Morikawa points in particular to the D-pillar, which sweeps down from the fastback-like roofline, meets up with a kink above the rear fender, and then continues to the taillight where it joins with the character line on the side. “I’m also very proud of where the A-pillar [up front] comes down and move into the hood, which helps accentuate its length,” he said. “Combined with the shorter overhangs, it creates a very coupe-like form.”
3. The more rearward design proportions don’t spoil the packaging.
It definitely helps that the Accord is lower and wider, but it’s actually slightly shorter than before. There is, however, a longer wheelbase, which yields 2.5 inches of extra leg room, more overall passenger capacity inside, and additional cargo capacity. Honda chalks up better looks without sacrificing function as a big win.
4. To better design for the American market, Honda’s team airlifted their clay model to Los Angeles and developed prototypes there to make the most of the natural light.
“Though we are a Japanese team, the light is different in Japan,” said Morikawa. “We wanted to feel like Americans to better create the design.” He also might have mentioned that he and his crew enjoyed the chance to cut loose and have a beer now and again, too.
5. Using laser brazing on the roof means a more fluid silhouette.
Guzowski points specifically to this new process for smoothly joining the roofline with the side panels, without having to use rain gutters or extra trim pieces. That also results in fewer parts and less wind noise, which is never a bad thing.