Honda Accord vs Civic – which is the better car for you?

Making the right choice at times can be overwhelming. This is even more so when you are planning on purchasing a safe and economical sedan with a Honda badge on the front. Both the Honda Civic and Accord are great vehicles and remain at the top of their class due to their great design, reliability, and practicality. When it comes to Honda Accord vs Civic though, the choice might (unfortunately) not be that easy.

The Honda Accord is bigger and therefore provides more room for its occupants. However, the size is not it’s only strength. The Accord has more horsepower thanks to a 252 hp four-cylinder 2.0L engine which features a whopping 273 lb-ft of torque (yes, that’s a lot for only 2.0 L).

On the other hand, there is no reason to disregard the Civic based on its smaller size and less power. It’s stuffed with loads neat tech features, a turbo engine, and handling impressive enough to classify it as a sports car (almost).

Both these vehicles are great, but you will need to know a bit about them to decide which one wins the “Honda Accord vs Civic” battle.

What exactly is the Honda Accord?

By definition, the Honda Accord is a model series assembled and manufactured by Honda (duh). It is characterized as being a four-door sedan, which technically means having different compartments for cargo, engine, and passengers. The Accord is among the best selling cars in the United States, and has been for years.

Honda Accord

The Honda Accord. Perhaps one of the best looking sedans on the market? (Image courtesy of Honda)

Honda has produced many different body styles of the Accord over the years. There have been 10 generations of the Accord nameplate which have included everything from wagons to hatchbacks.

Honda launched the Accord in early 1976 as a small hatchback, which was produced all the way until 1989. It was then that they expanded the line to include wagons and sedans, and over time, it had evolved even further to keep up with the competition from other manufacturers.

By the release of the 8th generation, Honda increased the size of the Accord, which arguably distanced itself from the Civic (even though “Honda Accord vs Civic” was still something that was on the minds of many potential buyers). This size increase made it achieve recognition as a full-size car according to EPA standards, which was fairly significant considering that it had always been a small to mid size vehicle.

The 9th generation was classified as a mid-size car by having a small interior size of 119 cubic feet. The 10th generation is again recognized as a full-size vehicle due to its interior size of 123 cubic feet. Confused yet? Sounds as if Honda might have been as well.

My personal experience with the Honda Accord

Personally having driven the Honda Accord 2.0 EXL for an extended period of time, I have a pretty idea of how well it compares to the Civic (which I discuss shortly).

On the upside, the Accord is a fairly powerful car compared to the smaller Civic. It’s very well rounded, and is a lot of fun to drive. The car’s technology is at the same level as most vehicles in the market, making it something every tech geek will love.

Honda Accord infotainment

Honda Accord infotainment system. (Image courtesy of Honda)

It is well suspended, and handles pretty well for a car it’s size. The driver assist functions and electronics are competitive with other cars in its class (and reliable), while the ten-speed transmission and sight lines are really good.

On the flip side, I found that the Accord has a fairly low driving position which makes it difficult to get in and out of (this will definitely be a problem for older drivers). It limits one’s forward view as it is lower than other comparable vehicles. Comparing the driving position of the Honda Accord vs the Civic, I actually prefer the Civic due to its more upright nature.

When it comes to entertainment, the audio quality is sub-par. If I owned an Accord, I certainly wouldn’t be able to live with this and I’d most certainly have to spring for an aftermarket upgrade.

Worst of all, the 10-speed automatic transmission features mechanical cheap-feeling push buttons. It is responsive when selecting a short gear but not as responsive when shifting. The push buttons make it hard to rock the car when trying to get out of snow (don’t ask me how I know this). The question of “Honda Accord vs Civic?” is easy to answer in this regard. I’m not a fan of push button transmissions at all.

Features of the Honda Accord

1. Engine

The Accord is equipped with a 252 horsepower turbocharged engine with 2.0-liter inline-four. This is at the top of the hierarchy of its engine lineup, and it comes with a 10-speed auto or a 6-speed manual.

The engine is buttery smooth and offers a lot of power to the front wheels. There is a hybrid option available which is powered by two electric motors and a four-cylinder engine. In comparison, the Honda Civic turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four is more powerful though slightly less efficient. Honda Accord vs Civic in a drag race? Well, it’s the Accord by a nose with a 5.8 second 0-60 time. The most powerful Civic falls in just behind at 6.1 seconds.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the Accord Touring 2.0 is rated at 35mpg – which is relatively competitive with the 42mpg of the Civic. The sport 1.5 L engine (when combined with the 6-speed manual) is even more efficient at 38mpg.

2. Safety and assistant features

The Accord features an assortment of driver assist options which includes automatic brakes and lane-keeping tech. Extra safety features like rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring do come at an extra cost.

The safety features in the Accord line have received five-star ratings form the N.H.T.A (National Highway Transport Administration). It’s a very safe vehicle, as is the Civic. When it comes to comparing the Honda Accord vs Civic in safety, it’s basically a tie and you can’t really go wrong with either one.

3. Multiple driving modes

The Honda Accord has three driving modes; these include the EV driver mode, the Hybrid mode, and ECON. The EV mode uses only the battery as a source of power. The hybrid mode uses electric current to drive the wheels as the engine powers the generator. The ECON mode uses fuel the most efficient levels (as determined by the computer).

4. Interior design

The inside of the Accord is very spacious. The rear seats have more space than many other cars in its class (and much more vs the smaller Civic).

All the vehicles in the lineup feature an 8.0 or 7.0-inch display. It also has high-powered Bluetooth and USB connections, reserving Android Auto and Apple Car Play connectivity for the 8.0-inch screen.

As far as audio goes, a ten-speaker setup (with an amplifier) is available on the EX-L models. The lesser Accords are built with either four or eight speakers – which are terrible in my opinion.

5. Price

The Honda Accord line up is priced as follows: $24,615 for LX, $26,215 for Hybrid, $27,075 for sport, $35,885 for touring and $28,515 for the EX model.

Pros of the Honda Accord

  • Spacious cabin which offers plenty of room for average-sized adults
  • Safety. It has a long list of driver aids which assist in safer driving.
  • Smooth and powerful braking system
  • Pleasant ride experience
  • Ample cargo space (16.7 cubic feet)
  • Good handling (vs the Civic at least)

Cons of the Honda Accord

  • Low seat position which greatly disadvantages tall (and older) people
  • Some tire noise when driving at high speed
  • Voice command issues which doesn’t always follow instructions
  • Push button transmission

What exactly is the Honda Civic?

Ok, now we’re getting into the fun part of the Honda Accord vs Civic debate! Can you tell I’m slightly biased? No matter. Let’s get on with it.

Much like the Accord, the Civic has also gone through several stages of development and design over the years. These cars were originally very small, but eventually morphed into something much larger (thanks in large part to keeping up with safety regulations).

Honda Civic exterior

At first glance, the Honda Civic doesn’t look very much different than the Accord. It couldn’t be more different! (Image courtesy of caranddriver.com)

The 9th gen Civic is classified as a mid-size car by the EPA. FYI, EPA rules dictate that a car which combines the passenger and cargo space of 110-119 cubic feet to be classified as mid-size. To be honest, this makes the Honda Accord vs Civic comparison a bit muddy since both are currently classified as mid-size. But let’s continue…

The Civic was launched in 1972, and in the beginning, it only had two doors. It was later redesigned to feature three doors and a transverse engine. The Civic had plenty of interior room even though it was compact, and it was characterized by above average fuel efficiency and reliability. As time went on, it came to be defined by its performance and sporty nature.

The production of the non-hybrid Honda Civic met its end in August 2010 due to the government’s size regulations. It was later re-introduced into the market with the 10th generation models — the 10th gen Civic also featured a radically redesigned rear slope exterior design, which was a bold departure from the conservative design of previous generations.

The interior of the Civic features a digital customizable interface, with a multi-function LCD located just behind the steering wheel.

My beloved Civic

In 2015, I purchased a brand new Civic Ex with the navigation system and leather seats. I’ve had good experiences with the car so far, and I’m glad I opted for an assortment of upgrades (sunroof, stereo, sport seats, etc.). To be completely transparent, I did think a lot about the Honda Accord vs Civic before making this purchase, but in the end I decided the Civic was the car for me.

I bought this car with hopes of using it for about ten years. However, many changes have been made with the Civic lineup since then, and the 2018 Civic Sport has been reddesigned into a car I’m very much attracted to.

The new turbo engine is sporty and responsive. Not only that, the upgraded suspension and 18-inch wheels give it a sporty look and feel, and the dual exhaust tips are the icing on the cake. To me, it’s a major improvement over my 2015 Civic and I can’t say that I’m not tempted to trade up in the near future.

Features of the Honda Civic:

1. Performance

The Honda Civic has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine which delivers strong and linear power throughout it’s RPM range. The engine is terrific, and it complements the 6-speed manual transmission well. The Civic has a comfortable ride, responsive steering, and sports car-like driving dynamics. This makes driving it a joy in nearly any kind of situation.

You should also be aware that the Sport version of the Civic has quicker steering – which is a must for performance oriented drivers who are looking for a fun daily driver. If it’s a fun car you’re looking for, the Honda Accord vs Civic comparison is apples and oranges. The Civic wins IMHO.

In regards to fuel efficiency, the base model four-cylinder engine consumes fuel frugally. The more powerful turbocharged engine consumes less fuel than the 2.0-liter turbo engine found in Civic coupes and sedans. Basically, there’s a Civic for everyone.

2. Safety features

For those with a concern for safety (which is pretty much everyone, right?) the Civic is hard to beat. All Civics have driver-assistant features which includes a very smart forward collision avoidance system. Other key driver assistant features include auto emergency brakes, adaptive control, and a smart lane-keeping navigator.

3. Interior design

The interior of the Civic is large and therefore offers enough space to store a wide variety of sports equipment and luggage. The Accord is the car for you if comfort is a top priority, but do know that the Civic offers decent quality for those who love small cars. The sedan has generous room for a car of its class. The coupe’s backseats are not meant for tall people as they would be incredibly tight and uncomfortable. Honda Accord vs Civic when it comes to interiors? I personally prefer the sporty nature of the Civic even though it’s not as comfortable.

Honda Civic interior

Honda Civic interior (Image courtesy of Honda)

Tech-wise, the Civic features a touchscreen interface which has is notoriously easy to use (something not easy to say about the touch screen entertainment systems on other cars).

The 7-inch display features navigation, Android Auto, and Apple Car Play. Inside the front compartment, there is a 12-volt power supply outlet and two USB ports. Unfortunately, there are no connections for back seat passengers. Therefore, your friends (or kids) will be left unconnected. The horror!

4. Price

The average cost of a Honda Civic is $20.345 for the LX sedan, $22,045 for the Sport sedan, $24095 for the EX coupe, $27745 for Touring coupe, and $29,645 for Touring hatchback.

Obviously, the price range for Honda Civic is lower than that of a Honda Accord. FYI, the most expensive Honda Civic on the market at the time of this writing (March 2019) is the Sport Touring model at $29,645.

Pros of the Honda Civic:

  • Low fuel consumption
  • Balanced and comfortable
  • Safety features and technology
  • Generous storage space (equal to that of the versatile Honda Fit)
  • Sporty feel

Cons of the Honda Civic:

  • The collision warning system is annoying (so they say)
  • Not as comfortable as the Accord
  • No Diesel engine

Conclusion

Both the Honda Accord and the Civic are great vehicles offering good performance and efficiency. The Accord is more comfortable while the Civic is more sporty – so it all comes down to personal preference (and what you’re looking for in a car) when making an informed choice between the two.

Honda Accord vs Civic? I’ll take my Civic in red with the Sport Touring package please.

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