Honda freshened the 2006 Accord with some exterior and interior tweaks and upgrades, a bit of engine tuning, and additional standard safety equipment. The exterior face lift involves a new grille, front and rear bumpers, deck lid, and LED tail lights.
The top of the line EX comes with a long list of comfort and safety equipment which includes: alloy wheels, in-dash six-CD changer, four-wheel-disc brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and steering wheel audio controls. Leather upholstery, XM Satellite Radio, a voice activated DVD navigation system and many other options were also available.
For the top of the line EX, the standard engine is a 2.4-liter four cylinder with the i-VTEC variable valve timing system that produces torquey smooth power over the entire rpm range. This year, a drive-by-wire throttle and revised valve timing add to produce 166 hp at 5,800 rpm and 160 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.
Two transmissions are available: the five-speed automatic is standard with an optional five-speed manual. Reviewers were quite satisfied with the performance of both transmissions citing the
"perfect" gear ratios and buttery smooth shifting of the manual and the smooth, tight shifting of the automatic.
Consumer Guide tests saw manual transmission 0-60 times in 7.9 seconds, with automatics doing it in 8.6 seconds. Their reviewers felt the 2.4-liter engines with automatic transmissions "labor in passing maneuvers and climbing steep grades." But no one complained about the gas mileage with a manual transmission EX coupe averaging 22.7-30.6 mpg and the automatic doing 25.2 mpg with 26.1 mpg over 19,000 miles. EPA estimates for the manual are 26/34 mpg and 24/34 mpg with the automatic.
The Accords are built with a double wishbone suspension that is engineered to reduce acceleration squat, braking nose dive, and cornering lean. Reviewers were highly impressed by the handling. New Car Test Drive reviewers found the Accord rode smoother and was more comfortable than Nissan's Altima, handled better than the Toyota Camry, and was, "stable at high speeds with crisp handling on winding roads." Consumer Guide found the steering, "quick, informative; tight turning radius." Brakes were good, but stopping distances are not "super short" and they fade under hard use.
The interior, freshened for 2006, sports a new instrument panel with new satin chrome accents on the vents, new seat fabrics, and a new steering wheel. The instrument panel gets high marks for its layout and clarity. The interior materials are high quality and tasteful with typical Honda finish quality. Reviewers found the seats "great, generously wide" and "the driver's seat provides a one-with-the-car feel." Standard across the Accord line, a tilt/telescope steering wheel adds to that feel. Rear bench seats in the sedan are roomy and comfortable for two people. Reviewers found rear-seat legroom, "slightly better than the Nissan Altima" but gave up an inch to the Toyota Camry. The Accord trunk holds 14 cubic feet, which is 3 cubic feet less than a Camry.
Accords are safe with a five-star rating for driver and front-seat passenger in government frontal crash tests. The coupe scored a five-star rating for front- and rear-passengers in the side-impact test. Honda has enhanced the standard safety equipment throughout its lineup. All Accords come with front dual airbags, side-impact and curtain airbags, and ABS.
Honda has made one of the best selling cars in the U.S. better - consider: for 20 of the 24 years that Car and Driver has been handing out 10Best Cars awards, the Accord has made it onto that exclusive list.