The powertrain lineup in the front-wheel-drive Accord consists of three different engines and three transmission possibilities. Standard on the base Accord sedan LX and SE is a 177-horsepower, 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, while sedan EX, EX-L and Accord coupe LX-S, EX and EX-L get a 190-horsepower version of the same engine. EX V6 and EX-L models get a 271-hp, 3.5L V6 engine. Four-cylinder engines are paired with a standard 5-speed manual gearbox or optional 5-speed automatic, while most V6 models get the automatic; a 6-speed manual is available.
Either of the two 4-cylinder engines in the Accord provides reasonably fast acceleration and a peppy, responsive feel overall, especially with the manual transmission. The combination of manual transmission and V6 is a relative rarity in a mid-size sedan, bringing more of a performance feel to the Accord. All three engines use Honda's i-VTEC system, which helps keep the engine smooth and responsive both at low revs and during high-speed passing. The V6 gets Variable Cylinder Management, which cuts off half of the cylinders when cruising to aid efficiency.
The 2012 Honda Accord is one of the better-handling mid-size sedans, thanks to a well-tuned double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear setup, along with rack-and-pinion steering that's very precise and responsive.
Along with performance and smoothness, interior appointments are one of the Accord's strengths. The instrument panel features a curvy, distinctive design and controls are quite intuitive; upper trims include steering-wheel controls. Upper trims also come with plush-looking, leather-upholstered 2-tone themes and rich materials. While base models have the same design themes, they are done in stylish, but simpler plastic. Across the board, seating is comfortable and supportive, with a back seat that's large enough to fit three adults across in a pinch. In all models, the rear seatback folds forward to expand trunk space and there's also a lockable pass-through.
Coupe models are several inches shorter and a couple of inches lower than the sedan, so they come with a slightly different seating arrangement, with a smaller back seat and more restricted headroom. Access to the back seat is easier than most coupes thanks to the long doors, but those doors might prove difficult in tight parking situations.
Honda's navigation system has voice-activation functions and has an attractive high-contrast color screen. Zagat guidebook information and ratings is integrated. Other features on top models of the Accord include a 270-watt premium sound system with XM satellite radio, a 6-disc changer and subwoofer, driver's seat memory and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
From the base Accord LX sedan to the top-of-the-line Accord EX-L V6 coupe, the Accord spans a wide range in price and equipment. The LX sedan comes with all the basics and a bit more, including air conditioning, cruise control, power accessories, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and keyless entry. The new mid-level SE features leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel, heated front seats and power adjustable driver's seat. At the top of the Accord range features include such items as power adjustable passenger seat, seat memory, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, big 18-inch alloy wheels and upgraded trim.
The 2012 Honda Accord comes with all the requisite safety features, including electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, front side airbags, side curtain bags and front-seat active head restraints.