2020 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T Review: Still Better Than Whatever Crossover You Bought Instead

Don't sleep on the plain ol' Accord.

Chris Tsui

The Honda Accord and I have a bit of a history. At the tender age of 15, the very first car I ever drove was my father's washing machine-white 1992 DX. I remember that day vividly. It was only a handful of cautiously slow laps around an underground parking garage—but over the following several months it became the vehicle that confirmed for me yes, I did love driving more than I could've possibly imagined.

Looking back, it was mainly the tool that taught me the art of three-point turns, knowing who goes first when someone else arrives at an all-way stop the same time as you, and parallel parking. But if you asked my aspirational teenage self, in the moment, it might as well have my personal Championship White NSX with its flattened-box proportions, old Honda switchgear, and old Honda driving manners

Chris Tsui

Fast forward more than a decade and there's an Obsidian Blue Pearl 2020 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T in my proverbial driveway. I've always had a fairly good time behind the wheel of the Civic's big brother but does this modern, slopier-roofed version provide the same responsible, reasonably-priced thrills it has throughout the years? More or less, yeah.

At $37,355, the 2.0-liter Touring is the most expensive 2020 Accord you can buy and, transitively, the Honda brand's flagship sedan, competing against the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Volkswagen Passat, and Nissan's Altima. It's also priced around the same as the top-trim CR-V Touring or a mid-level Pilot. Of course, if you're part of the growing cohort of buyers that refuses to be seen in anything without raised suspension and black plastic body cladding, the Accord is a non-starter but for the big brains in the crowd who still appreciate the virtues of the good ol' sedan, Honda's mid-sizer is as good as it ever was. 

The 2020 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T, By the Numbers

  • Base Price (As Tested): $25,225 ($37,355)
  • Powertrain: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder | 10-speed automatic transmission | front-wheel drive 
  • Horsepower: 252 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
  • Torque: 273 pound-feet @ 1,500-4,000 rpm
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 22 mpg city | 32 highway | 26 combined
  • Curb Weight: 3,428 pounds
  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Cargo Space: 16.7 cubic feet
  • Quick Take: A comfortable, well-appointed cruiser with a decent driver's car underneath. 
Chris Tsui

On the outside, the 2020 Honda Accord's aesthetics seem to vary wildly depending on where you're looking at it from. The fastback proportions can look quite sleek from some angles but awkward and hunched-over from others. The front end, in my eyes, looks a bit weird but the strong shoulder line that runs the length of the car is quite attractive. Touring-specific touches include the tasteful chrome trim that underlines the doors and kicks up towards the rear and some 19-inch wheels that fill the wells out nicely without looking like they're trying too hard. All in all, it's a dignified design that blends into the crowd nicely without being completely beige.

Stepping inside and shutting the front doors shut with a heavy, secure-sounding thwump, the Accord's interior is pleasant and well thought-out. One of the first things you notice is the wood-pattern trim that's very convincing at mimicking open-pore lumber. Reach out and touch it, though, and you'll realize it's ultimately a ruse. The second thing you notice is the three HVAC knobs. They look expensive, operate with a satisfying clickiness, and—as a luxury car-aping party trick—feature backlighting that turns red or blue when you change the temperature. The volume and tuning knobs, meanwhile, may look similar posh at first glance but aren't nearly as nice upon further inspection. Although, given their absence in the previous-gen Accord, perhaps we should just be grateful that this car has them at all. 

Chris Tsui

Speaking of infotainment, the Accord uses an eight-inch, 720p touchscreen sitting high up in the dashboard, putting it well inside the driver's line of sight. The system itself is a vast improvement over the company's last-gen software still found in the current Civic and CR-V. It's fast and reasonably easy to use but compared to systems from, say, Toyota or Mazda, Honda's UI looks the most like...business software. It isn't very pretty but it gets the job done. (The IT middle managers who buy this car will feel right at home.) Thankfully, the Accord comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired in this 2020 model, wireless in upper trims of the new 2021) for the rest of us who'd much rather have our in-car infotainment be designed by the horn-rimmed glasses of Cupertino or Mountain View.

Controlling this mid-size sedan's 10-speed automatic transmission is Honda's now-customary button shifter with enough variance in the angle and action of the buttons to make it easy to use without looking after a few tries. We're long past requiring the traditional automatic PRNDL shifter for any real reason other than people are used to it, and while that's completely valid, buttons at least don't have the same learning curve as some of the new and confusing tiny-stick setups out there. And it makes for a slightly airier-feeling cabin to boot.

Sitting directly in front of the driver is a half-digital instrument cluster meaning the speedo on the right is analog but pretty much everything to the left of it is a screen. That screen can be configured to display everything from navigation or audio info to fuel consumption stats to Driver Attention Level and, for the traditionalists, a good ol' tachometer. It all looks pretty seamless, changing the left-hand display is intuitive and snappy, and is a smart workaround that makes the Accord seem like it pushes more pixels than it actually does. (Small quirk on the gauge display: the car that shows up when you choose to show Driving Support info appears to be a last-gen Accord and not the one its driver would be sitting in.)

Chris Tsui

The heads-up display and wireless phone charger both standard on this Touring trim (and available only on the Touring trim) are forward-thinking, appreciated touches.

Tech aside, the basics of the Accord's cockpit are solid. In typical Honda fashion, visibility is top-notch thanks to some mightily thin A-pillars and split C-pillars, the seats are quite comfy, the back row is spacious, storage space is generous, and there's even a little shelf in the center cubby perfectly-sized for mask storage. Really, there isn't much glaringly negative about this cabin. It's practical, useable, well-equipped, and handsomely designed. 

Chris Tsui

The Drive: 2020 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T

Among the mainstream mid-size family sedan segment, Honda's entry has always been a bit of a leader when it comes to the actual driving experience and that remains true for this 10th generation model. Behind the wheel, the 2020 Accord Touring has clearly been tuned, first and foremost, for comfort, exhibiting a pleasing smoothness that's consistent across its steering, braking, ride, and power delivery. It's a car that makes light work of both long-haul highway cruising and low-speed urban travel on both the driver and itself. 

That's not to say it's lazy, though. Hustle it a bit and you'll discover a sophistication to the Accord's chassis and suspension that isn't present in the competing Toyota—even in TRD guise—nor the previous-gen Accord. Even when saddled with winter tires, its frame feels light on its feet and destined for greater things. Tighten those inputs up a couple notches, "un-detune" the engine and I reckon an Accord Type R would be quite a good time. 

Chris Tsui

While we're on the subject of Type R, the Accord Touring's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is essentially the Civic Type R's motor with a smaller-diameter turbo. Here, it's putting out 252 hp and 273 lb-ft. with all of that torque available at just 1,500 rpm. The result? A quicker car than most owners will ever reasonably need and front tires that will screech a good amount when flooring it from a stop. 

When my fellow Canadians over at the Throttle House YouTube channel drag raced this exact Accord against the aforementioned CTR, the hot hatch eventually won but only just. Car and Driver, meanwhile, recently put the mildly refreshed 2021 model on its 10Best list for the 35th time. It's only natural that we don't always see eye-to-eye with C/D but in the case of crowning the Honda Accord as one of the best cars to buy for those who care about driving, I get it. 

The Accord can be switched into its Eco and Sport driving modes via buttons beneath the gear select module and, somewhat surprisingly, they do change this car's character quite a bit. Eco dulls the throttle significantly for the Accord owners out there who, deep down, would really rather have bought an Insight. Sport, of course, goes the other way, making the throttle more sensitive as well as stiffening up the steering and adaptive dampers. Yes, exclusive to the Touring trim, the Honda Accord can be had with adaptive friggin' dampers. 

Switching to this more athletic driving mode resizes the tach so that 6,000 rpm is at 12 o'clock and even throws up a little boost gauge. Go ahead and put it in Sport on the one day a year you take your Accord Touring out to the good roads and drive it for the sake of driving it but if it was me, I'd just leave it in the regular default mode 99 percent of the time and let the car do its thing. 

Chris Tsui

Honda Sensing is standard and includes the following:

  • Adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Forward collision warning and emergency braking
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • "Road Departure Mitigation"

ACC does a decent job of keeping up with the varying velocities of traffic sans driver input while Lane Keep is able to autonomously negotiate gentle curves in the highway but requires the driver to steer it around sharper bends and provide input every several seconds or so as a rule. Traffic Sign Recognition continuously reads the view out for speed limit signs and displays the last one it picked up next to the speedo in a thoughtful effort to keep "I didn't know I couldn't do that"-type situations with law enforcement to a minimum.

Chris Tsui

Verdict: A Super Solid Sedan

I've got one more confession to make. You're reading this right now thanks to another Honda Accord—specifically, my parents' 2016 Sport that I reviewed for one of my writing samples when I applied to write for this site a few years ago. My editors never published that one thankfully, but somehow it's now become my job to tell a bunch of people what it's like to live with that car's successor at a time when a lot of buyers are wondering what sedans still have to offer.

Thankfully, just like the Accord that came before it (and the Accord that came before that), the 2020 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T is a super solid mid-size family sedan. It looks alright, is extremely well-made, comfortable to drive and ride in and quite well-appointed in this top Touring trim. It's also a decently enjoyable tool as a driving machine as well.

What's really heartening to see is that there's still this accessible ease to its spirit. Rarer every day, it's the kind of family car where a bit of playfulness is baked into the DNA rather than tacked on with re-engineered performance editions, the kind that gives you a glimpse of how engaging driving can be. I mean, who knows? If there are any licensed teenagers in the family, it might just be good enough to put them on the path to becoming a bonafide auto journalist. Because writing about cars on the internet is precisely the upstanding, well-paying, respectable career every parent wishes for their kids... right?

Chris Tsui

Email the author at chris.tsui@thedrive.com