Why Two Fewer Cylinders Makes The Honda Accord EX-L A Better Buy

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Honda Accord EX-L
The 2014 Honda Accord EX-L.
Most car guys spout phrases like "There's no substitute for cubic inches".  Or "More power!" Well, that's great if you're paid to hammer cars around test tracks or back roads when the Highway Patrol (hopefully) isn't looking five days a week.

But what if you're Everyman, simply looking for the right car?  For years,  my answer to that one was "Honda Accord". That was back in the day when there was only one engine under the hood of an Accord...a four-cylinder.

As the Accord grew in weight and complexity, a six was the obvious answer.  And, as recently as last year, we found that (especially as Honda finds its way back from the wilderness with a new and improved Accord) to be a fine engine.

But you know what?  Go for the four.

Rear 3/4 view of 2014 Honda Accord EX-L
2014 Honda Accord EX-L
Yes, in lopping off two cylinders, you're giving up 91 horsepower.  But, and this is the absolute truth...you probably won't miss it. I didn't.  I thought I was driving the six.  It wasn't until I was handing the keys back to the delivery guy that he asked me how I liked the four.

"I haven't driven one yet."

"Um...you didn't drive this all week?"

"Yeah, I drove this.  Put 400-plus miles on it.  I haven't driven the four-cylinder Accord yet."

"Mike, this is the four-cylinder Accord."

Seriously, in normal driving, it's as quick, as smooth, as refined.  The tipoff should have been the gas mileage I was getting.  The six is no slouch when it comes to fuel economy...21 city/34 highway...but the EPA estimate for the four is 27 city/36 highway, 30 combined...which is right in the ballpark of what I was seeing during the week I drove it.

There's also up-front savings.  Choose the four-cylinder EX-L instead of the EX-L V6 and your price of entry is $2,075 lower. In fact, our tester was optionless.  The $30,045 base price went up only by the amount of the destination and handling charge, bringing the bottom line to $30,835.

Interior view of 2014 Honda Accord EX-L
2014 Honda Accord EX-L interior.
The standard features list is so long, it would turn this into one big gray space, so I'm just going to say click here and Honda will tell you all about it.

Beyond that, the news is pretty much the same as it was last year with the V6 model.  Honda is getting back to what once was an unerring sense of ergonomics, reducing the clutter produced by literally dozens of dashboard buttons, and giving everything a light, yet solid, quality feel.  I'm not at all sold on the dual-screen setup (multi-function top, audio system bottom)...and Honda's audio and nav graphics are years behind the best in the business. If they can bring the appearance and functionality (presets should not default into FM1 when you've selected FM2) into 2014, it may actually make the dual-screen more appealing.

But that's a niggle and it wouldn't deter me from recommending, or even buying, if I were playing with my own money, the four-cylinder Honda Accord EX-L.  In fact, it now replaces last year's V6 Touring on the list of TireKicker's Best Cars on the right hand side of the page.