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Somewhere along the way the idea of the mid-size family sedan meant sacrificing fun for the greater good for a family. Manual transmissions used to flaunt its enthusiasm in cars of all shapes and sizes, now it’s like we’re being punished like toddlers told to sit in timeout. Happily, Honda has once again returned the manual transmission in their all-new Accord making it our last hope for humanity and keeping the spirit of three pedals alive.

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To get the manual trans in the Accord, one must opt for the SPORT, all other variants see an automatic – a Continuously Variable Transmission in the 1.5T and a 10-speed auto in the 2.0T. In any case, the 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that can be had with a six-speed manual is the idealistic high performing sedan to earn the “SPORT” badging on the trunk. However, at a $4530 premium, it can be quite expensive for some. Don’t fret though, the entry level 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and its 192-horsepower four-cylinder engine is quite the delightfully little thing.

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Taking just over 7-seconds to 60 mph, the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine is never one to be rushed. It swiftly ushers along like a sassy Beverly Hills retiree. With a quick spree attitude, the six-speed manual feels so well connected, with each transition between gears the engagement felt so real clicking through each gearing. Topping it off, its back by a nicely weighted clutch that’s very easy to operate. Even during our L.A. jaunts, we never tired the idea changing gears especially after being stuck in traffic for over 3 hours. Following a superb chassis, it carries a well-balanced connection with the driver that ultimately extends a satisfying reward. The steering provides a solid balance of comfort and charisma while the suspension copes with the disastrous roads around town.

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The Accord Sport falls near the entry level segment of the Accord lineup, right after the base LX with a price $26,780. With large 19-inch wheels, standard LED head-, fog-, daytime-, and tail lights, its one sexy looking car – even in our very generic silver paint. Taking it a step further, Honda is one of the very few brands that is now offering their car with standard pre-collision, accident avoidance features. With the Honda Sensing system, the Accord becomes a giant bubble wrapped car with lane departure warning, and lane keep mitigation, forward collision alert with autonomous braking, and adaptive cruise control.

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For an entry level sedan, we’re excited to see that Honda hasn’t forego using some burlap fabric on the seats. With a contrast of a leatherette and smooth cloth material, the seats provide a relaxed, classy atmosphere. The Accord carries a very well agronomic interior with everything well within reach and control from the driver seat. Providing comfort in all the right places, it also offers, what we feel would be one of the best-in-class back seats. It’s like it’s trying to show up the Volkswagen Passat.

Despite its low-grade price tag, there is no sacrificing when it comes to the quality of interior materials and technology. The Accord uses a good mix of soft touch and attractive finishes throughout that makes it very appealing. All the controls feel premium-like with tactile feedback. We like the design of the dash with the contrast of silver and black denim like pattern as well as the unique blue and red back lit lighting on the dual-zone climate control system that helps identify hot and cold. With the addition of a customizable TFT instrument cluster is a nice touch on modern technology. By offering a large touch screen infotainment system, the Accord accommodates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and a standard backup camera. We should also thank them for bringing back the volume and seek knob as it makes it so much easier to control.

Sometimes opting for the lower grade model means there’s sacrifices to be made – a lot of them – with the Accord Sport, we don’t even have to sacrifice having a family in order to have a fun driving sedan with the third pedal. Despite the traffic of Los Angeles ruining our good run of 37 mpg, in the end we managed to achieve 29.4 mpg’s after driving 250 miles – which hits the targeted EPA of 29 mpg. It just goes to show, the Honda Accord is our last hope for humanity, lets hope it can save this dying breed, and pull us out of timeout.

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Vehicle Specifications:
2018 Honda Accord Sport 1.5T Manual: $25,780
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $26,670
Performance Specs:
1.5-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder – 192-Horsepower, 6-Speed Manual Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±7.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 29/35/31 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average:  29.4 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±370 Miles