Yes, the Honda Accord utilizes a front wheel drive drivetrain. This has been the case for every generation of the Accord stretching back to its original debut in 1976. Front wheel drive offers a number of advantages that have made it the dominant configuration in mainstream passenger sedans like the Accord, including better traction, packaging efficiency and affordability.
In the rest of this guide, we’ll explore the Honda Accord’s front wheel drive drivetrain in more detail. We’ll look at how this layout provides advantages like traction and interior space utilization over rear wheel drive. We’ll also examine the mechanics of the Accord’s front wheel drive system and how it has evolved over the years. Finally, we’ll see how front wheel drive impacts the Accord’s performance and handling.
The Advantages of Front Wheel Drive
There are a few key reasons that almost all non-luxury passenger sedans like the Honda Accord utilize front wheel drive:
- Cost Savings
Front wheel drive vehicles send power from the engine to the front wheels. This gives the drive wheels additional traction, especially in wet, icy or snowy conditions when weight shifts forward over the front axle. Traction control systems work more effectively with front wheel drive as well. This makes FWD optimal for an everyday driver sedan like the Accord.
Front wheel drive allows for more passenger and cargo room inside the cabin since no drive shaft or transmission tunnel is running through the middle of the car to the rear. Automakers can optimize interior space in FWD vehicles.
Front wheel drive is simpler and cheaper to engineer and manufacture than rear wheel drive. There are fewer components, which benefits affordability – a key Accord attribute.
The low center of gravity and even weight distribution of front wheel drive also gives the Accord responsive handling, despite its soft suspension tuning aimed at ride comfort.
In summary, front wheel drive allows the Honda Accord to deliver an optimal blend of traction, interior roominess, affordability and agile handling – exactly what buyers expect in this mainstream family sedan segment.
How Front Wheel Drive Works?
The core design principle of front wheel drive is that the engine and transmission are mounted transversely at the very front of the car, in front of the passenger compartment. Driveshafts then transfer power laterally from the transmission to the front wheels.
Here are the key components that make front wheel drive work in the Honda Accord:
- Transversely mounted engine – The Accord’s four-cylinder engine sits sideways across the front of the car instead of longitudinally behind the cabin as in a rear-wheel drive layout.
- Transaxle – The transmission and differential are combined into one compact housing called a transaxle, mounted next to the engine.
- Half shafts – These shorter drive shafts (also called axle shafts or CV joints) connect the transaxle to the front wheels. They are constantly rotating at engine speed.
- Constant velocity (CV) joints – These specialized joints at each end of the drive shafts allow for smooth transmission of power to the wheels at varying angles.
- Front suspension – The front struts, control arms, steering rack, and other suspension components have to be designed to accommodate the drivetrain layout.
This compact, transverse front wheel drive powertrain design has allowed Honda to maximize interior space in the Accord while still offering a dynamically capable driving experience.
Front Wheel Drive Generations In the Honda Accord
The Honda Accord has utilized front wheel drive since its first generation launched as a hatchback in 1976. Let’s look at how the mechanics and hardware of the Accord’s FWD drivetrain have evolved over the decades:
First Generation (1976-1981)
- 1.6L I4 engine mounted transversely
- 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transaxle
- Short sliding-joint drive shafts
Second Generation (1982–1985)
- Added 2.0L engine option
- Updated manual and auto transaxle
- Longer CV drive shafts
Third Generation (1986–1989)
- More powerful 2.0L engines introduced
- First Accord V6 option (still FWD)
- Wider track and wheelbase
Fourth Generation (1990–1993)
- New double wishbone front suspension
- Larger disc brakes
- First 4-speed automatic transmission
Fifth Generation (1994–1997)
- All-new VTEC and non-VTEC engines
- First Accord Coupe option
- Rear stabilizer bar for better handling
Sixth Generation (1998–2002)
- New V6 mounted longitudinally but still FWD
- First 5-speed automatic transmission
- Additional front suspension updates
Seventh Generation (2003–2007)
- New i-VTEC variable cam timing engines
- New 5-link rear suspension
- Larger brakes and wider track
Eighth Generation (2008-2012)
- More powerful V6 and 4-cylinder options
- 6-speed manual and auto transmissions
- Wider wheel options
Ninth Generation (2013-2017)
- EarthDreams direct injection 4-cylinder engines
- Continuously variable transmission (CVT)
- Agile Handling Assist system
Tenth Generation (2018-2022)
- 1.5L and 2.0L turbocharged engines
- It has a shorter wheelbase but a wider track
- Adaptive damper system on Touring trim
Across ten generations, the Accord has maintained its core front wheel drive layout while making continual improvements to power, handling and ride quality.
Impact of Front Wheel Drive on Performance
The front wheel drive configuration has some inherent performance advantages and disadvantages compared to rear wheel drive. Here is how it impacts acceleration, handling, and steering in the Honda Accord:
The Accord’s powerful engines and close-ratio gearing provide quick acceleration. Traction off the line is enhanced by weighting the engine over the drive wheels. The improving performance of FWD systems has allowed the V6 and turbocharged Accords to achieve 0-60 mph in the 5-6 second range.
Front wheel drive gives the Accord a lower center of gravity than if it were rear-wheel drive, helping it change direction quickly. Body roll is minimal despite the soft suspension. The front wheels pull the car through corners, but torque steer tugs are felt through the steering wheel when accelerating hard.
The steering feels and feedback in the Accord are tuned more for comfort and isolation than sporty responsiveness. Quicker ratio racks have improved turn-in precision over the generations. But high steering effort and numb feel are common FWD dynamic compromises.
While not as athletically balanced as rear drive, front wheel drive has not prevented the Accord from delivering responsive acceleration, capable handling, and refined cruising. Honda has optimized the driving experience around the inherent strengths and limitations of the layout.
Is an AWD Honda Accord Available?
The standard Honda Accord is exclusively front wheel drive. However, between 2003 and 2007, Honda did offer an all-wheel drive (AWD) version of the Accord Sedan dubbed the Accord Crosstour. This was in response to growing consumer demand for AWD options in mainstream sedans to better cope with winter weather and give added traction and stability in all conditions.
The AWD Accord Crosstour had a unique suspension design and provided power to all four wheels through a specialized rear driveshaft and differential. But added weight and mechanical complexity hurt fuel efficiency. The Crosstour was discontinued after poor sales, as buyers interested in AWD favored Honda’s CR-V and Pilot SUVs.
Outside of this niche AWD sedan experiment, the conventional front wheel drive Accord has remained Honda’s preferred drivetrain. FWD provides the optimal blend of interior room, fuel efficiency, driving dynamics and value.
Are Honda Accords Two Wheel Drive?
Yes, all Honda Accord models are front-wheel drive, which is considered a two wheel drive configuration. The engine power is delivered only to the front two wheels in a front-wheel drive vehicle like the Accord.
There are no Honda Accord models currently available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Honda prefers front-wheel drive in the Accord for its better traction, interior space utilization, affordability and handling dynamics that are well suited to a midsize family sedan.
Are Honda Accords Good in the Snow?
Honda Accords are competent vehicles in snowy and icy winter conditions thanks to their front-wheel drive configuration. Front-wheel drive delivers engine power to the front wheels, giving them better traction. The weight of the engine and transmission over the drive wheels also help push the car through snow.
While all-wheel drive would offer the ultimate snow traction, a front-wheel drive Accord with proper snow tires can handle moderate snowfall quite well as long as the driver operates the vehicle prudently.
Is FWD Good in Snow?
Yes, front-wheel drive vehicles like the Honda Accord tend to perform better in snowy and icy conditions than rear-wheel drive and even some all-wheel drive cars. Front-wheel drive sends power to the front wheels, giving them better grip and traction.
The weight over the front tires helps them maintain contact with the road. FWD cars avoid sliding sideways downhill. With the right tires, front-wheel drive allows safe winter driving.
Is FWD Better Than RWD?
Front-wheel drive has advantages in traction, interior space utilization, cost savings, and handling precision compared to rear-wheel drive. This makes FWD well suited to mainstream sedan applications like the Honda Accord where affordability and cabin roominess are priorities.
RWD is better for sports cars and luxury vehicles where handling balance and power delivery are more important. Each layout has merits depending on the vehicle type and the priorities in its design and engineering.
Why Does Honda Make FWD Cars?
Honda utilizes front-wheel drive on vehicles like the Accord because it better fits their goals of interior space efficiency, fuel economy, traction in slippery conditions, and value for money. The packaging, performance and cost advantages of FWD benefit consumers in affordable family vehicles.
Honda saves on manufacturing costs while still retaining responsive handling. For sports cars and upmarket sedans, Honda will use rear-wheel drive, showing they employ the optimal drivetrain for each vehicle and buyer.
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In this detailed examination of the Honda Accord’s drivetrain, we’ve seen how its front wheel drive configuration provides advantages in interior space, traction, cost and handling that make it highly suited for this popular family sedan.
While available briefly as an AWD model, the vast majority of Accords over ten generations have utilized the inherent benefits of front wheel drive to deliver an unparalleled blend of affordability, comfort, practicality, and performance.