The Honda Accord has been the most popular, best-selling car in America over the past 4 decades. Need more be said?  It’s pedigree of reliable motoring has matured over time to include such hallmark characteristics as sporty handling, get-in-and-drive ergonomics and big car spaciousness. And what’s more, you can still buy one with a 6-speed manual.

2017 Honda Accord Sedan TouringThis Accord Sport sedan is one of 3 models in the car’s lineup you can still have with a stick shift in lieu of the optional CVT, and they all are 4-cylinder powered. They also all reside at the lower end of the trim spectrum; the manual gearbox formula most manufacturers’ follow these days. Slotted just above the base LX trim, the 2017 Sport is priced from a modest $25,250 including destination.

Last year, Honda gave the Accord the once-over infusing its flat design with more dynamic styling, fortifying the body and upgrading the chassis. And man, did it do wonders for the Accord’s street presence. With upsized 19” wheels fitted with V Speed-rated ContiProConact tires, larger front brakes, dual exhaust, rear spoiler, aluminum pedals, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and carbon fiber-style garnish, the Sport package is a modest though effective grouping that adds some real visual zest. Even though it’s positioned near the bottom of the Accord ladder, you’d never know by looking at it. The use of LED lighting, chrome accents and rich paint further provide an upmarket appearance with sporty attitude.

Under the aluminum hood is an Earth Dreams, also known as a direct-injected 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with a very small bump in output when compared with the non-Sport models, generating 189 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Suffering from a bit of turbo overload lately, this naturally aspirated engine is a gutsy but smooth performer reminding me just how satisfying a non-boosted motor can be.

It’s perfect for this application; a family car with expectations for high comfort and yet delightfully fun to drive.  That equation is bolstered by this sweet-looking and ultra-smooth shifting 6-speed that can be rowed without ruffling your occupants or tiring you out.  I’m not one of those “save the manual” guys but this is exactly how I’d want my Accord Sport.  Plus it saves you $800 at time of purchase however it does take a hit at the pump dropping 3mpgs from the CVT model, netting 26mpg in combined driving and reducing the car’s range by over 50 miles, though still able to travel nearly 450 miles on a full tank.

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