2019 Honda Accord vs. 2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Honda Accord are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Accord deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Accord’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The 3 Series Sedan’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Collision Mitigation Braking System in the Accord as “Superior.” The 3 Series Sedan scores at most only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

To help make backing safer, the Accord Sport 2.0T/EX/EX-L/Touring’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Accord’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Accord and the 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Honda Accord is safer than the 3 Series Sedan:

 

Accord

3 Series Sedan

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

184

549

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

.9/.2 kN

3.4/3.4 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/1%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Tibia index R/L

.35/.51

.65/.82

Tibia forces R/L

1.7/1.8 kN

3.4/4.2 kN

Warranty

Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Accord 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the 3 Series Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 3 Series Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 3 times as many Honda dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Accord’s warranty.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Accord 2.0T is faster than the 330i (automatics tested):

 

Accord

3 Series

Zero to 60 MPH

5.5 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.6 sec

14.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.1 sec

6.5 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

3.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

102 MPH

98 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Accord gets better fuel mileage than the 3 Series Sedan RWD:

 

 

Accord

3 Series

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

26 city/35 hwy

23 city/35 hwy

320i/Manual

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

22 city/32 hwy

21 city/32 hwy

330i/Manual

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

30 city/38 hwy

24 city/35 hwy

320i/Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Accord uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 3 Series Sedan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Accord has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Honda Accord higher (6 to 7 out of 10) than the BMW 3 Series Sedan (3 to 7). This means the Accord produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 3 Series Sedan every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Honda Accord 2.0 turbo 4 cyl., for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the 3 Series Sedan.

The Accord has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a CVT.

To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the Accord Sport has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

The Accord stops much shorter than the 3 Series Sedan:

 

Accord

3 Series Sedan

 

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

109 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

142 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Accord Sport/Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (235/40R19 vs. 225/40R19).

The Accord has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 3 Series Sedan; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the 3 Series Sedan don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

The Accord’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Accord is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 3 Series Sedan.

The Accord Touring handles at .89 G’s, while the 340i pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

The front grille of the Accord EX 1.5T/EX-L 1.5T uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Accord uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Accord Touring is quieter than the 340i xDrive (40 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Accord a Large car, while the 3 Series Sedan is rated a Compact.

The Accord has 9.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 3 Series Sedan (105.6 vs. 96.2).

The Accord has .3 inches more front legroom, 3.2 inches more front shoulder room, 5.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the 3 Series Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Accord has a much larger trunk than the 3 Series Sedan (16.7 vs. 13 cubic feet).

Towing

The Accord 2.0L Turbo offers up to a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The 3 Series Sedan has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Accord Sport 2.0T Auto/EX/EX-L/Touring has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Accord EX-L/Touring’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

Consumer Reports rated the Accord’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the 3 Series Sedan’s headlights, which were rated “Poor” to “Good” (depending on model and options).

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Accord has standard extendable sun visors. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Accord Touring keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Accord owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Accord will cost $25 to $6220 less than the 3 Series Sedan over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Accord is less expensive to operate than the 3 Series Sedan because it costs $441 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Accord than the 3 Series Sedan, including $429 less for a water pump, $436 less for a muffler, $88 less for front brake pads, $95 less for a starter, $14 less for fuel injection, $325 less for front struts and $777 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Accord will be $10407 to $17086 less than for the BMW 3 Series Sedan.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Honda Accord and the BMW 3 Series Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Accord was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 22 of the last 24 years. The 3 Series hasn’t been picked since 2014.

The Accord 2.0T Sport was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2018. The 3 Series hasn’t been picked since 2014.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Accord as the 2018 North American Car of the Year. The 3 Series Sedan has never been chosen.

The Honda Accord outsold the BMW 3 Series by almost six to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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