For years at a time, the Honda Accord has enjoyed the title of America’s most popular passenger car and with the continuous improvements the humble nameplate has received over the years, it’s easy to see why.

The latest model, the new 2011 Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe, are set to go on sale this August and have received some extensive updates including improved fuel economy, revised styling and the addition of a new leather-equipped Special Edition (SE) trim level.

Improvements to vehicle aerodynamics, engine friction and transmission gear ratios all contribute to significant fuel economy improvements. The EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2.4-liter four-cylinder Sedan models equipped with an automatic transmission improve by 2 mpg in the city and 3 mpg on the highway, for a city/highway rating of 23/34 mpg. As for the 3.5-liter V-6, preliminary EPA fuel-economy ratings for the Sedan are 19/30 mpg city/highway mpg, an improvement of 1 mpg in highway driving.

Peak output for the four-cylinder engine ranges from 177 to 190 horsepower depending on trim and bodystyles, while the V-6 comes in at 271 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on 4-cylinder models and a 5-speed automatic is available. A 5-speed automatic transmission is standard on V-6-powered models. A 6-speed manual transmission is available exclusively on the Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe.

To differentiate the latest 2011 Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe from the previous model, the exterior has been updated with a new grille design, a revised front bumper and rear deck lid, plus new wheel designs.

Other changes include the updated Accord SE trim, which is now available with many of the more luxurious features from the Accord LX-P. These include leather-trimmed seating, heated seats, driver's power-lumbar support and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.

Three audio systems are available--all with MP3/WMA playback capability and an auxiliary input jack. The standard system provides a single-disc CD player, six speakers and 160 watts of power, and all Accord models get steering wheel-mounted audio controls. A premium 270-watt audio system comes standard on Accord EX Coupe and Accord EX-L Sedan models, and includes a six-disc CD changer and seven speakers including an 8-inch subwoofer. The range-topper is the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System (available on Accord EX-L), which uses an 8-inch screen and an interface dial for user input.

With improved fuel economy and more upmarket features on even the base models, the latest 2011 Honda Accord will only strengthen what is already a proud and impressive nameplate.