The Honda Accord is a D-segment sedan that was always one of two cars most aspired to own; the other a Camry. No surprise, the sedan features the best equipment Honda has to offer at the time. Owning an Accord rang the gong for one that had arrived at Senior Management, securing a room with a window and keys to the executive toilet. Good times.
At the turn of the century, competition from Japan and Europe started to offer viable alternatives packed with modern technologies. Not that Honda dropped the ball, but the invading and improved competition made the Accord go from great to decent.
Now more than ever, shoppers in the D-segment mall are enjoying the choices laid before them. So can Honda convince buyers that the Accord is still relevant for today’s executives and families?
The new-generation Accord is actually eye-catching.
The Accord’s fastback styling is a buoy in a sea of three-box sedan designs. It’s easy to admire the Accord’s new dynamic body and appreciate its attempt to break out of the ‘old-man mobile’ stigma. Its chrome wing front grille may look slim but enough to impose its presence on others. The grille stretches its wings to wrap around the LED headlights underscored with DRLs.
Honda left the sides clean with only a couple of swooshes top and bottom to bracket the doors. The roof’s steep sloping and it’s tapering off at the boot instantly instils sportiness into its design. As with the current Civic, the Accord’s taillights are also lobster claw-like. No criticisms here — it is a refreshing take on the standard combination lights that many manufacturers continue to do.
The one thing that really pushes the Accord front and centre is its size. The family sedan looks large, and the measurements on paper only confirm what you see. The 4,882mm length means the Accord will not fit into most parking boxes. Its 1,862mm width means negotiating a single lane packed with double-parkers will be a challenge.
Upsizing the Accord, keeping the body clean and equipping the sedan with appropriate light-show makes the sedan has its benefits. It makes the sedan appear expensive without the need to spill over the RM200,000 threshold. Looking grand and doing it cheaply is something everyone can appreciate.
Only one screen on the centre console this time?
The ninth-generation Accord and it’s two centre console screens now feels like an experiment of doing it for the sake of being different. The centre touchscreen in the new Accord makes more sense — it does not bombard the drive with multiple information that may or may not help the driver.
An 8.4-inch display audio sits in the middle flanked by main function buttons, which calls up other media features. Having Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at the ready, having Voice Command pushes the Accord into the next decade.
The camera angles and Honda LaneWatch are displayed on the same screen, both are summoned through the respective buttons on the stalks behind the steering wheel.
The meter cluster consists of a seven-inch TFT screen but only on the left, making the tachometer digital and the speedometer analogue. This allows Honda to decorate the rev meter according to the drive mode, complete with boost meter in Sport mode, among other things.
The interior looks relatively simple.
Yes, it is simple, and simple is always good. There’s also classiness in simplicity, which the Accord’s interior has, and dashboard is clean and laid out logically. It is pleasing to see that rotary knobs are used to control fan speed and temperature — it is quicker to twist knobs than pushing buttons like a clueless gamer.
The seats wrapped in leather and bolstered for comfort, not necessarily for spirited driving. The front seats are motorised, as it should be for cars in this range, so getting into the right position is always easy. The front passenger seat has buttons on its right shoulder, making it easier for the driver to push the seat forward and free up limousine-like legroom in the rear.
By default, Honda has carved out ample space in the rear. Even when the front seats positioned at its furthest back still affords plenty of legroom for the six-foot rear passenger. Rear air vents on the centre console keep things comfortably cool at the rear, and privacy blinds are included to block out the sun and prying eyes.
The engine may be small, but it’ll beat older fuel guzzlers.
Because the previous Accords ran with at least a 2.0-litre engine under the hood, the 1.5-litre turbocharged in the new car might sound lacking at first. Yet, Honda had made us believers of the company’s 1.5-litre turbo engine when it proved to be more than enough to power the CR-V. In the Accord, the same gutsy little engine sings a higher tune at 198hp and 260Nm, which is more potent than last generation’s 2.4-litre naturally aspirated inline-four.
Honda is also sticking with the CVT to deliver power to the Accord’s front wheels. The large sedan’s 9.1-second 0-100kph time is indicative of the acceleration that you’ll be experiencing all the way to the maximum 190kph; smooth, calm and without a hitch.
More importantly, the CVT is quick enough to ‘kick down’ the second you push down the accelerator hard. While the acceleration won’t bury you into the seats, the surge in power is sufficient to overtake vehicles quickly. Expect the Accord to consume fuel accordingly, and a less spirited drive should put you close to the claimed 6.2-litre per 100km.
Steers better than it looks.
You’ll be surprised as to how quick the Accord responds to steering inputs. It is also precise and settled on its track from turn in to exit. There’s enough feedback to let you know where the wheels are pointing but not to the point where each pebble is telegraphed. Perhaps, the smaller engine aids in front weight reduction to the car need less effort to make turns.
The ride feels wonderfully comfortable and plush, with a hint of firmness that sponges up undulations to keep the car accurate to the intended direction. Even when the road is as pock-marked as a teenager’s face, the Accord works to ensure a ride that isn’t jarring and harsh.
The Accord also knows how to have a bit of fun in the winding roads. The MacPherson struts in front and the multi-link suspension in the rear encourages you to push the sedan harder around the corners. Body roll is well-controlled, bestowing a small-car nimbleness to the Accord’s large package.
Plenty of tech in here to make driving easier, safer.
It goes without saying that the Accord has the full Honda Sensing suite. There are eight in total, each tasked with a specific mission that culminates in an overall quest keep you in your lane and not hit the other person.
The features that I use the most are the Adaptive Cruise Control and Low Speed Follow, which lets me rest my legs in stop-go traffic. Another part that became increasingly useful is the Auto High Beam that simply bathes dark roads at night but automatically reverts to default when a car is approaching. The ability to summon Honda LaneWatch and the multi-view camera at a moment’s notice is a blessing on very tight lanes with even tighter corners.
What does it cost?
As mentioned earlier, the Accord might feel like an RM200,000 car, but it is priced to please. Without insurance, the on-the-road price for the top-spec Accord is RM187,390.73. The vehicle comes with a five-year warranty with unlimited mileage. Will it be enough to make you look away from the competition?
So how does the Accord stack up?
The similarly priced Toyota Camry may have a larger engine with less output, but it is more comfortable to ride and offers a more relaxing drive. The Mazda6 provides a more involved driving experience with its well-balanced chassis and finely-tuned suspension system, albeit at a higher priced. Yet, none of the Japanese makes can compare to the outright power of the Volkswagen Passat.
The Honda Accord is a car that stands in the middle ground, offering just the right amounts of power, handling and comfort that no one will complain. In the end, it will be the Honda Accord’s interior design, quality and spaciousness it offers that will delight many passengers and yourself.
Specification: Honda Accord 1.5 TC-P
Engine 1,498cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC, VTEC, turbocharged, electronic fuel injection (PGM-FI)
Transmission Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), front-wheel drive
Power & Torque 198hp @ 5,500rpm / 260Nm @ 1,600-5,000rpm
Performance 0-100kph in 9.0s, max speed 190kph, 6.3l/100km