The ‘new’ Accord has been with us since last year’s
Bangkok International Motor Show (on March 26-April 4), but is only now really
being noticed in the southern hemisphere. Down-under they actually have two
Accords, one called the ‘Euro’ and the other the same as we get here.
Let us see what the Australians made of ‘our’ Accord,
what we think of as the real Accord, the one we’ve come to know over six
“The seventh generation Accord is a bigger, cushier car
than the more compact Euro - which is also an Accord, but appeals to a quite
different customer. The latest version’s styling is skewed towards an American
understanding of what a mid-size compact car should be (and little wonder,
because the USA has for many years been the Accord’s heartland), favouring
interior space, smoothness and silence of operation, safe styling and the odd
bit of fake wood.
“The new model is bigger than the previous Accord, but not
hugely. The wheelbase is up 25mm, while overall body length has crept up
slightly less, by 20mm. This partly explains an increase of interior cabin
length and means there’s slightly less overhang than before. Practically all
of the massive 127mm increase in internal length goes into improving front-seat
legroom. Perhaps unexpectedly, internal shoulder width is slightly down on the
“Weight doesn’t seem to have gone up significantly
though, roughly around 50 kg over comparable versions of the previous model,
while the aerodynamics have improved to a quite creditable drag figure of
“The Accord looks quite big on the road, which is no
surprise because it is edging closer to cars like the Chevrolet Lumina and is
bigger than a Toyota Camry.
“Honda says the new Accord achieves very high levels of
refinement, with particular emphasis on improved passive safety and overall road
performance. In V6 form (the 2.4 litre four cylinder is also available) the
Accord is a very smooth, quite powerful car that emphasizes comfortable cruising
rather than driver oriented, point to point athleticism. In fact, the VTEC V6 is
a gem, spinning quietly and with amazing silkiness while delivering a surge of
real power. The 177 kW is real.
“Although the all alloy engine is a development of the
previous, also 3.0 litre V6, it has been substantially reworked to be almost 9
kg lighter and 25mm shorter. The single overhead camshaft drives a four valves
per cylinder system and the exhaust manifolds are integrated into the cylinder
heads - a neat feature that improves packaging and helps allow optimal
positioning of the catalytic converters.
“The VTEC system provides continual adjustment of the valve
timing, while also varying the lift of the valves according to engine speed -
more lift at higher rpm for maximum gas flow and less at lower rpm.
“The V6 is also in a harmonious partnership with the five
speed automatic transmission - one ratio more than previous Accord autos. It is
a smooth shifting, nicely intuitive box incorporating Honda’s “Grade
Logic” system that senses when the car is on an incline and, if the moment is
appropriate, will downshift accordingly, tending to hold a chosen intermediate
gear rather than “hunt” around for the correct ratio. The compact
transmission is claimed by Honda to be similar in size to a regular four-speed
auto. It doesn’t offer sequential shifting though - which is something of a
strange omission, although it perhaps underlines the non-sporting nature of the
“The Accord proceeds smoothly on all types of road
surfaces, non-compromised by any real pretensions about being a lively-handling
car. The 16 inch alloy wheels run cushy 205/60 tyres, aimed more at comfort than
maximum grip. The steering is light - a shade too light - and the car heels over
on bends, with an unmistakable tendency to understeer. It’s all quite
controlled though, and the car always signals the driver if it’s about to run
short of grip.
“The cabin, as you’d expect with the more generous
overall dimensions, is quite roomy and comfortable. Up front, there’s
certainly plenty of room even for tall passengers, both in terms of fore-aft
stretch and shoulder width. The same applies in the back, although the front
seats will intrude on legroom if all the generous travel is used. The base,
velour-trimmed V6 model tested here (there’s also the entry level four
cylinder VTi and the top-of-the-line V6 Luxury) is generally restrained in
monotone grey, broken by a slab of fake wood on the centre console.
“The front seats are new, and appear to offer decent
support although there’s not a lot of lateral location. In the base V6, the
driver gets electric height adjustment as well as adjustable lumbar support. The
steering column also adjusts telescopically as well as vertically, so a decent
driving position can be achieved.
“Honda talks a lot about the Accord’s zero offset driving
position - the driver is directly in line with the axis of the steering column,
rather than located slightly to the right or left as is the case with some cars
- and this adds subtly to the feeling of comfort and symmetry.
“Storage areas are abundant, with a decent lidded cubby at
the front of the console, a small (also lidded) container behind the gearshift
and a two-level box below the front centre armrest. The back seat conceals a
ski-port behind its centre armrest and the backrest folds down in one piece to
complement the decent size, 446 litre boot. The load-through aperture is small
though, and the hinges intrude into boot space. All doors have parcel trays and
those in front are able to store drink bottles vertically.
“Standard gear includes climate control air-conditioning
(without external temperature readout), a really good six-speaker sound system
with in-dash six disc CD stacker, cruise control, a sunglasses holder above the
centre rear-view mirror, power mirrors and windows. Dual front and front side
airbags are also standard.
“So what we have with the latest, seventh-generation Honda
Accord is a natural progression from the previous model. Smooth, inoffensive
style, a nicely trimmed but conservative interior and inoffensive dynamics with
a marked tendency to favour a long distance cruise over a satisfying blast on a
twisting mountain highway.”
(In Thailand, the V6 Accord is around 1.6 million baht, while
the four cylinder is around 300,000 baht cheaper. Dr. Iain.)