UPSIDE: Right camera for overtaking view, Family friendly ride and spacing, Refreshed design, Unexpected element of fun
FLIPSIDE: Meagre cabin controls, Thirsty fuel figures for the V6, Somewhat lacks in grip and feedback
PRICE: 2.4 L engine from AED 95,000 onwards / 3.5 L engine from AED 134,000 and 140,000 / Accord Coupe – AED 110,000 and AED 135,000
Redesigning is quite a feat. It’s almost ironic when a brand redesigns many of the vital features of a car and still leaves people playing ‘find the difference’! With the revisited price structure and “all-new” designs of most sedans in the category, I decided to take the new Honda Accord for an outing – in its meagerly equipped base version to find out if the entry level offered a good reason to turn to the brand that has always claimed a premium among the Jap sedans. And then, I couldn’t stop myself from exploring how far does it take me, if I stretched my mid-size budget for a V6 swap. So, now you get a feedback from both ends of the spectrum…
The Honda Accord has always been the longest car in the category and though it has been now reduced in length by 60 mm and the wheelbase is shorter by 25 mm, the interiors space has actually increased. 32 mm more legroom for rear passengers, 22 L more boot space and more shoulder room in both front and rear! With a wider canvas for its front and rear lamps, it is more fluidly designed than the earlier model marked by sharper cuts and striking circular tail lamps. This time, like the all-new Passat from Volkswagen, the Accord has a continuous lateral grille. The tail lamps are more linear and underplayed, and the circular lamps have made way to horizontal ones with a more pleasant LED display.
In the Base version of 2.4 L, the power is underplayed but never leaves the car abashed when you call for a brazen display of it! It feels like there is a shortage of grip at times, but the upside is that the drive is very smooth, and streamlined. The passing acceleration is adequate though it is a bit slow at the start. The Honda Accord controls itself well despite some body roll that momentarily questions that faculty at times.
Moving up, the 3.5 L V6 is quite powerful with a 276 hp output and a comfortable 0-100 sprint in 7.0 sec, with a bit of wheel spin – I wouldn’t have guessed that this Accord wears a tattoo of fun on its ankles! It squealed like a schoolgirl at the slightest tickle, which was sometimes annoying when you least expected it. The sport shift gave in to brief power surges at times but the drive in the normal mode was pretty engaging and the transmission delivered its stuff smoothly. It is still one of the smoothest sedans in terms of steering. Designed to guarantee long drive comfort for passengers, the Accord slightly lacks in grip and feedback. While my higher end test car had 17” wheels, the top variant has 18” wheels, paddle shifts and rear spoiler. But my car was still sporty enough without those!
Given that the only record the trip meter keeps is that of fuel efficiency, ironically, that isn’t much to harp over by current expectations. The V6 delivered only above 5 km for every litre of gasoline. However, engaging the Eco-mode on long drives brightens up things a bit.
Cabin and controls
The best thing about the cabin is its rear view system – which largely involves just the wide and large mirrors – so the advantage is shared across the range. The window lines and the rear screen are perfectly balanced with great all round view. Besides, the new Accord comes with a useful right-side camera that lights up on the central screen whenever you switch on the right indicator. And that’s the new Honda Accord’s uniquely dramatic feature (UDF as I tag it) for the records!
The cabin is neatly put together but there is what I call a tautology of screens. Simply put, there are two of them! One dedicated to the radio, audio and phone functions and another 6.5” screen used for navigation and rear view camera. The audio well… serves the purpose.
There is also a driver info screen which is at best penurious – the trip meter shows only fuel efficiency figures and has extensive arrangements for the screen savers and the dashboard clock, which I really didn’t bother much about.
In terms of comfort, the V6 I drove – which still had another version above it – came with leather seats and a sunroof. It adds a premium touch of comfort with sunscreens at the rear and sides as well. The leather seats come with reasonable lumbar support but the fabric seats in the base version too saw us through reasonably long journeys without posture fatigue.
The car is more spacious inside with increased legroom and boot space too is ample, despite suspension protrusions eating into side space.
The Essential Honda Accord 2013
It is a game of a little and a lot. A lot of changes if you consider but little has changed in the overall character and design. For a car that is a serious, good looking family sedan that has little sporty pretensions, the new Honda Accord 3.5L V6 adds a dose of fun to the drive, complete with those ‘squeals’ of the wheels.
The Honda Accord has maintained a premium among affordable midsize sedans and the all-new Accord still does, justified by its flaws-a-little and convenience-a-lot configuration.
Drive Courtesy: Al Futtaim Honda
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy