Red is a brilliant choice – to turn heads and to drive in a point. Mazda convincingly did that a couple of years ago with its midsize sedan. Now, the Honda Accord was doing an encore on me, with this Special Edition Honda Accord 3.5L V6 Sport in signature San Marino red.
THE SPECS: 3.5 L V6 engine with 6-speed Automatic Transmission, 272 hp, 342 N-m torque, / 2.4 L In-line 4 cylinder engine with Continuous Variable Transmission, 185/189 hp, 245/247 N-m, 18” alloy wheels (also available 16 and 17 inch)
THE FEATURES: Hill Start Assist, Lane Keep Assist (in case the vehicle strays without signaling), Lane Watch Camera (activated with right lane change signal), Multi-view camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control (standard), ABS with EBD, DRL
THE DIMENSIONS: Length: 4905 mm Wheelbase: 2776 mm Width: 1849 mm Height: 1466 mm, Ground clearance: 138 mm, Weight 1502 – 1640 kg, Weight distribution 60:40 for CVT, 430 L boot space Rear legroom: 978 mm (3 ¼ ft)
THE PERFORMANCE: Turning radius: 11.6 metres, 0 – 100 Test fuel efficiency: 9.6km/L for 3.5L, 10.1 km/L for 2.4 L engine, 0 – 100 kmph: <7 sec, <9 sec
UPSIDE: Lane changing camera and Multi-View Camera, Fuel efficiency, Refined powertrain
FLIPSIDE: Cabin telematics slightly dated, firm ride quality
From the bling-lined LED headlights to the new signature grille, the new Honda Accord does have changes, the right kind, up to the hint of a spoiler in the rear. The Honda Accord is just an inch longer than its previous self while it retains its overall shape. Yet, the more pronounced grille and the sleeker sidelines have given the new Accord a more stylish touch.
Inside as well, there are no major design changes. Thankfully, Honda has not tried too hard to make the Accord cabin rich. The richness in this Special Edition comes from the leather interiors with the premium glossy trims and inserts. The five-spoke 18-inch wheels look like Vulcan has been at work!
The Honda Accord puts the driver at ease with confident, smooth handling. This is one car in its segment that is unmoved by handling speeds whether on a windy highway or on a winding road! The Special Edition has a 3.5 L V6 engine that makes 272 hp and 347 N-m (35.4 kg-m) of torque. The good part is that peak torque is available till around 4900 rpms, about 1000 higher than its 2.4 L engine. Thankfully, the sportier engine has also gone around the CVT transmission and straight for the 6-speed automatic.
The Accord marks its peak power beyond the 6000 rpm mark, too. So at no point do you feel a lack of power; even at highway cruise speeds, there is always some space left for a rush-forward! While I haven’t clocked it, the 0 to 100 felt like 7 seconds or less.
The character of this car remains suave rather than aggressive, well justified by its house selection of 3.5 L, V6 and 2.4 L naturally aspirated turbines and smooth and reserved steering. Having said that, the Sport mode of Honda Accord, like most sports modes, mildly jacks up the rpm level slightly and rev-matches during downshifts and braking, giving an occasional feel of sportiness. The ride comfort too, seems to have given up some part of its smoothness.
The Family Drive
The Honda Accord conquers the heart of those who swear by ‘European’, as easily as a Passat would or as the new generation Mazda 6 does. The reason is obvious – the new Accord carries the sheer elegance of the exterior in the inside as well!
Honda Accord never had a dearth of space and this edition is no exception. Well, the boot might not be the largest in its segment but it still large enough. The 2016 Accord seems to be built for long family drives; the car gives up its bumpiness on highways and drives like a breeze.
Cabin and Controls
The rumour that the new Honda Accord retained design sense rather than its twin screens turned out to be just a rumour. There is still one dedicated to the camera and another to driver information. Anyway, this time it didn’t bother me too much – guess that should be the case with Accord owners too! The same goes for the steering that seemed to be replete with buttons, with a crowded sense of purpose.
The Honda Accord now comes with driver assistance features like a camera that offered multiple views (thumbs up!), advanced cruise control and the LKAS – the lane keeping assistance system of Honda that alerts you with a steering vibration if you start drifting away. I liked the advanced cruise control of the Accord. It tells you when you are getting too close to the car ahead and brakes for you only if the distance is too short. So it doesn’t come across as intrusive as in many other cars.
The ‘Lane Watch’ feature is now a regular feature in the higher trims of all Honda models. A camera mounted on the side view mirror shows you the right lane on the upper screen. This is where the camera shows up too, and hence is intuitively located to pop up as your eyes pan out.
Honda Accord 2.4 L variant
If you think the 3.5L V6 engine Special Edition has all this to itself, well… I thought so too. Which is why, I mullishly went back for the 2.4 L engine to find out – especially because that would be the more popular between the two options!
Sure, it is not driven by the 6-speed automatic with overdrive. Instead, this one is still mated to a CVT transmission but it feels way better than the older model. In this humble 2.4 L daily driver, there is enough pick up and power available at any point – be it a signal scram, a catch up run or an extra bold tackle of an extra mean slope on Jebel Hafeet. And just to make sure, the Accord even has a lower gear in the gear selector line up, whose only flaw is its super-smoothness that slips the gear into S when you intend D. Anyway, the Sport mode doesn’t really do much that an extra push of D won’t!
This car too is a full-to-the-brim-trim for media tests and was equipped with everything including the 3 camera modes – the wide, normal and the look down view. The Accord badge in chrome right under the side mirror and the blue laser on the scruff plates are nice touches. The parking brake is a pull up brake that brings back memories of the times when that was what a handbrake actually meant!
The fuel economy is an impressive 9.9 L/100 km on a mixed drive. At one point, my range read over 730 km! So, that is the greater bonus with the smaller engine, which, thankfully for the larger following of Honda, has turned out to be rather impressive!
The essential Honda Accord 2016
When a new car is introduced with amazing features, great technology and refined craftsmanship is that, it immediately climbs on top of the pile. The best thing is that it also forces the rest of the segment to follow suit, not keeping the rest of the patrons at a disadvantage for very long.
So, that is what the Honda Accord is going to do too. It won’t let Mazda (who is on a roll at the moment), Nissan or Toyota rest – not to mention the new pick of Chinese brands! I believe soon, we’ll have the Honda Accord to thank for many great drives in the mid-size family segment!