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Honda plays Accord to a new tune [VIDEO]

21.07.2014

IT MAY be hard to believe but the new Accord that I recently had a go in, is the ninth generation (38 years) of Honda’s flagship sedan. The Accord has always punched above its weight in terms of build quality, refinement and space, which is what’s made it so popular within its highly competitive segment which appears to be cross-pollinating with other segments more and more as we progress into the future.

→ What about the looks?

We saw the new Accord at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) and were taken aback by its new stylish aesthetics. I think it’s a great modern interpretation of a luxury sedan. This is the first Accord of the (now three) generations to grace our shores which is a US-spec car (built in Thailand) in terms of engines, styling and specification. The previous two generations we had locally were European-spec models. Honda has re-designed the exterior completely, adding more room all around, which helps disguise the fact that this car is a fair bit bigger than the one it replaces. 

→ And inside?

The interior is different to other Honda models, which were aimed at providing a more futuristic, design-orientated look, whereas the Accord is more subdued and sophisticated. Build quality and tangible materials are all very good and there’s a fair amount of technology packed onboard; even on our battle-torn roads, the ride is supremely refined. Convenience-wise it has a colour, Multi-Information Display (i-MID). The audio system comes with Bluetooth, USB and AUX functionality and the base 2.0-litre Elegance gets six speakers, while the 2.4-litre Executive and V6 Exclusive models gain a subwoofer.

→ What do I get?

Standard features across the range include electric windows, multi-function steering wheel, front and rear airconditioning, heated leather seats as well as an eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory function.

→ What’s under the hood?

There were three petrol engines available at launch. The predictable entry-level 2.0-litre SOHC i-VTEC stems from the previous model which produces 114kW/190Nm, making it good for a 0-100km/h time of 11.7 seconds with a fuel consumption figure of 7.5 litres/100km. The other powertrain and my pick of the range is an all-new 2.4-litre DOHC i-VTEC motor which uses a claimed 8.1 litres/100km and can sprint from 0-100km/h in 10.6 seconds. Both four-cylinder models are coupled with a traditional five-speed automatic transmission and both engines do a great job of shifting the car along, even providing that signature VTEC crescendo we’ve come to expect.

The surprise of the line-up has to be the 3.5-litre V6 i-VTEC  engine with its 207kW/339Nm figures, which is mated to a six-speed traditional automatic gearbox. The combination propels it from 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds while consuming 9.2 litres/100km. I found it difficult to replicate the V6’s claimed fuel figures, however, but the soundtrack and throttle response - combined with the Accord’s surprising dynamism - made up for the fuel consumption. There is a cylinder deactivation system in the V6 which responds according to load conditions and will certainly help with consumption on the open road.

→ Does it handle well?

The Accord handles exceptionally well; it tends to lean towards safe understeer but remains neutral most of the time and this makes it feel sporty without treading into the sports car realm. There are new MacPherson struts up front, which replace the previous generation’s double-wishbone system, while at the rear, there’s a multi-link system.  It houses electronic power steering, which provides decent feel - albeit artificial.

→ Is it safe?

You get ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assistance (EBA), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), daytime running lights, multiple airbags and active head restraints, are all standard safety features in all Accord models. The top-spec models get LED headlights with auto-levelling, a High-beam Support System (HSS) and Active Cornering Lights (ACL).

There’s also the Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) that includes  Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System and a Collision Mitigation Braking System in the 3.5 V6 Exclusive.

The two, four-cylinder Accord models come with a five-year/90 000km service plan while the 3.5 V6 Exclusive comes with a five-year/100 000km service plan as its service intervals are 10 000km as opposed to the 15 000km intervals for the four-cylinder variants. All models are backed by a three-year/100 000km warranty.

Pricing:

Honda Accord 2.0 Elegance R389 000
Honda Accord 2.4 Executive R449 000
Honda Accord 3.5 V6 Exclusive R549 000

        

Article written by Sean Nurse
21.07.2014
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