- Published: Monday, 22 July 2013 18:25
SINGAPORE - Once upon a time, you couldn’t go anywhere without knowing someone who owned a Honda Accord. My dad had two, my friend’s dad had one, and so on. It was the car to have for the modest family man who have had a moderate amount of success and wanted a pretty decent car that offered almost everything he needed: reliability, roominess, and that little bit of Honda engineering essence that differentiated the Accord from its other humdrum Japanese contemporaries.
For some reason, the Accord’s shine has dimmed a tad since the late 90s, and the Japanese executive car segment in which it now competes in has been dominated by the Toyota Camry in recent years. In the local market at least, Honda’s decision to offer the softer and plusher American Accord, rather than the sportier Japanese version, probably had something to do with driving away some of its more enthusiastic customer base. And the more mature audience that the Accord was targeting seem somehow more assured by the Toyota’s conservatism over the Honda’s avantgarde-ness.
Judging by the all-new ninth-generation Accord we have here, it seems that Honda has found its mojo back again, and is seeking to woo back the drivers once more. It looks similar to the outgoing car, coming across as a gentle evolution over the previous generation, but trust us, underneath that rather conservative (and quite handsome) skin lies a car that packs in plenty of ability.
Despite its girth, with the car measuring in at 4890mm long and 1850mm wide, the Accord feels incredibly easy to drive. There’s a litheness to it that makes you forget how big the car is, and the handling is almost reminiscent of another of the Accord’s Japanese rivals, the Mazda 6. Its light steering certainly helps, but the car also feels remarkably well-balanced and assured should you want to unleash your inner boy racer.
The 2.4-litre engine, the only choice available for the Accord for now, offers plenty of refinement, and yet has enough verve and energy available for quick overtaking sprints on the expressway. 175bhp and 225Nm of torque from the 2.4-litre unit doesn’t sound like a lot, but it feels like the Accord has more than enough for your daily needs. The five-speed automatic gearbox though, while smooth, does seem like it needs an extra cog when you’re pushing hard.
Of course, at the end of the day, the Accord is still a mid-sized executive sedan, which means it has to offer all the nice comfort features that will sooth the family man’s brows after a hard day’s work. In this aspect, the Honda positively excels, with its impressive list of luxury features typically found in cars that come with a chauffeur. It is the little thoughtful bits, like the blinds for the rear windows and windscreen, as well as the buttons at the side of the front passenger seat (so that rear passengers can push the seat forward) that makes you think that Honda is trying to push the Accord to a level well above its traditional rivals.
The one feature we liked a lot though was the blind spot system, which consists of a camera mounted underneath the left wing mirror, and comes on whenever you flick on your left indicator, showing you on the 8-inch infotainment screen a rearwards view of your left blind spot. It’s incredibly innovative, and is proof of what Honda can really do when it really tries.
Indeed, the new Accord as a whole has managed to recapture the magic of what made the nameplate such a hit. If this is an indication of what Honda is planning for us in the years to come, then we’re most certainly looking forward to what they can come up with very much indeed. Who knows, it might even topple the mighty T from its mantle along the way too…
NEED TO KNOW
Engine 2,356cc, 16V, in-line 4
Power 175bhp at 6200rpm
Torque 225Nm at 4000rpm
Gearbox 5-speed automatic
Top Speed 224km/h
0-100kmh 10.5 seconds
Fuel efficiency 8.1L/100km
Price $202,900 with COE
Also Consider: Toyota Camry 2.5, Mazda6 2.5
Photos by Alvin Doms Valentin