An Accord with beauty
The Honda Accord now looks and drives good and is ready to take on prestigious names in the market
The Accord enjoys the largest slice in the D-segment pie of the Indian car market. When Honda brings in the eighth-generation Accord this month, the competition is sure to intensify. But the Accord seems to have been made with the intention of taking the fight to bigger and more prestigious names such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi, something that the older car never had a shot at, in part, due to the styling which was too oriental to rub shoulders with Teutonic musculature. All that has now changed.
Now the Accord has the look and feel of a European car. The strong character line that sweeps along the side of the car, the ‘Hofmeister kink’ in the C-pillar and the wing-shaped tail lights are design cues borrowed from BMW. While the overall look is quite Teutonic, Honda has ensured that the new Accord is unmistakably a Honda. The front end retains the family face and is dominated by a six-sided grille with chrome surround. The first thing that strikes you is how big the new Accord is. Starting with a clean slate, Honda has stretched the Accord in every direction. What you get is a car that is larger than an E-Class. Get the picture?
But what you will appreciate is the improvement in build quality, which seems to have gone up a notch from the earlier car. Honda claims that the car’s chassis is 20 per cent stiffer, which is quite evident when you shut the doors. Nevertheless, while it may have become more solid now, it is still not close to the German build quality that typifies Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
The inside story
The older Accord had well-appointed interiors and Honda has decided to take the game to a higher level now. The cabin is more plush and in a higher league, eclipsing arch rivals Camry and Superb. The Accord’s stretched dimensions have clearly paid dividends on the passenger room front. There is a surplus of head, shoulder and legroom both up front and at the rear. The rear seat is comfortable, even for tall passengers.
Though the dashboard design is quite fresh and appealing, the vast array of identically coloured and similarly-shaped switches makes it confusing to use them. The dials though look quite nice and the materials used inside the cabin provide the same high-quality feel that we have come to expect from all Honda cars now. The boot is again humungous and can swallow a month’s worth of luggage for all occupants.
How does it drive?
Honda has done away with the 3-litre V6 engine and now you only get the 2.4-litre unit which has been tweaked for additional power. If you liked the earlier Accord’s smooth and refined nature, then you will love this version which loves to be revved and does not sound strained even at its limit. The car will come with a five-speed manual or an automatic gearbox. The manual is slick and light to use. Just like the Civic, the Accord gets automatic paddle shifts behind the steering wheel. While the automatic works well for everyday city driving, but when you want an instant burst of power, it is hesitant to shift to a lower gear immediately.
Overall, strong acceleration is what you would expect of a Honda and the new Accord does not disappoint. You will like the engine response and seamless power delivery will push you to high speeds. The smooth and effortless nature of the engine combined with the car’s solid build means that it masks speeds well. A few upshifts and you are already doing three-figure speeds without knowing it. The Accord is happy both in city traffic and on the highway.
Honda has also worked on the car’s ride and handling. While the earlier model felt nervous at higher speeds, the new Accord offers a confidence-inspiring pliant ride.
The steering gives decent feedback to the driver but for spirited driving you would prefer a little more. The car grips the road well when pushed into corners though and body roll is well under control.
That the new Accord can even be compared to the likes of the 3-Series, A4 and C- Class speaks volumes about how it is a huge improvement over the older car, and though it might not be up there with the Teutonic trio, it easily outshines its rivals like the Camry and Superb. It comes loaded with kit like climate control, six-CD changer, parking sensors, multiple airbags, keyless entry and a lot more. All this at a marginally increased price means that you simply cannot find a better car at this price.
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