Cars.co.za was invited to the launch of the 9th generation of Honda Accord and given how well the model has done both internationally and locally, were keen to see if the new one can live up to the reputation. As far as the Honda Accord goes, it's the 7th best-selling car of all time and over 10-million have been sold globally.
I've always liked Hondas and the way their drive is relaxing and refined. The Accord in particular stands out. No pretentiousness or trying to show off here as this is all about a product which is reliable, luxurious and refined. There's a reason why this car grabbed an SA Car of the Year award - it's a superb offering.
At the 2013 Johannesburg Motor Show, I had the chance to look at the all-new Honda Accord. It had grown up immensely and I was quite excited to see a V6 badge at the rear. Honda South Africa has always brought in the European-specification model Accords, but this new model is based on the American market model. Honda has a massive investment in the USA, and it's one of the most popular brands there.
Honda Accord: What's new?Size wise, the Honda Accord has expanded in all directions. It's longer, higher, wider and features a longer wheelbase which means more rear legroom. The design has changed considerably and it looks big, imposing and American, which isn't as bad as it sounds.
As mentioned earlier, there's a much bigger engine too, in the form of the 3.5-litre V6. There's a whole host of new and innovative technologies too, which you can read about in the Honda Accord Pricing and Specifications article here.
The DriveAfter a quick briefing and Honda brand update, as well this Civic Type R teaser being played at full volume, it was time to drive. I drove with Cars.co.za video creator Ciro Di Siena who happened to be at the launch too. We selected the 2.4-litre engine to start off and headed up the N7 towards Malmesbury.
First impressions are good. In typical Honda fashion, the relaxed and refined ride is there in abundance and the car feels solid on the road. Even with certain sections of the N7 undergoing road maintenance, the Accord never really felt anything other than supremely comfortable. I found the engine to have adequate shove, with the automatic gearbox doing a great job of keeping the engine in the sweet spot when you wanted to overtake.
New 3.5-litre engineThe next car was the 3.5-litre V6 and the petrolhead inside me was excited. Finally, a Honda Accord to have the go to match the show. With over 200 kW at your disposal, this Honda Accord performs admirably. There's no shortage of urge and the car produces a pleasant growl on hard acceleration.
It's jam-packed with features too, and I did like keeping the Lanewatch Blindspot Camera display on. Essentially, you no longer need to look in the left mirror as what you'd see is now on screen in the centre of the dashboard. It may suite everyone, as Ciro said he started to feel a little ill after staring at it for too long.
The best part of the V6 has to be the fuel consumption. Thanks to the smooth six-speed automatic gearbox and the well-engineered engine, we were averaging 8.8 l /100km and we weren't cruising on a Sunday drive either.
Finally after lunch in Franschhoek, we jumped into the entry-level 2.0-litre model and I think that's the one to have. It offers nearly all of the specification, a better ride thanks to the higher-profile small tyres and in this day of ever-increasing petrol prices, offers great fuel economy. At one stage this car was averaging 5.9l/100 km - excellent considering the Honda Accord is not a small car.
Rivals and quick summaryThe Honda Accord will be going up against the likes of the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Lexus ES. The German trio are quite difficult to compete against, especially as the Honda badge is regarded as not premium enough.
That said, the Honda Accord makes a good name for itself and I think the 2.0 and 2.4 models will do better than their glorious-sounding V6 sibling. At over R500 000 for the 3.5 V6, South African car buyers are after a status symbol and as great a consumer product it is, the Accord can't really compete.