The Honda Accord has been a go to nameplate for buyers seeking value for money and peace of mind driving in an infallible and luxurious product.
Now Honda South Africa has swapped the Euro and Japanese spec Accord for the larger, American-built Accord. Is this a crude move to persuade buyers seeking something larger to buy into the American dream?
Deep SpaceIf it was space that Honda wanted to attract buyers with then it went the right route as the American Accord is 160 mm longer, 10 mm wider, 25 mm taller and has a 70 mm longer wheelbase. You feel that space immediately as you step inside.
Everything about this Accord feels a little larger and roomier, rear occupants can just about have a party in the back or at least practice their hula-hooping skills to pass the time. The only thing negative about the space is the narrow aperture once the rear seats are dropped – bicycle enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of a relief as I can confirm that the gap is (just) wide enough to get a wheel though.
Spread OutWhere the previous Accord was tightly packaged and the interior well thought out in terms of making enough space for occupants, you feel this one has everything spread out and takes a few liberties with the extra space. The buttons around the radio unit are quite large and will definitely suit those with larger digits. The touchscreen can be a bit lazy for those familiar with fast reacting products from Android and Apple.
That’s not to say you aren’t lacking for great tech though. Safety systems such as a braking alert and seatbelt pre-tensioner is activated when you get within touching distance of a car in front. If a collision is detected the Honda Accord will even apply the brakes to avoid it.
A small camera located in the passenger wing mirror displays an image on the top screen display of what’s happening in your blind spot (when indicating left or pressing the button on the left stalk). It may seem like a gimmick but once you get used to it, it becomes an indispensable tool.
American GasIn another first, the new Honda Accord comes with a big 3.5-litre V6 mill up front. It turns the Accord into a mile chomper. The V6 doesn’t have to work hard to overtake on the freeway and feels unfazed by a turn of speed. It’s happiest when sitting around 120kph soaking up endless miles of asphalt.
If you want to give it some beans though it’ll provide a few thrills, the clean revving nature of the V6 is accompanied by a crowd pleasing howl of the engine. It’s reasonably quick too; it gets from 0-100kph in 7.2 seconds and claims 9.2l/100km. Over our test cycle we averaged around 10l/100km which, we were quite happy with considering the type of driving we did and the large capacity of the engine.
Can it Manage a Corner?Yes it can, quite well actually. The Accord has an all-new front suspension setup and the ride has benefitted from it. It’s a calm and sedate drive, it’s got a bit of body roll if you really throw it around, but I don’t see a need to ever do that in a car this big. It still feels planted in the bends, nothing needs frantic adjustment and it rides bumps supremely well.
The comfort of this new Accord is quite something, the suspension does a great job of masking undulations in the road and relaying them as minor imperfections. Whilst it may not feel as exciting to drive as its BMW or Audi counterparts, it’s establishing itself as more of a soft cruiser for the long road.
Final WordThe Honda Accord may now have an American flavour to its taste, it’s bigger, the ride is softer and the interior doesn’t seem to have the same Japanese fastidious approach to design and ergonomics, but it still feels like Honda quality. The value for money proposition still lingers as you can jump into an entry level 2-litre Accord for R389 000.
This V6 derivative is a bit dearer at R549 000. Compared to the German competitors price-wise, the Accord tends to come in just under its equivalent. The Problem with the Accord however is the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which isn’t a big leap in terms of price, but does the same things just better.
Second OpinionIt's big, bold and American. Gone is the four cylinder VTEC and in its place is a potent and pleasant V6 engine. The Honda Accord ain't bad, but as Ashley points out the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a tough act to follow. I'd also look at the Lexus ES. That said, the interior space of the Accord is simply superb and if space and comfort is what you're after, don't ignore it. -David Taylor
Honda Accord 3.5 V6 Exclusive quick specs
|Engine||3.5-litre V6 Petrol|
|0-100km/h||7.2 seconds (claimed)|
|Fuel economy||9.2 l/100 km (claimed)|
We dislike: . Could do with a more up to date infotainment system . Interior not as well built as Euro/Japanese version