Launch impressions: Honda Accord VTi-LX Turbo

Honda’s reengineering of the 10th generation Accord, has focused on more efficient utilization of space.

In the face of the relentless SUV advance, sales statistics of medium-cars in this country make for sobering reading for most except Toyota, whose Camry claims nearly 65 per cent of all sales.

But this hasn’t prevented a decimal of rivals lining up to squabble over the remaining 10,000 or so sales each year, the latest being the all-new Honda Accord.

The Accord is a well-established quantity here and abroad, albeit one that has grown rather splendidly in the decades since the diminutive 1976 original. Despite some dimensional pruning that enables Honda to claim a modest 26mm reduction in the new model’s length versus its predecessor, the new model’s 4.9-metre overall length and 1500kg weight still makes something of a mockery of its industry classification as a medium-car.

At least Honda’s reengineering of this 10th generation Accord, has focused on more efficient utilization of that space, with tangible benefits in terms of passenger accommodation and luggage capacity.

In addition to being exceedingly roomy, the interior is impressively comfortable, with the sort of layout, design and equipment levels that you might expect to find in a much more expensive Euro-prestige models. Not that the Accord is especially affordable, with a starting price of $47,990 for the 1.5-litre turbo, rising to $50,490 for the 2.0-litre hybrid. Both models come in a single, upmarket VTi-LX specification, with Honda clearly opting to sacrifice volume for yield by packing the Accord with kit in a bid to snare the top-tier buyers in this steadily declining category.

Honda Accord

There’s no longer a V6 or a naturally aspirated four-cylinder in the Accord range but instead Honda has unveiled two new drivetrains, one of which marks the brand’s welcome return to mainstream hybrid powertrains. While the 2.0-litre 16-valve DOHC Atkinson cycle engine, paired with two electric motors, is the more powerful and fuel efficient, it’s the 1.5-litre turbo that Honda expects to account for around 70 per cent of the 150 or so Accords it will sell in 2020.

The engine is a typically hi-tech Honda powerplant, featuring 16-valves, DOHC, direct injection and dual variable valve timing. The turbo helps the engine muster its peak torque from a low 1600rpm, right through to 5000rp, with drive channeled to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

Extensive use of ultra-high strength steel and new structural adhesives has added impressive torsional stiffness to the body and, in combination with well-tuned MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension the Accord rides fluidly and exhibits impressive body control.
Wind and road and wind noise are impressively quelled, and there’s clearly been a concerted effort to lift the quality of materials inside the cabin, resulting in a distinctly premium look and feel. An 8-inch central touch screen offers all the latest in connectivity features, along with digital instruments and a head-up display.

Rear seat passengers have it particularly good, with acres of room even behind tall drivers and a panoramic outlook through the expansive glasshouse. There’s also a voluminous 570-litre boot, with spilt fold rear seats and a ski-port to aid functionality.

The new Accord comes with a full-suite of safety and driver assist technologies, on top of standard active and passive safety features along with front side and full-length curtain airbags, all of which lead Honda to believe the Accord will ace the ANCAP crash safety tests when it is tested locally.

KEY STATS

  • MLP: $47,990 (plus on-road costs)
  • ENGINE: 1.5-litre, DOHC, DOHC, direct injection, turbocharged four-cylinder
  • ANCAP SAFETY RATING: Not yet rated
  • TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 149 g/km

FOR:

Interior space, fuel efficiency, high level of standard specification, safety

AGAINST:

Price, limited model choice, CVT transmission drone

By Ged Bulmer

Honda Accord