Pitch per­fect

Ditch those SUV thoughts, this sedan strikes the right note

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story -

Honda likes them so well that it’s go­ing to con­tinue from June 2 with this slightly larger new Ac­cord along­side the age­ing so-called Ac­cord Euro, a new one of which ar­rives they know not when.

VALUE

As­sailed by the GST, stricken by a tsunami and mon­stered by Hyundai, Honda has de­scended from the badge you bought in or­der to be a cut above the other Ja­panese (I won­der if they’d still do gold badges?) to a cut-priced one.

The Ac­cord’s stick­ers are com­pet­i­tive with its main and prob­a­bly only real ri­val, the Mazda6. A $31,490 spend gets you into the VTi, with re­verse cam­era, LED run­ning lights and what’s called ac­tive noise con­tain­ment. An­other $2500 and you add an S to that badge plus the lane-watch sys­tem, 17-inch al­loys, fog­lights and big­ger au­dio.

Then it starts to get a bit op­ti­mistic at $41,990 for the VTi-L, the top-spec four­cylin­der, with 17-inch al­loys, leather, sun­roof and ADAS safety pack­age at an­other $3K.

A pre­mium pack­age with­out the pre­mium price tag,’’ Honda says of its top-line V6L— ex­cept that $51,990 gets you a quite a few pre­mium cars th­ese days. The V6 has a sixspeed auto over the four- cylin­der car’s five, cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion to save fuel, power seats and some juicier fruit. All get an 8-inch mul­ti­me­dia screen, the top vari­ants in­clud­ing sat­nav with SUNA traf­fic alerts.

Like Mazda, Honda wants you to pay for a ser­vice ev­ery six months or 10,000km while al­most ev­ery­one else— in­clud­ing the pre­mium brands — does it an­nu­ally or ev­ery 15,000km. Honda and Mazda are also hold­ing out on capped­price ser­vic­ing or war­ranty be­yond three years.

TECH­NOL­OGY

It’s pos­si­bly un­fair to sug­gest Honda has been in self-in­duced sta­sis but the Ac­cord runs on en­gines that don’t dis­con­cert with in­no­va­tion. Small

ca­pac­ity, over­achiev­ing turbo en­gines are ever more preva­lent. Fuel-sav­ing di­rect­in­jec­tion is com­mon or gar­den. But not here. The 2.4-litre four is claimed to be new but, like the V6 that’s been car­ried over for yet an­other gen­er­a­tion, it would be fa­mil­iar to a Honda buyer of a decade ago.

There are the usual mar­ginal im­prove­ments to econ­omy (the V6 can de­ac­ti­vate three cylin­ders now, rather than four) and at­tempts to bring max­i­mum torque closer to the floor than the ceil­ing where high-revvin’ Honda has cus­tom­ar­ily put it. Yet nei­ther four nor six re­turn es­pe­cially good con­sump­tion fig­ures against those of the com­pe­ti­tion, which also run on ba­sic 91RON un­leaded. Ex­cept those that run on diesel, to which the Ac­cord has no an­swer.

The three four-cylin­der vari­ants make do with a fivespeed au­to­matic when six is stan­dard prac­tice and eight is the bench­mark. The V6 gets the gears to match its cylin­ders but can do no bet­ter than 9.2L/100km in com­bined con­di­tion test­ing. Even the new Com­modore does bet­ter.

Yet while not cut­ting edge, it is ef­fec­tive on the road. And re­as­sur­ingly fa­mil­iar.

DE­SIGN

This is the Ac­cord’s sin­gle most suc­cess­ful as­pect, an ob­vi­ous con­tin­u­ance of its long line but nicely sleek and aero­dy­namic with it. It also serves to re­mind that while any bug­ger can draw an el­e­vated wagon on a nap­kin af­ter a long lunch and claim it t com­pact con­cept, de­sign a yet funct

The e Mazda6 item to s four doo did 11 ye is less sty bet­ter fo

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