With the new Accord Honda has taken the best parts of both previous Accords - the Accord V6’s plush ride and the Accord Euro’s sharp handling - and combined them to make a thoroughly convincing package. Damien O’Carroll reports.
While neither quite as sharp as the Euro nor as plush as the V6, the new Accord makes for a better all-rounder than the other two.
The new Accord’s handsome and sculpted nose is distinctly Honda. While it is not the most exciting car in the world initially, its sleek looks grow on you quickly and you begins to appreciate the remarkable subtlety in its design. But while it is quietly handsome, it is also somewhat generic, leaving the unaware observer wondering if it is brand new or ten years old.
The interior is laid out in a traditional - and again distinctly Honda - way, as well as representing a vast improvement in material quality over the likes of the Civic sedan and CR-V. The two info-screens are brilliant in practice, despite seeming a bit odd and excessive to begin with. Which actually sums up the interior of the Accord rather nicely; there is a lot of stuff that you initially think of as unnecessary, but actually come to love and use regularly. The left hand mirror- mounted camera is genius, and is a perfect example of this.
Lane departure warning and collision detection are also included and both are well though out and nicely calibrated, so as not to be too intrusive while still offering decent warning.
Under the bonnet, the 2.4-litre fourcylinder engine has a nice muted growl. Its power comes on nicely down low and it has a revvy nature that loves the top end.
While the engine has good grunt down low and plenty more up high, there is a massive torque hole in the mid-range between 3,000 and 5,000rpm. And this is were the biggest let- down of the Accord comes in to play; the five-speed automatic transmission
Not that it is a bad transmission - it is actually very smooth and fast - but it just doesn’t have enough ratios to cover the engine’s torque hole. Around town everything plays together nicely, but out on the open road, it becomes obvious.
Not being on the cutting edge is one thing, but remaining willfully several steps behind the competition is quite another. The mid-range torque hole is a long-time Honda characteristic and a decent, closer ratio sixspeed auto would solve it nicely... shame.
It is made even more disappointing by the fact that the Accord is actually a rather nimble, enjoyable thing to toss through the corners. It turns in sharply and responsively and the nimble chassis is delightfully chuckable. Although light and overassisted, the steering offers a degree of information and feedback. The Accord’s ride is on the firm side, but it is still very comfortable with it.
The lack of ratios and mid-range torque spoil a lot of the fun that the chassis promises though.
Well-built, with a quality interior and a compliant chassis, the Accord ticks a lot of the right boxes, but mainly it appeals because what it does right, it does very right, while what it does wrong aren’t massive issues.
The Accord 2.4 is a convincing all-round package. Comfortable, nimble and wellmade, it is one of the best things Honda have done for some time now.