Honda Ac­cord

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - Contents -

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.

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