Styling of the latest Honda Accord aims at sophistication - and hits the mark

Styling of the latest Honda Accord aims at sophistication – and hits the mark

The ninth generation Honda Accord has been introduced to Australia’s motoring media at a special event in Auckland, New Zealand. Our Kiwi neighbours received the car a month ahead of Australia and Honda was keen to let us test the new car on some of the world’s best driving roads. NZ and Oz Accords have identical specifications,

Honda Accord’s high grade models have levels of equipment that rival that of the much more expensive Honda Legend, and there’s a big push on refinement and sophistication.

Hence the new Accord has a conservative body shape. It works well to our eyes and some may feel it makes the shapes of the latest crop of upmarket German sedans look rather over-styled in comparison.

Prices are sharp, with the four-cylinder range starting at just $31,490. The topline V6 Accord L comes with a host of standard features and has a recommended retail of $51,990. On-road costs can be obtained by contacting your local Honda dealer.

The interior of the Accord has two large, easy to read, screens for the driving and infotainment systems.

Seating is comfortable and there’s good legroom in the rear even when a tall person is driving. Headroom is reduced when a sunroof is installed, but remains acceptable.

There’s a strong emphasis on luxury, even in the rear compartment, and this big Honda could be regarded as a limo, a role it performs in many Asian countries.

An impressive feature is the use of noise cancelling technology. Small microphones ‘listen’ to the interior noise and generate sound waves to cancel out, or at least minimise, unwanted sounds. This results in a very quiet cabin that’s most pleasant to ride in.

2013 Honda Accord
However, interior stowage space could be better; the door pockets are small and we have seen significantly larger centre console boxes.

Boot space is good, but has lost depth due to it being modified to take a full-size spare wheel/tyre for the Australian market.

There’s a strong emphasis on the safety provided by crash avoidance and/or mitigation features, with many of the items in the Accord normally being seen only in upmarket European cars. These include radar cruise control, lane keeping assistance, automatic braking, blind spot warning and reversing cameras. Not all items are standard in every model, so check with your dealer or Honda’s head office for details.

In almost goes without saying that the all-new Honda Accord has received maximum star ratings in crash testing.

As before, Accord engine options are a four-cylinder 2.4-litre and a V6 displacing 3.5 litres. The four is an all-new powerplant and puts out 129 kW of power and 225 Nm of torque. The six (206 kW, 339 Nm) is based on the previous V6 unit but has been extensively updated. There’s a strong emphasis on torque in the V6 and, while it’s slightly down on peak power than previously it proved very willing on the scenic mountain roads that are such a feature of driving in NZ.

Interestingly, Honda Australia will continue to import the ‘other’ Accord. The Accord Euro, a smaller car aimed at the sporting driver and very European in its driving dynamics has won a lot of applause from keen drivers in Australia. Though it’s getting on in years, the Euro has recently been facelifted and updated in its drivetrain.

New Accord is a large car, almost Commodore and Falcon in length but is aimed more at tackling Mazda6, Toyota Camry and VW Passat rather than the big Aussie sixes.

The Honda is softer in its suspension and steering than its competitors, but this is a deliberate move to push comfort ahead of other aspects. If you want a sporty sedan look elsewhere, but if smoothness, luxury and near silence inside a car is your thing then the new Honda Accord should sit high on your short list.

The automatic transmission beside the four-cylinder engine has five forward ratios; there are six gears with the six-cylinder powerplant. We found the 2.4-litre four was working fairly hard at times on steep, twisting hill climbs, the V6 was effortless in the way it handled everything we threw at it.

This all-new Honda Accord is an impressive piece of automotive engineering and will appeal smart buyers who realise it gives them as much quality as the big German marques, but without their inflated price tags.

The 2013 Honda Accord range is:
VTi 2.4-litre four-door sedan: $31,490 (automatic)
VTi-S 2.4-litre four-door sedan: $33,990 (automatic)
VTi-L 2.4-litre four-door sedan: $41,490 (automatic)
VTi-L with ADAS 2.4-litre etrol four-door sedan: $44,490 (automatic)
V6L 3.5-litre etrol four-door sedan: $51,990 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Honda dealer for drive-away prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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