Time Tested Value And Excellence
The midsize executive sedan segment is declining. Not surprising, considering everyone’s seriously into SUVs now. Making things even more difficult are the 7-seater PPVs that costs just as much as these things, yet these cars can ford through floods and carry an entire basketball team. While the traditional executive sedans still carry a certain amount of stature whenever you see one plying our business districts, almost everyone prefers the advantages of a taller vehicle now. Yet, there will still be the people who would rather use the extra cash for a more cosseting, more expressive, and more elegant way to cruise down Ayala Avenue. The car we have here is pretty much one of the defining cars of the executive car class, and it has a slight sporty character to boot. It’s the Honda Accord, which they updated in 2016, and what at update it is. With an all-new model coming out anytime soon with smaller, turbocharged engines, is it still worth purchasing this new one and anticipate for discounts?
So what exactly do we have on this Accord that pretty much stomps its predecessor? For a facelift, it’s quite a comprehensive one. The Accord’s got more road presence than its conservative-looking pre-facelift version, thanks to the liberal use of LEDs (down to the fog lights and front turn signals) and a more sculpted front fascia. There’s a sharper, sportier front bumper design that integrates well with the Civic-inspired grille, and snazzy new two-tone alloy wheels, which look absolutely fantastic!
Step inside, and the changes are quite minimal, but it’s still a lovely place to be in. You get a leather wrapped steering wheel which feels firm and chunky, swathes of soft leather on the seats and even a good amount of it on the doors, and there’s plenty of soft touch materials that further bolster the car’s interior credentials. At the front, drivers get 8-way electronic seat adjustments, and 6-way for the front passenger, which I think should be standard on all cars to satisfy the finickiest of occupants. However, the seats aren’t as supportive as it’s competitors. I sort of jiggled and slid around when cornering, but I guess I’m not really that smooth for a chauffeur in the first place, as most of these cars tend to be ridden at the back by executives.
Back seat passengers can rejoice as they can control the front passenger seat with a push of a button for even greater legroom, and as if the legroom at the back isn’t already excellent to begin with. The rear occupants also have automatic rear sunshades at the rear windshield, which are operated through a button at the front. If the rear passengers further want more privacy from the plebes, each rear window has their own manual sunshade. Meanwhile, for even greater comfort, the large, soft center armrest can be pulled down, and while it has the usual array of cupholders, it also houses the controls for the infotainment system up front, and if that’s not enough, each rear seat passenger also gets their own reading light.
For those executives who wish to use their Accord’s trunk for their golf clubs, or for more mundane supermarket duties, there’s 388 liters of space, which is one of the biggest in its class.
We’re happy to see the Accord come with plenty of standard safety kit, a move we applaud at Go Flat Out. Standard safety features include a plethora of airbags, vehicle stability control, emergency stop signal, and something called LaneWatch. It’s basically a camera on the right wing mirror, and it is activated either when you signal right, or but pressing a button on the signal stalk. It’s a useful feature, but truth be told, we all need to look at those mirrors manually, plus I would’ve preferred a traditional radar-based blind spot indicator.
The Accord also comes with Apple CarPlay so you iPhone users need not worry about reading text messages while driving. There’s also new infotainment screens, yes plural- there are two huge screens on the dashboard, which I personally have mixed emotions about. In addition to Honda’s Display Audio, which comes standard with Garmin-based navigation, another large color MID is placed above the touch screen, which apparently merely functions as a navigation, audio, and fuel consumption display. In my opinion, they should have just made it one large screen!
So enough of the tech talk, how does it actually drive? Originally, we’ve requested Honda Cars Philippines a car that would be competing in a TSD (Time Speed Distance) Rally hosted by our very good friend Mike Potenciano along with partner Lindy Pellicer, and of course Petron as the main sponsor. First impressions of the car, it’s pretty much the same as it used to be because there have been no performance upgrades made. It runs on the same legendary K24 2.4 liter 4-cylinder i-VTEC with Earth Dreams technology. These i-VTEC K-series engines sound good, too as they have always been known for, and it is matched by decent power figures. It produces 173 hp and 226 Nm of torque, with power sent via the front wheels through a 5-speed automatic, which is smooth and refined in its operation. Honda says its handling is “exhilarating” which I think is a bit exaggerated, but it feels capable enough to do exciting bits of driving. As my colleague Isaac Atienza would say, it straddles between comfort and sport, and I absolutely agree.
Handling wise, the Accord really isn’t meant for a sporty drive, but it’s nice to know it has some capability. In the end, it still remains to be a car for VIP’s or people who think they are VIP’s. It grips well in corners with the help of those Michelin Primacy 3ST tyres, which also provide an extremely quiet ride at high speeds. The performance on the other hand, you really need to rev out the engine to hit that sweet spot, typical to these naturally aspirated i-VTEC engines. To my surprise, the Accord 2.4S is decently efficient. We’ve been driving around the city with an average of 6-8 km/l and did about 12-13.5 km/l on highways with ECON Mode switched on.
And now for the main question… should you buy one? This particular 2.4 S Navi costs P1,884,000 with excise tax, which is is priced really well considering the amount of toys it has and the way it drives. I can now say that I want a Honda Accord. Mind you, they do offer a 3.5 liter V6, but really, this 2.4S variant is without a doubt, a safe choice. With the new 10th generation Accord arriving anytime soon, the Accord 2.4 S Navi still holds on its own pretty well, especially to those who don’t want say goodbye to Honda’s K-series i-VTEC DOHC engines. If you’re one of those people, then this is still a worthy buy, especially with potential discounts up in the horizon.
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.1 out of 5