The Honda Accord used to be a staple of the medium sedan market, but sales have dwindled to the point where today’s iteration is little more than a niche player.
Nevertheless, Honda has seen fit to continue offering the Accord because of its appeal to traditional, rusted-on buyers who’ve come to admire the brand.
While three-box passenger cars like this are a vanishing commodity against a flood of SUVs, the Accord’s dashing design certainly ticks the right boxes.
It gets a lot of other things right, too, offering plenty of features and well-sorted driving dynamics. Let’s take a longer look.
Honda Australia has set drive-away pricing across all its showrooms, which certainly makes things less complicated though not necessarily cheaper.
The single-spec grade of Accord available is called VTi-LX, and costs $57,400 drive-away – or $60,400 for the electrified hybrid option.
By contrast, you can get a flagship Toyota Camry SL for $51,728 (that’s the Victorian drive-away price, which varies slightly depending on State and Territory), or a flagship Mazda 6 Atenza turbo for $55,000 on the road and ready to roll.
Unlike the Honda, both the Toyota and Mazda can be ordered in cheaper and less well-specified forms, making the price of entry much lower.
Other lower-volume offerings worth considering include the roomier Skoda Superb 162TSI Style, which kicks of at $54,990 drive-away, and the single-spec and much more powerful Hyundai Sonata N Line available for around $55,800 drive-away.
Then there’s the rear-drive, twin-turbo V6-toting Kia Stinger 330S available drive-away from $58,090.
Standard fare regardless of your engine choice includes:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Space-saver spare wheel
- LED headlights, tail lights and DRLs
- Dusk-sensing headlights
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Illuminated door handles
- Front occupant sunroof
- Side mirror tilting when reverse parking
- Proximity key access
- Remote engine start function
Meanwhile features on the inside include:
- Dual-zone climate control
- Leather-appointed seat trim
- Powered and heated front seats
- 8.0-inch touchscreen
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Garmin satellite-navigation with SUNA
- AM/FM/DAB+ radio
- Head-up display
- 4 x USB points
- Wireless phone charger
- Multi-view parking camera
- 452W 10-speaker sound system
The new Accord has not been rated by ANCAP. The left-hand drive US-market model has a Top Safety Pick + rating in that country’s IIHS testing, which is not directly applicable to cars sold here but can serve as a guide.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- Dual front, side and curtain airbags
- Forward collision warning and AEB
- Rear collision warning and AEB
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Lane-keep assist
- Adaptive cruise control
- LaneWatch left-side blind-spot camera
- Smart Parking Assist
- Front and rear sensors
- 2 x ISOFIX and 3 x top-tether points
On highways, the active lane-keeping assist with steering override and the active cruise control with a low-speed follow function allows assisted driving, servicing as a co-pilot.
I’d like to see a proper blind-spot monitoring system though, not the LaneWatch camera.
Good seats always make a nice first impression and the Honda’s big, soft leather-appointed chairs with powered movement and two driver-side memory presets tick the boxes – although butt ventilation as well as heating would be most welcome.
Likewise the wheel is wrapped in good quality leather with white contrast stitching. The buttons are damped and simple to figure out, with shortcuts to adjust the head-up display and lane-keeping aid both situated on the right-hand spoke. It gets a big tick for usability.
The instrument cluster is clean and simple, with support ably provided by the head-up display that projects a digital speed readout and turn instructions onto the windscreen, helping you keep your eyes on the road for longer.
The colour scheme is quite dark, though the wood-grain stuff on the dash and doors adds a bit of contrast, as do the solid knurled silver knobs for ventilation and volume. I’m not so enamoured with the gaudy red starter button below the right-most dash vent.
There are soft padded bits for your knees and the general fit-and-finish feels solid, but the harder plastics aren’t hard to spot either. Look no further than the bank of buttons ahead of the driver’s right knee, or the nearby door trims for this.
The upright centre tablet display is not the latest in cutting-edge infotainment with smartphone swiping and over-the-air updates, but it handles streaming, phone mirroring, and navigation well enough, and is mated up to a pretty good audio system to boot.
Below this is the dual-zone climate control panel with a slightly cloudy or milky digital display, while below this is a clever closing cubby with a wireless phone charger and USB points, two cupholders, and a conventional-design gear shifter.
Also on the transmission tunnel are the electric park brake switch with Auto Hold function, buttons to put the vehicle into Sport or Eco modes, and a pretty capacious centre console. Other storage options include bottle-friendly door bins and a glovebox.
Big, comfy, ergonomic, but neither cutting-edge or the height of luxury. Which is what you’d expect from an Accord, really. Those deep-pile carpets add a nice feel too, now I think on it.
Back-seat legroom is not in short supply, with big and nicely raked seats that come with amenities including a centre armrest with cupholders, vents, two USB points, grab handles, and reading lights. Note too the front-passenger-seat adjustments accessible from the rear.
Headroom isn’t quite as crash-hot though, with the sloping roofline and sunroof conspiring the reduce the amount of clearance. I’m 194cm and found my hair brushing the roof, so just be aware of this if you’re carrying tall occupants.
Boot capacity is a spacious 570 litres, 46L greater than a Camry, and levers flip down the back seats down to accommodate longer items.
A 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol making 140kW of power at 5500rpm, and 260Nm of torque at 1600 to 5000rpm, mated to a CVT with paddles, and front-wheel drive. Fuel consumption is rated at 6.5 litres per 100km.
The other engine option is the 2.0-litre hybrid with 158kW and 315Nm, which slashes fuel use to 4.3L/100km despite its higher outputs. Having driven both, this is by far the better bet.
Honda Accord buyers in the USA have the option of a 188kW 2.0-litre turbo, but that engine doesn’t make the journey here.
The as-tested 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine is probably the Accord’s weak point, though its performance is actually adequate. An equivalently priced Mazda 6 offers 170kW and 420Nm, the entry Skoda Superb 162kW and 350Nm, the Sonata N-Line 213kW and 422Nm, and the Stinger 330S 274kW and 510Nm.
This version sits on a different platform to its predecessor, with around 25 per cent greater torsional rigidity. It’s also longer between the wheels and wider in the body than before, but shorter, lower and around 70kg lighter.
Quickened steering with fewer lock-to-lock turns, recalibrated all-round independent suspension, a lower centre of gravity, and programmed driving modes that sharpen the throttle response all help make it feel dynamic, more like the Accord Euros of the 2000s (RIP).
The upside is truly sharp-ish handling, with quick steering to boot. This is all amplified by the low-set driving position which stands in sharp contrast to Honda’s CR-V SUV by design.
The car is made slipperier through the air thanks to a flat floor and the fitment of active grille shutters, and the promise of greater driver refinement is further enabled by acoustic glass, lots of sound-deadening carpet, in-wheel acoustic resonators lifted from Acura, and sound-countering speakers.
You still hear some tyre roar over coarse-chip surfaces but on smooth highways it’s great, a consummate eater of miles.
The ride quality on fixed dampers won’t appeal to those after a plush American character, however. In a bid to up the dynamism the ride errs towards firm, meaning corrugations and bumpy roads can unsettle the body a touch. Perhaps active dampers would help here.
All told though, I found its sporty edge quite engaging: all the more reason to long for a more inspiring engine!
It’s quite smooth and the refinement is fine, but it never pushes you in the chest or encourages you to really have a crack.
That hybrid with its ability to decouple the engine and run silently at high speeds, plus its instant torque, makes it a smoother and greener choice.
Still, if old Accord Euros were sporty affairs and old Accords were plush barges, then this Accord skews more to the former than the latter.
Servicing intervals are brief at every 10,000km, however the first five visits are each capped at a very cheap $125 which certainly makes up for it.
One thing we will commend Honda for is its service pricing structure, with this cut-price model applicable across all of its cars.
The Accord is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with five years of roadside assist.
The Accord deserves more recognition and is probably the most desirable vehicle in Honda’s range today.
It looks great, has a well-equipped and comfortable interior, and well-sorted dynamics. But at around $60,000, it fails to match its close competitors, principally when it comes to engine performance.
There’s a reason Honda sells so few Accords, which is a shame considering it’s a fundamentally good vehicle. If only you could haggle.
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MORE: Everything Honda Accord