Honda Accord


Debut: 2017
Maker: Honda
Predecessor: Accord Mk9 (2012)



 Published on 27 Oct 2017
All rights reserved. 


Questionable styling aside, the new Accord is a great family sedan in all aspects.


The outgoing Honda Accord was not exactly a good-looking car. Comparatively, the new, 10th generation Accord has a much sleeker shape. Viewing from the back, it is even quite stylish. However, turning to the front will find Honda’s styling department still suffers from a questionable taste. Its fascia looks messy and its headlights are oddly toppled by the extensions of the chrome grille. There are too many crease lines on its clamshell bonnet and too many busy details on the front bumper. Car design doesn’t need to be too complicated. Keep it simple like Volvo may appeal to wider audiences rather than only those with acquired taste.

Its proportion isn't perfect either. There are sedans and fastbacks in the mid-size family car segment, but the new Accord seems undecided on which way to go. The result is a fastback followed by a small boot, which is neither elegant nor beneficial to luggage access. The side profile is similarly flawed. It adopts a banana-shape side profile that so far only Mercedes-Benz succeeded. Since Honda is no Mercedes, the Accord looks a little fat in the middle, just like an average American man in his 40s. Yes, the Accord is 41 years old now.

Anyway, its proportion is unquestionably sportier than that of its predecessor. Honda managed to cut 10mm from its length but inserted 55mm to its wheelbase, extending the latter to a competitive 2830mm. Meanwhile, the car gets 10mm wider and 15mm lower. Its center of gravity is lowered by 10mm as well.



Sleek interior design is matched with near-VW level of quality.


Inside, the extended wheelbase liberates a massive 50mm for rear legroom, making it not only the roomiest in the class but also far ahead of its key rivals Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion. By putting the front seats closer to the center line, hip and shoulder room are improved as well. Rear headroom suffers a 5mm drop due to the lower roof line, but it is still more than Camry. The only minor drawback is that the sloping roof rails make taller passengers more difficult to get into the rear seat. Overall, its cabin space tops the class and approaches the level of E-segment.

Despite the small aperture, the luggage compartment is one of the largest in the class. Brilliantly, the Hybrid model offers the same cargo space and split-folding rear seats as the battery gets smaller and fits entirely under the rear seat.

Up front, the driving position is perfect, outward visibility is helped by slim A-pillars if not the fast-angle rear window. The front seats are comfortable yet offer good lateral support, which is crucial to a car traditionally emphasizing driver appeal. The overhauled dashboard gets simpler, sleeker and more functional. Free-standing 8-inch touchscreen is clear and easy to use. Another high-resolution TFT screen occupies 2/3 of the instrument pod to display either a rev counter or sat nav map etc. (The speedometer on the other side is real) It feels suitably classy and high-tech. Honda leaves hardware dials for climate control, and their precision and feel matches Volkswagen’s. Speaking of quality, the dashboard is made of soft-touch plastics, trimmed with soft leather and pretty decent faux wood inserts. It is a vast improvement from the old car, and it beats Camry convincingly. While Volkswagen remains the benchmark of the class, the Accord is very close in quality perception, and it feels warmer and more inviting.



2.0T engine is strong and willing, mates perfectly with the new 10-speed automatic.


The chassis is also a sizeable improvement from the old car. 54 percent of the monocoque chassis is made of high-strength steel, in which 29 percent is ultra-high-strength steel. As a result, torsional rigidity is lifted by 32 percent, while kerb weight is reduced by 50-80 kg depending on models. The suspension continues to be MacPherson struts up front and multi-link at the rear, but there are plenty of improvement. The front suspension replaces steel lower wishbones with L-shape aluminum control arms, which are not only lighter but better isolated from lateral forces. The front subframe is also made of aluminum to save weight. Rear subframe remains steel but are made stronger. All four suspensions are mounted through hydraulic bump stops for better NVH suppression. Moreover, electronic adaptive dampers are finally available, although on the top Touring model only.

The case of 80kg weight saving must be the range topper, because it follows the segment trend to abandon V6 for a 2-liter direct-injection turbo. This one is detuned from the Civic Type R's, sharing many goodies such as dual-variable cam phasing and exhaust variable valve lift – the latter facilitates scavenging effect to help spooling up the turbo more quickly. It produces 252hp and 273lbft, more than the counterparts on Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata and even BMW 330i. Compared with the old 3.5 V6 though, it loses 26 ponies, but it strikes back with more torque, and way more at lower rpms. In the real world, this engine feels even more energetic than the figures suggested. It helps the large Accord to do 0-60 sprint under 6 seconds. Power delivery is smooth, flexible and almost free of turbo lag. It pulls happily from 1500 rpm and spins eagerly towards the 6800 rpm redline. Such a sweet manner is outstanding for a turbocharged four.

The 2.0T engine normally mates with a new 10-speed automatic – yes, 10 speeds! – whose ratio spread is a massive 68 percent wider than the old 6-speeder yet weighs 10 kg less. It shifts smoothly and quickly. The optional 6-speed manual is less impressive. Honda is still the only major Japanese car maker retaining manual gearbox option for American customers, but few people actually choose it, thus the Accord has to settle with a manual box carried over from the old car. The gearstick is quite a joy to row, but the clutch travel is too long and non-linear for fast changes. Moreover, road tests found the manual gearbox adds half a second to 60 mph, a price too much to pay!



You think the new Camry might give Honda some troubles? Not at all, Accord remains clearly superior in chassis dynamics...


However, only 20 percent buyers are expected to take the 2.0 Turbo. The majority will choose the more affordable 1.5-liter direct-injection turbo which comes from Civic. It produces 192hp and 192 lbft, not only signiciantly more powerful than the 1.5-liter turbos of Volkswagen and Ford, but also eclipses the old 2.4 VTEC. Inevitably, the smaller motor needs to work harder than the 2.0T. It shows a bit more turbo lag low down and needs to rev beyond 2000 rpm to deliver real shove. At the upper end it sounds coarser, which is made even more obvious if mated to the CVT. Some said Honda builds the most matured CVT on the market, but even so it still fails to completely rectify the noisy drone under hard acceleration. Take the 6-speed manual instead and it feels sweeter, but tell me how many family buyers in the USA will choose this combo? If the driver cares more about driving excitement than day-to-day convenience, he might have already chosen the 2.0T manual. That said, drive the Accord normally and the CVT will perform smoothly without spoiling the pleasure.

What about Accord Hybrid? It is the least appealing of the trio because the powertrain combo of Atkinson-cycle 2-liter and 2 electric motors are largely carried over. It might make a bit more horsepower, drink a bit less fuel and no longer eat into cargo space, but the progress is not as remarkable as the turbos. Traditionally, Accord Hybrid is a commercial failure. Good luck this time.

Back to the regular Accords, apart from remarkable engine and performance, they also display remarkable ride and handling for a large family car. You think the new, sportier Camry might give Honda some troubles? Not at all, Accord remains clearly superior in chassis dynamics. Even without the help of adaptive dampers, it combines a fluid ride with taut body control. Its dual-pinion electric power steering is still a bit too light and short of feel, but it is accurate and loads up naturally in corners. Compared with the old V6, the new 2.0T feels lighter on its feet. The nose is willing to turn-in, then the body resists roll strongly in corner and it behaves predictably at the limit. The brakes have real bite. As for refinement, the ride is supple. Mid-corner bumps don’t hurt its composure much. Engine and wind noise are well insulated from the cabin, but road and tire noise remains evident, which is probably the biggest disappointment of the car.

The new Accord has a lot to like, from engine, chassis, space, quality, ease of use to value for money. Such qualities rarely happen simultaneously on a mainstream brand family car. Its only weaknesses are the slightly odd looks and excessive road noise, but those are not difficult to swallow. Honda finally makes a class winner again.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Accord 1.5T
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4880 / 1860 / 1450 mm
2830 mm
Inline-4
1498 c.c.
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
192 hp
192 lbft
CVT
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
225/50R17
1440 kg
134 mph (est)
7.3*
19.1*
Accord 2.0T Touring (Sport)
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4880 / 1860 / 1450 mm
2830 mm
Inline-4
1996 c.c.
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
252 hp
273 lbft
10-speed auto (6-speed manual)
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping (-)
235/40R19
1553 kg (1490 kg)
149 mph (est)
5.5* / 5.7** (6.1* / 6.2**)
13.6* / 14.5** (15.3* / 15.9**)
Accord Hybrid
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4880 / 1860 / 1450 mm
2830 mm
Inline-4, Atkinson cycle, electric motor
1993 c.c.
DOHC 16 valves, VVT, VVL
-
-
143 hp + 181 hp = 212 hp
129 lbft + 232 lbft
1-speed direct drive
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
225/50R17
1590 kg (est)
-
7.0 (est)
-




Performance tested by: *C&D, **MT





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