Ever since the Honda Accord was launched in 1976, it has been one of the best selling cars in North America, year after year. The new 9th generation Accord, still available as a coupe or sedan, has made some significant changes that buyers will really appreciate. This mid-sized car will appeal to those buyers who are budget-minded, but still want lots of interior space and a ‘premium’ feel.
The 9th generation Accord made its debut in 2013 and the new styling is very appealing. The Accord sedan has always been conservative in its styling and a fresh new look was necessary, especially with competitors like Ford, Mazda, and Nissan coming out with new flowing designs. The Accord’s new front end is still distinctively Honda, but more masculine. The Touring comes standard with projector-beam LED headlights and LED daytime running lights. The beltline starts lower in the front and rises slightly as it nears the back, giving the car a more forward and aggressive look, almost wedge-like. As compared to the previous generation, the rear of the car is much more pleasing, with the taillight cluster, complete with LED’s, being more uniform. If you choose the Sport Edition, dual exhausts and rear deck spoiler are standard.
Step inside the vehicle and you’ll notice that the designers of Honda got it right; the new interior is warm, inviting, and high-tech. I’ve mentioned this before, and it’s worth saying here again – unlike its competitors, Honda makes use of some of the best hard plastics for its interiors. The interior also comes with satin metal and faux wood or carbon like accents that should appeal to almost everyone. The audio and climate controls are easily within reach and the 8” intelligent Multi-Information Display is a gem, providing clear and accurate colours. The Touring Edition comes fully loaded with dual-zone climate control, navigation, multi-angle rear-view camera, Bluetooth interface and other safety features that will be discussed a little later. The heated front and rear leather seats are large, very comfortable, and offer great support, even during longer drives. Unlike my previous experiences with the Accord, these new seats made driving very enjoyable. Honda designers did not forget the rear passengers and there is now an extra one and a half inches of well-needed legroom. You will easily notice that overall, the interior of the car is much roomier, even though the overall dimensions of the car are smaller. Well done Honda!
Push the start button and the brand new Earth Dreams Technology four-cylinder equipped Touring Edition comes alive. There is a six-cylinder available, but for the average family, the four is plenty enough. Even Honda said that about 75% of its sales are those with the smaller four-cylinder. This new direct-injected motor produces 185 horsepower (hp) and 181 lb-ft of torque. Just in comparison, the previous versions of the Honda four-cylinder produced only 166 hp, so considerable advancements has been made. In 2013, and carried forward to this year, Honda is going with its new Continuously Variable Transmission, or CVT in the automatic version– simply speaking, a CVT has no fixed gears. Rather, it offers a wide variety of gear ratios through the use of a pulley system and belt. Honda’s G-Design Shift logic offers more acceleration and response than conventional CVT designs. To be honest, when I first drove the 2013 model last year, I could not tell that it was equipped with a CVT. Anyone who has driven a vehicle with CVT notices something distinctively different, but with Honda’s patented G-Design Shift logic, the driver can still feel the “gears”; there is a 6-speed manual gearbox if you prefer to do all the shifting.
On the road, one of the first things I noticed was how incredibly quiet the car was; my previous experiences with Honda vehicles were not such. As with the Civic and CR-V, Honda engineers made changes to the suspension and transmission, while adding sound reducing glass – these changes are a definite welcome. Another noticeable change is increased visibility, both inside and outside of the car. On the inside, all of the gauges are clearly visible and on the outside, the driver has an excellent view of what’s in front, rear, and around the vehicle. Honda’s exclusive Lanewatch system, which puts a camera on the passenger side-view mirror, displays an image of the blind spot on the center LCD display. Initially, this technology got me distracted, but after a couple of days, I found myself relying on this image more and more as I didn’t have to turn my head. Driving the Accord is exactly what you’d expect from Honda – precise, comfortable, and now, fun. The new Earth Dreams Technology engine, lighter and with reduced friction, gives excellent responsiveness and acceleration. No, you’re not going to win ¼ mile races, but you now have one of the most fuel-efficient mid-sized cars available. The electric steering is probably one of the best for this class, inspiring more confidence in the driver. To stay connected with the car, there is no need to take the hands off the steering wheel. All controls for navigation, audio, and Bluetooth are accessible via hands-free operation. Is it the best in its class? No, but it is functional and practical.
With driver and passengers in mind, there are a number of technological safety features available in the new Accord, some of them being the aforementioned Lanewatch system, Lane Departure Warning, back up camera, front collision warning, LED headlamps, and expanded view side-view mirrors. Of course, front, side, and curtain airbags are standard.
For over a week, I really enjoyed driving the new 2015 Honda Accord. Fuel economy was excellent, especially with the Econo mode turned on, and I averaged about 7.1L/100 km of combined driving. I’m also looking forward to driving the Accord Hybrid, which should provide even better numbers – book yours now. If you are looking for a ‘premium’ feeling, yet budget friendly mid-sized vehicle, the new Honda Accord will definitely not disappoint. The 2015 Accord starts at $24, 050 while the Touring is priced at $31, 050.