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Driven: Honda keeps faith with Accord

High spec, roomy cabin define all-new Accord, but Honda sees only 150 sales a year

12 Dec 2019

HONDA has launched the 10th-generation Accord mid-size sedan in Australia, two years after its US unveiling, and is confident the model will act as a worthy flagship for the Japanese brand.


But Honda Australia holds only modest sales expectations for the high-spec new Accord – just 150 units per year – meaning it is unlikely Gen X will expand on the previous model’s market share.


That said, Honda Australia general manager for product, customer and communications, Rob Thorp, told GoAuto at the national media launch in Melbourne this week that if demand proves stronger than anticipated, sourcing additional capacity from the Ayutthaya factory in Thailand would be relatively easy.


Available in a single top-spec model grade – VTi-LX – with a pair of drivetrains – 1.5-litre turbo-petrol or 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid – the new Accord is competing at the upper end of the medium sedan class alongside the likes of the Mazda6 Atenza, Peugeot 508, Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb.


The Accord VTi-LX petrol starts at $47,990 plus on-road costs, while the hybrid model kicks in at $50,490 plus on-road costs.


Notably, Honda Australia has ruled out bringing in the sporty 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine available with Accord in the US. This 188kW/370Nm range-topper, complete with a six-speed manual transmission or the car-maker’s new 10-speed automatic, is only built in left-hand drive from the factory in Marysville, Ohio.


While the 10th-generation Accord is essentially all-new, it is based on an expanded version of the ‘Earth Dreams’ platform that underpins the current Civic (2016) and CR-V (2017).


Compared to the outgoing ninth generation (2013-18), the redesigned Accord rides on a longer wheelbase – up 55mm to 2830mm – but is shorter in overall length – down 26mm to 4904mm. The result is significantly more rear-seat legroom (+49mm).


Its proportions have changed as well, with less frontal overhang, more rear overhang (for a much larger 570-litre boot), wider tracks (+6mm front, +18mm rear), a 12mm-wider body, 15mm-lower height and lower seating positions (-25mm in the front, -20mm in the rear).


The A-pillars are also 20 per cent narrower for improved forward vision.


While the overall kerb weight is down by more than 70kg to 1504kg for the petrol and 1591kg with the hybrid version, the Accord’s body is now made up of 29 per cent ultra-high-strength steel – more than any Honda model besides the NSX.


Bending rigidity is up a claimed 24 per cent, torsional rigidity has risen 32 per cent and aerodynamic drag is down three per cent, the latter aided by an active grille-shutter system and a flush underbody.


Drivetrain-wise, new Accord’s 1.5-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol four-cylinder is the same as the unit from Civic and CR-V but with revisions. It gets a new cylinder head, a revised turbo with altered vanes (for faster spool-up) and variable exhaust-valve timing.


Power remains the same as CR-V – 140kW at 5500rpm – but torque increases by 20Nm to 260Nm across a broader range (1600-5000rpm).


Compared to the previous 2.4-litre naturally aspirated Accord with five-speed automatic transmission, the new 1.5-litre turbo CVT lowers its official combined-cycle fuel consumption number by more than 20 per cent – now at 6.5 litres per 100km.


The Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain essentially carries over from the previous Accord Hybrid, though it is considered “third-generation”.


It combines a 107kW/175Nm 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with a pair of electric motors in the transmission – along with a separate clutch and epicyclic geartrain – and a more compact 48-litre lithium-ion battery (-23L) now mounted beneath the rear seat of the car.


Total system outputs are 158kW of power at 5000-6000rpm (+12kW) and 315Nm of torque from 0-2000rpm (+8Nm). Fuel consumption has also improved to 4.3L/100km (-0.3L).


Besides badgework, the number of exhaust outlets (two for the petrol, one for the hybrid), a blue tinge in the hybrid’s headlights and different tyres (V-rated Michelin Primacy 3 ST for the petrol, W-rated Yokohama Advan dB decibel on the hybrid, each 235/45R18 in size) both models are identically equipped.


As reported, standard features include remote engine start/stop, wireless phone charging and a head-up display, as well as the car-maker’s latest driver-assist and ‘Honda Sensing’ safety technologies.


The latter includes forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control (with low-speed follow functionality) and high-beam assist.


Accord’s lighting spec also covers LED headlights, tail-lights, foglights, daytime running lights and active cornering lights, while other notable systems on board include driver fatigue detection, rear cross-traffic alert, tyre-pressure monitoring, a 360-degree parking camera and ‘smart parking assist’ (with rear collision mitigation).


On the infotainment front, the Accord features an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, DAB+ digital radio, satellite navigation (with traffic updates), four USB ports (two front, two rear) and a 452-watt 10-speaker sound system with subwoofer.


The driver and front passenger are provided with electric adjustment (12-way driver, including electric lumbar/four-way passenger) and seat heating, while a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever are included.


All seats feature black leather-faced upholstery with perforated centre sections. A woodgrain-look open-pore finish is applied to other surfaces in the cabin. A sunroof is standard, as are 18-inch alloy wheels.


The only available option is colour choice – Platinum White, Lunar Silver, Modern Steel, Crystal Black or Passion Red.


Honda’s warranty covers the vehicle for five years/unlimited kilometres, with six-year/unlimited-kilometre coverage against rust and body perforation.


Up until the end of November, the outgoing Accord had achieved 125 sales for 2019, down 25 per cent compared to the previous year in a diminishing category down 7.4 percent overall.


In comparison, the Toyota Camry achieved 15,520 sales, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class 6242 sales and the Mazda6 2455 sales over the same period.



2019 Honda Accord pricing*

VTi-LX 1.5L Turbo (a) $47,990
VTi-LX 2.0L Hybrid (a) $50,490

*Excludes on-road costs

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