• Standard equipment; plenty of space; sweet-revving engine; ride quality around town; cabin comfort; fit and finish
  • Dated interior elements and ergonomic failings; steering inconsistency; ride on country roads; handling isn\'t sharp

7 / 10

Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review

An all-new Honda Accord may be headed our way in mid 2013, but the outgoing Japanese full-size sedan remains a hugely capable contender in the segment dominated by Australia’s locally made Toyota Camry.

Since its launch in 2008, the eighth-generation Honda Accord has been updated twice (in 2010 and 2011), and in May 2012 copped a price cut that saw the entry-level VTi variant slashed to $28,190 – making it the most affordable ‘large car’ on the market and, somewhat paradoxically, $2150 cheaper its mid-sized sibling, the Honda Accord Euro.

The base model is joined in the three-pronged 2013 Honda Accord line-up by the mid-range $37,190 VTi-LN (tested here) and the more powerful $47,290 V6L.

Among the most impressive elements of the Honda Accord VTi-LN is its comprehensive equipment list, which compares closely with the spec of the $36,990 Hyundai i40 Elite and $39,990 Toyota Camry Atara SL.

Standard features include 17-inch alloys (with full-size alloy spare), auto headlights and wipers, foglights, sunroof, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjust, heated front seats, leather upholstery, reversing sensors, rear-view camera, satellite navigation, and a 270-watt audio system with subwoofer, six-disc CD stacker, AUX and USB ports, and Bluetooth phone connectivity (but no audio streaming).

Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review

Six airbags (dual front, side and curtains) and electronic stability control headline a basic but sound safety package.

Powering the Accord VTi-LN is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 133kW (at 6500rpm) and 226Nm (at 4500rpm). A five-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels.

Like most Honda engines the Accord’s four-pot is a sweet-revving unit that seems happiest north of 5000rpm on the approach to its 6800rpm redline. It doesn’t sound or feel tortured with the tacho needle pointing past 12 o’clock, but rather embraces the moment, sings enthusiastically without becoming over-eager, and pulls with decent force.

The flipside is down the other end, where progress is slow below 3000rpm, making acceleration off the line and from lower speeds more of an effort – something those downsizing from traditional six-cylinder large cars will notice.

While it’s at least one ratio short of its newer rivals, the Accord’s five-speed auto is still a great match for both the car and the engine. The intuitive gearbox picks its shift points cleverly, keeping the engine in its higher-revving sweet spot when confronted by inclines or more aggressive throttle applications.

Our test car consumed 10.7 litres per 100km over the course of a week – a decent return given Honda’s official claim of 8.7L/100km on the combined cycle.

Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review

The Honda Accord rides well around town where the roads are flatter and the surfaces better maintained, and its composure at higher speeds is also impressive. Concrete surfaces with multiple road joins can feel choppy and also provoke the most noticeable noise from the tyres.

The Accord is at its most unsettled over undulations – rolling bumps common on country roads – which cause it to bounce from side to side and temporarily lose its typically balanced feel.

There’s an encouraging solidity to the steering feel with the wheel at the straight-ahead position, making the Honda Accord a confident highway cruiser. Inputs in either direction reveal more play away from that centre position, however, feeling slack mid-corner and lacking the confidence-inspiring consistency delivered by its best rivals.

Despite being an older-style hydraulic system, the steering still has an easy feel around the city, making light work of parking and low-speed manoeuvres. Dynamically, the smaller Accord Euro takes the points for its keener, more consistent steering and more settled ride on rougher roads.

Sliding inside the cabin reveals a conservative cockpit with excellent fit and finish quality. But it is showing its age. Hard plastics are used across all surfaces but the doorsills, and the grey colour scheme is monotonous.

Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review

While its functions are simple to use, the Accord’s infotainment screen looks prehistoric compared with its rivals, and is most annoying at night when its reflection appears as a big white square in the centre of the windscreen. The massive ‘Enter’ button/dial used to navigate its controls and the chunky Bluetooth panel tacked onto the A-pillar are both anti-ergonomic and detract from the interior’s otherwise pervading feeling of quality.

The driver’s seat is comfortable, offering good torso and under-thigh support and lots of adjustment to suit different driver sizes and seating positions, while visibility is also decent front and back.

Rear-seat passengers under six-foot won’t have issues with headroom, and there’s acres of legroom for even taller travellers relegated to the second row. A well-angled, long seat base and smooth leather ensure long-distance comfort for those in the back.

Storage throughout the cabin is generous, headlined by the deep glovebox and centre console designs and useful door bins.

The Accord’s 450-litre boot leaves it trailing its full-size sedan competitors, and while the rear bench can be folded forwards to expand its cargo capacity, it does so in one piece, rather than splitting 60:40 as is more common and more versatile.

Like all Honda vehicles sold in Australia, the Accord is covered by a three-year/100,000km warranty.

Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review

It may not be long for this world, but the eighth-generation Honda Accord is memorable for its refined drivetrain, strong value and comfortable interior. If you can look past the dated interior and some dynamic limitations, now could be an opportunistic time to encourage dealers to sharpen their pencils even further on the price, with the launch of the new model imminent.

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Honda Accord Review
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  • nugsdad

    No Accord has ever had the radio tuned to JJJ

    • Kev

      Yeah, with a six-stack CD player, it’s so easy to enjoy your own tunes.

      • Fgjh

         It must only be Accord drivers that carry CDs around. I thought everyone streamed mp3 from phone or ipod these days.

        • F1orce

          CD’s are easier.. As the CDs can store lots of music very cheaply and they stay in the car. And with 6-stacker you could always put new music in the car..

          No need for all the complex integration, wires, Bluetooth, battery wasting etc etc

  • FanBoi

    Why would anyone buy this dinosaur? Ohhh my mistake, accountants maybe…


    • Jobson

      Yeah, it is approaching the end of its life cycle and will soon be replaced. It’s probably worth waiting for the new Accord coming this year, which has been very well received in its home market, the US.

      • Crazy n00b

        I bet the 5spd auto gearbox and injectors in this Accord is a lot more durable than the CVT and DI injectors in the up coming Accord. I would get the current model as a highway cruiser if they drop the price by 5-7 grands.

        • Former Honda Enthusiast

          Crazy n00b, you can easily get the base Vti under $24k. Even without aggressive haggling that can come down further. I walked from a 2012 Urban Titanium Vti at $22k when I realised I had yet to give up on life, and that buying on value and reliability alone wasn’t enough to justify buying this turd.

  • MisterZed

    This would have to be one of the most pointless reviews you’ve ever done. This car is effectively in run out mode as the new model is around the corner.

  • Poison_Eagle

    10.7 L/100km is dismal for a four cylinder car.  Ford and Holden deserve credit for being able to undercut this consistently in real world conditions.

    • F1orce

      Most cars consume around this much gasoline.

      The new Mercedes E-class diesel according to CA review consumed around the same amount of diesel.

      Yet its official consumption is much less than the 8.7L/100 of this Accord.

      Besides this Accord has reached the end of its cycle.

      • Poison_Eagle

        Where is this E Class article? I find that hard to believe. FG and VE are at the end of their cycles too, and relentlessly criticised for poor economy.  10.7L for a new, four cylinder family car stinks ,any way you look at it.

        • Jfg

           I assume he’s talking about the “Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review: farewell long-term report” from Dec 19.
          This article was a bit confusing about the fuel economy, starts off by saying the trip computer was reading 10.2L100km. It then goes on the say they did a trip and it did 5.1L100km. Further in, it then says the “final figures” over 5072km were 8.5L100km. But later on in the article – towards the end, it again says that the average was 10.2L100km. It also says they had the stop/start system turned off too.

          • Poison_Eagle

            what a shocker!

  • SaudiAbbas

    the new American market accord 3500 is doing 0-60 in 5.7 seconds

    • Crazy n00b

      For some unknown reasons the American cars magazines does it 1-2 seconds faster than everybody else.

      • Poison_Eagle

         Because 60 mph = 96km/h, 62=100. Those 4km/h make a difference, who’d have thought, eh.

      • Pedant

        0 to 60 figures are in miles per hour. 0 to 100 kph equates to 0 to 62 mph. There’s your extra 1 – 2 seconds.

      • Jfghj

         Australian tests are normally done with two (probably fat) people on board and a full tank of fuel and some also run the air conditioning. I also suspect many don’t turn off the trraction control or work out the best way to launch the car.

        The yanks apparently do their best to get the fastest times – Load up tranmission for launch, 1 light person on board only, low fuel, no a/c and traction OFF.

        • Tony Abbotts No 1 fan

          You’re kidding right, do you seriously believe that the type of person who buys this car is in anyway interested in how quick it gets anywhere, except to the bowls club maybe.


        • Crazy n00b

          We should have 2 times then, a 0-100kmh time and an American time driven by an American boy racer from California.

  • Antmindel

    The Euro is so much more desirable,with sexy styling over this daggy styling.

    This even makes a Camry look exciting.

    I have seen the all new model,and its no great looker either,cant wait for the next Euro ,due out in 2014,which will also be sold overseas as an upmarket Acura TLX 

    • Crazy n00b

      There are 3 issues with the Accord Euro that’s stopped me from getting it.

      1) Got to use PULP. But with ordinary fuel economy. The non-Euro Accord is OK with standard unleaded.

      2) The engine pings on some of the latest Euro’s even with PULP98. After a couple of years the deposits in the combustion chamber will build up increasing the compression ratio, it’s going to ping even more.

      3) The radio is moulded all over the place on the dashboard. It’s almost impossible to change the radio to put in a standard 2 din unit with a reverse camera display. It badly needs a reverse camera due to the high boot and the non-luxury version does not come with a verse camera.

      • Cwangv

         Two of my workmates’ Accord Euro have the engine pings problems. Never resolved. Given only 2 Accord Euro in our carpark at the office, that is 100% problem rate.

        • F1orce

          Yeah if you use the cheapest fuel your bound to come across those kinds of problems.

        • Ted

          Use PULP, it will cost only a few $$$ extra a tank and the car will perform better !

      • F1orce

        If you cannot afford PULP then you probably shouldn’t be thinking about a new car mate.

  • Ted

    The new Accord will have the CVT gearbox, and this is starting to become the norm.  Will it be better, yes as far as fuel is concered.  However, we will need to get used to these gearboxes as they will start to appear in many models / brands from now on.

  • Doctor

    The styling (for North America) is a shocker – be glad to see the end of it.

    • Guest

      But, oddly, that North American styling is better than some others, e.g., Audis, which are among the ugliest cars on the road, being either generic (utterly bland) or with a failed “aggressive” style that is not masculine at all but rather is somehow “gay masculine” (i.e., a gay man’s notion of masculine).

  • Daniel

    ive got an 08 VTIL 4 cyl, pros and cons so far:
    -great range on the open road-ive had the consumption down to 7.3l/100 on fully loaded with the ac on.
    -Good solid feeling engine trans which likes to sing over 4k revs
    -basic service only costs $200 inc loan car at honda dealer, with free car wash and tyre rotate/balance if required.
    -base model is now under 30k driveaway
    -Leather seats with heaters PURRRRRRRRRRRRR
    -Rear styling kinda awkward
    -Some cheap plastics inside
    -Rear brake pads have a fault and will wear out every 30k without fail (google it)
    -4cyl sluggish below 3k revs