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  • Interior refinement; active safety features; cabin ambience; V6+six-speed transmission; plenty of room
  • Vague and over-assisted steering; five-speed auto for four-cylinder models; price increase;

OUR RATING
7 / 10



Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review

The ninth-generation Honda Accord continues the long tradition of the popular sedan with solid build quality, class-leading safety and in-car technology as well as Honda’s undeniable reputation for reliability and durability.

The Honda Accord has been on sale in Australia since 1977 and in its 36-year history has managed to find more than 100,000 local buyers. Globally, it has been far more successful with over 19 million Accords sold.

Those figures put in perspective the challenges that Honda faced when designing and engineering the new Accord. Just how much can you really change when you have a car with this much history?

The most notable change is the price. The entry model 2.4-litre four-cylinder Honda Accord VTi, which has 129kW of power (4kW less than the previous generation) and 225Nm of torque (3Nm more than before) starts at $31,490, a price rise of $3,300. You’ll need $33,990 for the mid-spec VTi-S and $41,490 for the range-topping VTi-L. All three four-cylinder models still make use of an ageing five-speed automatic transmission.

The 3.5-litre Honda Accord V6L continues, but has now gone up to $51,990, a $4,700 increase. It gains 4kW more power, now at 206kW while maintaining the same torque figure of 339Nm. A six-speed automatic is standard.

Honda argues the price rise is justified through the higher level of standard equipment and additional refinement, which is a valid argument as there have certainly been major improvements over the old car. Nonetheless, in this day and age when most new cars evolve with better looks, more equipment, better safety and improved fuel efficiency – while either going down in price or maintaining a similar position to their predecessor – it’s a hard pill to swallow.

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

To Honda’s credit, the new Accord has undergone substantial change for the better. Take the new MacPherson strut front suspension, which makes a world of difference on bumpy roads over the old Accord’s double-wishbone setup, as an example. There’s an 8-inch full colour screen in every model which allows for a three-mode reversing camera. There are even two microphones placed in the cabin which detects low-frequency cabin and engine noise and send a cancelling frequency via the audio speakers, making the new Accord’s interior one of the quietest around.

Honda says that the Mazda 6 was the main benchmark when designing the new Accord, with the Volkswagen Passat and Toyota Camry also considered. This may also help explain the pricing, which is now more attuned with its Mazda rival.

Behind the wheel the four-cylinder Accord has more than enough grunt for everyday driving but is hindered by the slow-shifting five-speed automatic. It’s by no means considered lively. The V6, on the other hand, is terrific and makes a delightful sound from its twin exhausts. The six-speed auto is smooth, responsive and well coupled to the engine. It’s a shame it wasn’t fitted to the four-cylinder models.

Driving wise both configurations do a fine job but are better suited to more conservative drivers that prioritise steering comfort over feedback. The power steering system is direct, precise and guides the Accord around corners with ease.

Nonetheless, it’s noticeably lacking finesse in the drivability department and is very much over-assisted. Dynamically, this is not a fun car to drive hard. While the Accord Euro and Mazda 6 can be engaging, the standard Accord is anything but.

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

Lacking any form of steering feedback or feel, there’s almost a sense that the steering wheel and front wheels have no actual connection. Around Auckland’s twisty countryside, where we came to review the new Accord, the car’s driving dynamics failed to inspire any form of positive emotion. In this area it falls well short of its benchmarked rival, the Mazda 6.

On the plus side, the ride comfort is superb. Be it on the highway or dirt roads, we felt the new Accord’s suspension doing a stellar job of maintaining body control and absorbing the bumps. The stability and traction systems tend to be a little bit too eager to interfere for our liking but better early than too late.

From the outside the new 2013 Honda Accord’s design has simply evolved. Honda’s conservative attitude to car design means there’s no radical styling change and it’s pretty easy to dismiss the new-generation Accord as nothing more than a facelift.

Nonetheless, every single panel has been redone. In fact, the new Accord measures 75mm shorter than the previous car, 25mm of that comes from platform modifications while the rest is achieved via shorter overhangs at both ends.

Its slightly smaller exterior size – interior dimensions remain the same as the previous model with minor improvements to shoulder room – has led Honda Australia to push it for a reclassification in to the medium car category, as oppose to the large car segment where the current Accord sits.

It gains a new face and modernised rear end, with the addition of standard LED daytime running lights across the range. Viewed front on, it tends to resemble the Lexus GS while the taillights have a certain BMW 5 Series look to them.

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

The focus for the new Thai-built Honda Accord has been to offer a more premium-feeling vehicle than before. This is instantly noticeable when you step inside. Though the cabin design is very similar to the previous Accord, interior quality is a level above. It would easily match if not better the Mazda 6 and scare some of its significantly more expensive German rivals.

Be it the soft touch plastics used on the dash and doors, the expensive-feeling dials and instruments or just the overall cabin ambience, it’s fair to say it presents one of the nicest interiors in its segment.

The front seats can do with more side bolstering but are more than adequate for daily drives with good headroom and a fully adjustable steering wheel. There’s great visibility all around with thinner A-pillars (where the side mirrors are located) and a reversing camera standard. Unfortunately the base model misses out on parking sensors.

The rear is certainly able to accommodate two large adults with ease or three when required. Rear legroom is large-car size, in that it compares favorably with vehicles like the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore. Boot capacity is unchanged at 461L.

The confusing bit here is the comparison with the Honda Accord Euro. The Japanese-built Euro is smaller (particularly when comparing rear legroom) and now older. Honda claims the two-Accord strategy will continue as the Euro appeals to younger buyers while the standard Accord captures the more traditional and conservative customers. A new Euro isn’t scheduled for at least 18 months.

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

This is an interesting comparison, particularly because one of the main selling points of the new Accord is the advanced active safety package. Available on the VTi-L for $3,500 and standard on the V6L, the advanced driver assist system (ADAS) is certainly a big leap forward in active safety technology.

On the surface of it, ADAS includes some well known systems such as lane keep assist, collision mitigation braking system and adaptive cruise control. But it’s when you actually use them that you’ll realize how much further advanced they are compared to their rivals.

For example, when adaptive cruise control (which can follow the speed of the car in front from a pre-set distance) and lane keep assist are both functioning, the new Accord can literally drive itself. One system controls the acceleration and braking while the other ensures the Accord remains in its lane. Unlike other systems, even those found in luxury makes, the lane keep assist doesn’t just warn and pull you back into your lane as you’re about to drift out, it actively keeps you there.

Along Auckland’s main highway we were confidently able to let the Accord do full autonomous driving for 15 seconds at a time, which is the artificial time limit before the lane keep assist system warns you to put your hands back on the wheel and take over (if you don’t, it simply gives up and hands back control anyway).

Theoretically, the car is completely capable of driving itself on highways and most suburban roads using its radar and camera technology. It actively keeps itself absolute-centre inside its lane and also turns with the road. It’s the best system of its kind we’ve used to date.

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

Ironically, under normal driving conditions the lane keep assist system can be astonishingly annoying. It’s so fixated with keeping the Accord dead-centre inside its lane that any imperfection results in the steering wheel adjusting your input.

It’s nerve-racking to trust it to turn with the road as a semi-trailer is coming the other way, but we suspect that if it wasn’t for the conservative nature of Japanese design culture, autonomous driving would’ve almost been an advertised feature in the new Accord. Alas, Honda says all its active safety systems are designed to supplement and help the driver, but never fully take over.

Other notable features include the high-resolution camera in the left side mirror. Every time you indicate left, a live video stream of the Accord’s left side is shown on the 8-inch colour screen. This 80-degree wide-angle view virtually eliminates the need to shoulder check, or, lets be frank, check at all. You just glance at the screen and away you go. To put it bluntly, it’s brilliant. A feature that we hope other makes would adopt soon.

There in lies the best thing about the new Honda Accord. It’s innovative. Though it may not be a driver’s car, or have the same level of driver engagement as its Japanese rivals, for the first time in so many years Honda can proudly boast that it has a car with advanced and unique technological features. It’s a hint of what Honda use to be, the most innovative Japanese automotive manufacturer, hopefully it’s not a one hit wonder.

Honda Accord Review
Honda Accord Review

For a full specification breakdown including fuel economy figures, click here.


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HONDA ACCORD BREAKDOWN

Honda Accord Review
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  • F1orce

    Seems like a very good car!

    • Zaccy16

      if your 80 and think driving is a chore! i agree the interior is a step up but those fabric seats look 40 years old!

      • Golfschwein

        I’m digging the so 80s Jap velour too, Zaccy. Mm mm MMM! :)

        • stop_the_borts

          I know you Honda fanbois want to glorify the trim as some fancy, special, deluxe, throwback ‘velour’ or whatever, but you’re kidding yourselves: that’s just plain old cloth. The stuff the plebians sit on.

  • Neil

    That interior is a touch of class.

  • Jessie

    Big mistake watering down the model for Thai-production. The North American-spec models were getting rave reviews with the direct-injected engine, CVT transmission, etc. The very generous equipment levels might not be enough to overlook that.

    • Jessie

      *enough to get people to overlook that

    • MarksmanR

      AU getting the new Accord 8 months after the US, plus we pay 1.5x times more, plus we get no new 185hp (138kW) DI 4-cylinder engine? WTF!

      Mazda 6 still the winner then.

      • Zaccy16

        yep easily, the accord euro with this new tech would be a fantastic car and rival to the 6

      • http://www.facebook.com/clement.fu.3 Clement Fu

        The Torque (US earth dreams engine) is approx. 245Nm. I have to say even Accord Euro with 233Nm at 4300rpm is gutless.

        I agree Mazda 6 is still a winner with 250Nm at 3250 rpm.

        • Vti07

          Not necessarily, the Accord Sport manual model in the US with the DI engine can do 0-60 (0-96kmh) in 6.6 seconds. V6 rivalling acceleration and significantly faster than a manual mazda 6. The engine also has good usable torque. Also, this engine was named one of the top ten Wards 2013 best engines. Suprisingly, the car holds up fairly well overall to the Mazda 6. Sadly, this car does not exist in Australia.

          • Jasper

            Agreed, both the Mazda 6′s Skyactiv and Accord’s Earth Dreams are excellent powerplants and the critics over there are in love with them

  • Marco Klasky

    Wow, it’s brimming full of smart tech.

  • Shak

    CA, you have mixed up the VTi-S and VTi-L models. The S model is the mid spec model, the L is the top spec four cylinder model.

  • ABCDEFG

    The conventional auto is better than the CVT as it’s more reliable and more durable. I would definitely pick this 5 spd auto over the CVT auto used in the US model.

    Honda got to be more competitive. The Camry is 25k (28k drive away no more to pay), has 6 spd auto, $170 fixed price servicing (vs Honda’s $400-$600), 0% or 2.9% finance for 48 months and it’s not made in Thailand.

    • F1orce

      The $25k drive away Camry is the Altise model. Which is a fleet intended model.

      • Kampfer

        Still good enough for most people in the market for this type of car. Camry Altise in Grey colour I saw the other day actually look OK.

        P.S. I really really dislike the base model alloy on the Accord since last gen… and they keep it on the new model…

      • Countduckula

        Exactly, we have a few ( altise’s) in our fleet, not only is it dull, but its a crappy plastic wonderland, with fake (again plastic) stitching on the plastic dashboard…. the only thing the new Camry has going for it is its price and the new 2.5L isnt too shabby…

        • Doctor

          That just about sums up Camry’s only two good points – engine and price.

          • F1orce

            Yeah for Altise i guess is the case.

            But the Atara models are quite nice inside & out…

    • fredo

      Honda automatic transmissions are not “conventional” (look it up, its a different mechanical design). Millions of Honda auto recalls world wide (Google it if you don’t believe me) and law suits suggest they aren’t that reliable/durable either. I’d much rather the CVT and US-spec engine models. Not the cut-feature bargain basement spec’d model.

      • ABCDEFG

        The Honda automatic transmissions recall is with the V6 models (much more torque). The 4 cyl (lower torque than the V6) Accord models don’t have problems with the automatic gearbox.

  • JamesB

    I suspect that the price of the entry-level model will go down to $29,990 just a few months after launch. This just won’t sell well due to the $3,000 increase.

  • Charles

    I don’t quite understand why and i quote “MacPherson strut front suspension, which makes a world of difference on bumpy roads over the old Accord’s double-wishbone” is the case? Shouldn’t double-wishbone setup is superior in term of dynamic then McPherson?

    • McCarthy

      Who knows? But if it’s good enough for the 911, I think it’d be good enough for the Accord.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      we had the new and old accord back to back on the same roads, the difference was very noticeable

  • Popper

    Alborz, is this the same engine as in the US accord, but detuned in some way? I ask because the engine output is quite a bit lower.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      I’ll find out.

      • http://www.facebook.com/clement.fu.3 Clement Fu

        Forgive me if I’m wrong, I think the torque is 245Nm with CVT for US.

    • Shak

      It’s a different engine. We still get the old engine, that does duty in the current Accord, CRV and Euro. It doesnt have DI, and ours comes with the auto, as opposed to the CVT in the American models.

      • Popper

        Yeah, I thought so. Thanks. A shame. I would have preferred a (manual) Accord (US spec) over a Mazda 6 or Nissan Altima, but this rather settles the matter, I think.

    • fredo

      It is not the same engine. US spec is a direct injection model, this Thai spec is not. The US spec uses the K24-W1/W2/W3, which are high compression (11.1:1)direct injection engines, The Thai Accord uses K24-W4, which is normal compression (10.1:1) and port injection.

      Basically we got a cut price version of the US engine with the good bits removed to cut production cost.

      As a result we got less power and rather significantly less torque (20NM)

      • Popper

        Cheers. What about the v6? Is that a cheap crappy knock off, too?

  • MisterZed

    Yawn, I think I’ll stick with my i45 thanks. And this Accord is hardly “new” being nearly a year old.

  • $29896495

    Good balanced story. Pat on the back CA.

  • O123

    Looks to be a massive improvement on the last model. But its just too expensive. The commodore is cheaper. The lux brands are slashing prices and this this is stuck in the middle. And its built in thailand.

  • Doctor

    The looks have improved and the interior is nice but it seems to still be a dud drive.

  • Tuscany

    This is the best review on CarAdvice I’ve ever read. Please write them all like this.

  • Galaxy

    What? A new release Japanese car without an aftermarket looking A/V system plugged into the dash. Hey Mazda, Toyota, Subaru etc… please take note. This is what a quality dash should look like. As far exterior goes.. well…… anyway forget that. Some nice tech… except for the bits that count: entry model engine and transmissions. Seriously a 5 sp auto?

    • Carly

      You’re joking, right? There are plenty of automakers (I’m not even going to dignify your ridiculous attempt to generalise by country of founding, beyond this parenthesis right here) who do what you’re accusing, and plenty of examples from the automakers you mentioned ‘without an aftermarket looking A/V systems’.

  • Dieseltorque

    Those prices won’t last long if they want to sell. Looks to continue excellent quality interior except that horrible wood look across the dash. 5 speed auto a great auto for its time but it is 2013 Honda.

  • Dieseltorque

    Oh yes very good review Alborz, provided a very informative report.

  • http://www.facebook.com/clement.fu.3 Clement Fu

    I like this car very much BUT the old V6 engine (no direct injection) carried over and the price is way too expensive. I think Honda should sell the V6 without the ADAS at a cheaper price. I’m not ADAS person so couldn’t really care about it except rear camera for parking purposes.

    So I’m thinking of Honda Accord V6 vs. Holden Commodore SV6. Which one to pick?

    • Robbo

      You’re missing the point about the engine, it’s hardly horrible so if it ain’t broke why fix it? Why does everyone think as soon as a new model comes out EVERYTHING should be changed? The engine is very sweet and performs well, and with the fuel saving tech for the highway this new model returns a fantastic figure with no power loss. Read a million comments on this site about the rubbish SV6 engine and I think you’ll change your mind. Or better still, drive the new Accord V6 when it comes out instead of telling us the engine’s old cause you read it online!! :)

      • fredo

        Maybe because Honda had ALREADY CHANGED EVERYTHING.
        Tthey have the new engines in the US. More power, less consumption.

        But we get the old engines with a new sticker, and a price rise.

    • Ms Defy

      The V6 engine was named one of 2013′s Ward’s 10 Best Engines.

      • Vti07

        The Earth Dreams engine variants of the 2.4 (141kw /247 Nm as used in the new 2013 US Accord Sport sedan and Accord Coupe) and the V6 are the ones listed in the awards. However, I have a feeling that both powerplants for the Australian spec Accords are pre-Earth Dreams. It would be great if someone could find out and clarify this. If this is true, then the photo of the engine bay in this article is of a US spec model.

        • Popper

          Yes, this does seem possible, even likely.

          I was seriously considering getting one of these (preferably a manual), but if we’ve missed out on the new engines then I’ll get a Mazda 6 instead.

          What a screwup.

      • fredo

        They arent the same engines, the awarded are direct injection, high compression engines.

        Thai got the old engines with a new sticker (so to speak)

  • DT

    Rear tail lights = baboon’s butt

    • Useless

      What a useless comment.

    • repus

      He he he so funnyv

  • Antmindel

    5 years on,the Euro still looks WAY better than the regular Accord….

  • Blueberry

    Alborz… How was the premium sound system in the Accord V6L. Did you get a chance to test and listen to it???

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      No, not really. I was far too upset trying to get the damn satnav to work, it was rather unintuitive. I will test out the sound system when I have the car for a week.

  • PS

    I really don’t get why Honda like to stuff about a good momentum! The new Civic Hatch has lifted their popularity in recent times… but the decision of not equipping the new Accord with the same Earth Dreams engine as the US counterpart is quite bluntly, stupid! This is the 21st century, people look to the internet for advice… and people surely don’t like the idea of being short-changed for an inferior model that cost more. Wake up, Honda!

  • marc

    bland interior vs new commodore?

  • Daniel

    this model looks better than my 08 vti-l, squintier looking headlights and MUCH better looking rear, that is the only awkward looking angle on the current model.
    Hopefully the rear brake pads wont wear out every 30k on this one as does mine, and price rises?? are you serious? Do Honda Aus see that every other car brand is slashing prices and increasing features, do you exist in a vacuum?

    • Honda???

      I have the 08 V6 model and I’ve just been advised by Honda Australia that it needs a second engine rebuild due to the fuel saving tech that the V6 has (switch to V4 on highways etc) I too also have to change the rear brake pads every 30kms, however the engine re build is my major concern. Wondering if any owners of V6 Honda accords have also had the same problem, or I have just been given a lemon? Last time 6 weeks off the road. This time two weeks off the road with no certainty that it won’t happen again. Also, no replacmement car as Honda Australia have changed policy on servicing their clients. I was so pleased with the V6 when I bought it, I also bought my wife one, from the same Essendon Honda team. You would think that under the circumstances they would keep me happy with a loaner! I’m a sales rep so this is going to severly impact my work.

  • Greg34

    The better looking and more luxurious Nissan Altima is just around the corner… the new Accord doesn’t stand a chance with its bland and outdated look and hefty price increase…

  • Johnny Dough

    I was just reading about a class action law suit settled in California for misfiring V6 VCM engines, customers being paid back for engine rebuilds and part replacements that Honda had charged them for

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