Published on June 1st, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Honda Accord 2.4VTi-L : The Best got Better
The new Accord is a very big step in the right direction for Honda. This is the one that people will look back and refer to as the turning point. The previous Accord was, without a doubt, a huge success, but its looks were a bit contrived and unHonda-like in general.This 9th generation does a lot better. First of all, it looks like a proper Accord, with its classic slit like headlights and rich red brake lights. The Accord now sports the angular U-shaped Honda signature grille, but even with that modern touch, they’ve still managed to integrate a horizontal chrome strip into the emblem, which though not canon to the Accord design language, is certainly present on some of the earlier models.
There’s a lot to be said about reverting to a more traditional Honda look. For one, it shows that the both the car and the company have matured. Honda knows that its own original designs have become iconic, and distinctly ‘Honda’. And just look at what they did with the Accord, it’s a marvellous looking thing. Of course, the side skirts, front and rear bumper lips and spoiler are all add-ons from their Modulo range. They detract a little from the luxurious sedan design that’s at the core of the new Accord, but previous generations of the nameplate look great when modified to look sportier, so perhaps there’s still a place for it.
Overall, with or without the bodykit, the car cuts a very sleek silhouette, one wide a stance that is wide and low. This, on top of the flowing metal work on the body work makes the Honda Accord the most modern and sleek looking D-segment offering in the Malaysian market.
One of the its best features of the exterior design is actually more of a functional one. I’m referring of course to the quad LED headlamps underlined by LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL). The DRLs come as standard, but the futuristic looking LED headlamps come only on the 2.4 VTi-L, and their ability to superior lighting makes it an easy trim level to recommend. But if money is an object, even the standard Accord has some mean-looking HID projector lights on the base model. The rims on this top trim level are huge, at 18 inches in diameter and looks plain but elegant.
The interior is very similar to most other Honda models in that it’s very solidly put together and is largely black and dark grey. It does have a very pretty dashboard that elevates the nameplate up the premium ladder, but because some of its little components are found across the Honda range, it lacks the exclusivity that comes with premium marques.
The full leather covered seats are very plush and comfortable, especially if you sit the back. As one would expect, this car comes with a secondary air conditioner vent for rear passengers, with digital climate controls being placed in the front. There are not one but two screens in the cabin. The larger one serves just as a display, showing navigation information. It is located at the very top of the dashboard and is placed in a recess to shade it from sunlight.
The secondary screen is located where you’d expect the media player to be. It’s considerably smaller, but is used primarily as an input interface. So, let’s say you have navigation opened, you can type out your destination on a full sized keyboard that pops up on the secondary screen.
A truly unique addition to the Accord is the side view camera. It’s so brilliant it makes you wonder why this hasn’t picked up in the automotive industry yet the way it should. It works by using the video feed from a camera under the passenger side wing mirror to give the driver a digital version of his side mirror on his centre console. So every time the left turn signal is engaged you have a small a screen to quickly glance at to check if the lane is clear. It can also be activated manually with a press of a button located at the top of the stalk.
Because the primary screen is so close to where the driver’s already looking, it’s extremely effective at giving an accurate idea of any potential dangers without having to take his eyes off the road. Despite the grainy quality and the high noise level at night, it’s still useful, because the driver’s attention is drawn towards the digital mirror each time a lane change or left turn is being made.
Material choices on the interior are typical of Honda. The leather is soft and supple, with a nice patterned finish. Some of the plastics are hard, but they’re all very solid pieces of material and the cabin fits together perfectly. The wood trim around the dashboard gives it a real air of luxury, they definitely made a good choice on the accent.
One of the coolest features of the new Accord is the Active Noise and Sound Control. This works similarly to how noise-cancelling headphones work. A controller unit collects sound from 2 microphones in the cabin as well as the engine’s RPM and uses the front and rear speakers to project a sound wave that cancels out these unwanted noises to make way for its really top notch music player. The car is already very well insulated for noise and vibrations, so you can imagine just how quiet it gets inside, great for long distance trips. In addition, there are side and rear window blinds for the rear passengers, so it’s not only quiet but cosy too.
There are plenty of treats for the driver to find as well. Honda’s Earth Dreams technology really shines, delivering the kind of performance one would expect from a 2.4-litre 4 cylinder while still merely sipping from its petrol tank. With all the emphasis on passenger comfort, it’s great to see Honda still managed to make this a very agile, easy-to-drive car. Sure it’s large, like all of its competitors, but the use of multi-link and Macpherson strut suspension allows the car to be both comfortable and rigid around corners, with just the right amount of body roll which tells the driver just how much grip is left. As with the 2.0 model, the steering response tightens up at speed and it always makes you feel sure about the car’s direction.
Even with a full load, it was able to perform admirably both uphill and down. And despite being a regular 5-speed automatic, it comes with paddle shifters and the whole transmission is electronically controlled. Some of its competitors do come with dual clutch gearboxes, which have slightly quicker shift times, but this box is a lot smoother in heavy traffic while still shifting quickly enough for the average Malaysian driver. In terms of safety, you can expect Emergency Stop Signals that fire up the hazard lights in emergency braking, parking sensors on all four corners of the vehicle, cornering lights, LaneWatch to signal unintended lane departure, 6 airbags and of course braking aids in the form of ABS, EBD and BA.
The Accord may have been around for a short while now, but this 9th Generation model has proven to be its best iteration yet. Honda’s done all the right things here and still managed to keep the price of even the top spec Accord at a competitive level. If you’re looking for the best D-segment Japanese car you can get for under RM170,000, and hybrid drivetrains sound like they might complicate things for, the Accord is pretty much as good as it gets at this price point. Its Japanese rivals offer something a little different, like the hybrid powertrain and more absorbant suspension on the Camry or the more mechanically simple Teana.
Honda Accord 2.4 VTi-L
Engine Earth Dreams Technology, 4 Cylinder DOHC i-VTEC
Transmission Electronically Controlled 5-Speed Automatic
Max Power 175 PS @ 6200 RPM
Max Torque 225Nm @ 4000 RPM
Selling Price RM167,239.52