Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: 2013 Honda Accord S-V 3.5 V6

Photos by Ulysses Ang
A long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away, Philippine executives only had a handful of choices when it comes to buying a full-fledged luxury (mid-sized) sedan. Before the Toyota Camry, Mazda6, and Subaru Legacy, there was the Toyota Corona and the Mitsubishi Galant. Soon, the Honda Accord joined the fray and it quickly became a recognizable nameplate. And then, the Toyota Camry happened and that pretty much killed the Galant and swept everyone away including Honda’s once popular flagship sedan. Soon though, the Accord clawed its way back into contention by introducing more luxury-focused models with new features that gave a feeling of comfort, class, and plushness. As the launch of the ninth-generation Accord looms near (Honda Cars Philippines refuses to give a launch window), it’s time to look back at the current model and how it stacks up against the competition some five years since its launch in 2008.

Arriving in Honda’s unmistakable Urban Titanium shade (a cross between silver and bronze), the Accord is actually aging quite gracefully. Granted its seen its share of nip-tucks, they’re mostly focused on the grille and front bumper, so the overall shape remains timeless. Designed before Honda went organic with its shape, there’s a lot of angry angularity with the Accord from the wedge-shaped headlights, strong side creases, and the origami-inspired rear end. The macho styling is carried over to the large door handles and thick chromed door moldings. Others will find the styling a bit too busy and fussy but personally, there’s little to critique perhaps save for the six-spoke alloys which look too feminine.



Hopping into the Accord’s interior, it still remains an ergonomic delight when it comes to the seating position. It takes less than two minutes to get comfortable and everything is within easy reach. The steering wheel, the stalks, the shifter, and even the pedals are all beautifully arranged reminding you at how Honda gets the man-machine interface spot on. And classified as a full-sized sedan in the North American market, there’s a huge amount of space for front and aft passengers. The cavernous space is carried on to the trunk where there’s a huge (and flat) storage space for things such as golf bags and luggage. Plus, the seatbacks fold down (no 60/40 split though) to accommodate longer items.

As ergonomic in their placement and as crisp in their engagement, if there’s one thing that severely dates the Accord is the way the controls are laid out. There’s some degree of logic to the horizontal zoning of the controls (for example, the climate controls are in one row and the audio controls in another), but it looks too busy for a P 2-million car (P 2,050,000 to be exact). And this is at a time when car manufacturers have started to introduce cleaner dashboards by hiding, reducing, or consolidating controls.



Despite the huge number of buttons and controls on the Accord’s dash, it’s surprising at how lacking it is in terms of luxury and convenience features. Ultimately, there’s still a disconnect between what Honda’s giving with the Accord and what an executive is looking for—an Achilles’s Heel of the model ever since. Luxury prerequisites such as leather, sunroof, powered front seats, and a sub-woofer are all there; but Accord lacks things such as an on-board trip computer and cruise control, features which are now seen in some, get this, sub-compact cars. Even the center-mounted screen which displays climate and entertainment functions don’t even display items on an LCD screen—it’s a pixel-starved line display.

Though the creature features need some improvement, Honda Cars Philippines has thankfully eliminated the black-and-beige interior option and instead stuck to a sportier, manlier all-black treatment complete with imitation bird’s eye maple overlays on the steering wheel and center console, and an expansive silver applique running from the doors to the dashboard. The outward shift to a sportier theme jives very well, thankfully, with the Accord’s drivetrain and suspension which have stood the test of time.



With 3.5 liters at its beck and call, the Accord makes use of Variable Cylinder Management or VCM technology. Depending on the circumstance, VCM varies cylinder activation between 3, 4, or 6 cylinders. For example, during acceleration, the Accord calls on all six cylinders to extract the full 280 horsepower and 342 Nm of torque—figures which are nothing to squeeze at. Once the Accord reaches a comfortable cruising speed, the engine automatically cuts up to half its cylinder count depending on the speed you’re going. The entire thing is transparent and doesn’t require any driver interference. VCM also uses computer-controlled active engine mounts and an anti-noise system pumped through the speaker system to quell out any uneven vibration caused by the “imbalanced” cylinder layout. The only indication you’ll get when the Accord’s not firing on all cylinders is when an ‘Eco’ light pops up on the instrument panel.

Putting pedal to the pedal, the Accord obliges with a powerful sense of urgency obliterating the 100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds and a quarter mile in a blistering quick 14.6 seconds. Downshifts aren’t as immediate as the Mazda6’s “magic gas pedal switch”, but the Accord’s steering wheel shifters do allow some degree of manual control, albeit with some noticeable delays in any mode except full Manual override. That gripe aside, the five-speed automatic remains a great ally to the Accord’s engine, enabling the Accord to register some commendable fuel mileage figures: 7.43 km/L in the city and 9.39 km/L in a mixed city and driving environment.



The Honda Accord remains a good contender for having best-in-class ride by absorbing road imperfections like broken pavement really well. And aside from the plushness, the Accord exhibits a well-balanced chassis that treads the fine line between comfort and sportiness. In addition, the steering is responsive for such a large car. Though there’s not much in terms of feedback, the variable gear steering system provides sharper steering than the Accord’s looks would suggest. Using differently spaced grooves in the steering rack, the Accord is rewarding and responsive through tight corners without compromising the high-speed stability you’ve come to expect in a large car. At the same time, the Accord remains effortless to park thanks to excellent sightlines all throughout, but it does have front and rear parking sensors (but no camera) for that extra sense of security.

As everyone awaits the arrival of the all-new Honda Accord, the current-generation model shows that it’s still got what it takes to be a contender in the executive sedan segment. Although the interior design and the standard features are all dating the car, the Accord still maintains a comfortable lead with regards to its drivetrain and suspension. With the arrival of newer, more powerful, and better equipped competition, the Accord has definitely lost its edge, but it hasn’t completely lost its luster. It’s this luster that Honda hopes would rub onto the upcoming new model which, if the current model serves as basis, should be great.





2013 Honda Accord 3.5 S-V
 
Ownership 3.5 V6
Year Introduced 2008 (Facelifted: 2011)
Vehicle Classification Executive Car
The Basics
Body Type 4-door Sedan
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 3.5
Aspiration NA
Layout / # of Cylinders V6
BHP @ rpm 275 @ 6,200
Nm @ rpm 340 @ 5,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Unleaded / 93~
Transmission 5 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,946
Width (mm) 1,845
Height (mm) 1,476
Wheelbase (mm) 2,800
Curb Weight (kg) 1,635
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires 225/50R17
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes
Exterior Features
Headlights HID
Fog Lamps Front
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (front)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes
On-Board Computer No
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
Aux
USB
No. of Speakers 7
Steering Wheel Controls Yes

5 comments:

  1. Hi,the Cadbury ad makes the site load slower....

    ReplyDelete
  2. too blunt, get a better designer honnda!! your cars look 1980's

    ReplyDelete
  3. accord is a luxury mid size sedan without any luxury features such as : back up camera, push button start engine, blind spot sensor, tire monitoring system, adaptive cruise control, ITS BARE !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WIth the V6 Accord's speed and fuel efficiency, who needs those crap?

      Delete