2015 Honda Accord

Still delivering on its name

"The steering was light and easy - perfect for city roads"

"The upright look adds some sporty flavor"

"The 17 inch wheels offered enough grip to hold tight and inspired confidence" said Ershad

"Formidable future resale value"

Earlier in August when Honda invited us to the launch of the 2015 Accord, everyone was talking about the "Made in China" plate nailed onto it. Honda’s executives responded by emphasizing how a core part of their policy was to maintain the same Japanese standards they were famous for, in China. So to test the claim against its other rivals, we decided to take the 2.4 liter Accord out for a test drive.

In many ways, the car is an upgraded variant - the engine and transmission have been slightly altered and we see a number of tweaks to the body both inside and out. As the midsized sedan segment has grown ever crowded, it’s easy to see why Honda has done all this.

Exterior
First up you’ll see the upright look of the car with swoopy character lines all over. There’s also a new wider and bolder chrome grille which coupled with the front and rear bumpers makes the Accord look bigger than it is. The rear features twin chrome exhausts integrated into the bumper to add some sporty flavor. Daytime running lights and LED brake lights are standard for all grades and our tester came with a set of 17" alloy wheels – the top end V6 3.5 Sport carries an 18" set.

Interior
On the inside, it’s plain to see that Honda is serious about their "man maximum machine minimum" philosophy. The interiors are superior to anything on the market and there is no question; there is ample space not only for cargo but for front and rear passengers as well. I even got into a very good driving position with auto adjustable seats and lumbar support.

Electric parking breaks are a newly added feature but when I looked for the Honda LaneWatch thingy, they told me it’s reserved for the V6 variant only. The a/c kept the temperature on check with both front and rear vents and the rear power sunshades could be used to aid further cooling. On the dash, a full color, 8 inch Intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) offers with simple access to all infotainment options - LED map, Bluetooth Hands free Telephone (HFT) system and AM/FM/CD audio system

Drivetrain
Moving on to the engine, you can see this is where most of the work has been done. Here we have an advanced Earth Dreams Technology power train on a direct-injection 2.4 liter i-VTEC engine. A new transmission system is the highlight with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). With all this, the Accord delivers a power of 185hp @ 6400rpm - adding roughly 12hp last year’s edition. 20Nm torque is added to reach a figure of 245Nm @ 3900rpm.

Unfortunately, the port injection is no more and the CVT is only available in the 2.4 liter models. However, V6 variants will still run on 6 speed automatics. In terms of suspension, we get a tuned set of MacPherson Struts on the front and independent multilink set up in the rear for better handling and comfort.

As far as safety is concerned, you have all the standard features including VSA, ABS and EBD. ACE II (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body is designed to protect all occupants with minimal damage to other vehicles. For additional security the car is equipped with a dual front SRS airbag system, as well as front side and side curtain airbags, and 3 point ELR seatbelts for five passengers.

Driving Impressions
I wasn’t going to try any stunts or tricks on the Accord as we are here to see how it fits in into the family car segment, but while driving it around, the steering was light and easy - perfect for city roads. The CVT has a linear feedback to offer and revs rise fast as though it were an automatic transmission. Meter reading in the instrument cluster was clear and switches on the center dash were easy to reach.

However, while the ride quality was comparable to other Japanese rivals, the biggest let down was related to the road noise that we noticed. The Accord’s handling was never in doubt but there was still some tuning work to be done on the suspension unit to enhance it even more. We like the body control with barely any dangle on the tail. The 17 inch wheels offered enough grip to hold tight and inspired confidence. ABS assisted brakes were alert most of the time, so no complaints there either. You also get a high end feel thanks to those beige leather seats, wood panels on the dash, interior lighting and two tier display units. In terms of performance, it’s quick for its purpose and when it’s about fuel economy we ticked 9.1liters/100km with ECON mode on. Now that’s a near perfect preposition for a sedan.

Verdict
Back to my original point: which cars in the market can rival the Accord? Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 6 and wait, we can’t ignore the Americans, the Ford Fusion and Chrysler 200 who quickly join the lot. As I mentioned, it’s a crowded segment and there are more choices now than ever. But the Honda Accord is a comfy family ride which comes with unparalleled reliability, a simple design and spacious interiors. And how can you forget its formidable future resale value? So even while the competition gets thicker, this edition of the Honda Accord ensures the car will be delivering on its name for a long time to come.

Pros: Spacious cabin, ride quality, handling, fuel economy, upscale feel inside
Cons: Some road noise, LaneWatch option only for V6 variant
Rivals: Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 6, Chrysler 200
Engine: Direct injection 2.4 liter inline 4 cylinder DOHC i-VTEC, 185 hp, 245 Nm
Transmission: CVT, FWD
Performance: 0-100 kph: 9.6 sec, 9.1 L /100 km, Top speed: 208 kph
Curb Weight: 1540 kg

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