Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: February 1, 2016
Sitting left right and center of the midsize sedan segment is the venerable Honda Accord, the car that started it all. As a sensible vehicle for sensible buyers, the Accord has always been a solid and reliable choice. It was easy to drive, looked handsome, and could comfortably haul a family of five around town.
Carrying over into its ninth generation, Honda has decided to play it safe with their bread and butter sedan. For 2016, they’ve given it a mid-cycle refresh with minor cosmetic changes and a few tweaks to the chassis and interior tech.
New LED lights adorn the front and back, along with a revised front fascia with larger chrome bars. The Accord also receives a new aluminum front hood, which is lighter than the steel one that it replaces.
There are many flavours of the Accord: LX, Sport, EX-L, Touring, EX-L V6, and Touring V6, and depending on which trim you choose, your Accord may look a little different than the rest. We spent a week with the Sport variant, the proposed athlete of the family, and it certainly looks the part.
Draped with 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dual chrome exhausts, chrome door handles, and a rear lip spoiler, even the mailman was drawn to the Honda and gave a few blushing compliments. Yes, the mailman complimented my Accord. Never did he approach us when we had our overly ostentatious BMW i8 with scissor doors, no. He likes to gawk at our Accord.
If that is not a testament to its clean-cut demeanor, I don’t know what is. The mailman was further impressed when I let him sit inside. Our Sport trim was loaded up with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power moonroof, carbon fibre panel accents on the dashboard, and even aluminum-trimmed sport pedals.
The cabin did feel a little dark and dull however as it lacked any colour contrasting. And the chunky shield-like steering wheel is turning into a bit of an eyesore – we prefer the one in the new Civic much more. I really like those red accents and needles that embellish the driver’s gauges though. They are a nice mix of analog and digital. I can’t say the same about those fake carbon fibre panels though.
One notable feature of this 2016 model is the revised 7-inch infotainment system that now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. What this means is that you can plug in your smartphone via USB and the center display will act as your smartphone’s interface. You can scroll through your music playlist, text your friends via voice recognition, summon Siri, and even use Apple Maps (meaning you won’t need to fork up the extra money anymore to get in-car navigation, assuming your smartphone has a data plan).
Smartphone integration is a clever move for Honda, and the steering wheel even has a dedicated button to summon up Siri to listen to your commands. Furthermore, the revised interface now lets you swipe, tap, and pinch the screen like you would on a tablet. The interface is easy to understand and use, but it is not exactly grandma-friendly. Younger and more tech savvy users will feel more at home. A volume dial is still noticeably absent.
All Accords (except manual gearbox variants) can now be equipped with Honda Sensing Technologies as a standalone option. This includes Collision Mitigation Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Road Departure Mitigation.
Our Sport model did not come equipped with this package but what it did feature was Honda’s brilliant LaneWatch blind spot display. A camera situated under the passenger side mirror sends a live feed to the center display whenever you hit the signal stalk. A perfect view of your blind spot is provided and becomes quite handy when you find yourself changing lanes with an awfully stiff neck.
Honda engineers have also made the Accord more rigid than before, stiffening up the suspension, beefing up the brakes, and retuning the electric power steering for a more performance-oriented drive. The same engines have been carried over: a standard 2.4-litre four-cylinder and an optional 3.5-litre V6.
The four-banger produces a healthy 185 hp and 181 lb-ft but in the Sport trim, the engine gets a slight power bump up to 189 hp and 182 lb-ft thanks to a reworked exhaust system with larger diameter tubing and dual outlets that increases air flow. You’re hardly going to notice the power difference, but it does give some justification to the nameplate.
On lower end models such as LX and Sport, customers will have the choice between a manual transmission or a Continuously Variable Transmission ($1,300). On higher trims, the CVT comes standard. While it is rare these days for economy mid-size sedans to offer three pedals and a shifter, the CVT is well tuned and feels sporty in play. I would still recommend saving the money and going for the manual though – it fits the sport theme much better. The Accord even gets a proper handbrake.
The CVT puts power down well but it drones on the highway and exhibits the infamous rubberband effect on wide-open-throttle application. There’s a fair amount of grunt that comes out of that four-cylinder though, as the Sport gets a retuned Active Sound Control feature that makes the Accord sound a bit louder and mightier during hard acceleration.
At the end of the day, the Accord Sport is not as exciting to drive as a Lexus GS or a BMW 5-series, but it’s sharp steering and firm ride give way to the compromise between comfort and agility. The suspension strikes a good balance between rigid and soft, and provides a pillowy ride no matter what the terrain. It’s sporty when compared to the rest of the Accord lineup, but not sporty by any means in the segment.
The Honda Accord is the quintessential sedan that every potential car buyer needs to consider. With the 2016 model year, Honda has tinkered around with perfection to keep it alive and relevant in today’s market filled with other well-furnished sedans such as the stylish Chevrolet Malibu and revered Toyota Camry.
With the Accord, we would have it no other way than the Sport trim that we tested here. I really don’t see a reason to go further up the food chain unless you want a) leather seats or b) the V6 engine. Well-loaded with a price-tag well below $30,000 even with that optional CVT, the Accord will not go down without a fight, and this year’s minor exterior upgrades and major interior additions keeps Japan’s infamous sedan burning hot off the press.
型号 Model: 2016 Honda Accord Sedan Sport
顏色 Paint Type: Modern Steel Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $26,690
試車售價 Price as Tested: $27,990
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,775
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,907 / 1,849 / 1,465
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,538
引擎 Engine: 2.4-litre, 16-valve, Direct Injection DOHC, i-VTEC® 4-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 189 hp @ 6,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 182 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
波箱 Transmission: CVT
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: MacPherson strut
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Multi-link
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Solid disc
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 9.1 / 6.8 / 8.0
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 9.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P235/40 R19