Honda Accord: New and improved

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Honda Accord: New and improved

Friday, October 09, 2020

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HONDA has rebuilt its premium sedan, the Accord, from the ground up, representing one of the biggest generational jumps in the model's history.

This because, in the past, it only had to do battle with class rivals from other brands, now the Accord must fend off competition not only from other mid-sized sedans, but the modern buyer's cravings for sport utility vehicles even within its own camp.

To catch eyes, the 2021 Accord presents a mix of current design cues and individuality. Cars in this segment used to be boring and similar so as not to offend. Not anymore. Staying up-to-date from the B pillar back, the Honda embraces the sloping rear roofline — popular with many luxury European brands — to give the four-door sedan a more sporty coupé-like appearance. From the B pillar forward, the Accord is unashamedly Japanese, with bold lines and creases to highlight the all-LED headlamp and bold Honda logo on the front fascia. Opt for the premium package and the 18-inch wheels completes the sleek racy vibes it exudes just standing still.

The European feel doesn't just stop at the rear. Step to the Accord, and the vehicle recognises the smart key and automatically unlocks all four doors at the touch of the handle. Open the door and the driver's seat whirrs away to aid ingress. It does the opposite upon exit, while locking the vehicle as one walks away. Once inside, the 12-way power adjustable leather seats with two memory settings make getting comfortable a quick act and taking in the new interior a pleasure. The sense of Euro-luxury will not be lost on anyone who runs their hands across the leather and soft-touch materials abundant around the cabin. This is enhanced by inlays of wood, metal and glossy piano black.

The other luxuries of space, comfort and technology are present. It doesn't take the opening of the sunroof to notice the sizeable interior for five. Drop the rear centre armrest and the Accord borders on limousine-like, especially when the rear window sunshades are put into use. A large deep trunk is part of the storage picture. There are locations for phones — the premium trim gets wireless charging, cup holders, and pockets aplenty for assorted contents. Vehicle operation is a breeze with plenty of automated features, such as an electronic handbrake with AUTO HOLD, auto on headlights with auto dimming, automatic wipers, Honda LaneWatch that shows a live image of the passenger side of the car during signalling, and dual-climate control to list a few of the convenience features. Warnings come from a rather seductive female voice bearing an English accent.

Refinement is high in the Accord, making everything calm and relaxing. Exterior noises never rise above a slight murmur in the background and completely disappear when the 10-speaker, 450-watt stereo system — with subwoofer — run from the eight-inch infotainment touchscreen is enabled. In NORMAL and ECO modes, the Honda rolls untroubled by rough roads, its suspension able to soak up most types of impact. Moving things to the next level are the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and the Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS). Turn them both on and the vehicle will take over driving duties under supervision, keeping the Accord within visible lane markers and proper distance from cars in front.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel is a greater insight to what the Accord has to offer. With all the newfound refinement and technology, the Honda is perfect for everyday use, long or short trips. Push it further and the same comfortable suspension brings the brand's legendary sportiness into action. Steering is direct, turn is razor sharp and the car stays composed beyond the normal limits of a family sedan. The 1.5-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder proves Honda has mastered the art of forced induction, delivering strong performance in SPORT mode.


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