Although this is what’s described as a minor model change, Honda has incorporated some significant new technology into its medium sedan. That includes a more powerful diesel engine and a suite of driver aids.
We drove the Accord over what has become a favoured route for new-car launches in the Western Cape – the sinuous coast road around Kleinmond combined with mountain passes heading back to the Boland – and the Accord immediately felt at home. Superbly composed and stable in twisty going, it nevertheless manages to provide a plush ride. The new high-output 132 kW/ 380 N.m diesel version gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up for its blend of massive torque and refi nement. Overtaking simply isn’t an issue: put your foot down, and whoooosh. Even in top (6th) gear. Combined-cycle fuel consumption figure is just 5,8 litres/100 km, and CO2 emissions are 151 g/km. An automatic transmission is mated with a revised version of Honda’s less powerful 110 kW diesel. But what really impresses is how smooth and quiet the diesel is, whether cruising along or driven hard. All the more intriguing, then, that diesels seem to have lost their magic for buyers in this segment of the market: Honda SA managing director Graham Eagle reported a significant decline in diesel sales of bigger sedans. (Two four-cylinder petrol engines – a 115 kW 2,0 and a 148 kW 2,4 – are also available.)
The Accord comes, as before, in both sedan and wagon body shapes. Eagle noted locals’ reluctance to go for wagons, and even in Europe, where wagons are popular, the purchasing decision seems based more on a preference for their styling than anything else. “But we won’t be getting rid of our wagon anytime soon,” he says.
Lighting technology has been upgraded, too. Available on up-spec models, Active Cornering Lights illuminate into corners during turns, and High Beam Support for vehicles fitted with Bi-Xenon headlights uses a windscreen- fitted camera to automatically dip the lights when it detects oncoming headlights or taillights ahead.
Stop, steer, stay
Advanced Driver Assist, offered on the new 2.4 Exclusive models, comprises Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Keeping Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.
- Collision Mitigation Braking. A millimetre-wave radar sensor in the Accord’s front grille recognises when a collision is imminent. The system responds in three stages, increasing in severity if there is no driver response: first an audio and visual brake warning, then seatbelt pretensioning and light braking, and finally hard braking and seatbelt retraction. The driver has to apply final braking to stop the car.
- Lane Keeping Assist. Between 70 km/h and 180 km/h, a windscreen- mounted camera detects if the car has begun to change lanes without driver input from steering wheel or indicators. It’s able to steer the car back into line by providing up to 80 per cent of the required steering torque.
- Adaptive Cruise Control. Radarbased, this maintains vehicle speed and distance relative to the car in front, using a combination of brake and throttle control and warnings to the driver.