For each of the past eight generations, Honda’s mid-size sedan stalwart, the Accord, has grown larger. But now smaller cars and fuel-efficiency standards are top of mind. So, for the first time, an all-new Accord is actually shorter and weighs less than the previous one – yet still has more room in the cabin and boot.
Beneath the skin, the Accord and its coupé counterpart ride on a new chassis with three powertrain choices and a hybrid on the way. But most Accords will roll off the line with a brand-new 138-kW direct-injected 2,4-litre four-cylinder mated to a CVT transmission. The downsized Accord feels lighter on its feet and provides the sensation that you’re driving one of Honda’s smaller models from the early ’90s. We especially enjoyed the four-cylinder Sport model equipped with a six-speed manual. It has one of the coolest shifters in the industry – a perfectly sized cylinder of aluminium.
But the big news is the plug-in hybrid model with a 6,7-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that delivers an all-electric driving range of 15 to 25 km. Honda says the battery can recharge to a 13-kilometre electric range in half an hour. When the electric and petrol systems work in tandem, the Accord’s total cruising range is a healthy 800 km. – BEN STEWART