I struggled. And then struggled some more. In front of me was the facelifted Honda Accord, arguably one of the best-selling cars in the world, and there I was struggling to notice what was new. Truth be told, there was nothing wrong with the way the Accord looked and so Honda, in their must-facelift-or-commit-harakiri mood, decided to just make changes so subtle that they’re barely noticeable.
Okay, so exaggeration doesn’t help, but it certainly could have helped the Accord. What you get here is a slightly curvaceous front bumper, a triple chrome strip-ed front-grille (à la Ridgeline) and a chrome strip under each of the reflectors at the rear. Want more? Turn indicators on the mirrors and sunroof on the 2.4 models and on the inside, a new darker wood trim.
That’s it? Well, from the looks of it, yes. So why am I bothering you with so many words? Well, you see, I drove the Skoda Superb manual just the week prior to the ‘new’ Accord’s launch, and as some journos decided to hog the 3.5 V6 and 2.4 automatics on our drive to Agra, it seemed that luck and Excel sheets had me behind the wheel of a 2.4 manual. Lucky, aren’t I?
Without further ado, let me tell you more. The car is likely to be priced at Rs 19.25 lakh, ex-showroom, New Delhi, making it some Rs 75,000 more than the outgoing car. Frankly, Honda could have refrained from making a price hike, but then that would not have been possible now, would it? Anyway, so there’s nothing to take away from the Accord and its brilliance. I spent the first half of my journey in the back seat, and from what I could remember, the seat was just as comfortable as the car we drove halfway around the country on our Peace Drive for our January 2009 anniversary issue. The seat squab and under-thigh support are just as good, though I continue to find the hip-point a bit of a sore spot for my frame. Legroom is as fantastic as ever; however, I’d say the Superb probably offers a bit extra.
When the opportunity arose, the driver’s seat was still the best place to be. Although it’s primarily a chauffeur- driven car in our country, the Accord still makes for a decent steer. The front end is taut and the steering provides decent feedback, too. Throw it into a corner and the Accord exhibits good dynamics for what is a car nearing five metres in length. It turns in well and is predictable, but still a touch soft and isn’t as sporty as the Superb around a corner. Nevertheless, ride quality is the Accord’s strength, which is why most owners prefer to spend time in the back seat rather than the front. Not me, though.
The 2.4-litre i-VTEC, with 177 bhp on offer, is quite a joy to use as long as you use the five available ratios to spin the motor upwards of 3,000 rpm. Slick shifting and always a pleasure to slot, the gearbox has nicely spread out top three ratios that make it a relaxed highway cruiser. The automatic isn’t a bad option either, though slightly slow on the downshifts; the V6, as always, is a blast!
Given its credentials, we don’t see why Honda can’t better their current sales numbers, at least in the short-to-mid-term, which should mean that this facelifted Accord will be around for a good two to three years more. Alas, we would have liked Honda to offer some more kit for the asking price – a comprehensive multi-information trip meter and even a navigation system to distinguish it from the Superb, perhaps. The Superb also comes with a diesel option, which we don’t think will be offered by Honda until the next-gen Accord hits our shores. Still, we believe that the Skoda is the better car in this category, though the Honda is a better peace-of-mind package. There, I’ve stopped struggling for words now.