WOW, THAT CAR LOOKS GOOD; WHAT IS IT?
The Honda Accord looks good for sure. It has a lot of road presence due to its coupe-style sloping roofline, and people tend to turn and give second glances to the car. In this segment, brands tend to keep the cars as vanilla as possible to please as many customers as possible. However, Honda has ditched that thought process to develop a completely new design language for the Accord. This tenth generation was launched in 2017 and went on sale in 2018. For 2021 Honda has got in a few changes to make sure the Accord looks as fresh as ever, such as a refreshed grille design, new optional LED headlamps, new alloy wheel designs, and a new colour: Sonic Gray Pearl, which is the paint scheme on the 2.0 ltr Sport that we tested. The interior gets an 8-inch touch screen as standard across the range. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard across the range in the UAE and KSA only and in the other regions in the top grades only. The rear is particularly handsome, with taillights looking like a boomerang. A similar design theme followed on the Civic as well. Some cosmetic upgrades on the Sport trims include black paint elements on the front grille, side mirrors, and rear boot lip spoiler. The Sport trim also comes with 18-inch rims as standard on both engine options. The non Sport trims with the 1.5 ltr engine get 17-inch rims.
IT DEFINITELY IS A LOOKER. HOW ABOUT THE INSIDE?
This is where Honda has kept it "functional". Fuss-free and easy to use, the interiors are pretty vanilla, with all elements, functions designed ergonomically. You get the car with two interiors choices black or beige depending on trim level. I prefer the beige because they add a sense of space and light to the cabin. The dash and side doors have a carbon-fibre looking plastic trim to spice up the interior. The quality of materials is top-notch and excellent. Plastics used on the Accord will put more premium brands to shame. The 2.0 ltr gets the "Shift by wire" button operated gear lever, while the 1.5 ltr gets a regular auto gear shifter column. The 2.0 ltr car gets leather seats, heated and cooled seats. The 2.0 ltr trim also gets a HUD.
Regardless of which Accord you buy, the space inside is generous. It can seat five adults with comfort and ease. The boot has ample space for all your luggage, and the rear seats fold down completely, giving you access to more storage. So all in all a very practical and convenient car.
DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE INTERIORS BECAUSE THE ACCORD IS A TECH FEST.
Yes, you read the correctly. It is a tech fest. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2021 Accord gets a 5-star crash rating. It also boasts of the Honda Sensing, which is Honda's version of safety systems and let me tell you that they are quite plenty. Safety features such as multiple airbags for all passengers, Vehicle Stability Assist, Emergency Brake Assist and a host of other acronyms are standard across most trims. However, the 2.0 ltr and the top trim for the 1.5 ltr, the EX-L gets the most advanced version of the Honda Sensing safety features such as the Low Speed Follow and the Adaptive Cruise Control and even more safety systems with more acronyms. I particularly like the right-hand side blind spot assist. There is a small camera mounted on the right side-view mirror, and every time you indicate, right the centre screen displays the view from the right camera, making sure everything is clear, and you can move right safely.
Depending on the trim level, you get multiple audio systems, advanced driving assistance features, HUD, USB connectivity, etc. The infotainment is simple, intuitive and easy to use. A baby could operate it. Sometimes less is more.
SOUNDS GOOD BUT IS IT FAST?
Well, let me ask you do you need speed? If you answer yes, then the Accord has you covered. Allow me to break it down for you. Gone are the days of the Honda V6. The Accord comes with two engine options a 1.5-litre turbo engine and the top of the line 2.0-litre turbo engine.
The 1.5-litre engine caters to all the trim levels across the range except the top of the line 2.0-litre Sport model. It produces 198 HP and is mated to a CVT transmission. It has three drive modes Eco, Regular and Sport. In Eco, the car becomes laggy and slightly jerky. It is better to drive around in regular mode. Move it Sport mode, the car becomes more responsive, and you can sense the engine willing to work more. This engine has been designed to be the bulk seller of the range and focus on real-world fuel economy. However, the car is fast enough for daily driving needs and requirements.
The 2.0-litre engine is the one for the "enthusiastic" driver. It produces 247 HP and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Floor the pedal in the 2.0 Accord; it gives you wheelspin and torque steer and takes off like a rabbit. The engine and the gearbox are responsive. In Sports mode, the Accord properly packs a punch, holds onto gears and is ready to give you the right gear when you need it. The car is a breeze to drive on highways and makes overtaking a breeze.
Regardless of which engine you buy, the ride on the Accord is the perfect balance of sporty and comfortable. The chassis is well balanced and lets you push the car through corners and bends. It soaks in bumps and road undulations easily and manages to keep composure during spirited driving as well. The car is exceptionally comfortable, smooth, and can easily settle down into a cruise on long-distance driving. The seats are comfortable, supportive and easily adjustable, making this probably a perfect car.
The steering is accurate and precise and weighs up nicely. It could do with more feedback, but it is forgiven in this case. Dare I say it, but I also feel the chassis can handle a bit more power. Maybe 300 horses Honda?
All in all, this is probably all the car that you would ever need and is as close to perfection as possible. I highly recommend the 1.5-litre car. It fits pretty much all budgets and has all the things you would need from a daily driver. The 2.0 litre starts nudging a price point where you have access to entry-level premium brands, and the used market also starts providing you with ample options. Also, at that price point, we have many SUVs, which are the current buying trend in the market, putting the 2.0 Accord in a tough spot. But it has enough going for it to make a decent fight and come out winning. Let me know in the comments which Accord would you buy?