Vehicle Style: Large sedan
Fuel Economy (claimed): 8.7 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 9.7 l/100km
Honda’s generously proportioned Accord has found a lot of favour among private buyers, though it lags behind the fleet-friendly Commodore, Falcon and Aurion in total sales.
Comfortable and well-finished - but lacking a little power - it’s a value-packed, family-friendly cruiser. For 2011, tweaks to the Accord’s exterior styling and spec-sheets have boosted its appeal.
Quality: Quality materials and switchgear are a Honda specialty, and the Accord’s interior fittings are of a high standard of finish.
However, the shiny upper dash plastics are not as appealing, and the Bluetooth module on the A-pillar looks awfully aftermarket and is a pain to use. The centre stack’s confusing button layout is also a headache.
Comfort: The driver’s seat is power adjustable, and also features a powered lumbar support. Both front seats give good under-thigh support, and remain comfortable for longer stints.
There’s Commodore-rivalling legroom in the back, and two adults can sit across the rear bench in a great deal of comfort.
A wide fold-down centre armrest, capacious door bins and face-level air vents make the back seats very accommodating, but shoulder-room for three is a little tight there. Putting an adult in the centre seat is only a good idea on short trips.
Equipment: Standard features on the VTi-L include auto-on headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, a glass sunroof, sat-nav, foglamps, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The seven-speaker premium audio system has been updated with the addition of a USB input for portable music players, and also features an in-dash six CD stacker.
Storage: Boot space measures in at 450 litres with the rear seatback in place. A central ski port allows long, thin items to be carried, while dropping the single piece rear backrest expands cargo capacity.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The Accord’s 2.4 litre inline four - producing 133kW and 226Nm of torque - has adequate power for the daily grind, but its lack of grunt compared to the Falcon and Commodore can be exposed when overtaking, especially when fully loaded.
The optional 202kW 3.5 litre V6 would be a better partner for the 1565kg Accord, but at a $10,000 premium the V6 is simply too expensive.
A five-speed automatic is the sole transmission on offer. It might not have the ratio count of the current crop of modern six and seven-speed transmissions, but it’s intelligent enough to hold a lower gear on ascents and descents to help keep the 2.4 litre motor on the boil.
A pair of paddle shifters allow manual control of the gearbox, and shifts are fairly quick and crisp.
Refinement: An inordinate amount of tyre noise finds its way into the cabin, but otherwise the Accord is a pleasurable serene cruiser. Get busy with the throttle though, and the buzzy four-pot makes itself heard.
Suspension: Ride comfort is the Accord’s forte. The suspension is soft without being floaty, and body-control over ripples and undulations is excellent.
It’s not as accomplished a handler as its cousin the Accord Euro, but the Accord’s double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension is still quite capable on a winding road.
There’s no noticeable torque-steer, and the hydraulically-assisted power steering has a good weight to it. The Accord’s 11.2m turning circle is about average for a car of its size.
Braking: With ventilated discs up front and solid discs at the rear, the Accord has no issues with stopping in a hurry.
ANCAP rating: Not tested.
Safety features: Front, front side and full-length curtain airbags are standard, as are front anti-whiplash headrests, pretensioning front seatbelts, ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control and stability control.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Service costs: Costs vary from dealer to dealer. Contact your local Honda dealer for service pricing.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Toyota Aurion Prodigy ($41,490) - The Aurion’s 200kW 3.5 litre V6 is a strong performer, but the interior lacks pizzaz and personality.
However it’s very well-equipped for the price, and a solid contender against the less powerful Accord. (see Aurion reviews)
Holden Commodore Omega ($39,990 ) - The Omega is spacious and comfortable, but feels austere and sparsely-equipped in comparison to the Accord.
Our recommendation is to spend a few grand more and step up to the more powerful SV6. (see Commodore reviews)
Ford Falcon XT ($40,290) - The Ford’s 4.0 litre I6 is the strongest in this line-up (195kW, 391Nm), but the cabin fit-out and spec sheet can’t match the Honda.
It’s a superb cruiser though, and the best for those needing to tow. (see Falcon reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The well-sorted 2011 Honda Accord is value-buying. For less than $40,000 you get a fully equipped large car that offers a spacious interior and a superb on-road ride.
The standard 2.4 litre engine is a little lacklustre compared to other large car contenders like the Falcon and Aurion, but each falls short of the Accord’s value-for-money proposition.