A big thank you to all the team at Honda New Zealand located in Wellington at 65 Kent Terrace for allowing us the use of the brand new Honda Accord V6 NT Sport for this Road Tested Review.
The accord has evolved quite a lot over the last few generations, the ninth and current gen is yet another step towards executive euro styling. This also follows through to the interior, with comfort, build quality and the list of standard features showing that Honda are not only looking at the bar Euro manufactures have set, they are reaching for it too.
The Test Drive
First of all, the new Accord is huge. It doesn’t look as big as it is, its very long and very spacious. The exterior is a very modern Euro mix design, several friends who I picked up for lunch thought it was a euro brand before noticing it was a Honda and were pleasantly surprised. This NT Sport came with the more aggressive styling pack, with a front and rear diffuser and boot spoiler, all of which added to the subtle sporty stance from the side profile.
Inside I had more than enough room in the drivers seat. The seats are extremely comfy seats and reminded me of an Audi A6 I had driven about a year ago. This car would make long journeys very easy and relaxing. The only negative thing I would say about them was that I felt they were a little high, but this could be partly because I am 6 and a half foot tall, and partly the seats’ vertical adjustment range. The rest of the interior was a mixture of hit and miss. The materials used were nice and didn’t feel cheap, but fewer material types would have given it a cleaner look, as it ranged from shiny black to chrome to silver to textured and so on. The central display was very easy to use and clear to read, however pressing “Ok” on the display each time you started the car to agree that the display may be a distraction warning was quite annoying, it should just be a once off thing. The touch screen underneath it was a nice touch, even though it sometimes felt like an unnecessary addition as you were able to control the radio from the wheel and the command toggle just above the gear stick. I was impressed with how quiet it was too, equipped with Active Noise Cancellation to reduce road noise inside the cabin at high speeds. The boot was a good size too, a bit awkward for taller people though, as the lid didn’t lift far enough out of the way to avoid bumping your head on it.
Driving the Accord V6 NT Sport was a doddle, smooth, easy to direct steering, and the 339 Nm of torque from the 3.5L V6 had no problem in getting you up to the limit. The engine noise surprised me too, as you dont usually get a sporty sound from cars in this range. Once I gave it the beans, by dropping it a gear via the sport paddles, it roared into life. This gives the experience a greater sports feel. The gear logic transmission was a different story, on the way up the gears it was flawless, with smooth and almost unnoticeable shifts. However the way down felt like a totally different transmission. From 6th to 4th it was fine but into 3rd and 2nd it became very sluggish and lurchy which did not feel very sporty at all.
A lot of cars are also being fitted with eco modes and cylinder shutdown systems, the Accord being no exception. Eco modes can sometime put a bit of a dampener in sports orientated models, but the ECON mode was delightfully unintrusive. I left it on for pretty much the entire time I was testing the car and never once really noticed it switching between Eco and normal running modes. The quoted fuel economy rating is 9.2L/100km, I averaged around 10.2L/100km which I thought was great as the test did involve a fair bit of leadfoot driving, and if driven more sensibly I reckon you could even get it lower than advertised
The biggest surprise was the tech, the Accord has it in boat loads and the vast amount of it was standard, which you don’t even see on Euros that are twice the price. Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS) & Lane Watch Camera (LWC) are all in addition to the regular assortment of three letter safety features on car these days. The LKAS will monitor the road ahead though the front facing camera mounted beside the rear view mirror. Once engaged this system will detect if you start to drift out of your lane and the LKAS will actually steer the car back into the middle of the lane. This was a little freaky at first, as it will do this without you touching the wheel at all, though its not meant to be used this way we had to test it and I was very impressed. The CMBS system is also linked into the front camera and radar system. This monitors the traffic and objects ahead of you, calculating whether you have enough room to stop and detecting whether this distance is suddenly reduced by a vehicle jamming on. Multiple alert warnings pop up and flash you to quickly brake. If no action is taken your seat belt gets quickly tugged back into the seat and the brakes are applied to help avoid or reduce an accident.
The LWC was a nice little feature that only proved useful on the motorway. Activated either by selecting the camera via the control stalk or indicating to the left the rear facing camera mounted on the left side rear view mirror, it showed you a perfect view of the lane next to you. Thus making it very easy to check for vehicles that could have been in blind spots. I did feel there was a missed opportunity to make this a kerb watch camera for parallel parking and to reduce the chances of kerbing the rims. This camera and the rear view parking camera did not work as well as I expected at night and tended to blow out when looking towards another vehicle’s headlights, meaning you had to resorting to the old fashioned methods.
The last one was the Adaptive Cruise Control which has become available on a lot of Euro models over the last few years. This radar aided system worked in conjunction with the cruise control to maintain a safe distance behind slower traffic. Once traffic had cleared it would resume the specified speed. One thing did bug me about this system was that you could not disengage the radar system from the cruise control and use one without the other. Several times on curving motorway sections this system thought the car in the next lane was ahead of me and would slow the vehicle down, while in actual fact it was in the next lane. One concern I had with all these feature is that drivers may become lazy or numb to what’s going on and think they can depend on these systems for their own safety. Maybe this comes back to the center console display warning, that the big underlined note drivers need to remember is that all these features are there not to replace your actions but aid them.
What it’s up against.
This price range is a seriously competitive section of the market, alternative options everywhere you look. The Accord’s base price is higher than most alternatives, however the majority of the competitions require several extras to bring it to the same spec. The european manufacturers are all switching to turbo diesels, which could leave the Accord with a higher yearly running cost.
|Brand / Model||Engine||Power||Fuel L/100km||Luggage Capacity||Price Highest to Lowest|
|Citroen C5 HDi||2.2L I4 HDi Turbo||177 kw / 332 Nm||4.9L / 100km||439 Litres||$67,990|
|Peugeot 508 GTi||2.2L I4 HDi Turbo||150 kw / 400 Nm||5.7L / 100km||515 Litres||$65,990|
|Honda Accord V6 NT Sport||3.5L V6 i-VTEC DOHC||206 kw / 339 Nm||9.2L / 100km||457 Litres||$63,500|
|Ford Falcon G6E Turbo||4.0L DOHC DI-VCT I6||270 kw / 533 Nm||11.7L / 100km||505 Litres||$63,340|
|Toyota Sportivo ZR6||3.5L V6 Dual VVT-i||200 kw / 336 Nm||9.3L / 100km||515 Litres||$58,490|
|VW Passat TDi Comfortline||2.0L I4 TDi||125 kw / 350 Nm||5.3L / 100km||565 Litres||$58,250|
|Holden Commodore SV6||3.6L V6 SIDI||210 kw / 350 Nm||9.0L / 100km||496 Litres||$54,490|
What do we think ?
The Accord V6 NT Sport is definitely a contender, executive Euro looks, very comfortable, well priced and packed full of options. Fun to drive at times while also being a great long distance cruiser. But it’s not without its faults. Not everything about it was sporty, the transmission being a major one and some of the safety features did leave you with finger pointing sense of being told how to drive. Having the ability to dial them down more would have been nice instead of on or off.
Rating – Chevron rating 4 out of 5
Honda Accord V6 NT Sport
|Vehicle Type||Front Engine, FWD, 5 Door Sedan|
|Starting Price||$63,500 NZD|
|Tested Price||$63,500 NZD|
|Engine||3.5L i-VTEC 16v V6 DOHC, 206 kw / 276 hp, 339 Nm|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic transmission|
|0 – 100 kph||6.2 seconds|
|Kerb Weight||1667 kg|
|Length x Width x Height||4885 x 1850 x 1465 mm|
|Cargo Capacity||457 Litres|
|Fuel Tank||65 litres|
|Fuel||Urban 13.9 L/100km
Motorway 6.4 L/100km
Combined 9.2 L/100km, 217 g/km CO2
|ANCAP Safety Ratings||4 out of 5|