When I told people about testing the Accord, most were surprised Honda still sell it. They had thought it had left the new car sales scene years ago. It seems to have fallen off the radar for many, as buyers flock towards the Mazda 6 and Ford Mondeo.
Is the Accord V6 NT (New Technology) a worthy contender as a luxury, midsize sedan? Honda sent us one to find out.
Well, this is going to be short. There’s one model, the Accord V6 NT. In fact, I see now where one of the Accord’s weaknesses lay; there’s no wagon or hatch, no four-cylinder option, no downspec model. The Accord is WYSIWYG: What you see is what you get.
On the other hand, this is a pretty well-equipped car – as it should be for $60K. Standard fitment is a 206Kw, 3.5-litre, SOHC V6 petrol engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic.
There’s a raft of safety devices as standard, including Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation System, cornering lights, Lane Watch Camera, Lane Departure Warning System and Tyre Deflation warning systems.
From the front, the Accord is one sharp looking car. Sure, it’s a little busy in places at the front, with lots of differing lines, angles and shapes; it reminds me of the Jazz here in that respect. But I like the front, it’s sporty and yet elegant. Those auto-levelling LED headlights look very stylish. Most of the comments I got on the car were related to the front design. Looking at the photos, I think it looks better in the flesh.
The side view is a bit bleh, looking like many other 4-door saloons (especially a Camry), but does have some nice scalloping to make it a little different. Those sexy 18” wheels help to give the side view at least some sort of identity.
Then you get to the back and again you instantly think, ‘Camry’. The taillights do have some nice little design features with the way they’ve done the reflectors inside the taillights, but it’s very much ‘nothing different to see here’. A shame as Honda could have gone out on a bit of a limb here and done something as stylish as the front of the car.
Nice. Honda has done well here, not just with the level of standard features but the overall sense of luxury. The powered and heated front seats don’t just look good, they are supremely comfy and feel like they would be excellent on an Auckland-Wellington jaunt. Side support is perfect, and the driver’s seat has electric lumbar adjust as well, but it’s two-way only – there’s no up and down adjustment. The driver’s seat does have two memory buttons so bonus points there.
The rear seats are just as comfy and as mentioned, there’s gallons of legroom back there. It’s all a little dark, with the black leather and carpeting, but this happens with most cars with a black interior. I left the electric sunroof blind open most of the time to get more natural light inside.
It’s interesting that the CR-V, HR-V and Civic have electric park brakes (with Honda’s excellent ‘Brake Hold’ function) but the Accord does with a pedal. Still, it works as it should, but it doesn’t add to the luxury aim of the car.
There’s 3 screens in the Accord, as is fairly common these days. There’s a main 7” touchscreen for audio control, SatNav and is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capable. Up top-centre, there’s another one of undisclosed size which can switch between displaying only audio info, or car info (fuel economy), or both on a split screen. This screen also gives you a next-instruction when you are using SatNav.
There’s usual display in front of the driver as well of undisclosed size, inside of the massive speedo. My only gripe here is that if you are using SatNav (either using the Honda one or via say Apple CarPlay) you don’t get any turn-by-turn instructions right there in front of the driver, which is a shame and a missed opportunity.
I swore I would never say bring up this topic when reviewing a car, but I can’t help it: one thing that was a fail for my wife is the lack of cup holders in the front. Yes, cup holders. There is a cubby behind the shift lever, but it’s not got any separators for cups, it’s just a storage cubby. Weird. You do get water-bottle holders in the doors, but nowhere to store your hot coffee cup.
As a throwback to Europe, you get three actual ashtrays in the NT. I didn’t use them but others might. Some passengers loved that if they didn’t put their seatbelt on, a sexy low voice suggested that they should. A great party trick.
A nice touch is the pull-up door blinds for rear seat passengers – parents of babies and toddlers will love this. You also get an electric rear window blind to help keep that pesky sun off your rear passengers.
Included with the NT is an auto dimming rearview mirror, auto headlights and wipers, auto high beam, paddle shifters, auto-down for all windows, a 3-angle reversing camera and a ‘premium’ audio system with CD player and USB input.
The first thing that comes to mind when looking inside the car is the rear legroom. It’s like a frickin’ limousine back there. I had a 6”4’ passenger back there and while his head hit the roof a bit, he had legroom to spare.
Popping the boot shows a long but quite shallow storage space. It’s reasonable but not mind blowing. There is the saving grace of a full-size spare back there.
I expected the Accord to be a relatively – dare I say it – sedate, gentleman’s car. Someone who doesn’t want a flashy Commodore or a European car, but does want some luxury and space.
What I didn’t expect was the performance. Then again, this V6 has more power than the 197Kw Subaru Levorg I tested a while back. How it differs from the Levorg is in the power delivery: super smooth and super silky. This car will give you a good push in the back as it accelerates off the mark very quickly. At full throttle, you can feel the computer working the front wheels to give you maximum grip, but of course with enough boot, it fails. You can feel the wheels scrabbling through the steering wheel, which is most un-luxury like. Ninety-percent of the time though this doesn’t happen, and progress is delivered with maximum traction.
To qualify this car as a mover, its 0-100 time of 6.2 seconds is pretty darn good.
And then there’s the sound; when wound out, this V6 sings a sweet song. Always smooth, at low revs it’s quite subdued, but move it through 5-7,000rpm and it will reward you with some nice noises. The V6 is fitted with Active Control Engine Mounts and I expect this adds to the smoothness.
In saying that, the car has variable cylinder management, and when this kicks in, you do get a bit of a thrum when cylinders are turned off. Hey, this happens in all cars with that technology so no surprises there.
I have to say that for the first time ever, I ran a car in Eco mode more than standard while testing it. In day-to-day use, there’s more than enough power for passing etc. With the V6, you get [email protected] and 339Nm of torque @4900rpm, so power and torque to spare in this 1,700Kg sedan. Interestingly, I found a review on the Drive Life website of the previous model with the same engine and John said exactly the same thing – he ran it mostly in Eco mode. I can’t think of another review car I have done that with.
Thankfully, the Accord is fitted with a run-of-the-mill 6-speed automatic. No CVT here! This makes a huge difference, and after having the HR-V AWD a few weeks back with a CVT, there’s no better driving experience than a ‘normal’ automatic. Let’s hope Honda doesn’t put a CVT in here, I expect it would totally change the driving experience.
Inside the Accord, there is Active Noise Cancelling – and most of the time, it’s tomb-quiet in there, unless you are revving out for any reason. Coarse chip seal does bring more noise, but on the whole the Accord lives up to its luxury car status for NVH.
Enough of the engine and its noise. What’s it like to live with day to day? Pretty easy. In fact, I found myself settling in nicely every day in the Accord. It’s a super easy drive, especially with over 270hp to get you around. Visibility is excellent, with Honda’s Lane Watch camera helping you out with the left-side blind spot. Turning on the left indicator brings the camera on automatically, giving you a nice view of that side of the car, or a tap of the button on the end of the indicator stalk will also turn the camera on.
More day to day niceties include keyless entry and start, hill start assist, an easy to use built-in SatNav – or you could use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto of course. But the built-in Garmin system is just fine to use.
The 3-mode reversing camera wasn’t just a gimmick. Easy to change between modes, you get a standard view, wide angle view, or a view that looks straight down. Very handy.
Handling-wise, another pleasant surprise. It handles pretty well! There is understeer on tighter bends as you would expect, but it’s nicely controlled with your right foot. The steering does weigh up at speed, but don’t expect lots of feedback through it. The brakes on the other hand have a great feel to them – no complaints here. Easy to modulate and you always know what they are doing. I still found the foot-pedal park brake a bit weird in a luxury sedan, but got used to it quickly.
Ride quality is superb. Nothing more to say here, as it’s near on perfect in the ride department. And hey, it should be – this is a luxury sedan after all. It rides on 18” alloys with 235/45 Michelin tyres.
Wind noise too is well controlled – any general travel is a quiet, composed affair with little stress or fuss. That’s the main thing with the Accord; always composed and such an easy drive.
I was surprised with the turning circle for the Accord – it caught me out a few times. I couldn’t find a turning circle spec for the car, but let’s just say it needs a fairly generous amount of space.
The Accord has adaptive cruise, using a combination of radar and camera, and it generally works very well. My only surprise here was that it turns off at around 20 km/h. The first time I found this out I probably had the music up too loud, got to the end of the motorway and didn’t hear the chime to warn me the cruise was off. I stopped in plenty of time but this could catch others out, at least the first time. A shame that the cruise doesn’t bring the car to a complete stop.
The Accord has a Collision Mitigation Braking System, which is a nice peace-of-mind safety system. However, I did find it was a bit too eager at times to tell me to brake. On a tight, winding road I travel on regularly, a few times on bends it warned me to brake for no reason. Twice it started to brake as cars came around a corner, on their own side of the road. I am sure it’s because this is a very tight road, but again this is something that may catch some people out the first time they strike it.
Fuel economy was another surprise. Over 700Km, I averaged 9.2l/100km – almost bang on the stated combined rating of 9.3. This was with some heavy use of the throttle (purely for testing purposes), but would have had an effect on the consumption.
Choices, anyone? That’s a reasonable list of competition for the Accord – some of it very tasty. $5K more for a Commodore SS 6.2, or $7K more for a Skoda Superb AWD sedan? Tough choices all round.
|Brand / Model||Engine||Power|
|Price Highest to Lowest|
|Volvo S60 T5||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo||180/350||6.3||6.2||$70,990|
|Volkswagen Passat TSI R-Line AWD||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo||206/350||7.9||7.1||$69,240|
|Skoda Superb TSI Sportline AWD||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo||206/350||5.8||7.1||$66.690|
|Holden Commodore SS||6.2-litre, V8||304/570||4.9||12.9||$64,990|
|Honda Accord V6 NT||3.5-litre, SOHC V6||206/339||6.2||9.3||$60,000|
|Ford Mondeo Titanium 5-door||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo||177/345||n/a||8.5||$53,690|
|Kia Optima GT||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo||180/350||n/a||8.5||$53,990|
|Subaru Legacy RS AWD||3.6-litre, DOHC V6||191/350||7.2||9.9||$49,990|
|Toyota Aurion Sportivo ZR6||3.5-litre, DOHC V6||200/336||7.1||9.3||$54,190|
The Pros and Cons
What do we think of it?
During my time with the Accord, I felt myself feeling that this was almost the perfect Daily Driver for me. Plenty of power and torque meaning excellent acceleration, nice engine noise, plenty of room, plenty of safety features and gadgets. Add to this an almost perfect automatic gearbox, and what’s not to love?
Well, I didn’t love that it looks too much like a Camry from certain angles. Does this affect it as a Daily Driver? Not at all – I was left wishing this was a long-term test car. I’m going to miss the Accord V6 NT.
|Vehicle Type||Front engine, FWD mid-size sedan|
|Engine||3.5L i-VTEC 16v SOHC V6, 206Kw/339Nm|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic, paddle shifters|
|0 – 100 kph, seconds||6.2|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||1670|
|Length x Width x Height, mm||4935x1850x1465|
|Cargo Capacity, litre||457|
|Fuel Tank, litres||65|
|ANCAP Safety Ratings||5 Star|
|Warranty||5-year, unlimited kilometres|