• The Honda Accord’s reputation for quality and affordability remains the same after more than forty years – but the packaging is definitely new

    Times are changing. Gone are the days that the family sedan is only a four-door, fuel-efficient, affordable mode of transportation. Nowadays families seem to need the standard (aka boring) crossover version of whatever make they choose. The ‘cookie cutter’ effect in the auto industry could force almost anybody to buy a vintage classic rather than a new model.

    I personally think it’s about not knowing how to pack responsibly. I’ve always preferred to be low to the ground and a bit quicker than being able to haul a bunch of stuff around in my car – hence the unnecessary need for the SUV and the Crossover.

    The Honda Accord, however, has made a new stride in what the midsize family sedan should be, which makes it even more of an excellent choice – with its reputation intact.

    SAVVY EUROPEAN FORM

    If you ever rode in an Accord before, then you know that the basic layout of the windows and passenger areas could be likened to a greenhouse. This is not so with the new 2018 version.

    With a body design more akin to a European fastback, I thought that it resembled the Audi A7. Running the entire length from front to rear, a single crease in the frame adds to the athletic stance. All beefed up it actually looks fun to drive.

    The interior has been upgraded too, although not so much that the Honda simplicity has disappeared. The driver’s instrument panel is the standard 2-dial version, with one specifically dedicated to the speedometer while the other is the tachometer. It did, in fact, take a moment or two to notice that the left side tachometer was not a dial at all, but rather a high- resolution monitor that also provided the trip computer, telephone options, navigation and audio information.

    The overall dash is minimalist in design. The touch-screen in the middle of the dash is easy to navigate with the main functions still running through an actual button to the left and right sides of the screen. We did find it a bit hard to see at times due to the angle of the slant being towards the windshield. We feel either a straight up-and-down or recessed version would have enhanced this.

    THE KISS METHOD

    Outside of the appearance and the first notice aspects of the cabin, Honda has kept everything rather simple. Material selections of the grained plastics and faux wood trim looked exquisite, just don’t give them a touch, as you will lose the sophisticated sensation. The front seats are well padded with plenty of room so you will feel comfortable. Storage is also ample in both the cabin and behind in the trunk.

    I was a little frustrated that I couldn’t pull up a digital speedometer which is generally a standard function on most others with this type of driver info centre. Nor has Honda done away with the ‘affordable class’ stick-shift for a more refined button or toggle-shift style gearbox selector. I was told that it was available on the upper range that comes with the 2.0L engine, but it would have been nice to see these functions on all of the upper models after the entry-level.

    All in all, everything is well thought out and positioned so that you don’t need to take your eyes from the road too long to get any adjustment made.

    DRIVING TRADITION HOME

    We test drove the 1.5L EX-L. It was a 4-cylinder, which kind of took away from the standard 6-cylinder that I think we all grew up with. Apparently, the 2.0L Turbo is supposed to make that leap back to the familiar sensation, although it too is only a 4.

    Producing 198 ponies, the 1.5L has enough ‘oomph’ to get you out on the highway and cruising comfortably before you know it. There is also a wide array of safety features like Lane Keeping Assist and an Adaptive Cruise Control should you like to lessen your worries and stresses of driving.

    The steering could have been a bit tighter, which would have helped solidify the luxury feel that would go along with the new body lines and interior, but I suppose most families aren’t out for a hot lap on a speedway when they head to the supermarket.

    The new Accord is a modern sedan; the top models make that claim even more concrete. There is a sense of polish and refinement and I can say that this Honda Accord is certainly the first step in rejuvenating assurance of previous buyers.

    Like all its predecessors, it remains affordable and reliable; but can now add ‘alluring to look at’ to the list of accolades.