After a wave of misfortunes that swept the carmaker in 2012, Honda has channeled the waters the other way around for its grand comeback. We even chose them as our auto brand of the year for 2014. The automaker is reviving their past glory as one of the premier automotive brands in the Philippine market with their latest products. The 2014 Accord is one such model, combining executive class comfort with intelligent Earth Dreams technology and performance.
The 2014 Honda Accord was touted as a product that features the carmaker's improved DNA of durability of quality and reliability. We previously reviewed the top-spec 3.5 SV, but now we put its "entry level" but equally premium sibling to the test.
On the outside, new-generation Accord has been slightly downsized from its predecessor with a slightly lower stance and shorter dimensions; Honda says this was done to improve handling and performance. In terms of styling, it features rounder but more striking cues to invoke a strong muscular character. LED technology has been very much utilized for illumination with dual LED projector headlamps, daytime-running-lights and LED tail lights. Overall it gets more youth while retaining its executive appeal.
Inside - where it matters the most. Banking on the 'man maximum, machine minimum' concept, the interior was totally reworked, leaving little evidence of its predecessor. Engineers improved on ergonomics and managed to extract more space despite the slightly smaller package. Styling is now more consistent with proper adaptation of exterior elements into fine interior trims and curves. In terms of technology, it gets the i-MID (intelligent multi-information display) system with an 8-inch screen and an additional touch-screen audio control. It also gets a fully automatic dual-zone climate control system.
Under the hood is a 2.4-liter i-VTEC Earth Dreams engine rated at 175 PS and 226 Nm. The technology encourages frugal driving while giving positive results with regards to lower fuel consumption thanks to its 'ECON' mode eco-assist system that tames the throttle, adjusts shift points earlier and manages the climate control more efficiently. On normal drive mode, the four banger gives a peppy drive with good power for out of town sprints or the occasional spirited cruise on near empty urban highways.
Comfort has been greatly improved with better NVH insulation while cabin noise has also been greatly reduced thanks to active noise canceling and active sound control. It does come at a weight penalty of at least 50 kg more than its competitors. Despite its heft, engineers have still managed to give it that agile handling that is distinct of a Honda sedan. Be it on fast bends or tight corners, the well-tuned suspension and firm unibody does its job impressively. However, all that handling will come at the expense of a little comfort in the form of a firmer ride.
Overall, the new generation brings back what makes the car an Accord. Its well-styled, balanced and well-equipped. It is a perfect car for either the driven or self-driven that likes their executive class for both work and play.