There's no doubt about it: Honda is back.
Wave after wave of new products are coming our way in 2014 and 2015, products that will surely boost the company's numbers and prestige back to where it was supposed to be. They began their charge with this: the 2014 Honda Accord.
We've driven it before to Anvaya Cove, but now we take it where most buyers will use it: in and around the city.
Style-wise, it is clear that the Accord is not a total departure from the previous design, though Honda have worked to streamline the look of the car overall. The edges and creases in the previous model have been smoothed out; if anything, the paintwork and the new, more dignified approach to design somehow reminds me of a Lexus... and that can never be a bad thing.
Inside the new Accord, it is likewise clear that the cabin and the materials have all been upscaled several notches over the previous generation. The surfaces, the plastics, the choice of materials all gave off an impeccable feel of quality. The dashboard somehow reminds me of the one aboard the previous E-Class, particularly that large center display. The front seats feel great and comfortable, while the back really is where it's at with legroom aplenty.
Settling into the driver's seat, the Accord is one car that's easy to get familiar with. All controls and buttons are where they instinctively should be. The small LCD in the middle of the dashboard is actually a touchscreen display, and can control the audio, among other things. I did find it odd though that the larger, non-touch screen display still doesn't have functions like DVD playback or navigation. Audio is excellent as the Accord has 6 speakers and a subwoofer to boot.
Starting up that engine, there's a bit of a note from the large and potent Earth Dreams V6; if you remember Honda's Formula One efforts in the late 2000's, Earth Dreams was emblazoned on their cars then, though only now is that technology making its way into showroom cars. The 3.5 liter V6 motor makes 281 PS and features many of Honda's technologies to improve efficiency such as Variable Cylinder Management (modular displacement or cylinder deactivation for cruising) and an Active Control Engine mount to reduce vibrations felt in the cabin. The engine itself is matched with a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and that should make for some interesting driving.
Around town, the 2014 Accord is certainly a pleasure. Power delivery is smooth and the efficiency is definitely better than expected of a 3.5 liter V6. In heavy traffic it really can't be helped, but the big engine still holds up a respectable 5.5 km/l (11 km/h average speed), though that number bumps up significantly to 8.2 km/l (20 km/h average speed) in somewhat light to moderate traffic. On the highway and with VCM working its magic, 14.4 km/l is easily attainable (92 km/h average speed).
Driving performance is as before: the 2014 Accord is quite lively for such a big driving machine. Body and weight control is excellent for its heft and braking is likewise excellent. Find a mountain road and you'll soon find yourself playing around with the paddle shifters, engaging the gear you want for a certain corner. Steering feel is good; surprising for a car with electric power steering. No car is without its drawbacks, though. Good as the 2014 Honda Accord 3.5 SV is, the suspension that you will enjoy driving on a smooth expressway or a winding road will feel a little too stiif for the metro's incredibly pockmarked concrete roads.
Overall, the Accord is a definite improvement over the last. The car looks good. The car feels good. It's efficient. It's quick and powerful. It's very well appointed. As a driver's car, the Accord delivers every bit as expected. The only thing I would change or adjust a bit would be the pliancy of the suspension, particularly given the car's discerning clientele.