It was quite unexpected, but clearly a pleasant surprise. The 10th-generation Honda Accord swaps the old-fashioned sedan look and the large engine for a sportier fastback form and a more powerful, yet fuel-efficient turbocharged mill.
More efficient engine
I went straight to the top to find out why and asked Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) assistant vice president, Koki Hattori.
“The fastback design is more premium and sophisticated,” said Hattori, while adding that, “the turbo engine is much more fuel-efficient than the 2.4L, but power and torque-wise, much higher than previous model. Powerful, yet very good fuel efficiency.”
If you want a more concrete number, Hattori says it’s 20-percent more fuel efficient in city driving conditions based on their internal testing.
The first time you see it, I can almost guarantee you’ll double take. It looks initially like the Civic but unmistakably longer and broader. Because Honda engineers reimagined it to be sporty, it’s lower than the previous generation and comes with wider wheel tracks. Rigidity is higher with a body made up of 60-percent high-strength steel, which increases rigidity for better handling while reducing weight by as much as 66 kilograms.
The grille is a more elegant expression of Honda’s wing design, with a more prominent upper bar connected directly to the hood extension. It also sports longer trim on both sides that wrap around the front fender, right on top of the highly elaborate nine-lamp, full-LED headlights with auto leveling function.
Its defining exterior feature is the sweeping glasshouse that stretches the C-pillar all the way back to produce a more pronounced rear window, which in turn highlights its increased second row space. For sleeker and cleaner lines, Honda used a new production process called laser brazing to connect the roof to the side panels, sans the garnish over the rain channels. Around back are extra-large versions of the automaker’s C-shaped taillights and a built-in lip spoiler on the trunk deck.
As an executive sedan, the Accord has been known to already have very low levels of noise, vibration, and harshness but I’m excited to see how much better it will get with a three-mic Active Noise Control System (a Honda-first), better insulation, topped off by a set of beautiful, new 18-inch noise-reducing, five-spoke alloy wheels.
An Accord-first is its turbocharged engine with Earth Dreams Technology. Even with its small 1.5L displacement, it’s more powerful than the previous generation – 190 PS and 260 Nm of torque that’s readily available at a very low 1,600 RPM. Mated to Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology continuously variable transmission (CVT), it now comes with Sport and Econ driving mode, plus an Eco-coaching ambient light.
The increased wheelbase has given the cabin more space, most especially in the rear with almost two inches of extra legroom (1.88 inches to be exact). It may appear all-new inside and out but it still comes with familiar Accord posh appointments such as leather, wood and metal accents.
There’s a seven-inch TFT display on the main instrument panel and an eight-inch touchscreen controlling the infotainment system. The latter has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, GPS navigation, and now recognizes swipe, tap, and pinch gestures.
Despite the new shape, boot space has increased by 123 liters for a total of 573 liters of cargo space.
A smart key locks / unlocks the unit and even allows you to remote start the engine. Inside there’s the traditional Start / Stop ignition button, plus it now comes with Walk Away Auto Lock and Speed Sensing Door Lock functionality, Electric Parking Brake with Auto Brake Hold, and an Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror.
New to the nameplate is the Honda Sensing System that uses a millimeter-wave radar in the front bumper and a top-mounted monocular camera in the cabin to operate features like Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low Speed Follow (LSF), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), and even Auto High Beam.
Other safety features include six (6) airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Stop Signal, Front and Rear parking sensors, Multiview Reverse Camera w/ Guidelines, and LaneWatch Camera and Straight Driving Assist.
“Today, we are excited to share with you another new model that embodies the best in what Honda always stood for; advanced technology, superior driving and fuel efficiency and high level safety. Packaged in captivating design, pioneering technologies, and advanced features, the Honda Accord is meant to be a class above the rest,” said Noriyuki Takakura, President and General Manager HCPI.
The 2020 Honda Accord EL Turbo CVT with Honda Sensing is priced at Php 2.288 million and comes in three colors: Modern Steel Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, and Platinum White Pearl (add an extra Php 20,000).
See it an any of Honda’s 38 dealerships starting this week.
Text and photos by Eric Tipan