There's some really good tech' stuff in the new Honda Accord but not much in this particular model, the entry level $31,490 VTi. You will need to opt for the VTi-L before any of the clever driver assistance goodies kick in. That's an additional $2500 over the car (VTi) we have here.
The VTi offers reasonably good value in the medium large four door family sedan segment. But it has ferocious competition in the form of Mazda6, Hyundai i40, Kia Optima, Peugeot 508, Sooby Liberty and others. Rich pickings indeed.
Though touted as a new model this year, the Accord's four-pot engine seems the same as before, tweaked and massaged but still the same 2.4-litre, twin-cam iVTEC unit achieving 129kW/225Nm output. This is less than many competitors. It misses out on direct fuel injection and other fuel saving features like stop/start and brake energy regeneration.
They went for a five-speed auto in the four cylinder Accord range (a six-speed auto is the norm in this segment) but you can't really tell until it's under pressure such as driving up a long hill. The engine's torque peak is fairly high and the auto 'box likes to hold onto a higher gear to save fuel. So you end up pushing the throttle harder to get it to change down or use the paddle shift. Petrol requirement is 91 regular unleaded.
It's good to look at in an unobtrusive sort of way following the current idiom of pronounced grille, high, 'pancake' boot lid with large wide tail lights and an almost coupe sweep to the roofline.
Inside is stylish and modern highlighted by a large info' screen and a secondary touch screen for other controls. The VTi scores a reasonable amount of kit including a reverse camera, cruise, multi-function wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio, dual-zone climate control, hill-start assist and OK audio. No satnav though DYNAMICS Econ mode is supposed to help drivers achieve better fuel economy but the best we could do was 7.2-litres/100km with mainly highway driving.
It rolls on 16-inch alloys and has a full-size alloy spare. They've dropped the double wishbone front suspension in favour of a MacPherson strut system while the rear is multi-link. It works fine - comfortable and controlled and the whole dynamic package is aided by the newly adopted electric power steering.
They've been making Accord for 37 years through nine generations and have the recipe down pat for the intended market which seems to prefer an easy to drive feel compared to the more tactile and responsive European feel used on some of the competition.
Having said that, driving the Accord VTi on a day to day basis is good, as it's responsive, smooth, comfortable and uncomplicated though the info' system takes a bit of time to master. In terms of driving the beast, it's a fairly innocuous experience.
Like sitting in a comfy box to take you from A to B with minimal discomfort. You're right, the drive feel isn't that engaging though it's no slouch in corners -- up to a point. Perhaps this is the way of the future. It weighs in at 1510kg which sometimes dents performance but the VTi doesn't pretend to be a performance car.
With five seats, a big boot, pleasant interior ambience, tight build, conservative styling and affordable price, it will be too staid for some, but is undoubtedly reliable.
VTi 2.4-litre four-door sedan: $31,490 (automatic)
VTi-S 2.4-litre four-door sedan: $33,990 (automatic)
VTi-L 2.4-litre four-door sedan: $41,490 (automatic)
VTi-L ADAS 2.4-litre four-door sedan: $44,990 (automatic)
V6L 3.5-litre four-door sedan: $51,990 (automatic)
Honda Accord four-door sedan
Price: from $31,490 (VTi)
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder, 129kW/225Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, FWD