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Honda Accord VTi vs Holden Malibu CDX


Honda Accord VTi and Holden Malibu CDX go head-to-head in this comparative review.

value

Honda Accord VTi

from $31,990

The Malibu arrived in June, within weeks of the Accord outweighs the Accord in features for just $500 more. We're talking 18-inch alloys, leather seats, rain-sensing wipers, seven-inch touch screen, and heated power front seats as standard.

Holden Malibu CDX

from $31,490

Honda calls the ninth generation Accord an "all-new" car. Yet much is familiar. The base VTi is equipped as standard with halogen headlights with daytime running LEDs, 16-inch alloys with a full-size spare, tyre pressure warning, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth and 8-inch touch screen.

technology

Honda Accord VTi

The Malibu shares the platform of the excellent Opel Insignia. Suspension (MacPherson front, multilink rear) is tuned for Aussie roads. At 1610kg the Malibu is 100kg heavier than the Honda and the 2.4-litre (123kW/225Nm) Korean engine works hard with the six-speed auto to shift the weight and feels sluggish. Still Holden says it returns 8.0L/100km

Holden Malibu CDX

The allegedly new 2.4-litre engine's outputs are unchanged (129kW/225Nm) but it is barely less thirsty (7.9L/100km). The five-speed auto is out of date when rivals are going to six and seven cogs. Front suspension has been updated from wishbones to MacPherson struts.

design

Honda Accord VTi

Holden wanted to replace the medium-sized Epica and at 82mm shorter than the Commodore, Chevrolet's Malibu is the right fit. Aussie designers played a lead role and came up with a mini muscle car look. Inside the Malibu isn't as spacious for rear passengers as the Accord, but boot capacity is larger at 545L.

Holden Malibu CDX

Posters of it aren't going to adorn bedroom walls, but the Accord is a nicely designed car with its conservative good looks. The cabin feels luxurious even in this entry model with the sweeping dash and high-gloss trim. Seats are cloth but comfortable and supportive while legroom in the back is generous despite the new Accord being 75mm shorter than the previous. Boot capacity is 461L.

safety

Honda Accord VTi

The left-hand drive Malibu scored a five-star European NCAP rating and the Aussie authorities are satisfied this warrants our full ANCAP five stars, too. Six airbags are standard, so are reversing camera and rear parking sensors. The Malibu also has assisted braking, as in the Accord, for emergencies.

Holden Malibu CDX

Five stars are the norm but the Accord gets only four from ANCAP with that old-world foot-operated parking brake deemed a danger to the driver's left leg. It's still a safe car with six airbags, reversing camera, sophisticated stability control and savvy ABS.

driving

Honda Accord VTi

The Malibu has the Accord on the ground and in a headlock here — it's much better dynamically. Yes, the petrol engine struggles, the electric steering feels detached and the 'manual' button on the shifter is awkward to use, but the superb Opel platform and the Aussie suspension tuning mean the Malibu shines on the road.

Holden Malibu CDX

Ride and handling can be impressive or disappointing depending on where you're driving. On the highway the Accord's almost perfect with hardly a sound intruding from the outside word. But ask it to negotiate wind-blown rough roads and you'll find it has bad body control as it bounces off the bumps and leans over through the corners.

Verdict

Honda Accord VTi

Holden Malibu CDX

The Accord is a well-designed, refined way to get around for a very reasonable asking price, but the Malibu wins this battle on its standard features and excellent chassis wrapped in bold styling.