The Honda brand is no stranger to Malaysians and like the Civic, the Accord nameplate is recognisable to a broad range of audience. Unsurprisingly, since the first SJ series rolled out from Oriental Assemblers’ assembly line in Johor Bahru during the second half of the 1970s, the Accord had attracted many buyers and fans alike, which the Japanese saloon had pretty much sold itself since. It’s kinda like Maggi’s instant noodles; they’re an all time favourite, versatile and hard to go wrong. It even goes well with cheddar cheese.
What could possibly be the final leg for the ninth generation Accord, Honda Malaysia has fitted the same level 1 autonomous driver assistance system and functionality first introduced in the latest generation CR-V SUV. The revised Accord 2.4 VTi-L Advance is the second model to feature Honda’s Sensing suite of active driver assistance systems similarly found in cars of premium brands, while wearing a cheaper price tag.
The VTi-L Advanced range-topper comes bundled together with full LED headlamps, smart entry with push start button, daytime-running lights, LED front fog lamps, side mirrors with turning lights, full LED tail lights, and chrome door handles. And like a cherry on the cake, the clever Accord comes with 18-inch alloy wheels.
Driving at night does pose some challenges especially when driving in pitch dark, but not in the Accord. The full LED lamps are not only compact and lightweight, but the benefits of having these lights are their power. The LED lamps offer significant illumination capacity of the road ahead than the traditional halogen light clusters on the lower side trim levels.
Material quality is high almost everywhere with the cabin’s sense of perceived quality is cleverly conjured as it is in an Mazda 6 or Volkswagen Passat. The Accord has a soft-touch roll-top dashboard pad, but the plastics are otherwise mostly hard.
The front seats provide good levels of comfort and lateral support, even for smaller individuals, which some cars in this class struggled. A good D-segment saloon should provide passengers an ample amount of room and the Accord certainly delivers that.
Both front and rear passengers are able to stretch their legs to their hearts content, and what is even better is that the Accord is able to accommodate three fully-grown adults at the rear with enough breathing space, albeit the middle passenger would experience some discomfort due to its slightly stiffer backrest.
The Honda Accord comes with rear air vents that sends chilled air to the rear passengers. The air conditioning system is a two-zone setup that allows the driver and front passenger choose their own temperature, while the rear passengers will have to make do with the temperature set by the front occupants.
The Accord’s 461-litre boot capacity is reasonable, and if that isn’t enough, the 60:40 split rear seats are able to fold down flat to accommodate longer items.
The 2.4 VTi-L Advance gets a 7-inch touch display and i-MID integrated display unit that connects to your smartphone via HDMI and Bluetooth and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto users should be able to access direct smartphone features.
The sound quality is good; instruments and voices are distinctly reproduced, and if you’re a much younger person, you’ll probably enjoy the robust bass response that can be enjoyed at high volumes (although its not recommended to do so while driving). The system is not as accurate of faithful to sound quality as some premium-branded systems, but its pretty good and it definitely delivers.
The ninth-gen Accord comes with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which sounds pretty big in this time and age. It’s got 16 valves, port injection and double overhead cams which the large four-cylinder engine makes 172.6 hp at 6,200 rpm and 225 Nm of torque. With an engine this size, you can expect a low-end grunt, punchy acceleration and a linear power curve.
The 2.4-litre engine is coupled with a five-speed torque converter automatic transmission, which does offer good real world performance and drivability. The torque converter automatic gearbox transfers drive progressively to its front wheels, with each of the five gear ratios complementing the engine’s linear output. The final gear ratio provides high cruising speeds of up to 160km/h at 3,000 rpm at fifth gear.
Fuel economy isn’t bad either; driven on the highway at a steady cruising speed, the 2.4-litre drivetrain consumed 16.0 Km/L (6.25 L/100km) and can go up 10.5 Km/L (9.5 L/100km) when navigating through the complex inner city streets.
So, how did it fare in the real world? It’s safe to say that it does what it is intended to without being overly complicated to operate, which still requires full attention from the driver. That said Honda’s Sensing is very much a Level 1 autonomous driver assistance system similarly found in premium saloons like the G30 5-Series and Volvo S90 T8 Inscription.
Honda’s Sensing suite of driver assistance systems consists of:
Low-Speed Follow (LSF)
LSF works as described, where this system only works within speeds of 0-30 km/h. As the name implies, LSF follows the speed of the car ahead within a safe distance. So when the car in front slows down and then stops, the car will also stop soon after. And when the car ahead moves off, the car will start moving again while keeping a safe distance ahead. Acceleration and braking is automatically controlled and the only input needed from the driver is the steering.
Honda Sensing’s Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
ACC is a more advanced cruise control system which not only adjusts travelling speed while keeping a safe distance from the vehicle ahead between 30km/h and180km/h, but it can also operate right down to a standstill and resume again in conjunction with LSF.
Collision Mitigating Brake System (CMBS)
CMBS operates at all times behind the scenes (using the radar and camera for higher accuracy) and initially warns the driver with audio and visual signals on the instrument panel. If the gap starts to become to close for comfort, the system automatically applies gentle brake pressure to give a sensory warning to the driver. If the driver still does not respond, the system automatically brakes hard to prevent a collision.
Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
This feature comes in as it alerts the driver of a dangerous situation with regards to the closing distance on the vehicle directly ahead.
Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
LKAS Prevents the vehicle from unintentionally moving into another lane and colliding with other vehicles. LKAS will maintain the vehicle’s position between the left and right lines of the lane by gently making steering changes. This is where the integration of Honda Sensing comes in as the computer can take over control of the electric power steering system to make adjustments.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
makes use of the camera, which ‘reads’ the lines on the road. By constantly monitoring the position of the lines, the computer can determine if the vehicle is weaving to one side and likely to cross into another lane. Whenever the computer determines that the vehicle’s path is drifting away from the lane, the driver will be alerted, however without any intervention from the system.
LDW works between 72 km/h and 180 km/h on straight roads and mildly curved roads. That said, drivers should not be complacent and need to drive the car as usual especially during when the bends becomes sharper and when driving between worn out road markings.
Road Departure Mitigation (RDM),
An old solution to alerting drivers when their car wandered right to the edge of the road was to have ‘rumble strips’ that would cause a strange noise and alert the driver but with Honda Sensing’s RDM, a computer will take the necessary action while alerting the driver with audio alerts as well as vibrations in the steering wheel.
Should the vehicle continue in a direction that will take it off the road (as determined by lines at the edge of the road), and the driver has still not made any steering corrections, RDM will then make steering corrections to bring the vehicle back into the lane on the road. At the same time, some braking will also be applied to slow the vehicle down and prevent it from leaving the road completely.
So, how is it like to drive? The Accord 2.4 VTi-L Advanced drives as what you would expect from a D-segment saloon, where comfort is a pretty big deal to customers of this segment. The Accord offers low Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) over rough and bumpy surfaces of weather-worn roads of Kuala Lumpur, making inter urban commute a pretty comfortable experience.
This is possible with the Active Noise Control and Active Sound Control, where both of these features intelligently reduce unnecessary noise from entering the cabin. Likewise, the Accord’s front MacPherson struts and rear multi-link suspension soaks up most of the irregularities providing a smooth ride yet without sacrificing driver involvement – more on that later.
The ergonomics is spot on, and whether you enjoy sitting perched up or down as low down as possible, the cockpit offers drivers a great view ahead and around. The steering controls would need some time to get used to, and can get quite confusing at first glance.
The Accord 2.4 felt agile, and responds exceptionally well to direction changes and feels planted even when pushed close to its limits. Although the Accord’s electric power steering is a little light, it has a natural feeling and doesn’t feel unhinged.
Besides being fitted with the Sensing system, the 2.4 VTi-L Advance caters more to drivers who wants to be part of the driving experience. Riding on 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres offering strong grip levels yet offers some playfulness. That said, the Accord offers rear end compliance the moment you turn into the corner close to its limit, but soon finds grip and traction through the middle of the bend even in the roughest conditions.
This car comes with steering mounted paddle shifters that allow drivers to change gears manually with both hands comfortably on the wheel, and you should be pleased to know that the selected gear stays all the way to up to the red line, which is a rarity in most automatic transmissions. This allows the driver to make full use of the engine’s power band, which the Accord is still a long way from dull or uninspired.
So, what can Honda offer The Ultimate Reward should you opt for one? You’ll be getting a balanced all-rounder that offers comfort, refinement and driving enjoyment with the Accord with three different trim levels and price ranges to suit your requirements. But what everyone gets is Honda’s five years warranty with unlimited mileage, six free labour services and extended service intervals to every 10,000km or five years.
The Honda Accord 2.4 VTi-L Advance is priced at RM169,800 which it is much cheaper than previous RM172,800 price tag. What’s more, fitted with Honda’s SENSING suite of driver assistance systems as standard, this new one is pretty worth it.
+ Comfortable ride
+ Easy driving characteristics
+ Good ergonomics
+ Clever driver assistance systems
+ Compliant handling
Honda Accord 2.4 VTi-L Advance
Price Msia: RM169,800 (OTR W/O Insurance including 6% GST)
Engine: 2,356 cc in-line four-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 6.25 L/100Km (tested)
Transmission: Five Speed Automatic W/ Paddle Shifters