Honda Accord 2.4 S Navi: a dad’s favorite
I can still remember my Dad’s own 1996 model Honda Accord with the 2.2-liter VTEC engine over 20 years ago.
We kept that car for a long time because we were badly hit by the Asian financial crisis.
The Accord had to soldier on for almost a decade. In that time, we all grew to love and depend on the Accord because it was reliable, fast and fun.
The only problem we had was the radiator that burst (old age), a thermostat that shut itself closed leading to minor overheating, and a cam seal that kept leaking oil because it was installed the wrong way—all happening on its 8th year.
Otherwise, it ran faultlessly. So much so that my Dad ended up buying a 2004 model Accord
So reviewing an Accord will always be a sentimental trip. Despite the fact that the Accord has grown significantly (our old Accord is about the size of today’s 10th generation Civic), there’s still that same feel and vibe as the older, smaller generation Accords.
The new Accord sports a cleaner exterior with less fussy details, making it more elegant and mature.
It ties in closely with Honda’s new corporate sedan face (the current Civic looks somewhat similar) with a pointed beak and squinty headlights.
At the back, the C pillars swoop back gently to give it a quasi-fastback appearance if compared to the Toyota Camry’s more angular rear-end approach.
DRL headlamps, fog lamps, and tail lamps all sport LED, which deliver a unique, almost eerie glow at night.
The interior is vast compared to all previous Accords. This model has always tried to straddle both executive limousine and D-segment driver’s car, but perhaps, as a sign of the times (more cars on the road, less traffic, less open-road freedom), Honda has made the Accord more luxurious and spacious inside, particularly with the back seats.
You also get your own A/C vents, a sure sign that Honda sees more owners sitting at the back than taking charge up front.
And there are controls for the front seats accessible to rear occupants who might want to move the front seats all the way forward to increase space and legroom to the max.
Wood accents finished in a dark hue give a very classy ambiance, which can also be found on the 4-spoke steering wheel.
The driver’s seat is still a great place to be in any Honda (except maybe their open-wheel F1 and Indycars).
Seating position is excellent as always, a paradigm all other manufacturers should follow: excellent support from the comfortable leather-bound, power-operated seat with the steering perfectly aligned to your shoulders to make easy work of fast driving and long-motorway jaunts.
The steering wheel houses auxiliary controls for the multi-media system and in-car computer.
Three LCD screens deliver vital information: one right in front of the driver, sandwiched inside the speedometer; and two large LCD screens on the center console that display the in-car computer’s vital statistics (primarily fuel consumption and eco ratings), while the other displays the multi-media settings and in-car navigation system.
You can connect your mobile phone for mirror-imaging, allowing you to view useful apps on the screen while driving, without getting apprehended for breaking the Anti-Distracted Driving Law.
It’s pretty safe, of course, with ABS-EBD brakes and traction/stability control, plus six airbags as standard.
Definitely a far cry from Accords of yore, with a chassis so stiff that utilizes high tensile strength steel where it counts: the A-pillars and part of the front engine bay frame rails in the event of a collision.
On the road, the Accord has lost some of its edginess, making it a more comfortable car, particularly in traffic.
It’s still a very much enjoyable car to drive, and the huge space at the back offers lots of comfort. But that doesn’t mean it has lost the driving sparkle Honda is known for.
Going up Tagaytay, the Accord moves its weight well: you can feel the four corners of the suspension doing their job, slowly but surely transferring weight and mass around despite being laden with passengers and gear.
The steering is very light, offers decent accuracy, and weighs up well as you apply more lock.
The brakes are a tad over-assisted but provide good feel and feedback and deliver fade-free performance.
The engine, Honda’s highly acclaimed Earth Dreams 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder mill, delivers a stout 175 hp and a decent 226 Newton meters of torque driving the front wheels via a 5-speed automatic transmission that has well-spaced ratios providing lots of low-down grunt and overdrive being almost interstellar.
I had only a short stint on the highway, and it gave a 12.5-13 km/liter; in city traffic, however, it fell to an acceptable 6.7-7 km/liter.
This is partly why cars like these are becoming less popular versus diesel-powered SUVs.
Diesel alone is roughly 20 percent cheaper than gasoline, and delivers better fuel economy.
Today, the executive driver’s car firmly belongs with Mazda’s 6. But the Mazda 6 is single-minded in its pursuit for driving passion and enjoyment.
The Accord straddles the middle-line perfectly from being a full-on limousine and a proper driver’s car in its segment.
It still has noticeably better build quality than Subaru’s Legacy while trading some of the fluidity that Subaru offers for a more stately and confident drive.
Crucially, the Accord offers far more driver involvement compared to the Toyota Camry, the segment’s poster boy, and is unashamedly a chauffeur-driven car.
Sadly, this segment is slowly but surely fading away. The huge rise in popularity for SUVs, coupled with bad roads and equally appalling weather conditions, means luxury sedans have limited use.
But if you want the refinement, space, and elegance of a sedan, the Accord is hard to beat.
Today, my Dad drives a diesel-powered SUV, but he is always asking about the Accord, Camry, and Mazda’s 6. Old habits die hard.