2014 Honda Accord: The power of earth dreams
Remember “The Power of Dreams”? That was the mantra of Honda Racing when it was competing in Formula One. Although Honda Motor Co. withdrew from F1 in 2008, it is returning to the world’s supreme level of motor sports in 2015 with McLaren. Whether Honda will retain its Power of Dreams slogan or not, one thing is sure: it introduced the power of Earth Dreams Technology in the 2014 Accord ahead of its other models.
Since its debut in 1976, the Accord has sold more than 19 million units globally with eight full model changes and garnered over 100 awards worldwide. No wonder Japan’s third biggest car manufacturer chose the Accord to introduce its Earth Dreams Technology (EDT). Result: In 2012, the EDT engines of the 2013-14 Accord (2.4-liter, four cylinders and 3.5-liter, V6) were included in the 10 Best Engines for 2013 by Ward’s Auto World.
TECHNOLOGY. Unveiled for the first time at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, EDT is the next generation of advanced powertrain technology that will enhance iVTEC technology to provide even better driving performance and fuel efficiency. It involves the customized modification of every type of engine that Honda produces via which Honda aims to be the fuel efficiency leader in every vehicle class within three years. Honda also targets reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent for all products worldwide by 2020, relative to emissions figures for the year 2000. EDT will cover a wide base: petrol and diesel engines, new transmissions, hybrid powertrains and a new generation of electric vehicles. In other words, EDT will combine environment-friendly performance and the fun of driving at a very high level.
Last January, Honda Cars Philippines Inc. launched the ninth generation Accord in two variants: the 2.4 S and 3.5 SV. In the top of the line SV, the 3.5 liter V6 SOHC i-VTEC engine with EDT delivers 277.15 HP/6,200 rpm and 339.43 Nm/4,500 rpm max torque, making it Honda’s most powerful flagship. At the same time, fuel efficiency (averaging 9.2 liters per 100 km) is ensured via Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) that drops cylinder function down to three from V6 when the car is idling or driven slowly in heavy traffic, plus the Eco Assist system that controls the engine, drive-by-wire, transmission and air con performance. Furthermore, you are encouraged to drive efficiently by the Eco coaching ambient light that glows green when your foot is light on the throttle, white when your throttle input is heavy.
FRISKY. The V6 Accord’s six-speed automatic transmission has steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and Electric Power Steering that is precise, linear and nicely weighted, although not offering much feedback. While the Accord does not perform as sharply as a sports sedan, ample power and a well-tuned MacPherson strut front suspension matched with an independent multilink coil spring configuration with stabilizer at the rear make it easy to maneuver and attack corners with just a little lean. The ride is stable and composed, with the feel of a bigger car while not handling like one. In fact, the Accord is friskier to drive than the leading brand in the midsize executive sedan segment. Zero to 100 kph is achievable in 6.1 seconds. Incidentally, the white orchid pearl test unit I drove had a body kit, prompting a car buff to ask, “Is this turbo?”
Although the 2014 Accord is about 3 inches shorter than the previous iteration, the cabin is roomier with generous head, foot and legroom even for tall occupants, thereby complying with Honda’s “man maximum, machine minimum” tradition. All seats are plush leather with the driver’s seat in the V6 10-way power adjustable with two-position memory and the front seat four-way power adjustable. Dual-zone automatic climate control guarantees pleasant, comfortable motoring whatever the distance to be covered.
BEST REAR SEAT. The best seat in the house is the rear seat, which is not only spacious and abundantly comfortable, it is protected from harsh sunlight by a power sunshade for the rear windshield and a pair of pull-up window shades. And aside from rear audio and climate controls, there is an auxiliary switch that the rear passenger behind the front seat can use to adjust the front passenger seat. The rear seat folds down to increase cargo space and has a center pass-through, but does not split 60/40 or 50/50. Speaking of cargo space (15.8 cubic feet), the trunk is family-friendly, being bigger than before with a very flat floor, a wide opening and low-lifting lid.
The new Accord’s interior exudes class, fine craftsmanship and elegance suitable for a high-ranking executive due to its high-quality, plush, soft, pleasing to touch materials. The full leather seats, generous padding on the dashboard, stitched door panels and chrome door pulls enhance the luxurious ambience while the push button start/lock and unlock doors system, high-resolution 8-inch intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) and a smaller audio touchscreen below confirm Honda’s claim that the Accord is a “dynamic intelligent sedan.” The i-MID and audio screen have steering wheel-mounted and rear center armrest remote controls. The V6 variant has USB and AUX ports, six speakers with subwoofer and Bluetooth connectivity with HFT and audio streaming. Unlike other executive cars, the Honda’s cockpit has a simple, uncluttered design with intuitive, user-friendly instruments.
MINIMAL NVH. The Accord’s low beltline, relatively slim pillars and expansive glass afford clear outward visibility. Road and tire noise are reduced by two active noise cancellation systems and NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels have been minimized by a stronger body frame and optimized soundproofing insulation.
A suite of active and passive safety features protect the new Accord’s occupants: six airbags (four in the 2.4 S), antilock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist, proximity sensors front and rear, a multiview reverse camera with dynamic guidelines and the Emergency Stop Signal that pulsates the brake and hazard lights when it senses an emergency stop during heavy braking situations.
Bottom line, the 2014 Accord is a well-balanced midsize executive sedan worth its price (P2.117 million for the 3.5 SV and P1.72 million for the 2.4 S with five-speed A/T) because of its superlative engineering, spacious, high-quality, simply designed yet elegant interior, outstanding fuel economy, the latest Infotainment and connectivity innovations, responsive handling, quiet, comfy ride, complete safety features and reliable, trouble-free reputation. Above all, the new Accord catapults you to the future of green, sustainable yet powerful mobility with its next-generation Earth Dreams Technology.
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