21 May 2014

Specially for you: Honda Accord 2014

Words and Photos| Leo Lim


You’ve made a name for yourself, climbed the corporate ladder or made good on your business. Saved up enough disposable income and is in the market for a little bit of luxury. Might I introduce you to Honda’s 2014 Accord.

frontThe new Honda Accord which was launched early this year came in packed with a lot of features to pamper your senses. Starting with the eyes, the first three seconds that I laid eyes on it, I immediately perceived it to be chunkier from the outgoing model. The new Accord follows sleek and elegant lines with its shoulders being raised a little giving you an impression of a bigger car. Nothing really spectacular or outrageous, just a simple yet stylish design.
rearinteriorAs with any car in the mid-size sedan segment, the best place inside the cabin are the rear seats. Bathed in luxurious leather, the seats hug your back and behind quite well. In fact, I wouldn’t mind staying there for long periods of time. Feeling a little hot on the collar, no problem, the Accord’s dual Air Conditioning system allows passengers to change the settings for the rear seats. Aside from the dual zone air conditioning, Honda was generous enough to move another set of audio controls to the rear via the centre console or rear arm rest. This gives you full control of the Audio System from the rear for that soothing experience while on the road.
interiorfrontTo cap off the rear passenger experience, I was able to twist an arm of a friend to chauffeur me back and forth to Makati on a Monday at around mid-afternoon. I simply wanted to see if the rush hour traffic will get on my nerves. An hour and half thru the journey as the sun beat down on the asphalt, I found myself stretching out at the back, reading thru my favorite car magazine while stuck in traffic. During this time my “driver” found another button to play with, the automatic rear sun shade. Being comfortable and oblivious to the outside world I soon felt the urge to have a short snooze while in the middle of traffic and the afternoon sun. Safe to say the rear cabin of the Honda Accord offers luxury and comfort to relieve you of the stresses outside its doors.
dashWhat about the driving experience? Getting hold of the steering wheel will even make you feel more special as the Accord is loaded with a lot of features to grab your attention. Let’s start off with the first thing you adjust once you plant your rear on the seat; the position. Normally, I have to look over the left side of the seat to locate the controls and figure out which controls what. With the Accord it took me half a second to figure out how to get to my optimal driver position and then save it into the memory. Switches and gauges are straight forward and easy to understand for anybody born after the 1980’s. It may be a little overwhelming at first, but the two screens in the middle are a joy to play with. The I-Mid or Intelligent Multi-Information Display allows you to peruse light settings, fuel consumption and even the ability to save wall papers. A funky gizmo to play with when you’re bored in traffic, if you ask me. During the course of the test drive the I-Mid display, short of a PowerPoint presentation, was able to provide statistical data on how the vehicle consumed fuel. Talk about information overload. Aside from displaying a multitude of information the same screen acts as reverse camera display which surely helps when you’re backing into a parking slot. About a couple inches from the I-Mid is the touch screen controlling all audio functions of the vehicle; and again everything is laid out and easy to browse and use.
engineSo let’s start the car and move, steering is very light but still leaves a little bit of feel to let you know what the front tires are doing. Something peculiar though is the steering ratio, a little bit of steering input moves the front tire’s angle much more than any conventional sedan I’ve handled. In fact, the feel of the steering wheel is reminiscent of the “quick steer” racks from most sports cars. As for the engine, turn off the Econ button and you’ll feel the haste and response on your right foot. With Econ on, the vehicle feels lethargic and sluggish, all for a reason. I was able to register a 12.6km per litre consumption in EDSA/Makati traffic according to the vehicle’s computer with Econ mode on. Surprising, for a 2.4 displacement engine being hauled thru gridlock.
Frustrated and disappointed with the traffic, I took the Accord out on NLEX in the wee hours of the night the next day to see how far she can stretch her legs. Again, she fails to disappoint. The engine and the 6 speed transmission is a match in heaven as every shift is unperceivable with only the seamless push as you go faster. In need to overtake, you have a choice of just stomping on the accelerator or playing with the paddle shift. The latter though feels more engaging and has the immediacy short of a stick shift.
ledSince it was a midnight run, you can’t miss the new headlights as soon as you switch it on. LED lights, yes, another upgrade from the old model. Compared to your run of the mill HID, it throws more light in a wider and deeper pattern. In fact, if you’re even perceptive enough you’ll be able to outline where the light starts illuminating the road from the darkness in the background. Turn the wheel and you’ll also notice another pair of lights at each corner which activates depending on where the front wheels is currently pointed. I found this handy when manoeuvring in tight spaces at night as you have increased lighting to prevent those nasty scrapes at front.
nightAs you finally reach your destination, you have to stop and pause as you close the door. Take it all in, take a deep breath and walk away as you can’t help but feel special.