What's it about
The Honda Accord has been around for a while and is reaching the end of its current life cycle. In America an all-new Accord has just gone on sale with spy shots of its European sibling, which we will get in SA too, doing the rounds.
But don't expect the all-new Accord to arrive here until 2009.
However, until then, Honda SA has added an entry-level 2.0-litre model to its existing spread of 2.4-litre derivatives. This follows the recent slight facelift of the range.
This new Accord derivative, although meant to slot into the bottom end of the sedan's line-up, is packed to the hilt with comfort and safety features.
Convenience items include cruise control by means of steering wheel-mounted controls, rain sensing windscreen wipers, and a trip computer.
Also add power windows, power mirrors (heated) and power front seats (both heated) with lumbar support for the driver, full leather trim, climate control, a power sliding sunroof, six-CD audio system with satellite steering controls, auto dimming rear view mirror, a sliding driver's armrest, and a folding armrest with cupholders for passengers seated at the rear. Phew!
Along with dual front, side and curtain airbags, ABS with EBA, EBD and brake assist, pretensioned seatbelts, front and rear foglamps, high-mounted brake light and side mirror-mounted indicators, is there anything this car is not equipped with?
Not much, really? While it may be "the most affordable" model in the range, Honda certainly hasn't skimped on kit.
The interior also provides a fair mix of soft-touch plastic finishes and tasteful wood veneers.
Under the bonnet
The good news continues under the sheetmetal. This Accord uses a four-cylinder 16-valve 2.0-litre powerplant with i-VTEC variable valve timing for more uniform torque delivery over a wider rev range.
Honda claims output of 114 kW at 6 000 r/min and peak torque of 190 Nm at 4 500 r/min. Top speed for the manual tested is quoted at 217 km/h and fuel consumption on the combined cycle, 8 l/100 km.
According to the trip computer, across the test period, our Honda consumed an average of 8.4 l/100 km.
This 2.0-litre also has revised camshafts for improved mid-range torque output.
A very slick-shifting five-speed manual gearbox drives the front wheels, although a five-speed automatic transmission is also available with this engine.
The car shares its chassis and suspension with the rest of the Accord range. The ride, therefore, remains as cosseting and you're allowed to swan about is elegant comfort.
And this Accord is unflappable, too. After a few days spent with the Fiat Panda 100 HP, I had become accustomed to taking virtually every corner and circle on two wheels.
I quickly discovered the Accord would allow none of these shenanigans. A good thing too, since it allowed me to relax and enjoy my "old man's car" for the comfortable large cruiser that it is.
Not that the car should be dismissed as a dynamic disaster! On the contrary, it responded very well to being shoved through a few bends. Remaining composed while those 16-inchers hug the blacktop, this "base" Honda carries some serious clout.
There's really not much this car does wrong, but this can perhaps also be attributed to it being a Honda?
Compared with the top-of-the-range Civic VXI that is about R30 000 cheaper, this 2.0-litre Accord makes a fabulous value purchase in its segment.
The Accord may be nearing the end of its model life, but its styling remains fresh while the interior appointments show an equal reluctance to age.
Oh, and it comes standard with a five-year/100 000 km service plan. The manual version tested costs R225 900. Considering the manual 1.8 Civic sedan VXi range-topper costs R199 990 and the manual 2.4 Accord Type S (with less kit) costs R233 990, the 2.0-litre Accord isn't a bad prospect at all.
Solid, dependable motor vehicle
Still turns heads
Good value in its segment
Could do with auto-locking doors