New Accord Downsizes

Honda has shrunken its popular mid-size saloon in the interest of handling

Wasn't interior space the name of the game in such cars? 

That was definitely once the case for cars like the Honda Accord which rivals the Toyota Camry and Nissan Teana. However, Honda is seeing things differently today.

After shrinking the latest Civic and CR-V compact family cars, Honda has decided to do the same with its mid-size Accord, now revealed here fully in ninth-generation form as it hit US showrooms late last week.

With 90mm and 23mm reductions in overall length and wheelbase, Honda says that a fractional amount of passenger room has been lost, although cargo space rises marginally.

The overall net result, according to Honda, is better handling _ just how it is boasting in the Civic (compared with its rivals on pages 6-7) and CR-V.

Could it also be for reason of fuel economy?

New hybrid motor allows for 10-25km of allelectric driving.

Definitely. You see, making cars bigger but lighter in weight than their predecessors is something only premium brands can afford to do with their bigger margins.

That is why Honda isn't shouting out about an aluminium body, as such. An easier way to slash weight is to simply cut down on metal.

Even so, Honda has introduced new technologies to additionally decrease fuel consumption like direct-injection for the 2.4-litre engine and a new CVT automatic replacing the old five-speeder.

Do you seriously think Thais will get these?

We certainly hope so, but you'll still need to keep your fingers crossed. Despite the availability of new tech elsewhere, the latest Civic and CR-V in Thai showrooms come with old engines and transmissions albeit tweaked to E85-compatibility.

And given that the Accord has 2.0- and 2.4-litre engines like in the CR-V, the Thai Honda office could merely give it the same E85 treatment to enjoy a further 2% decrease (from 25%) in excise tax.

Do you seriously think the Accord's prices will drop?

Interior gets multi-function display.

Judging from Honda's past records, it shouldn't. Even though the price increases will be kept to a minimum when the Accord hits Thailand next year, Honda is said to be working hard in equipping its mid-size saloon well against its rivals.

New toys Honda could be playing around with pertain to safety including active cruise control, front collision and lane departure warning systems and head airbags.

Yes, we know what you're thinking. Honda should really decide to make new engine and transmission tech a priority instead because fuel consumption is said to drop by 10% because of these ancillaries.

As well, the CVT 'box features a new mechanism called G-Design Shift which gives an instantaneous acceleration feel as in a normal torque-convertor.

Honda has always told the Thai automotive media that Thais don't like CVT because of its 'elastic' feel. Honda, your time has now come.

And that goes for hybrid tech, too, right?

Exactly. The Accord has a petrol-electric hybrid option that goes a step ahead of the Camry Hybrid with a 2.0-litre petrol engine coupled to electricity backed up by lithium-ion (Camry has old-fashioned nickel metal-hydride) batteries producing a combined 196hp.

The Accord's electric motor is larger, allows for 15-25km of CO2-less driving, and can be recharged via the socket in three hours.

Honda has also announced a simpler hybrid (possibly a smaller unit without plug-in) for a later date, although it hasn't delved into the details. It's this variation that Honda is looking for the Thai market, apart from the regular 2.0 and 2.4.

Let's just hope that Honda, this time, will be a little generous with technology in the Thai-spec Accord because it looks so similar to the old one.

Accord’s wheelbase has been reduced by 23mm.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor