by Pramod Prabhakaran
The 2013 Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe landed in Qatar a few weeks ago. Domasco, the Honda dealer in Qatar, last week invited a few local motoring journalists to take a spin in the new Accord models. The new Accords are new in every sense. Honda has given the line-up a complete makeover. Whether it is the interiors or performance, you can feel that a lot of thought has gone into the new models.
With the Accord V6 Sport, Honda has given a nice sporty twist to the ever-dependable family car. For those who need a dash of power and exhilaration once in a while without losing out on the space and comfort, the Accord V6 Sport is a good bet. Once you put it into the sport mode, the family sedan changes colours and purrs like a wild beast. The paddle shift is perfectly placed and the initial thrust is excellent. The control on roads is good and it behaves well on roundabouts.
The interiors have also got a facelift; they look more classy and luxurious. The leather work on the steering has a nice finish. Even though bumper to bumper the Accord has lost a few inches, the cabin looks roomier than earlier models and the seats are nice and comfortable. The lost inches give the car a more compact look from the outside. The details and designing of headlights and the redesigned back of the Accord Sport make it look like a racer ready to dash off. The 3.5 EX Sport is also available in black leather interiors.
When you think you have seen it all comes the Sports Coupe. It will surprise all Accord fans with its agility and chirpiness. It’s smart and handles the highways and small roads equally well. The front seats are extremely comfortable and spacious, and the back seats also look spacious for a Coupe. The luggage room is good enough to fit all your weekend supermarket purchases.
If you have kids, I would think a four-door sedan is more practical as a family car; getting young kids in and out with two doors will be tough and you will need all the extra space for the school bags, football etc. But for all others the coupe is must try; the feel is so much lighter and the interior in the car we tried looked really cool and luxurious in two-tone (black and white) leather seats. The leather work has a good finish and, above all, is very comfortable.
Both the cars are V6 models with a 276-horsepower 3.5-litre engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Apart from the two higher-end Accords is the 2.4 Accord Sedan, the model likely to sell the most. This car has been getting rave reviews in the US market after its launch there a few months ago. It has clearly put Honda back where it belonged after tough years due to the 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan, which affected its research centre, and flooding in Thailand, which hit production.
The 173-horsepower, 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engine is coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission. It is much quieter than the earlier models and many of its competitors. Honda has managed to reduced the wind sound and the cabin looks roomy and neat. The full option model has a sun roof, a touch screen panel to control the GPS, phone and audio screen. The speedometer looks very modern and cool. All higher models have keyless entry and push start buttons.
But the coolest option available is the ‘Honda LaneWatch Blind Spot Display’. In short, when you put the right indicator on, a camera on the right side of the car shows the blind spots on the GPS screen. It can also be activated by pressing a button on the shift stick. This provides a clear view of the right side, which is a great help while changing lanes and parking. This is by far the best new feature in the 2013 line-up, but available only in select models.
The base model 2.4 Accord sedan performs just right and takes care of all your basic driving requirements. It has got zip and the interiors are fine for a base model. It’s smooth on the roads and handles bends and turns pretty well.
But if you are ready to shell out a few thousand more, go for the higher end model just for cool features like Blind Spot Display, touch screen controls, Bluetooth HandsFree, USB/iPod integration and rear view camera. These options make driving much more fun and easier.
Honda has introduced LED daytime running lights (DRLs) as a standard feature on all Accord models. LED taillights are available as standard on all Accord Sedan models. And Accord 3.5 EX and 3.5 Sport offer Honda’s first LED projector headlights for improved visibility.
Even though fuel efficiency is not a feature many in this part of the world worry about, for those who care about the environment and their fuel bills, all Accord models feature an Econ button with Eco Assist. The 2013 Accord is the first Accord to feature Eco Assist, Honda’s fuel-efficiency technology. Eco Assist has two components that work together to help you get more from each fill-up.
Push the green Econ button on your left and the Accord automatically configures its fuel-consuming systems to optimise efficiency. Push the button again to return to normal mode, and get the zip and acceleration back. The speedometer is flanked on each side by coaching bars that change from white to green, depending on how efficiently you’re using your fuel supply. Keep the bars in the green, and you’ll go farther with the fuel in the tank.
One feature buyers in this region eagerly check out in any new car is the air conditioning. Historically, most Japanese cars have performed well on this front and Honda, in particular, has always had robust ACs. The new Accord, too, doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It cools very fast; even though it’s not yet peak summer, the way it performed during the test drive indicated it will do well in July and August also.
The 2013 line-up starts from QR80,000+ and goes up to QR130,000+.