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A sentimental favorite gets updated and the Accord is ready to take on its rivals in the mid-size luxury segment

Of all the established car brands, it’s Honda that’s closest to my heart. I’ve owned the same Honda Civic (LXi) 1997 model since 2004. After 24 years and over 200,000 km, my beloved sedan is still going. Save for a major paint and body repair job in 2019, what’s beneath the hood has been essentially the same as I got it nearly 17 years ago.

It’s safe to say I’m not the only one driving around with a two- or three-decade-old Honda. Not a day passes when I don’t meet a ‘90s-era Civic, or a CR-V, or an Accord on the streets. These cars are keepers, indeed. And Honda really built them to last.

I was just really so fortunate that I stumbled upon my Civic by accident. I was then saving up for my first-ever sedan, but I was nowhere near being able to afford a brand-new one. A search in online selling groups led me to the first owner of this Civic, who used the car sparingly in its first seven years, and was now offering it at a basement-bargain price, citing that he just needed the additional funds to buy a brand-new car. I didn’t pass up the chance, of course. The rest was history.

I was also in the market then for a used CR-V, or even an old Accord. I remember riding in a friend’s Accord. It was so spacious and comfortable that I daydreamed about driving my parents in one. Of course, my paycheck brought me crashing back to reality, and it turned out that the reality of owning and driving a Honda Civic wasn’t too bad after all. In fact, my parents loved the Civic, and my Dad took every chance he had to drive the car—with or without my knowledge.

I found myself daydreaming again a few weeks ago when I was given the keys to the 10th generation Honda Accord. It would have been a dream come true for me to drive my parents around town in this mid-size luxury sedan, but sadly, the years have effected a lot of changes. My mom is currently bedridden, recovering from a stroke, and present Covid protocols prevent me from taking my 82-year-old Dad out on trips.

Nevertheless, I was happy that I was finally behind the wheel of a luxury sedan admired by millions the world over. For over 44 years that the Accord has been in production (making it Honda’s second longest running nameplate in its global lineup), it has racked up unit sales of nearly 23 million.

Will this 10th-generation Accord continue the legacy? In a nutshell, I’d say yes. But it’s a long, uphill road this time, as it has to prove its worth again to a new generation of motorists who are now being bombarded by a barrage of new and more affordable mid-size luxury sedans (and even more tempting SUVs) from new sources, specifically from China.

Honda has certainly done its homework updating the all-new Accord in terms of style and drive technologies, wrapping a bolder-looking body in a smaller yet more powerful and economical 1.5-liter VTEC turbo engine, and then finishing everything up with the advanced Honda Sensing safety system.

The Accord truly has no bad angles, the sexiest profile of which is its sides. The lower roofline and sharp upswept bodylines, combined with the strong wheel arches and concave door panels, emphasize dynamism and character. Completing this profile are the cleverly designed and engineered 18-inch noise-reducing alloy wheels.

Built on a new platform, the Accord now has a wider stance. The signature Honda chrome wing grille and streamlined wing-shaped full-LED headlights, combined with the chiseled hood and LED fog lights, give the sedan an even more aggressive presence on the road. The brightly trimmed rear fascia is as athletic and energetically designed as the front end, with a slightly longer overhang. The C-shaped design of the LED taillights complements the design of the front LED DRLs and contributes to a distinct Accord appearance that is easy to spot on the road.

To further give the new Accord a sleek outlook, Honda adopted a laser brazing welding process for joining the roof and the side panels, which creates a cleaner exterior appearance with no need for a garnish over the rain channels.

The wider body and longer wheelbase contribute to improved cabin space. The rear cabin, for instance, provides an additional 48mm of legroom. Cargo capacity has also been increased, the trunk space up 123 liters to 573 liters.

Bigger body, smaller engine

Going the opposite direction, the Accord engine has gone smaller. Yet, the “oomph” factor has been retained. The sprightly 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo engine puts out a maximum power output of 190PS at 5,500 rpm and 243Nm of torque from 1,500 – 5,500 rpm.

According to its engineers, with its higher horsepower and torque output, the new Accord is at par if not more powerful compared to its 2.4-liter naturally aspirated predecessor. Power is transmitted through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) developed based on Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology. On top of improved outputs, the engine is also more fuel efficient. The Sport mode button and the CVT paddle shifters give the driver greater control over the vehicle’s transmission operation and power delivery, while at the same time the Eco Assist System, which consists of the ECON mode and Eco-Coaching Ambient Light, provides visual guidance for fuel-efficient driving.

Honda SENSING

The new Accord gives a taste of how driving safely in the future could very well be like—inputs from both the driver and the car itself ultimately preventing accidents. With the Honda SENSING system, the following driver assistive features are possible: CMBS (collision mitigation braking system); ACC (adaptive cruise control) with LSF (low speed follow); LKAS (lane keeping assist); RDM (road departure mitigation), and; auto high beam. Honda SENSING works by receiving information from a millimeter-wave radar in the front bumper and a monocular camera mounted on the inside upper part of the windshield, simultaneously monitoring and assessing conditions in front of the vehicle and give instantaneous feedback and corrective action to aid in preventing collisions.

One can see the Honda SENSING at work with the Accord’s 8-inch touchscreen integrated in the display audio system. It can even let one control the Honda SENSING functions, the audio system, and display settings through swipe, tap and pinch gestures.

Other advanced convenience features come with the new Accord: Smart key with push button start and remote engine start; walk away auto lock and speed sensing door lock functionality; electric parking brake with auto brake hold, and; auto dimming rear view mirror.

The all-new Accord’s SRP is P2.308 million. Those who know their car history know that the Accord heritage alone makes every peso worth it. The future, however, may be another story, and the Accord may find itself competing against an army of new midsized luxury cars coming from a new world superpower that may very well offer equivalent technologies for much less.

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