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The arguments for and against the all-new Honda Accord

The 10th-generation model has been launched in our market

That badge up front is often enough to entice buyers. PHOTO FROM HONDA

Long before subcompact crossover SUVs became wildly popular in the Philippines, there had been a time when midsize sedans sold really well. They were pretty well-known, too: the Nissan Cefiro, the Toyota Camry, the Mazda 626, the Mitsubishi Galant and, of course, the Honda Accord. Decades passed and everyone simply stopped paying attention to them. These days, the first choice is either the above-mentioned small SUV or the equally small subcompact sedan. Even the pickup truck now leaves the showroom floor faster than the midsize sedan.

It is against this commercial backdrop that Honda Cars Philippines has officially brought in the 10th-generation Accord—a move that no doubt delights us, if mostly for sentimental reasons.

Sedan is 4,901mm long, with a 2,830mm wheelbase. PHOTO FROM HONDA

In launching the all-new Accord in our territory, Honda is most proud of two things: the car’s 1.5-liter turbo gasoline engine and its so-called Honda Sensing safety technology. Another thing worth noting: The new sedan is available in only one variant, so there’s not much flexibility on the part of consumers who are considering it.

Thankfully, this new one is significantly better-looking than its predecessor. It exudes a statelier presence but still manages to appear more modern. It should appeal to no-nonsense corporate executives who prefer quiet elegance without the dorkiness that usually comes with it.

The 1.5-liter engine displacement tends to shock some. PHOTO FROM HONDA

At the literal heart of the all-new Accord is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder VTEC turbo powerplant that produces 187hp and 260Nm. Paired with an Earth Dreams continuously variable transmission, this propulsion features an Eco Assist system and also a Sport mode, so the driver gets to decide with just a push of a button whether he’s Driving Miss Daisy or Gone in 60 Seconds.

Now, depending on where you stand, the engine choice is either a boon or a bane. On the one hand, you have people applauding the compact but efficient mill that is actually more robust than the 2.5-liter normally aspirated straight-four gasoline unit (182hp and 231Nm) shoehorned into the Toyota Camry. On the other hand, you have critics mocking the paltry displacement, especially when you realize that the Mazda 6 has a 2.5-liter turbo petrol motor rated at 228hp and 420Nm.

Make no mistake: The all-new Accord is an excellent car. PHOTO FROM HONDA

The Accord’s Honda Sensing feature is a collection of safety tools that work together to keep the car’s passengers from harm. The suite includes adaptive cruise control, low-speed follow, collision-mitigating brake system, lane-keeping assist, road-departure mitigation, forward collision warning, and lane-departure warning. These electronic driving aids are not exactly new, but it’s nice to have them as standard on your vehicle.

Other goodies in the all-new Accord’s loot bag: LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, 18-inch alloy wheels, power-folding side mirrors, leather seats, leather steering wheel with audio controls, power-adjustable front seats (eight-way for the driver; four-way for the passenger), eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, eight audio speakers, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, automatic-dimming rearview mirror, full-color TFT digital instrument cluster, ambient cabin lighting, folding armrest for the back seat, rear sunshade, straight-driving assist, backing-up camera, six parking sensors, six airbags, vehicle stability control, hill-start assist, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, Isofix child seat anchors, alarm and immobilizer, MacPherson struts in front, multilink suspension at the rear, ventilated front disc brakes, solid rear disc brakes, and electronic parking brake with automatic brake hold.

Whew! Good luck going through the owner’s manual.

The cabin is packed with lots of high-tech gizmos. PHOTO FROM HONDA

The price of the all-new Honda Accord is P2,288,000. We see where that figure comes from—the car is totally loaded. But many prospective buyers might focus on the engine displacement and think they wouldn’t get their money’s worth (even if they’d really be paying for a lot of car with a lot of toys).

We imagine the decision-making process of someone looking at the new Accord to be like this: It has a better engine and is better-appointed than the Camry, but is also more expensive (the Camry’s top variant sells for P2,007,000); it is newer and almost similarly priced and equipped compared to the 6 Skyactiv-G Turbo (P2,250,000), but the latter has the superior powerplant.

This Accord will befuddle many shoppers in the midsize sedan category, for sure. Only those who desperately want that prestigious ‘H’ badge on the grille wouldn’t think twice about pulling out the checkbook.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.