2005 Honda Accord
|The Good: |
– Reliable and solidly built
– Large interior
– Good performance
|The Bad: |
– Sensitive brakes
– Top models are pricey
– Needs wider tyres
The new Honda Accord is a benchmark for midsize cars that has been in a long-drawn competition with arch-rival Toyota Camry. Both are about the same size, with attractive, if not remarkable styling. Both have new and improved engines, in the form of a 4-cylinder and a V6 unit. Both are sensible family sedans with sensible improvements that families appreciate, such as interior room, smooth quiet engines, comfortable ride and safety features. The Accord, however, wins out with a fancier interior design and a more sporting dimension in its handling.
New for 2003, major changes from the previous generation include new, more aerodynamic styling, a longer wheelbase, more interior room, a new 166 horsepower 2.4-litre four cylinder and a 244 horsepower 3.0-litre six cylinder engine, new 5-speed automatic and 5-speed manual transmissions, a modified independent suspension, larger standard tires and wheels, standard ABS on all models, and a new tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The only change for 2005 are new tail-lights.
Prices have also increased for the new model, with the changes. The Accord is now available in 4-cylinder VTi-L, VTi-E and VTi-E SE trims, and in top-of-the-range V6 trim. Only the base model VTi-L is available with a 5-speed manual, while all the other models get a standard 5-speed smooth-shifting automatic. The lower models get 15-inch wheels, while the V6 gets 16-inch alloys. All models get power windows, keyless entry, CD player, security alarm, ABS and front airbags. Higher models get leather seats, cruise control and sunroof, among other features.
The new Accord sedan’s dimensions haven’t changed much from the previous model. The most significant changes are a 1.1 inch increase in width and a 1.0 inch increase in the Accord’s wheelbase, both of which add cabin space. In particular, a notable difference is in rear seat legroom. Overall interior volume is up by about one cubic foot. The trunk is about the same size.
The Accord’s body is also more aerodynamic than the previous one. In addition to its rounder nose and more steeply-raked rear window, the Accord sedan has revised A-pillars, mirrors, and recessed wipers, all of which help reduce its coefficient of drag from 0.33 to 0.30, which helps reduce wind noise and fuel consumption. As well, the gaps between the body panels have been reduced for a more quality look.
Refined, easy-to-drive, and user-friendly are the primary impressions when driving any Accord model. The new 2.4-litre four cylinder engine with i-VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) has improved torque, driveability, fuel economy and emissions. Horsepower is a decent 166 at 5500 rpm and 217 Nm of torque at 4500 rpm. The more powerful 3.0-litre V6 engine pumps out 244 horsepower and 286 Nm of torque. Both engines are extremely smooth, although the 4-cylinder gets slightly noisy at higher engine speeds. The 2.4-litre has adequate acceleration when floored, but the V6 truly offers sports-car acceleration, beating out quite a few German luxury marques. Honda’s Middle East marketing people are grossly over-rating power figures here, so people may notice higher power numbers in advertising material. The new 5-speed automatic transmission changes gears with barely a jerk, and responds well to throttle input and slope changes.
The Accord’s new door handles are the large, Mercedes-like ones that are easier to grip. The doors are large, and the rear doors are longer than those of the previous model, providing a larger entryway to the rear seats. The driver sits higher than in the previous Accord, although with a new taller dash, it is unnoticeable. The front seats are wider and have more substantial side bolsters. The steering wheel telescopes in and out as well as tilting. The gauge cluster lights up as soon as you get into the car. The centre control panel now includes a large liquid crystal display with bold white letters on a black background. The display shows the time, radio functions, and in some models, the dual zone climate control functions which can function in single or dual zone modes. At the bottom of the centre stack is a large storage area with a stylish lid. The automatic shift lever is the straight type and not gated, therefore requiring careful shifting. Behind the shift lever are two cupholders with spring-loaded grips which keep cups firmly in place while in motion. The Accord’s interior is quite roomy for five adults, with generous headroom and legroom at the front and rear. The look and texture of the Accord’s interior materials is of a very high quality.
All models get dual stage front airbags, five three point seatbelts, two height adjustable rear head restraints, front load limiters and pretensioners are all standard.
The improved speed-sensitive variable-assist electric steering requires minimal steering effort at slow speeds, but doesn’t feel overboosted or lacking in precision. And at highway speeds, the steering is firm but not stiff, and the car tracks very well in a straight line. The body is tight and rattle-free, although one might notice the hood vibrate a little from the outside when the car is idling. Honda says the Accord’s revised independent double wishbone suspension produces less dive under braking and reduced squat on take-off. The suspension irons out bumps, but potholed roads may make you notice the firmer suspension. A Camry can take such bumps better, but loses out on handling corners. The Accord’s brakes are firm and responsive, but some may feel that they are grabby and too sensitive.
The Honda Accord’s abilities add up to a comfortable, quiet and well-built sedan that is a pleasure to drive.
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