')">The Honda Accord in India is such an ubiquitous luxury car that most of us wouldn’t even give it a second glance. So much so that I forgot that except for the comparison test http://www.indiandrives.com/skoda-superb-in-india-versus-honda-accord-in-india-executive-class.html that that I had done some months back, we haven’t exactly taken it out for a spin. Now with the new 2011 Honda Accord coming back in a refreshed form, it was an excuse enough to take it out for a spin and rediscover its virtues. Well Honda were too glad to oblige and give me the new refreshed Accord for a test drive. Since the vehicle was supposed to be doing too many rounds of automobile magazines and portals, a review wasn’t possible. But then maybe a comparison test can follow on once the dust has settled over the new Honda Accord. I guess, its time to get the Skoda Superb and the new Volkswagen Passat once the latter is launched.
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New Honda Accord, are you sure? Well, this would be the reason elicited by many after seeing the 2011 Honda Accord in India. I am no stranger to this either. But then peering closely I found out that the grille has been reworked a bit and a forms a sort of V shape now. There are twin chrome bars which actually acctenuate the Honda logo. The circular fog lamps have been replaced with rectangular ones. The front bumper has been also revised to make it look less sporty and more on the family side. The head lamps cluster has also undergone a slight change. The air intakes section remains the same. The ORVMs have been retained from the old car and the door handles are body colored. The alloy wheels design however has changed now. The 2011 Honda Accord in India gets 10 spoke alloy wheels with 17 inch tyres. Looks more like a German saloon from the alloy wheels design. The rear is also slightly tipped with the chrome bars below the tail lamps and spoiler on the higher variants.
The interiors in the meanwhile are more like what you would expect in a refreshed version of a car. The half wood, half leather steering wheel is something which I actually hate but then in the wood laden cabin of the 2011 Honda Accord, it does make sense. Sadly, there are no steering wheel mounted controls as of yet. The doors still shut with a reassuring thunk but then build quality really cannot be compared with its German companions. As a stand alone, the 2011 Honda Accord would be a good buy but when you compare it with the others in its class, it feels tinny. The music system now gets an AUX input as also Ipod connectivity. A welcome and standard feature now is the sunroof. The front passenger seats still aren’t powered but are very comfortable and finding a comfortable seating position isn’t nary a worry. The light beige trim tends to soil easily but lifts up the mood inside the cabin. The rear seats are the best in its class and gives one immense feeling of space and comfort. The rear armrest has got the audio controls hooked onto it and the auto climate control worked just fine in this early summer days here in India. Boot volume still stands at 396 liters and this I feel is a bit short as compared to the competition. What Honda has done is, they have concentrated more on the interior space and not on the boot.
The 2011 Honda Accord in India features a lower ground clearance than the outgoing model and this is bound to create a bit of problem with India boasting of big speed breakers at every other junction. The suspension is also setup on the softer side and this means that the car pitches and bobs like a soft suspension car would. I actually avoided scraping the nose twice by going over speed breakers a bit at an angle. However the upside is that the car does ride very well. Gone is the earlier somewhat trashy feel from the suspension and a new sophistication takes over. The handling however is now more on the coaxing side. One has to coax the car to go into a corner and the steering wheel though great to hold, is a bit nervous and doesn’t give the feel that one would need while taking fast corners. NVH has been nicely suppressed over the outgoing variant and the car now feels quite a relaxing place to be in.
The engine configuration in the new car remains the same as the options in the old one. That means that the 2.4 liter and 3.5 liter V6 are there. I got the chance to sample the latter and with its 275 PS of peak power at 6200 rpm and a huge 339 Nm of torque at 5000 rpm, this car is nothing short of a rocket. Ditching its stately looks, the 2011 Honda Accord in India can race from 0-100 kmph in only a claimed 8.4 seconds. Unlike previous I-Vtec units, Honda has tuned this engine to deliver less NVH even when revved hard. The typical I-Vtec wail once the 5000 rpm mark has been crossed, has been tuned now to post 6000 rpm. Other than I-Vtec, Honda has got the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology here. Other than smoothening out throttle responses, this system also conserves fuel. Whenever I lifted my foot off the throttle or even kept the car moving at a steady pace, an ECO light on the dash would light up as if to say “thank you” for conserving fuel. However ignoring the light, one can just floor the throttle and the car just goes like none other in its class. The engine is free revving like all Honda units. The transmission by the way was the 5 speed automatic and this one is an improvement over the previous one with its ratios providing instant upshifts and kickdowns when demanded.
Brakes are still a bit spongy but then get the job done. Safety remains unchanged with its wide array of air bags and other things associated with keeping one safe in this car, is one of the safest cars in its category. Nothing ground breaking in that. What will bust your wallet is the claimed 6.5 kmpl in city and 11.3 kmpl on the highway economy figures. The other thing that would initially bust your wallet is the 2011 Honda Accord price in India starting at Rs 21 lakhs and going all the way to Rs 26.34 lakhs. Not exactly cheap.
After the test drive was over, which by the way lasted for only 30 minutes, I had to hand over the car to the Honda PR person. The car ticks all the right boxes and especially with the tag line with which the Superb sells in India and that is “S-class space for the price of C-class”. This now fits the Honda Accord to the T. But then buyers in this class would occasionally like to take the wheel and it is where the 2011 Honda Accord disappoints. Its lackluster handling will put off many. Unlike the Superb which shrinks around you, this car actually makes you aware of its width and would make you think twice before taking the wheel yourself, that is if you are mostly chauffer driven. Moreover, compared to the Superb, attention to detail isn’t as much as expected. Also not too many goodies are present to satisfy the geeks. If it’s the Honda reliability and sense of space in the cabin that is tempting you, then think that the Skoda Superb also offers it along with a diesel engine option that as is as good as the Honda petrol unit. There are three variants of the 2011 Honda Accord in India and those are the Honda Accord MT, Honda Accord AT and Honda Accord V6 AT.