We Drive The Honda Accord – This Time Its The 2.4



Some of you may be sensing dejavu reading this article, well thats probably because we have reviewed the Accord before. Remember the trip to Kuantan we did courtesy of Honda Malaysia? Well, we only got to drive the 2.0 then and we weren’t happy with it at all, our views remain the same today, but the 2.4, now this is something else.

A few weeks after Kuantan, Honda Malaysia gave us the chance to live with the newly launched Accord for the whole of four days, it was fun actually because we were among the earliest in the country to get our hands on the Accord, so where ever we drove, people stared and gave us a thumbs up, it was as if we were cruising around in a exclusive European marque instead of a Japanese segment filler designed to satisfy the middle class masses or so it seems, before you get in.

The 2.4 is world’s apart from the regular 2.0, right from the moment you step inside to the moment you turn the key and drive off the difference between it and the 2.0 is vast and very apparent. The first thing you’ll notice is that the interior of the 2.4 is adorned in leather and looks and feels inviting, it is actually a rather nice place to be in rather than the textile ridden, airport taxi interior of the 2.0. I remember being caught in a dilema one afternoon while stuck in the regular Malaysian afternoon monsoon, I had to come up with some other car cabin I’d rather be in when stuck in the same situation, within the same price range and segment of course. Well I concluded that even the mighty Camry doesn’t come close, the interior of the Accord is huge, big enough for a Yoga session for four people, and not only that it’s comfortable, relaxing and plush. So I gave up, the Accord’s interior should be the precedent for any self loving Japanese car maker (bar Lexus, it never really mattered here till recently anyway).

I wriggled myself out of the jam and found some clear roads to take me to my destination, which was nowhere because I was driving around just for the fun of it, in the rain, on purpose, going nowhere, almost sounds like the lyrics to a Grammy winner but anyway. While I was in the middle of no where going no where, I kept taking mental notes of the interior and one particular thing caught my attention, for 170,000 Ringgit I am not wrong to expect near perfection, silence, comfort, luxury, the works but because it’s not Bentley, something just doesn’t add up.

The Accord is not completely silent, it’s not loud like the interior of a Proton is, it’s well insulated, but somehow the sound of the tyres humming creeps in. There is hardly any wind noise but the hum becomes annoyingly apparent after 100km/h, sure you get used to it but it shouldn’t be there in the first place. At over 100km/h on the NKVE south bound, with after hour traffic and dangerously close to overworked truck drivers, the tyres are the last thing I want to be worried about, but I wasn’t. I knew the tyres were fine and this was just some ‘feature’ of the car that will be fixed in the facelift model. Besides, the ride and handling quality of the Accord is enough to get you all cozy in the ultra comfortable pilots seat, and its true, you do get used to the tyre hum till you’re completely oblivious to it, hello Bentley.

There comes a point on the NKVE highway where traffic disperses presenting more opportunities for a journalist to test out a newly launched highway cruiser, within limits of course. The opportunity permits a shift of mood for the Accord’s transmission so I shift from D to S. What does S stand for? It is whatever you want it to be really, Super, Schumacher, Stingy, Scary, whatever, but for the context of this article, lets stick to Sports. At 110km/h, the revs hover slight above 2,00rpm, but when in S mode, they shoot up to the further regions of 4,000rpm, this basically means that the Accord is smack bang in the middle of its power range when in S at 100km/h and is more than willing to pull you all the way to the end which is predictably at 220km/h. Quite handy on trunk roads, but when coupled with paddle shift transmission the S might as well be Super (we reserve Schumacher for the worthy).

The paddle shift system is not the same as the system in a Ferrari or even VWs DSG system, it is designed to cope with everyday driving situations when spirited driving makes a calling but the system should be left alone when in D. It’s simply unresponsive, has a mind of its own and basically doesn’t care that you have just summoned up another cog but in S, it is the slave of a gearbox you would expect it to be; shifting whenever you want it to unless its over revving. Shifts are not F1 fast but smoothness is its character, its not rough and abrupt when shifiting, instead its slow, focused and accurate, something like a DIY manual except much smoother.

If you haven’t already noticed, the Accord is a big car, and the interior does nothing to conceal that fact. Maneuvering through KL’s traffic jams and tiny roads is no easy task, especially when you’re in a test car but get on a highway or come up with some reason to floor the pedal and the Accord summons an entirely different character. At speeds it is tidy and alert but it also can be all composed and relaxed when the driver feels like it. The steering is light and does well to conceal the bulk of the car and just adds up to the ease of use of the entire package that is the Accord. Sadly, the steering is not speed sensitive and doesn’t beef up in your hands when speed is increased but it suits the car just fine, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

On the way home, with the radio off and just that hum that breaks the silence I thought about why I would want a 2008 Honda Accord. Well firstly I would have to be earning well to be able to afford 170,000 Ringgit of metal, secondly, I would have to be pretty sick of all the German offerings that are twice as expensive to buy and maintain but have the same usability and functions. Thirdly, I would have to love ferrying people around or just have a large family as this car is definitely a dedicated people mover. Fourthly, I would have to like my cars to come with some performance to go with the luxury and convenience. Fifth, a car made for such a purpose has to be easy to drive as chances are, it’ll be the missus that gets behind the wheel the most but easy is its middle name so no problem there. Well I definitely do not need a Honda Accord but I definitely wish I had one, its the perfect companion for storm ridden afternoons, traffic jams, and silent cruises. Can’t wait for the 3.5.
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  • radhie

    already drive this accord..
    the gear so smooth..using the f1 style gearshift..
    great!

  • bien335

    110km/h at 3300rpm??

    shouldnt it be under 2500rpm?

    What gear were you in that time?

  • keshy

    you’re right.. my bad.. correction made..

  • DVA

    Not much is mentioned about the car’s in gear acceleration/performance. I know, the car’s engine characteristics has been tuned to give good acceleration at high RPMs but how many owners are going to ram the car to 220 kmh? Ive seen some comments that say that the acceleration for the 2.4 is very pale. I test drove the car and found it to be true. (Well to me) it felt underpowered. There seemed to be not anough torque for comfortable city driving. Hope the review can cover more on the 2.4′s performance. No complaints about the interior though. Its a nice place to be in, but overall I agree that its value for money.

  • Sum

    Thanks for the effort in writing this article. I have just taken delivery of a new Honda 2.4 and thus would like to give some comments on the car for the benefit of future owners.

    1. Interior. This car has amazing space. I checked out and in comparison its larger then most of its rivals including those in the ( ) such as the Merc E and the BMW 5. Not bad, and it shows. I am 6′ 1 and there is ample space for rear occupants even behind my seat. Boot space is another suprise with 560 litres which is bigger then anything in the market i have checked out. The seats are also super comfy, and i think very close or matches the benchmark in this area which is Volvo. The elec seats also have good adjustability but should come with memory for multiple drivers. Rest of it is nice. Stereo, which comes with a rear mounted central sub, probably a 6-7 inch is VERY good for an original accessory. Apart from upgrades to the speakers, you may not really want to touch the set up. Also has IPOD compatibility, with full control from the stereo dash which is convenient.

    2. Engine Performance
    I actually feel the low down torque characteristic of this car sufficient for daily commute. Its definitely more powerful then your usual sedan, which shows from the lightness of the throttle and its sensitivity to inputs. It does definitely lack some mid range grunt but after 4000-5000, but there seems to be another lease of life at 5500 to 7000. Anyways, for those buying this car as a boy racer toy, i suggest you look elsewhere. The Accord motto should be its not how fast you go, but how you get there. With fuel prices today etc, this is the closest to a large engine displacement/power combo although the 1.8 Merc Turbo engines do provide slightly better torque and power figures. But those engines are peaky and i assume have not so great consumption; not sure.

    3. Handling.
    It feels planted and actually i feel the steering gearing is actually quite good up to 100 kmh but after that it should be a tad heavier. This car does have variable steering ratio though and steering wheel feel is personal so you need to try it to decide whether you like it. I think its acceptable as an everyday tourer.

    I have not pushed the car yet so much this dept, but really for everyday driving, lane change its way up there. I must say that the suspension set up is fairly firm with mild judders when you go through large potholes and our malaysian road’a natural deformations. The european cars still have this dept sorted, with more the glide sensation/feel across any road type. I drove an E280 Avant and even with 18 inch, 45 series tires, that car just soaked everything up. Anyways i assume the Honda will nevertheless give it a go in the twisties.

    I must nevertheless agree, the hum into the cabin is actually loud and one of the only few low points. I think its the tires rather then the car itself. The Goodyear Excellence tires looks good, but i fear they dont fit the dynamics of the Accord.

    Cant really test this theory if i dont spend some more $ to change the tires. The Honda Malaysia boys also need to check this very carefully and work with Honda Japan to choose their partners. Goodyear prob did a good job lobbying but no one actually sat in the car to test the tires. Anyways it could also be a prob with the insulation, but i really dont think Honda would have spent all their money and left this detail out.

  • keshy

    Not much was mentioned about performance/acceleration figures because this was supposed to be about living with the Accord.. Not trashing it.. In fact lots of views were left out because I had already mentioned them when I first drove the car.. Thanks for the feedback..

    Performance was viewed as a necessity for everyday driving so the article was written around it.. I believe that the luxury cruiser like the Accord should be spared performance figures because performance is not something it is built for.. But I assure you that there will be performance figures for you to indulge in when we drive the Civic Type R next week..

    Sum.. Thanks for clearing everything else.. If you ever find a solution to your humming tyres.. Please do keep us updated..

    Cheers..

  • bien335

    Nice brief review Sum. Did you place a booking? Or were you just merely checking it out?

  • Sum

    Bien,

    I took delivery of the car a couple of days ago. Been driving it around albeit carefully, as there are still too many people gawking at the car whereever i take it.

    We have a saying that too many eyes looking is bad luck. i dont believe it, but too many people looking is uncomfortable nevertheless. Its not like i am driving a brand new S class although that will be nice ;)

    Keshy, did he Honda boys actually clarify the cabin noise issue at he test drive session. I am sure there was a Q&A session and all of you drivers would have pointed it out?

  • keshy

    That was a while ago.. Can’t remember.. But I’ll bring this up when I meet them a few days from now.. Check this space..

  • DVA

    Keshy, thanks for the feedback and review. I agree the article was more focused on ‘living with the Accord’ as you mentioned, thats why I was hoping there would be a separate supplement on its performance. Anyway, as for the performance, I was referring to everyday city driving/cruising, i.e. no one would want to thrash a car like this, definately not one in this category.

    My comparison is done based on my ownership of the earlier model 2.4. I decided to hold on to my purchase of the new car after experienceing an apparent sluggishness when compared to my old car during the test drive, whereby I had to keep overiding the autobox via the paddles, just for some decent acceleration (nope, not F1 style driving). Maybe the car hasnt run in yet, but I suppose this time its all about image, comfort and size as opposed to performance which the Honda Accord used to be known for in comparison to its nearest competitor.

    Talking about acceleration times, (which I know is not important for a car in this category), it is pretty far off compared to its nearest rival and not too far ahead of its 2 liter variant. That is what puzzles and saddens me because I loved the Accord so much so, I sold off my old car and was eagerly waiting for this, only to cancel my booking after test driving it twice at different showrooms. Yes, I agree that the overall package is nice, but when you were used to a certain level of go, then it is hard to accept the current level of acceleration. Again, here, I am talking about normal city driving/cruising.

    Sum, what you mentioned about the lack of mid range grunt explains it. That was what I was referring to and thats the most useful rpm range for the typical Accord buyer, certainly not 6000 to 7000 rpm. Now, that would be thrashing. Not wise at this point in time with higher fuel price.

    Keshy, hope you could bring this up with the Honda guys when you meet up with them. Hopefully Honda would liven up the Accord for the next facelift.

  • CivicTypeR

    If you are driving a RM170,000 Honda Accord. Fuel price of RM2.70 per liter will not be a problem for the owner.

  • DVA

    CivicTypeR, youre wrong. Fuel consumption is a favourite topic in any car forum, even in the BMW forums, although not a top priority. Read the whole contents of my response, not just that one line.

  • Sum

    Hi Dva,

    Let me try to possibly give you more insights into the performance level of the 08 Accord. Kesh, i too understand the merit of your article and this is merely to facilitate the discussion on other aspects of the Accord with the forumers.

    I think an important first step is a comparison of some basic specs of the 06 and 08 A. The difference in power of both cars is about 10 bhp, 170 vs. 180. Torque diff is about 4 Nm 218 vs. 222. The 08 is also heavier at 1525 vs. 06 1453 kg.

    This should mean that the 06 probably has better lower range and mid range grunt due to the weight advantage, but the 10 bhp would probably show better closer to the top end. It is also a factor of the gear ratios and how the electronics decides to deliver the power. This has a big effect on the drivability of the car. I do have one theory that could explain your observations about the gear change. Bear with me.

    Logically if i was the Honda technical engineer (and based on this post, i could be *smile*)and i had developed a manual tip tronic feature to coexist with the auto feature, i would definitely set the auto mode to be VERY relaxed as the driver has an option of switching to manual for spirited driving. Cars without these options (like the 06) need to find a very delicate balance and it could explain why the auto change pattern in the 08 is quite conservative as the driver has a manual option when needed. The 06 would probably try to give the best of both worlds, and from your experience it did a very good job. With the 08, you have a little more flexibility to dictate your own need. Does make sense to me and thus like i said its not really about the engine/drivetrain but more the philosophy. Leaving it in full auto mode will probably be more economical as well.

    I cant seem to find consistent FC figures for the Accord asian version. These are important figures for ownership and it baffles me that most of the car manufacturers in Malaysia dont publish this data to make it easier for us consumers to make choices. Anyone can get official figures for the old and new Accord?

    I have been trying to notice what you said about sluggishness. I generally dont use the tip tronic controls for everyday driving. I only at most use the – pedal when in auto so i dont have to kickdown and use more petrol. The S mode is beyond me for now and really only for cheap thrills *smile*. I do prefer manuals actually but thats another story ;)

    In terms of acceleration times this is what i found online (on Youtube) although the 2.4 featured is a full auto version and not a semi-auto. Not much of a difference in the final time. I think in gear acceleration between 100 to 150 may favour the ’08.

    08 Accord 2.4 180 bhp: 8.8 sec

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI7zbUVZva8&NR=1

    06 Accord 2.4: 8.6 – 8.9 sec. Not very clear video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI7zbUVZva8&NR=1

    The engine definitely does need to break in though. I have driven about 500 km already, airport runs, melaka one day on work, and its getting progressively more responsive and smoother day by day. Maybe its important you do a second test drive in a couple of months to see how a well broken in car behaves.

    Enjoy! :)

  • DVA

    Hi Sum,

    Thanks for the feedback. Let me say that the comments/observation I made was based on my test drives. I believe you would be able to make a better judgement as you own the car. I give you the benefit of the doubt. I agree with your comments on the comparison and characteristics of both engines. That was why I was a little taken aback when I test drove it. That ‘shove’ that came with every step on the accelerator just wasnt there, and it wasnt only me. Another friend of mine commented the same. This is in comparison to my test drive of the 04 model which hadn’t broken in yet (which I eventually bought). Btw Sum, mine was the pre-FL version, so its a difference of 20ps. Again, it can be argued that it could have been due to the absence of DBW, which the FL version had and some other electronics. As you pointed out, could be the electronics that has an effect on the car’s responsiveness. Wheels and tyres too play a huge part, now that the Accord wears much larger shoes.

    On your observation of the gear set up, I totally agree that the ratios should be set up to give more miles or kms, i.e. to be more economical, however, I dont think the presence of the tiptronic feature should be used as a basis to come with such a decision. I think there should be a good balance regardless of whether the car comes with tiptronic or not. Maybe Honda’s quest to give the Accord better fuel figures than the Camry with all the bulking up really got to them. So much so, they lost that fine balance which was the Accord’s hallmark in the engine department. I suppose they had to make a compromise. It would have been nicer if the car had better response on take off and stronger mid range (which is more useful than higher top end), with tiptronic feature for a sportier or more spirited drive. I guess, the 200ps engine offered in the US apart from the 180 ps was to cover this void. Just my hunch.

    As for the acceleration times, ive seen so many different figures. From the motortrader forum, I note the acceleration times mentioned for the 2.4 is 10.6 secs and 11 secs for the 2.0. Quite surprising, but after the test drive, I was more or less in agreement with these figures. If compared to the 04 model, it had an averange naught to 100 time of 8.7 secs as shown below, but I guess it would have a lower top speed to the 08:

    http://asia.vtec.net/Reviews/24AccordPerf/index.html

    Review/acceleration times by Sgmart on the 08 Accord:

    http://www.sgcarmart.com/news/review.php?AID=35

    These figures may be subjective due to many reasons. Sum, this is only my experience after test driving the car, Perhaps, I will test drive it again before I make a final decision on my purchase. I still do think its a great car. Hope you bear with me. Enjoy your ride.

    Regards.

  • bien335

    An owner reportedly said he did 850km on a full tank of fuel in his 2.0 CP1

  • David

    I think those Goodyear tyres that come with the Honda are likely to be more “noisy”. Try swapping them with Michellin or another good brand for quiet and control rides. You will surely feel the difference.

  • Kris

    I was planning to buy a used Honda Accord and find the price has gone up recently attached one found http://www.automart.sg/173-2007-%3cfont-class%3d%22search%22%3ehonda%3cfont%3e-a/details.html

    Good there is increasing demand for Honda Accord now..should be because of lower maintenance cost

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