Honda Accord V6: Smooth operator with a throaty roar
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Plush ride in a smooth operator
There is something peculiarly satisfying about the roar the Honda Accord V6 NT delivers when planting the accelerator.
The 3.5 litre V6 engine soars through the rev range and smoothly delivers the swift armchair ride Accord owners have come to expect from Honda’s large sedan. It is no V8 supercar crack and pop, but offers instead a pleasing backdrop when accelerating hard.
The throaty roar delivered by the twin exhausts comes as a surprising bonus from a package targeting families and older sedan buyers.
This is the ninth generation Accord, a model available here since 1976. The V6 models aimed at the American market have been here since 1998, with the current upgrades introduced two months ago.
Honda has tweaked the exterior detail of the car, and while retaining its pleasing overall design, the most significant changes involve the introduction of the latest technical wizardry available.
The result is a safer and more advanced large sedan, delivering an exceptionally smooth and relaxing drive, with enough grunt to satisfy most driving situations.
The car is equipped with Honda’s 3.5 litre V6 motor, with “Earthdreams” technology — this involves technical advances to the drivetrain which Honda says delivers a smoother and more efficient drive.
Whether you are pushing the Accord V6 hard or driving in a more relaxed fashion, the car provides speed quickly and smoothly.
The six-speed automatic gearbox delivers the power so evenly through the six gears there is little point in using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. As in many mainstream models, they are superfluous in most driving circumstances.
The Accord comes equipped with a variable cylinder management system, which means it employs only as many of the six cylinders as it thinks fit while shutting those not required off. During a week driving the Accord in all sorts of situations, I could never detect the system kicking in or tuning out power. I achieved an average fuel consumption figure of 11.8 litres per 100km, which is not exactly frugal but is good for the size of the vehicle.
There is a sports mode on the car, but even in drive mode there is always enough grunt to quickly propel the car towards the speed limit, even though at 4935mm long, it is a large car.
The interior is plush, which you would expect for a model listed at $60,000 plus on-road costs. There are leather seats, and two large central screens housing the audio and mapping functions on the lower screen, and the multi-angled reversing camera on the upper screen.
The car offers the latest smartphone connectivity, allowing drivers to easily integrate either Apple or Android devices with the display unit. Voice commands allow the driver to create a text message, find a location or check the weather at the touch of a button on the steering wheel.
The multi-function steering wheel has its multitude of buttons arranged in a v-shape, similar to the buttons on a Formula 1 car. It includes functions such as the adaptive cruise control and the audio and mapping displays.
It is one of the easiest systems of its type to use, particularly the real-time traffic mapping system, which warns of impending road closures or route disruption. Even if you don’t want to connect your smartphone to the Honda’s system, the in-built Garmin navigation app keeps the driver informed about what’s ahead. This is handy in central Auckland where streets are being closed and reopened on a daily basis to accommodate work on the underground central railway link.
My only qualification is the GPS system added almost an hour to the anticipated time of arrival function, twice. However the real-time traffic information is excellent, and the mapping on board is easily read while driving.
The Accord cabin has a plush feeling with piled carpeting, and even driving at the speed limit the car is poised and pleasant to drive.
Like many manufacturers, Honda is keen on touch-screen technology and, once you adapt to it, it functions well. I did miss having a volume knob, although there are volume buttons on the steering wheel.
The Accord comes with a raft of safety features, including a forward collision warning system, which uses a small camera at the top of the windscreen, to determine whether you are at risk of a collision with another vehicle. It issues a flashing light and audio warning, and automatically applies the brake if the driver fails to react. Though initially disconcerting, the function helps keep the driver alert to what is going on around the car.
A collision mitigation braking system automatically applies the brakes when it senses an accident is about to occur. There are also lane departure warning alerts, lane assist and road departure mitigation systems, which can correct the car’s course if it drifts out of a lane.
Though none of those systems was required during the test, the adaptive cruise control was used a lot in heavy traffic situations, and is one of the most responsive, reassuring systems of the type I have experienced.
The Accord comes with hill start assist, trailer stability assist, a tyre deflation warning system, and a smart proximity key with push button start/stop function.
It sits on 18-inch alloy wheels, and has a cavernous boot, which takes 457 litres of usable space. The six airbags include full length side curtain airbags, two ISOFIX safety seat sets in the rear seats.
A comfortable cruising motorcar, it’s certain to appeal to those who appreciate comfort, style and safety, with more than adequate power and performance.
HONDA ACCORD V6 NT
Pros: Comfort, space and power
Cons: Touchscreen on the dashboard, no buttons.
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