2024 Honda Accord RS e:HEV Review

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Overview

 

Honda’s eleventh generation, hybrid-only Accord RS e:HEV has gone on sale in the Aussie market this week, arriving in dealerships from $64,900 drive-away, or $3000 more than the outgoing hybrid offering.

 

Powering the 2024 Honda Accord range will be the Japanese brand’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder e:HEV petrol/electric hybrid engine and continuously variable transmission combination. The model rides on all-multi-link suspension.

 

The fourth-generation, two-motor unit produces 152kW of power and 335Nm of torque, down 6kW but up 20Nm from the current offering. Fuel economy is listed at 4.3 litres per 100km on the ADR Combined cycle.

 

Four driver selectable modes – Normal, Economy, Sport and Individual – and three powertrain settings – Auto, EV and Charge – are available as standard, while regenerative braking can be controlled through six settings via the steering wheel paddles.

 

Honda says the all-new Accord is longer and sleeker than previous models with premium proportions and a broad stance.

 

The four-door sedan features a low horizontal beltline and a “long, powerful front-end” design that is backed by “more confident and refined dynamics”. An active grille sits front and centre, while all external lighting is LED.

 

Paint colours include Crystal Black, Lunar Silver, Meteoroid Grey, and Platinum White. All are complemented by 18-inch alloy wheels.

 

Moving inside, the interior décor features high quality materials and advanced features, including a 12.3-inch infotainment array and 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster.

 

Wireless phone connectivity is joined by a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, the system also featuring over-the-air updates, connected services technology, and digital key compatibility.

 

Honda Sensing safety technology brings an extensive array of driver assistance systems to the latest generation Accord, with adaptive cruise control and Stop & Go functionality, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, driver attention monitoring, lane keeping, traffic sign recognition, and a 360-degree surround-view camera included.

 

Driving Impressions

 

It’s obvious from the moment you look at the Accord that a lot of thought has been put into its design. It looks – and feels – like a prestige car. At this price point, that’s a justified qualification, but one that doesn’t detract from the beautiful finish, tight panel gaps, and consistent paint finish.

 

If we were to be picky, the Accord’s 18-inch alloy wheels look a little small – even if the smaller wheel / larger tyre profile combination goes a long way to improving the vehicle’s ride, even on degraded B- and C roads. It is a level above the Mazda 6 and Toyota Camry there.

 

These characteristics add to the Accord’s premium feel and are quickly evident when jumping behind the ‘wheel. The fluidity and response of the steering itself it yet another highlight, cooperating intuitively with exceptional body control on tight winding corners.

 

Blending sporty handling with a comfortable ride is something few manufacturers manage to do well. Simply, Honda has nailed it. Perhaps that’s why Honda gave the Accord its RS badge…

 

We found the brake response to be strong but with a sweetly progressive pedal stroke that makes calculated soft stops a cinch. The pedal is consistent whether the vehicle is running in ICE or EV mode – not something we can say of all the Accord’s hybrid-powered rivals.

 

The 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid driveline delivers brisk performance. It operates quietly in most scenarios, the petrol engine only really making itself known on heavy throttle inputs or in climbing steep grades.

 

Acceleration is linear and purposeful, giving the Accord a level of performance at least on par with any previous Accord powertrain, including the gutsy 3.5-litre V6.

 

Yet, unlike that engine, the new Accord achieves comparable performance on the smell of an oily rag, and in a mix of urban and rural driving returned an average of 4.3 litres per 100km, easily matching the manufacturer’s claim.

 

The car is mechanically and aerodynamically quiet but is unfortunately let down by some road rumble over coarse chip surfaces.

 

The cabin is otherwise a very pleasant place in which to spend time with a simplistic interface that allows the driver to access controls with ease. Again, it’s clear a lot of thought has gone into making the Accord feel more premium than its mainstream rivals.

 

Visibility is top notch with a clear view out of the vehicle all round. There is no compromise from the seating position either, the relationship between the DLOs, mirrors, and controls spot on – a pity then rear-seat headroom is compromised by the Accord’s rakish roofline.

 

Further back, there is plenty of boot space and remote release mechanisms for the 60:40 split-fold rear seat. The gooseneck boot hinges do impinge somewhat on boot space, but the Accord is not on its own in that respect…

 

While our time with the Accord was rather brief, we came away impressed by the vehicle’s quality. It offers both the power and economy to make lengthy Aussie road trips enjoyable, and is both tech savvy and user friendly – characteristics that don’t always go hand in hand.

 

In fact, the only real downside we see is that the pricing of the model against its rivals is very likely to forestall would be buyers.

 

At $64,900 drive-away the Accord RS e:HEV is considerably more expensive than the Hyundai Sonata N Line ($55,500 +ORC), Mazda 6 Atenza ($52,590 +ORC), Skoda Octavia RS ($56,990 d/a), Toyota Camry Hybrid SL ($51,417 +ORC), or Volkswagen Passat 162TSI Elegance ($57,790 +ORC).

 

From where we sit, that’s reason enough for most prospective buyers to shop elsewhere – which is really something of a pity. Were the pricing on par with its rivals, we’d say the Honda Accord was a hands-down winner. As it sits, we think it will fade into obscurity. Let’s hope time proves us wrong.

 

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