Bigger and better
Balbeer S Jessy
SINCE 1990, nearly 50,000 Honda Accords have been sold in Malaysia, with
local assembly starting in the early `80s. So, when the long awaited 7th
generation Honda Accord was launched in Malaysia in November 2003, much
was expected of the three versions – the 2.0 VTi, 2.4 VTi-L and 3.0 V6.
Honda Malaysia did not disappoint Accord fans by bringing in the bigger
American variant, which has a more spacious interior and luxurious
comfort, instead of the Japanese or European version.
Two of the new upgraded Accords – the 2.0 VTi and 2.4VTi-L – are locally
assembled at the Honda Malaysia plant in Melaka, while the 3.0 V6, a
Completely Built-Up (CBU) unit, is from the Honda plant in Thailand.
The new Accord was voted `Car of the Year’ in Japan in 2002, and the
range is expected to further boost the sales of Honda cars in Malaysia.
However, with the new duty structure recently announced, Honda Malaysia
may have to do some new calculations as the prices go up further.
Nevertheless, Malaysian Business had the privilege of being the first to
test-drive the powerful 3.0 litre V6, which had us cruising up north to
Langkawi and back in three days.
Aerodynamic efficiency of the new body is impressive at 0.26 Cd and this
is apparent in the tight interfacing of body panels with only a slight
inset for glass panels, allowing the air to flow smoothly around the car.
The styling follows that of the US make, which is notable with the large
headlights and luxurious space. Described as a `sporty premium sedan’, the
Accord has, in fact, changed its image from its predecessors with its
visually attractive looks.
Its new styling, with gentle curves, better looks and bigger dimensions
has attracted many onlookers. It is a large car by Japanese standards, but
has much elegance that gives it a sporty air.
MB rating: ****
The V6 Accord’s interior is certainly more spacious than before, with a
lot of attention given to making the cabin comfortable.
Redesigned seats help to reduce body fatigue and for the driver, there
is steering column adjustment, which tilts and telescopes, and eight-way
adjustable seats. Enhanced luxury includes self-illuminating meters, dual
zone air-conditioning, a DSP high quality audio module and cruise control.
The large instrument panel and dials contribute to improved safety, as
they are easier to read. The instruments are permanently illuminated and
are pleasing to look at while driving.
MB rating: ****
RIDE & HANDLING
The V6 comes with automatic transmission, with five forward ratios and
electronic management for smooth and efficient operation.
Honda is known for its handling and ride comfort, and the Accord is no
exception. Although it still uses the double wishbone suspension system,
this has been upgraded to accommodate the larger body and bigger engine
The V6 is an extremely comfortable car, thanks to its huge interior and
excellent engine management system. Cruising along the highway was a
breeze, with the cabin extremely quiet.
The power assisted rack-and-pinion steering system gave precise turning
while imparting road feel even at high speeds.
MB rating: ****
ENGINE & PERFORMANCE
The Accord V6 still uses a SOHC VTEC engine, which produces 177 kW/ 240
ps at 6,250 rpm and 287 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm. This engine is very
popular in the US and many of its components are imported from there.
This multi-valve with a single cam arrangement suits the V6 as it caters
to a niche market. VTEC or (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic
Control) allows high power at high speeds and ample torque in the mid to
low speed range with excellent fuel economy.
Such is the fuel efficiency that the full tank of our V6 only required
refilling during our return trip from Langkawi at Sungei Petani.
MB rating: *****
The rigid body shell was developed using Honda’s own G-CON (G- Force
Control) technology, which ensures that there is ample impact absorption
to prevent serious injuries from occurring to the occupants during an
Additionally, the new Accord comes with a full complement of safety
devices for front and rear passengers. Dual airbags with phased deployment
are standard at the front and the front seats have a special design to
reduce whiplash. On the Accord V6, there are also side airbags fitted to
the front seats.
For Active Safety, all versions have four-wheel disc brake ABS with
electronic brake force distribution (EBD) while the V6 also gets Traction
Control System (TCS). This offers excellent road holding even during a
MB rating: ****
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Accord 3.0 V6 is priced at RM209,800 for a metallic finish,
including insurance and road tax (private registration). All the three new
Accords come with a three-year warranty and two years of free maintenance
for labour, parts and lubricants.
The imported V6 has many extras, including a sunroof and even turn
indicators on the door mirrors. Leather upholstery is standard for the V6.
A light brown trim colour with cream makes the interior look brighter and
But the 3.0 V6 is a niche player in a tight market where many
established Continental competitors have already made their mark.
MB rating: ****
The Accord has made great inroads in establishing itself across a broad
range market segment. This is the first time it is venturing into the 3.0
litre market – which has always been the domain of Continental
However, among the incentives Honda customers get to enjoy with the 3.0
V6 is the Honda Insurance Package that, among other benefits, gives access
to a 24-hour emergency toll-free call centre.
The Honda Assist, on the other hand, provides free towing and roadside
assistance while ensuring the use of genuine Honda parts.
With the extended warranty and the Honda brand name, the 3.0 V6 should be
able to stand on its own as one of the few Japanese makes in the 3.0 litre
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION – Honda Accord 3.0 V6
Type SOHC VTEC 24 valve V6
Displacement 2,997 cc
Bore & stroke 86mm X 86mm
Compression ratio 10.0:1
Fuel system Electronic multi-point fuel injection
Maximum power 177kW (240PS) @ 6,250 rpm
Maximum torque 287Nm (29.3kg-m) @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission Five-speed electronic automatic
Front suspension Independent double wishbones, coil springs,
shock absorbers, stabiliser bar
Rear suspension Independent double wishbones located by
five links, coil springs, shock absorbers,
Steering Rack and pinion, power assisted
Brakes Ventilated discs/solid discs
Wheels 6.5JJ X 16
Tyres 205/60 R16
Overall length 4,830 mm
Overall width 1,820 mm
Overall height 1,455 mm
Wheelbase 2,740 mm
Kerb weight 1,545 mm
Fuel tank 65 litres
Ride & handling ****
Engine & performance *****
Value for money ****
Overall rating ****
***** To die for
**** Impressive, but…
*** Good but can improve
** Just OK
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