Review: Honda Accord 2.4L VTi-L Advance – Living With Honda Sensing

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Review: Honda Accord 2.4L VTi-L Advance – Living With Honda Sensing

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, a balanced package, 9 out 10 times creates a superb car. Having just enough of every aspect – value, safety, reliability, efficiency, comfort, handling and build quality – delivers a car you might not necessarily desire, but the car you ultimately need.

Yes, I’m sure we all want a jet-black Mercedes-AMG C63 S sitting in our driveway for the weekends, and a short-wheelbase Startech Land Rover Defender to tackle the weekday flash floods that are have been terrorizing Kuala Lumpur and Selangor recently. But, for the most part, Volvo XC60 T8 will give us the perfect balance of both these worlds, not to mention, loads more practicality.

Again, a balanced package, both in principle and in execution.

If there’s one aspect that has always described the 10th generation Honda Accord in my opinion – is its balanced offering – it looks sleek, the powertrains are zesty enough and decently efficient, it drives superb, and is nicely packaged to meets the needs of a plethora of customers.

Even amongst its brethren of well-honed Japanese rivals; namely the Toyota Camry, Nissan Teana and Mazda 6 – the 10th generation Accord offers the perfect synthesis of the Camry’s reliability and build quality, the Teana’s space and comfort levels, and Mazda 6’s driving character – all in one well-balanced package.

That is not to say the Teana isn’t a decent steer or the Mazda 6 isn’t built well – but the Accord somehow manages to give in appreciable amounts of the strengths of all these cars in one package. And the sales figures don’t lie; the Honda Accord is the undisputed segment leader.

Overview

Now in the twilight years of its lifespan, Honda has given the Accord a proper technological swansong by adding its Honda Sensing Suite of active safety technologies to the spec sheet. The update came roughly a year after introducing the facelifted Honda Accord in 2016.

And if you’re wondering why Honda Malaysia have even bothered at all to do so considering the 11th-generation Accord has already seen the light of day in some markets, well, that’s simply because our region will not receive the all-new Accord so soon, and its perhaps the most prudent effort given the Accord still has to soldier on against the likes of the facelifted Mazda 6 and upcoming all-new Toyota Camry which is expected later this year.

For all intents and purposes, this article will only cover the functionality and the practical applications of the Accord’s Sensing suite of features. Click here if you prefer an in-depth review of the facelifted Honda Accord 2.4L VTi-L.

Specifications for Honda Accord 2.4 VTi-L Advance

  • Price: RM168,998 excluding insurance
  • Engine: 2.4-litre, Inline-4 Transverse, DOHC i-VTEC, naturally aspirated
  • Power: 175PS @ 6,200rpm
  • Torque: 225Nm @ 4,000rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed torque converter automatic, front-wheel drive
  • Safety: 6-airbags, Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Honda Sensing – Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Collision Mitigation Braking System (CBMS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS)
  • Origin: Locally-assembled in Pegoh, Malacca

Driving Experience

Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)

Both collision avoidance systems work in tandem to prevent or mitigate a frontal collision. FCW uses a monocular camera fitted behind the rear-view mirror and a millimetre wave radar mounted behind the front bumper to detect a risk of collision and provides an audible and visual warning. If no action is taken, CBMS steps in to brake the vehicle. It progressively adjusts brakeforce, from light to strong. Depending on preset distance, the braking action can be very seamless, rather than an alarming manner.

FCW, which is extremely attentive to the motion of the vehicle ahead, warns the driver by flashing a bright “Brake” sign on the instrument cluster. Besides the fact that it will remain almost perpetually on during a traffic jam, it does help the driver remain attentive at all times. After a few days in the Accord, I found myself being more adept at preparing to brake regardless if the “Brake” signal was flashing or not.

The CBMS system kicked in on one occasion when I failed to brake with adequate force even though FCW alerted me with an early warning. Again, a perfect example of despite the level of experience and concentration a driver may possess, these active safety systems are an effective last line of defence before an accident occurs.

Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)

LDW monitors the vehicle’s position within the lane and alerts the driver. If no action is taken, it triggers the RDM system to provide subtle correction by braking individual wheels and providing steering assistance. LDW works at speeds of between 72 km/h and 180 km/h.

For the most part – and this could be a crisis of perception – I believe the RDM system in the Sensing equipped Honda CR-V (1.5 TC-P 2WD) reacts with more smoothness than in the Accord. This is down to the level of corrective torque the RDM system exerts on the steering wheel. In the CR-V, the RDM applies a progressive but coherent corrective torque, but in the Accord, the corrective steering torque applied is intermittent, with minute gyrations of the steering wheel the closer you get to the white lines of your lane - similar operations to the CR-V but from our experience, the CR-V's execution of the same function was a little bit more refined.

It isn’t a deal breaker once you understand what the RDM system is trying to do, but it can be unsettling for some, especially first time adopters of active safety systems.

Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS)

Like the LDW, the LKAS system also works between 72 km/h and 180 km/h, but assists to keep the car centered within the lane with minute steering adjustments, almost unseen. This helps reduce driving effort.

I found this system most helpful on a long single stint down to Taiping, Perak. The LKAS is the most subtle of all Sensing systems, but it allows for much less steering effort on a highway, and considerably better high-speed tracking. With the LKAS, you’ll find it pretty easy to direct the Accord up to speeds of 145 km/h with one firm hand on the wheel, resulting in a more relaxed driving experience overall.

Active Cruise Control (ACC)

This driver assist function maintains pre-set speed and a programmable distance to the vehicle in front. The ACC works at speeds of between 30 km/h and 180 km/h.

Do note that the Accord's Sensing does not offer the CR-V's Low Speed Follow (LSF) function, an extension of the ACC system which essentially enables the car to brake to a complete stop without driver intervention, before accelerating from standstill to the desired speed once the patch ahead is clear. This is down to the Accord’s mechanical parking brake (foot operated) architecture, the LSF system, available of the CR-V (Sensing variant) requires an electric parking brake system.

Perhaps, the best aspect of the ACC system is the ease of controlling its function, by simply pressing a few buttons on the steering wheel, the driver can quickly settle into cruise controlled drive and adjust the pre-set distance from the vehicle ahead depending on the driving conditions. The brake and throttle applications are nice and gradual, which makes it a welcome addition for drivers who may use their cars for longer journeys.

Conclusion

The Honda Sensing could well be the first time most traditional Honda customers get to grips with the active safety systems, and as such, it's a good stepping stone given just how easy it is to understand, and the cohesive manner in which the systems are applied under normal driving conditions. For the most part, without the FCW flashing the "Brake" light ever so often, there's little else to remind you that you are in anything other than a Honda Accord, albeit one that is substantially safer than before. 

The Sensing systems also take the well-honed and balanced attributes of the 10th-generation Accord and builds on them to remain the pick of the bunch when it comes to overall value, day-to-day usability, and an up-to-date spec-sheet. 

Gallery: Review: Honda Accord 2.4L VTi-L Advance – Living With Honda Sensing



Arvind

Arvind

Arvind describes a car in the same way he would describe a woman; this is not very healthy. Unlike the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind, soulful naturally-aspirated soundtracks and trigger quick (self-applied) gearshifts are all that fill the darkest recesses of his mind. Arvind is still trying to understand women...


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