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Refreshed Honda Accord checks in

Fresh face: Honda’s updated Accord gets a front and rear facelift as well as new safety and infotainment tech.

Updated Honda Accord lobs but Sport Hybrid nowhere in sight

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Honda logo30 May 2016

HONDA’S facelifted Accord mid-sizer has arrived in Australian showrooms but the company has dropped its slow-selling Sport Hybrid model as part of the line-up refresh.

The Japanese car-maker only launched the petrol-electric Sport Hybrid in June last year, but with a relatively high $58,990 (plus on-road costs) pricetag and low private buyer take-up of hybrids in Australia, the environmentally friendly variant failed to ignite.

Its decision to drop the Sport Hybrid leaves Honda without a petrol-electric contender in the line-up, following the demise of the Jazz, Civic, CR-Z sportscar and Insight hybrids in the past two years.

The updated Accord line-up now consists of three variants, kicking off with the base VTi that returns to the fold, as well as the mid-spec VTi-L and range-topping V6L.

Pricing has also changed, with the entry-level VTi starting from $32,990 plus on-road costs, representing a $1000 drop over the outgoing VTi-S that is not returning.

VTi-L pricing has risen from $41,490 to $43,990, while the V6L has increased by $600 to $52,590.

The new opening price means the Accord is now closer in cost to the entry level Mazda6 sedan ($32,490) and the Holden Malibu ($32,890), but undercuts base versions of the Ford Mondeo ($33,190) and Kia Optima ($34,490).

It is thousands of dollars dearer than the base Toyota Camry ($26,490), Subaru Liberty ($29,990), Hyundai Sonata ($29,990) and Nissan Altima ($29,990).

Powering the VTi and VTi-L is the familiar 129kW/225Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine, matched with a five-speed automatic transmission, delivering a combined cycle fuel economy figure of 8.0 litres per 100km for the VTi and 8.2L/100km for the VTi-L.

The flagship uses Honda’s 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine paired with a six-speed auto, producing 206kW/339Nm. Honda has not provided the fuel economy figure for this variant but the pre-facelifted version consumed 9.2L/100km.

As reported in July last year when the facelift was revealed, the Accord gains slimmer headlights with LED daytime running lights and a bolder, more chrome-heavy grille that borrows design cues from the just-launched Civic small sedan and the forthcoming NSX supercar.

It also gains a new bumper, new wheel designs for the VTi and V6L, LED foglights, a new rear bumper and updated tail-lights, as well as new colour – Brilliant Sporty Blue.

The Accord range now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, as well as a multi-angle reversing camera and Honda’s LaneWatch camera system.

Other standard gear in the VTi includes a seven-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio, USB connectivity, black fabric seats, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, a six-speaker 160-watt audio system, Multi Information Display, a 12V power outlet, Eco Assist and the Econ Mode, Active Noise Control and Active Sound Control as well as 17-inch alloy wheels.

The VTi-L adds LED headlights, Active Cornering Lights, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, LED front foglights, sunroof, leather appointed seats that are heated in the front row, eight-way power driver’s and four-way power adjustable passenger seats, keyless entry and start, power rear window sunshade, sat-nav, auto dimming rearview mirror, a more powerful stereo and 18-inch alloys.

It also gains the Honda Sensing safety suite that includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, collision mitigation braking system and road departure mitigation.

Added to this, the V6L gets a twin chrome exhaust, a rear lip spoiler, an eight-way power adjustable passenger seat, and ‘hydrophilic’ side door mirrors.

“The Honda Accord has a very loyal customer base within the Australian market,” said Honda Australia director Stephen Collins.

“We're providing buyers with an extensive standard features list at a very competitive entry point. The combination of upgraded styling, improved connectivity and technology features, will appeal to a wide range of prestige sedan customers.”

So far this year Accord sales are at 21 per cent of the same period last year, with 256 units shifted. Once one of Honda’s top-selling models, the Accord is now the slowest seller in the Honda range.

It is also one of the slowest sellers in the segment, beaten year to date by the Holden Malibu, Hyundai Sonata and i40, Kia Optima and Skoda Octavia.

2016 Honda Accord pricing*
VTi (a)$32,990
VTi-L (a)$43,990
V6L (a)$52,590
*Excludes on-road costs

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