Not the news Toyota is very looking forward to. The launch of a new-generation Honda Accord. In the car world, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are like Tom and Jerry, the arch nemesis to each other and all the better for us consumers. Each company trying their best to have the edge over the other, and with Honda releasing the Accord much later than the Camry did here, Honda had the upper hand and launched the 9th generation Accord with much more standard equipment and at extremely competitive prices.
Honda chose Setia City Convention Center as the location of choice to reveal their flagship model. The location might be difficult to find for first timers like me, but enter the newly built convention center and you can clearly see why the place was chosen. The hallways alone are vast, but the ballroom in which the Accord was revealed is huge and beautifully furnished. Honda can literally save up on the furnishing and just set up the stage, which I’m pretty sure is what they did.
With the Accord being such an important model to Honda, clearly Honda intend to inform as much people as possible about the arrival of the new Accord and invited many guest and media to this launch event, and hence the huge venue. Even buffet breakfast and lunch was generously provided for that extra point in hospitality. When the CEO of Honda Malaysia even bothered to attend this event, you know they are really taking the Accord very seriously…
Please click below to read more on the all-new Honda Accord!
As expected, before the actual reveal of the new Accord, there was some talk and speeches explaining the new features and technology present in the new Accord. It all began with Assistant Large Project Leader of the Accord, Mr. Masao Nakano who presented his speech in Japanese but was translated to English sentences at a time.
This was then followed by Sales Project Leader, Mr. Kumara Sooriar who explained the new features of the new Accord in detail. Taking us through from the design, to the powertrain, from the safety to the technology, the whole lot.
The final speech was from the CEO himself, Mr. Yoichiro Ueno who explained more on the sales and figures of Honda Malaysia as a whole. And finally, the information Malaysians have all been waiting for, the price. Before this, all prices for the new Accord were just rumours and speculations, and when Mr. Yoichiro finally revealed the price on the screen, there was an instant response of applause by the guests and media.
The reason for the positive response was obvious, with a starting on-the-road price of RM139,800 for the base 2.0 liter, the new Accord undercuts the base 2.0 liter Camry by almost RM10,000. Even the flagship 2.4 liter Accord price of RM172,800 is still considerably cheaper than the flagship 2.5 liter Camry which cost RM180,917. As for the specs, you read about it in full detail here.
Now back to the event. With the guests and media all excited after knowing the competitive price, it’s time to reveal the Accord itself. The presentation was the real highlight of the event, with the lights all turned off except for the center screen and stage, all eyes are on the Accord as it drove out to the center.
Simultaneously, a locally filmed commercial of the new Accord was played on the huge screen showcasing the car’s key features. Cooler still is the fact that the rotating feature on the stage rotates the Accord to relevant parts of the body whilst the commercial is showcasing some of the features such as the emergency stop signals and the 18 inch rims. Overall a very well orchestrated presentation which is satisfying to watch.
The Accord will be available in three variants: 2.0L VTi which cost RM139,800, a higher spec 2.0L VTi-L costing RM149,800, and the top-of-the-range 2.4L VTi-L with a price of RM172,800. To see the the equipment difference between the three variants, click here.
Of course there are also options to spec your Accord with Modulo bodykit and many other kinds of optional equipment, and they come in packages with prices ranging from RM1950 to RM5600 for the full bodykit. More info can be found here.
A total of four Accords were there on display, two of them being the 2.4 liter versions and two 2.0 liter units. One of the 2.4 liter Accord was white in color and fitted with the full Modulo bodykit. The bodykit looks decent unlike the Camry’s hideous optional bodykit, which looks like an afterthought. Personally though, I will save up on the bodykit as the new Accord looks pretty handsome on its own. Speaking of its looks…
The new Accord does look great in person, the rear might look like a direct clone of the Hyundai Genesis sedan but then again the Hyundai looks pretty good. The front is pretty similar to the previous generation which means it is recognizably Accord but with more sophisticated looking headlights especially in the case of the 2.4 liter variant with Acura-esque LED headlights.
Believe it or not, the new Accord’s body is slightly shorter than its predecessor and yet, thanks to clever interior packaging, you will get more interior space and leg room. The benefit of the shorter body is that the car feels and looks more compact and athletic. And the fact that it does not compromise on interior space, it can only be a win-win for all.
The 2.0 liter engine is brought along from the previous generation but with some slight tweaks to improve fuel economy. The 2.4 liter unit however, is a completely new engine. Called the Earth Dreams Technology engine, it is much more fuel-efficient than the previous engine without sacrificing power.
As for the interior, all variants come as standard with an 8-inch screen displaying the optional navigation system and the rear-view camera, and another smaller touchscreen located just below and in between the air-con vents which is used to control all of the audio functions in the car.
The touchscreen removes the need of including too many confusing buttons, and the end result is a very neat and uncluttered dashboard which is also pleasing to the eye. As for the interior as a whole, the cheapest 2.0 liter variant comes in beige fabric seats while the rest of the two variant up the range will come with black leather seats as standard.
With an increased leg room of 35.5mm over its predecessor, the rear seats are very spacious even for people over 6 foot tall. Personally, I think the fabric seats feels a bit too soft, but the harder leather seats feels just about right. One interesting new feature which is only available on the 2.4 liter Accord is the LaneWatch Camera.
A tiny camera integrated in the left-wing mirror will display its image on the 8-inch screen which helps the driver detect any incoming vehicles in the particular blind spot. The camera will only activate when the left signal indicators are triggered and aids the driver when he or she decides to make a cut from the left.
There was also a press conference held during the event where the aforementioned big-shots from Honda Malaysia answers question from the media. I did asked about the possibilities of seeing the Acura brand here, Honda’s future with smaller capacity forced-induction engines, and even about the next Civic Type-R! Fortunately for you readers, to see what was the CEO’s answers to my questions, I have recorded the whole press conference for your enjoyment below.
So there you have it! My full report on the launch of the new-generation Honda Accord! Honda Malaysia definitely did their homework to ensure the Accord’s arrival will give its core rival, Toyota a huge blow. The Accord’s better looks, more stylish interior, better technologies, and considerably cheaper price makes it a no brainer among the two.
I suspect Toyota Malaysia will be doing something about this in the near future (a price reduction or more standard equipment perhaps). If Toyota choses not to do anything and solely rely on its japanese reliability image to sell its cars, I’m afraid things might just go downhill from here for Toyota in this country. Either way, the new Accord will make Toyota lose some sleep.