Cars

When People Talk About a 'Nice' Car, the Honda Accord Fits the Bill

We take the 10th generation Honda Accord out for a spin.
IMAGE Arnie Bugay
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Most Filipinos who own cars make do with a basic four-wheeler. Just Google what the bestselling vehicle is in the country and you’ll understand. It’s not a dig at compact and subcompact sedans; we understand how difficult it is to get around, and having your own trusty vehicle is a blessing that only those who have gone through the hell of daily public transport can understand and appreciate. 

But what about for those who are looking for something more? Something bigger, faster, more powerful, and better looking? Then we go into what I like to call “nice car” territory. You know the type: you drive by and complete strangers say it. You walk to the parking lot with your date and she says it, too. Heck, you might even say it yourself, even though you’re the owner. “Nice car.” 

Photo by PJ Cana.
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The Honda Accord is a nice car

For Honda, the best fit for that expression has to be the Accord. What the Camry is to Toyota, the Accord is the mid-sized sedan that feels like it was built exactly for people who like driving, It’s been around for decades, but the fact that it’s still here, and currently on its 10th generation, is just proof of its popularity and reliability. 

The market for the Accord is clear: unless it’s someone who came into some instant money (like a lotto winner or someone who inherited big bucks from their dead grandfather), it’s not exactly for a first-time car buyer. At P2.28 million, it’s for people that have already achieved something in life and may want a ride that reflects their success. They want a nice car.

But what exactly makes it nice? For one thing, it looks the part: sexy, polished and eye-catching. The sloping roofline and LED taillights that remind me of alligator snappers give off both sporty and classy vibes, which isn’t the easiest thing to pull off. It looks big, but not too big; it commands attention but isn’t showy, if that makes any sense.

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Spacious and safe

The interiors aren’t any less noteworthy. Black leather finish, electronically adjustable seats, streamlined and idiot-proof climate control dials all contribute to a seamless, user (or driver)-friendly experience. The infotainment system is also a cinch to operate: it's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped and the eight-inch screen is bright but not distracting.

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The Accord is also equipped with front and rear parking sensors as well as a backup camera (useful especially if parking isn’t your strong suit) and, I would find out later, six airbags.

While I did not get a chance to sit in the rear seats, a couple of friends who I drove around in the Accord in the few days I had it seemed to fit well enough, with one of them remarking, “Ang luwag! (It’s so spacious!).” I took that as a good sign.

It does the job

As for the drive, I had plenty of opportunity to put the car through its paces. Social distancing was still a thing, but a quick road trip to Pampanga seemed doable so we went for it.

Whether it was along uneven EDSA or smooth NLEX, the Accord felt like a champ, and drove like it, too. While it wasn’t as exciting as the Civic Type R (which is an unfair comparison, I know), it nonetheless performed the job it was supposed to do. The 1.5 turbocharged engine purred smoothly pretty much every step of the way, and only stepped up to a small roar (but a roar nonetheless) when I switched the drive mode to Sport.

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Even when we passed a short stretch of dirt road, we could hardly feel the noise and vibration. Sure, you’d want a dedicated off-roader or even an SUV when you’re faced with unpaved roads, but it’s good to know a sedan like the Accord can handle things like that, too.

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I can’t speak too much about its technical details, but what I can say is that the Honda Accord delivers the kind of charm and finesse that you would expect from a sedan that isn’t a subcompact. It’s a bit like that satisfaction you feel when you upgrade to higher threadcount sheets, or you trade in your usual burger and fries for a decadent steak.

Yes, a car is a car is a car, but you won’t know what the big deal is about a “nice” car until you’ve driven one.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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