Testing cars over the holiday break can be a fascinating task because of the varied traffic conditions. You have the crushing gridlock as the days lead up to Christmas. There’s the slight ease in congestion as people go out of town, or rest from all the parties. And there’s the liberation of joining those who escape for a day or two to the countryside.
We were able to experience all of that, and we were able to do it in one of the best cars in the market today: the Honda Accord 3.5 SV. As the engine displacement connotes, this is the top-tier V6 variant.
Here are some of the things we discovered about Honda’s best locally available sedan before the Legend arrived.
* Comfort is top-notch. Whether you’re in the 10-way power driver’s seat or in the spacious rear seats, the leather-covered perches of the Accord can melt stress away. And the power sunroof never gets old.
* It’s a sporty drive. You can still trust Honda’s DNA to deliver response and handling that’ll bring a smile to your face. The 277hp V6 isn’t tuned for aggressive maneuvers, but there’s generous torque across a wide power band. Moving at an athletic clip is no problem for the Accord.
* It’s also a relaxing cruiser. We drove from Metro Manila to Tarlac and back in one day for family activities, and we didn’t feel too tired or weary when we got home. Even if traffic was cooperative that day, the Accord’s well-tuned ride made the 250km drive easy.
* The audio system is sublime. The Accord 3.5 SV has six speakers and a subwoofer, the latter something the 2.4 S variant doesn’t have. After connecting your smartphone via Bluetooth or USB to the dual-screen audio system, you will discover how good your music truly is. The setup seems ideal for classical and jazz music, although the sub will also play R&B hits with gusto. The listening pleasure derived from this car certainly adds to the overall driving experience.
* There seems to be a lot of tire noise. One thing that detracted from the positive overall encounter was the noise emanating from the tires. This is more an observation than a complaint, and something that can hopefully be remedied with a change of tires.
* Fuel economy is just right. In mixed holiday traffic, nothing nightmarish, we managed 6.5km/L in the city. On the open expressways, with minimal fellow vacationers, consumption was 10-12km/L.
* Design is good-looking enough. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if this is the latest ninth generation model or its eighth generation predecessor. To us their looks hew too closely to one another. But there’s no denying the handsome profile of this midsize Honda. It definitely passes the look-back-over-your-shoulder test while you’re walking away from it in the parking lot. At the same time, it doesn’t really draw attention to itself, or to you.
Photos by Dinzo Tabamo