Honda Accord EL Turbo CVT review: Packed with road-sensing tech

Honda Accord EL Turbo CVT review: Packed with road-sensing tech

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When I think of premium midsize sedans like, say, the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, I get flashbacks from the ’90s with their boxy and spacious design and cream-colored interior. Recent models have of course evolved with the times but still has that overall feel — an executive look for the more mature and established individual.

But this Honda Accord that HCPI lent us decided to stand out from its peers with a sportier and youthful approach. It also packs a lot of tech to make driving easier, safer, and more enjoyable. This is the Honda Accord EL Turbo CVT Honda Sensing.

Exterior

What we have right here is the Platinum White Pearl which looks really sporty for me. I’d personally say the other two colors (Modern Steel Metallic and Crystal Black Pearl) have more of an executive feel, but the white variant is very sporty — not in a 2 Fast 2 Furious kind of way but more along the lines of Die Another Day kind of sporty.

Up front, it has full LED headlights with auto-leveling and auto high beam as it senses when no oncoming traffic is present.

Those sensors could be found at the central highest point of its windshield and on the front bumper. These unlock the Honda SENSING technology that we’ll talk about in just a bit.

Running across the front fascia is a unibrow-like ledge in chrome. The application of chrome is seen in other parts of its exterior like door handles and exhaust tips for a bit of added bling. Here we also see its Daytime Running Lights and fog lamps using full LED.

Amplifying its fastback design, the Accord comes with rather aggressive lines that run from the side of the hood all the way to the taillights. The lower part of each door also features sharp accents that further give its exterior personality.

This leads us to a pair of Guide Type LED tail lamps that easily pierce through darkness and even heavy rain. Meanwhile, adding to that is a pair of exhaust tips wrapped in chrome, as mentioned earlier.

Pop the trunk and you get a spacious area easy enough to load stuff the size of golf bags. And to wrap up the exterior, the Accord stands on attractive 18-inch wheels that look like they’re in constant motion even while standing still — a really sporty treatment.

Interior

Once you step inside, you’re put in a more executive setting with the all-black interior and leather-wrapped seats. Needless to say, the cabin has a very premium feel which is exactly what you’d expect from a sedan such as this one.

The interior is very roomy, especially at the back. With the available space, one can easily whip out a laptop and work conveniently while stuck in traffic, for example. And with its included privacy screens, it’s almost like having your own small office on wheels.

I only wish it had those in-car outlets so we could charge laptops and other devices faster in addition to its USB ports for the back row.

Meanwhile, the driver and front passenger have access to an 8-inch infotainment touch unit which is pre-loaded with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This feature allows you to basically port over your phone and its apps to the vehicle’s system — a really helpful feature while driving.

Just like the seats, its steering wheel is also wrapped in leather with silver accents and is populated with buttons for controlling media playback and deploying some of the vehicle’s features.

The Accord comes with an all-digital instrument cluster that’s easily visible at night or during daytime and cycles through different monitoring systems to ensure that your vehicle is in tip-top shape.

A bright red button starts and stops the engine via a simple press. For me, this lone button gives a good break from all the black elements inside. It’s like a reminder that even though the interior feels very executive and mature, it’s also sporty and always ready for a bit of fun.

Honda also did a great job with suppressing the sedan’s NVH or noise, vibration, and harshness. Partner that with its comfy seats and the result is a more enjoyable riding experience even for long trips.

Features

Aiming to make everyday driving easier and enjoyable, the Accord is loaded with bells-and-whistles that benefit both the driver and passengers. These include Smart Keyless Entry, Auto-Dimming Rear-View Mirror, and an intelligent Dual Zone AC.

You can also activate its Brake Hold feature during heavy traffic to eliminate the need to keep your foot on the brakes during bumper-to-bumper traffic. And for backing up, it uses a reverse camera with parking sensors front and back.

If the driver demands more control over its transmission, a pair of paddle shifters are present. And when it comes to making sure your trip goes smoothly, its 8-inch head unit has everything you need — from navigation, music playback, and radio features. It can even let you call and read text messages using voice commands.

Plus, as mentioned earlier, its Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities bring in useful driving apps like Waze and Google Maps for a more updated navigation system. Music streaming app Spotify and even messaging apps like Telegram are also supported.

Safety and performance

Again, the Accord EL Turbo CVT Honda Sensing comes with an array of tech features guaranteed to make your trips not just more enjoyable, but also safer.

As mentioned, it comes with Honda Sensing which is the company’s driver-assistive technology.

Under its belt, the Accord uses its sensors for Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow for long, straight highways while its Lane Keep Assist alerts you and nudges your steering when you start to drift out of your lane.

Same thing happens when you’re close to the side of the road. Its Road Departure Mitigation system will alert you through vibrations from the steering wheel and steers you back to your lane. This forces the driver to use turn signals to change lanes or the system will read it as unintentional swerving and will guide you back.

Additionally, the camera on the passenger-side mirror activates and displays live video on the 8-inch display and it reveals more on that side than simply checking the mirror — it’s great for tight spaces or simply when turning right.

It is also equipped with forward collision warning, collision mitigation, and blindspot monitoring to help avoid accidents. And in case something happens, a total of six airbags are ready to deploy with two up front, two at the side, and another pair for side curtains.

Despite its somewhat bulky design, it drives really light and feels like you’re bringing a normal-sized sedan. A simple tug on its steering wheel and the vehicle easily follows.

And when you need speed, its 1.5-liter turbocharged engine delivers 190hp and 260Nm of torque. It’s powerful and responsive enough to be able to get out of its current spot easily. We’d say the 1.5-liter engine is just right for what it’s powering.

This is then paired with the company’s Earth Dreams CVT and together with the paddle shifters, the driver could easily have fun with the Accord if they wish to and take full control of the sedan’s power.

But then again, a lot of those who are looking into vehicles like this also want to spend time in the backseat. So from that perspective, the Accord is like a smooth-sailing boat, and like what’s been established earlier, it comes with controlled noise and vibrations so you can cruise long roads in comfort.

Creature Feature

As always, in our reviews, The Modern Creatures aims to find special offerings that make them worth having — a Creature Feature if you will that gives a product advantage from its peers. For the Honda Accord EL Turbo CVT Honda Sensing, it would have to be its array of tech and safety features together with its youthful design.

As I’ve said at the beginning, these vehicles have been the cars of our uncles or titos back in their days and we’re used to seeing straightforward features and a design that’s not too flashy. But with this Accord, Honda was able to take away the dull and mundane elements and breathed a fresh design and packed serious tech into this midsize sedan.

Pricing and final thoughts

Although of course, great tech and premium looks come with a rather steep pricing of PhP 2,308,000. But the useful features, Honda Sensing, and its sporty/executive look help justify the price tag.

I’m sure a good chunk of the vehicle’s market would prefer something that looks like this over some of its competition with classic designs and straightforward features — I know I would.