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Next-gen Accord will be Honda’s showroom flagship, but delayed until late 2019

By Tony O'Kane, 23 May 2018 Car News

Next-gen Accord will be Honda’s showroom flagship, but delayed until late 2019

Honda has confirmed it will bring the tenth-generation Accord to the Australian market, though it’s still about a year and a half away from touching down in showrooms.

HONDA Australia has announced it will bring the tenth-generation Accord sedan to local showrooms – though delays for right-hand drive examples have pushed the arrival of its largest four-door sedan back to late 2019.

The timing means the new Accord won’t be quite so new by the time it rolls onto Australian soil. The tenth-gen Accord was revealed in the USA in July 2017 and went on sale in North America a few months later, meaning the Accord will already be a third of the way through its lifespan when it gets here. That delay, coupled with declining sales in the midsize passenger car segment, means Honda might find the Accord a tough sell in Australia.

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But the company is positive that repositioning the Accord as a tech-driven flagship model will give it a crucial point of difference in a shrinking – yet still heavily populated – segment. Even so, the company remains realistic about sales volume.

“The Accord is a global nameplate so it’s pretty important to the Honda brand, but it’s also been here for 40 years,” said Honda public relations manager Neil McDonald.

“There are customers that still want that car so even though the volume we expect won’t be huge numbers, there is still a loyal customer base that still love that car.”

It’s understood that Honda will try a different plan of attack with the new Accord. Chasing a high-grade strategy will reduce range complexity and remove the need to sell high volumes of low-spec cars, but the specifics of exactly what features and equipment we’ll receive are still yet to be ironed out.

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If the US market is any indication, there’s plenty of potential. The Accord is available in the USA with three powertrains – a 1.5-litre turbo, 2.0-litre turbo and a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre hybrid – with the latter two seemingly having the strongest chances for our market.

The 2.0-litre turbo is a particularly enticing package, boasting commonality with the Civic Type R’s turbo 2.0 but detuned to 188kW/370Nm and hooked up to a 10-speed automatic – Honda’s first. If Honda is chasing the “flagship technology” angle, it’s this powerplant that makes the most sense.

The hybrid option may also have a tech-forward sheen, but with just 158kW of system output, a CVT and no plug-in capability it lags behind more advanced hybrids presently on the market.

With 143kW and 260Nm the 1.5-litre option is at the lower end of the midsizer scale as far as output is concerned.

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Equipment-wise, expect the full suite of ‘Honda Sensing” safety aids such as adaptive cruise, AEB, blind spot monitoring and lane-keep assist. Navigation and an 8-inch screen would be likely standard inclusions as well, while other top-spec gear that could be pinched from the US-market Accord Touring flagship includes a head-up display, wireless phone charging, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, moonroof, remote engine start and an on-board data Wi-Fi network.

“The product guys are working on it at the moment,” said McDonald. “The pricing discussion and content and features and things are still some way off for us. We’re still in the early stage of working out scheduling and stuff so it’s probably a bit early to be talking about price.”

Production of the new Accord kicked off last year in Honda’s Ohio assembly plant however, other locations closer to Australia are tipped to be the most likely source for our market. A production source has yet to be officially confirmed for Oz-bound cars, but Honda’s factories in the USA, Thailand, China and Japan are all tooled up to build the tenth-gen Accord.