The Honda Accord was once the darling of the Indian sedan market. Not only the bestseller in its class, but also a benchmark sedan for many buyers – from the driving enthusiasts to those driven by a chauffeur. But since 2013 we have not seen this nameplate in India.
But now as the Toyota Camry, especially its hybrid version, has started to gain ground, and Volkswagen and Skoda prepare their new generation cars for India – namely the Passat and Superb, respectively, Honda has decided that it was high time that the Accord made a comeback. Toyota has sold over 700 units of the Camry hybrid in India since its launch 8 months ago, and this is why the new Accord will come to us with the hybrid option from the very start.
Honda Accord Hybrid Front
The 9th generation of the Honda Accord made its world premiere almost 3 years ago and the facelift of that model was recently unveiled globally too. It’s the US-specification of that facelifted model which has made its way to India.
The car is powered by a 2-litre, 16-valve i-VTEC petrol engine that’s mated to the electric motor which derives power from the on-board lithium-ion battery. The petrol unit churns out 141bhp, but the system’s combined output is a 196bhp with a generous 306Nm of torque. The transmission is an electronic CVT, which is designed to handle all that torque.
The facelift has given the face of the Accord a futuristic and athletic appearance, but the thick metal grille with the enhanced LED headlights is not carried over to the Hybrid version. The Accord is expected to drive in with plenty of goodies like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Though a market launch and price announcement may only happen by April 2016, we expect the Honda Accord to go on sale in India in mid-2016 and for it to be priced competitively. In fact, it might possibly undercut the Toyota Camry Hybrid with a 29.99 lakh price tag. Traditionally though, Honda is loath to go below Toyota’s pricing, and so it’s safe to assume the Accord will return in fully-loaded variants at a price band that sits between 28-32 lakh for the 189bhp, 2.4-litre petrol CVT and the aforementioned hybrid versions.
We feel that the added sense of style on the car (as compared to the Camry, in particular) and the affinity the name Accord carries in India will hold it in good stead.
Honda will assess the reaction and feedback to the car before deciding on whether or not it will also subsequently bring the 278bhp, 3.5-litre V6 variant of the Accord to India as well.