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LATEST UPDATE: The new 8th generation 2008 Honda Accord is now in Malaysia. Click the link on the left for more information on prices, specifications and photos.

The 7th generation Honda Accord was launched in 2002, and won Japan’s Car of the Year award in the year of it’s introduction. It reached our local shores in late 2003, and won awards in Malaysia too like Autocar Asean’s Car of the Year 2003/2004. Since it’s launch to date, it holds the top sales spot in it’s segment, with approximately 15,000 on the road so far. Honda’s normal model cycle calls for a mid-life facelift, and this facelift is now available in Malaysia. It was launched yesterday and I was there to bring you this report. Let’s have a look at the 2006 Honda Accord facelift and what enhancements it has over it’s predecessor.

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2006accordfacelift_light.jpgFirst of all, the exterior. The new Honda Accord facelift – which we could call the Accord 7.5 – has a totally new redesigned rear end. You could actually see this new design for quite some time already as it made it’s debut in the Japanese Honda Inspire which is the same car as our Honda Accord, so it might not be new to some of you. Instead of the long horizontal strips of lights which look like an evolution of the previous 6th gen Honda Accord’s tail lamps, you now get twin triangular headlamps flanking a boot lid which at first glance looks inspired by Mercedes Benz, but this look actually reminds me of an evolution of the 2006 Honda Civic Coupe USDM model‘s rear end. The tail lamps are now lit up by LED instead of conventional bulbs. LEDs light up faster than conventional bulbs so it is slightly safer in emergency brake situations. Reverse indicators have been separated from the tail lamp cluster and moved to flank the number plate area. The third brake light has also been integrated onto the boot lid.

As for the front, the grille has been updated with Honda’s new floating grille, like the one on the 2006 Honda Civic. The Accord 2.0 also gets fog lamps, which has become standard equipment on all three Accord variants. The 3.0 V6 models gets HID headlamps. I had expected the 2.4 to offer them as well, but unfortunately not. The 2.4 and 3.0 V6 models now come with signal indicators on the wing mirrors.

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The interior is mostly the same as the pre-facelifted version, but there is a newly designed shift lever. The 2.4 VTi-L and 3.0 V6 models gets a new premium audio system which includes a 6-disc CD changer. The seats remain the same as the pre-facelift edition – fabric for the 2.0 VTi and leather for the 2.4 VTi-L and 3.0 V6 models. There is also a new footlight feature which allows for easier seat navigation. The footlight’s brightness is adjustable via a rheostat integrated into the trip meter reset knob which also controls the meter panel brightness. The 2.0 VTi model gains cruise control, with cruise control and audio controls on the steering wheel as with it’s older brothers the 2.4 and 3.0.

One gripe, while a variable speed intermittent wiper control is available on both the 1.8S and 2.0S Honda Civic models, on the Honda Accord it is only offered on the 3.0 V6 model even with the new facelift. They should have added this useful feature to the 2.4 VTi-L at least, if not across the whole model range as how it is with the 2006 Honda Civic.

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Engine remains the same for the 2.0 VTi and the 3.0 V6, but there has been an upgrade on the K24A in the 2.4 VTi-L. The 2.4 VTi-L originally came with a K24A which made 160hp at 5,500rpm. Through intake and exhaust adjustments as well as some tuning on the variable valve timing, the new K24A now outputs 170hp at 5,800rpm. Torque figures are 218Nm at 4,000rpm. Like the 3.0 V6, the 2.4 VTi-L’s K24A also has a drive-by-wire throttle, as opposed to the 2.0 litre model’s conventional cable throttle.

Just for a recap, the Accord 2.0 VTi uses the K20A3, which makes 150hp at 6,000rpm and 186Nm of torque at 4,500rpm. The Accord 3.0 V6 has a J30A4 V6 SOHC VTEC engine, making 240 horsepower at 6,250rpm and 287Nm of torque at 5,000rpm. I was expecting us to get the new 2006 J30A5, which makes 244hp and 288Nm through intake and exhaust improvements. But we’re not losing much, the workshops at Sunway could probably extract more out of the engine if you really wanted more power. All three engine options come with 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmissions, but there is no paddle-shift option like the one available on the Civic.

2006accordfacelift_vsa.jpgThere have been no updates to the suspension system on all three models, which run on independant double wishbone with coil spring and stabilizer on both front and rear. Power steering remains the hydraulic type, there is no electric power steering option. In the pre-facelift model, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) was only available on the 3.0 V6 model, but on this new facelift, the 2.4 VTi-L comes with it as well. For a sedan that’s supposed to be luxury, I’d expect the 2.0 to come with VSA as well. Even the lower end Honda Civic 1.8S has VSA. Why not the 2.0 Accord?

The new Honda Accord facelift comes in Nighthawk Black Pearl, Bronze Silver Pearl, Opal Beige Metallic, Alabaster Silver Metallic, and Silverstone Metallic. Silverstone is for the 3.0 V6 only, while the rest are for the 2.0 and 2.4 litres only, except for Nighthawk Black Pearl which is available for the whole model range.

The prices have gone up across the model range.

2006 Honda Accord Facelift Prices

Old Price New Price
Honda Accord 2.0 VTi RM135,800 RM136,800
Honda Accord 2.4 VTi-L RM154,800 RM159,800
Honda Accord 3.0 V6 RM209,800 RM212,800

The 2.0 VTi and 2.4 VTi-L is already available, and the 3.0 V6 will be available from September 2006 onwards. Modulo accessories for the Honda Accord like the front lip and boot lid spoiler will also be available from September 2006 onwards, but expect a premium price for them as they are imported straight from Japan and imported plastics tax is high here in Malaysia.

Honda Malaysia has set a sales target of 450 units of the new Honda Accord facelift a month, and is targetting a matura market comprising of married professionals and entrepreneurs within the 35-50 year old age bracket. I haven’t actually driven the car, but I am trying to get a test car. It will likely be a 2.0 VTi or a 2.4 VTi-L. If I manage to get one, I’ll be writing a test drive report, so stay tuned for that!

Update: Read my Honda Accord 2.4 test drive report here.

Video: 2006 Honda Accord Facelift Advertisement

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Nice entertainment unit. The 2.4 and 3.0 models receive an upgraded premium audio system.

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New adjustable foot lights illuminate the area below the dashboard.

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Self-illuminating meters with adjustable brightness.

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The new facelift comes with a redesigned shift lever.

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New floating grille for the exterior.

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Large boot for the golf bags.

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The 3.0 V6 model features dual chrome tipped exhaust mufflers.

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Mercedes-ish rear lights.

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Safety features include airbags. Side airbags with occupant position detection system (OPDS) only for the 3.0 V6 model.

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Keeping up with the trend, wing mirrors on the 2.4 and 3.0 model feature signal lights.

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Chrome tipped exhaust muffler.

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This Accord features the Modulo front lip available in September.

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This is a 2.0 VTi model.

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The Honda Accord 3.0 V6, notice the dual exhausts.

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Another look at the Modulo front lips. There are no Modulo side skirts at the moment though.

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Modulo boot-lid spoiler.

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This is how the LED tail lamps and third brake light looks like lit up.

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