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Honda Malaysia officially launched the new Honda Accord this morning in Setia Alam. The ninth-generation Accord enters the D-segment sedan market as a CKD locally-assembled model in three variants – 2.0 VTi, 2.0 VTi-L and the range topping 2.4 VTi-L. The previous two Accords were launched in Malaysia with a V6 option, but there will be no six-pot this time around.

The outgoing Accord (ASEAN gets the same body as North America) had a very large body, and Honda’s surveys pointed them to the path of a smaller footprint – at 4,870 mm, this car is 80 mm shorter overall than the outgoing Accord, and its wheelbase length of 2,775 mm is 25 mm less than before. Coupled to the fact that it’s slightly wider (+5 mm) and lower (-10 mm), the new Accord looks slimmer and more athletic in the metal.

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Despite the smaller exterior dimensions, the new Accord’s cabin is bigger than the already capacious interior of the eighth-gen car, thanks to improved packaging and redesigned seats. Rear legroom is up by 35.5 mm, and the vast boot holds 23 litres more than before – the space on offer is really impressive.

Under the hood, there’s a new powerplant in the form of the 2.4 litre Earth Dreams Technology engine, which makes 175 hp at 6,200 rpm and 225 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm.

The new DOHC i-VTEC unit replaces the long-serving K24A engine, which made 180 PS at 6,500 rpm and 222 Nm at 4,300 rpm in the previous Accord 2.4. Both max power and torque figures are now made lower in the rev range (300 rpm lower in both cases) and the EDT unit is lighter by 6% and more fuel-efficient by 7%, according to Honda.

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The 2.0 litre SOHC i-VTEC engine is a carryover, but it has been tuned to offer up to 10% better fuel-efficiency. Max outputs are almost the same at 155 PS and 190 Nm, which is more (+ 1 Nm) or less (- 1 PS) similar to what the eighth-gen 2.0 made.

Both engines are paired to a five-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. If you’re asking why no CVT, Honda reckons that Malaysians prefer ‘drivability’ over CVT qualities. The ECON Mode button, which optimises fuel consumption when you press it, makes its debut in the Accord.

Honda recognises that the outgoing Accord wasn’t very quiet on the move, and has included Active Noise Control and Active Sound Control systems in addition to a “strong insulation padding package” to improve NVH. Also new is the use of front MacPherson strut suspension in place of double wishbones.

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The steering system is now electric (Motion Adaptive EPS is interlinked with VSA) instead of hydraulic, an expected progression. The front strut + EPS combo saves 15.2 kg and reduces vibrations.

Moving on to tech, this is a much better equipped Accord than the somewhat spartan outgoing car. Standard across the board are LED daytime running lights, auto headlamps, LED rear lights, steering wheel audio controls, two colour screens on the centre stack (smaller one is a touch screen dedicated to audio controls, while the bigger i-MID above shows everything else), dual-zone air con, rear AC vents, front/rear parking sensors and 17-inch wheels (225/50 tyres).

From there, the 2.0 VTi-L adds on keyless entry with push start, cruise control, Bluetooth with steering buttons, black leather seats (beige fabric in the VTi), eight-way powered driver’s seat with lumbar, navigation, DVD player, HDD audio and reverse camera.

Also added is a temperature sensor for the automatic climate control, so that the appropriate blower speed can be maintained to achieve the requested interior temperature. The base model’s dual-zone air con also has an auto function, but the blower speed follows a pre-programmed schedule.

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On to the 2.4L, which is very well stocked. The 2.4 VTi-L further adds on Honda LaneWatch (more of that below), auto-leveling LED headlamps (also a first for Honda in Malaysia), steering paddle shifters, auto dimming rearview mirror, wood grain trim, powered front passenger seat, premium sound system with subwoofer and 18-inch wheels (235/45 tyres).

Honda LaneWatch (LW) displays a visual of the left lane on the big central screen once you flick the indicator. It can also be turned on manually via a button on the right stalk. LW gives the driver an 80-degree view of the left lane (standard wing mirror range is 20 degrees) as far back as 50 metres. The camera is located under the left wing mirror. Why only on one side? It would be strange to look left (where the screen is) while turning right, don’t you think?

Safety wise, the Accord gets Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), ABS, EBD and ISOFIX mounts across the board. The airbag count is two for the 2.0L models and four (dual front + side) for the 2.4L.

The new Accord is available in five colours – Modern Steel Metallic, Champagne Frost Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Taffeta White and Alabaster Silver Metallic (the first two are new colours). Prices start from RM139,800 for the 2.0 VTi model, rising to RM149,800 for the better equipped 2.0 VTi-L. The range topping 2.4 VTi-L is priced at RM172,800. Prices are OTR with insurance.

The after-sales package includes a five-year warranty with unlimited mileage, plus a new service interval of 10,000 km. Also, there are three Modulo accessory packages available, and the list of what they include are in the gallery below, as well as the pricing.

Click here to read our review of the new Accord, and view more pics. We also had a chat with Masao Nakano, Assistant Large Project Leader of the new Accord, where we dived deeper to fish out more details – click here to read the interview.

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