Eh what the heck, price increase so much, and only 1.5-litre engine some more, better buy conti lo like that“. Okay fine, we made that up, but that was pretty much the sentiment of many netizens after the launch of the 10th-generation Honda Accord here in Malaysia. Don’t believe us? Check out the comments section on our video.

Priced from RM185,900 for the 1.5TC variant, the Honda Accord is slowly creeping up in terms of price point towards the bigger players in the segment, even matching the “elusive” continental cars such as the recently-launched Volkswagen Passat Elegance (RM189,012).

With barely any difference in terms of price, is it really a better idea to go with the Passat? Let’s see if the netizens are right with an spec-for-spec comparison.

POWERTRAIN

A common complaint we heard online is that the all-new Accord “only” has a 1.5-litre engine. However, when compared to other similar D-segment players, the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine actually produces one of the highest output of the bunch – 201 hp and 260 Nm of torque.

On the Passat, the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine produces 190 hp and a segment-leading 320 Nm of torque. Torque to weight ratio wise, the Accord achieves a figure of 0.18 Nm/kg, compared to 0.22 Nm/kg on the Passat.

Based on the torque figure, the Accord probably loses out slightly to the Passat in terms of straight-line acceleration – a quick check online shows that the Passat does the century sprint in about eight seconds, compared to the claimed nine seconds from Honda.

Obviously, performance shouldn’t be the main factor in a swanky D-segment executive sedan, but there really shouldn’t be any issues when you to overtake someone on the highway in either of these cars.

Although losing on outright performance, there are other merits to having a smaller capacity engine too – The Accord claims to have a fuel consumption of 6.3 l/100km.

On the other hand, the larger 2.0-litre engine on the Passat has a fuel consumption figure of 6.5 l/100km – admittedly still an admirable result.

With a smaller engine, you’ll also be paying a lower road tax rate – The 1,498 displacement engine on the Accord costs just RM 90 per year, while the larger 1,984 cc engine on the Passat costs almost RM380 per year to keep it on the road.

If driving dynamics is something you care about though, the seven-speed wet-clutch DSG gearbox will probably be quite a bit better to drive than the CVT on the Honda Accord.

INTERIOR

Most D-segment sedans have pretty conservative interior designs, and that’s no different in our two contenders here. But what sets these cars apart are the features packed in the cabin.

Apart from the basics, it’s apparent that the Passat is slightly better-equipped in this match-up. On the German side of the ring, the Passat gains on its tri-zone automatic air conditioning, and a 12-way powered driver seat with a massaging function.

The Passat also has a larger 9.2-inch infotainment display compared to the 8-inch unit on the Accord. Additionally, the Passat Elegance also gets wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity on its Discover Pro infotainment system.

Space wise though, the Accord still trumps here. Measuring larger in all dimensions, passengers should get more leg room, shoulder room and also headroom in the Accord. Surprisingly though, the Passat has the larger boot capacity between the two, coming in at 586 litres – 16 litres larger than the Accord.

SAFETY

Comparing the Volkswagen Passat Elegance against the standard 1.5TC Honda Accord, safety features are pretty much neck and neck between the two. Though with just a slight top-up in price from the Passat, the Accord 1.5TC-P (RM195,900) does offer quite a bit of value when it comes to safety.

With the Premium variant, the Honda Accord gets the full suite of Honda Sensing advance driver assistance features, which includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist System, Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation and Auto High Beam.

Although no advance safety features are included, The Passat Elegance still comes equipped with Side Assist with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, and Blind Spot Monitor – the former two only available with the Accord 1.5TC-P.

VERDICT

There’s really not a wrong answer in this segment of vehicles – it all comes down to what features really matter to you. If you’re looking for a better drivability, the Volkswagen Passat Elegance with the higher torque figure and DSG gearbox might be a better fit.

On the other hand, the Honda Accord in the 1.5TC-P variant does have a better safety equipment list if that’s what you’re looking for.

Of course, there’s always the venerable Toyota Camry, which comes with the Toyota Safety Sense advanced driver assistance suite, and the brilliant TNGA platform which makes the car a joy to drive.

If you don’t mind the ride height (or perceived image), SUVs such as the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-8 and the Hyundai Santa Fe are also great value propositions at this price point.

We have reviewed the Volkswagen Passat Elegance and Toyota Camry in full – do check them out to help you make up your mind, too.