Our Fleet Test Drive: Honda Accord - 1st Report
27 January 2009
Finding answers to questions is what having a long-term test fleet is all about, and with our new Honda Accord we've several queries.
For example, is the car, as Honda claimed bullishly late last year when it was launched, a more competitive alternative to the premium brands than the Japanese have ever managed before? Has changing the estate from utilitarian load lugger to stylish, sharp sports tourer harmed its usefulness? And will the estate succeed in raising its ratio of sales from the previous generation's 25% to 40% as fleet boss Graham Avent predicts it will?
We'll know more after the car's completed its six-month stint with us.
Honda has been very vocal recently about how more and more of its cars are available with higher levels of standard spec, and our car is certainly well equipped. EX trim, one of four available and only one off the top-spec EX GT, means 17-inch alloys , eight-way powered front seats, satnav, rear parking camera, Bluetooth, cruise, powered tailgate  and leather interior as well as a host of other premium features all come for no extra cost. In fact, the only plundering of the options list came with the addition of metallic paint, in our case the stand-out Milano Red, for £425.
Although CO2 figures are average rather than outstanding at 157g/km for our 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel  compared with a comparatively powered BMW 318d's 125g/km,
it does still get under the all-important 161g/km capital allowance threshold coming next April. Economy is also around 10mpg behind the BMW, which benefits from the CO2 -chopping Efficient Dynamics technology.
KwikCarcost currently predicts the Accord will hold an impressive 40.7% of its value, which contributes to a 51.7 pence per mile running cost figure.
Now starts the process of immersing the Accord in everyday life, to see if it can really share the premium ground dominated by BMW, Audi and Mercedes, and whether, and to what extent, practicality has been sacrificed in the search for style.