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Our Fleet Test Drive: Honda Accord - Final Report

Date: 08 July 2009   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £24,790
Key rival: VW Passat

When Honda's Accord Tourer joined us late last year it came with an ambitious claim to premium brand status and the ability to challenge the usual German suspects.

Nearly 7000-miles later the verdict is that this imposing wagon, with a profile that looks less like a utilitarian holdall than its predecessor, comes close on several fronts but overall falls short against Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

The most fundamental failing relates to the Accord's sombre cabin, which lacks the ergonomic cohesion and classy ambience of the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series. Instruments and controls [1] are too scattered and not intuitive enough, even if the level of standard equipment impresses.

It took some time to work through the onboard gizmos, although the tome-like handbook provided a useful back-up.

Some gadgetry jars, like the irritating green 'economy' arrows, instructing when to change up and down, often when the feel of the car and driving instinct dictate otherwise. And for a car bristling with techno wizardry, the need for a cloth to clean the rear parking camera lens [2] was plain daft. It regularly needed wiping, especially with early morning starts. Finally on the technology front, remote opening and closing of the powered tailgate seemed indulgent at first, but with time, the key fob button or hatch-mounted switch proved useful.

Where the Accord has edged nearer to its German rivals is in its feeling of solidity with the thick-rimmed leather wheel [3], direct, accurate gear shift, and progressive smooth braking.

The Tourer is one of the heftiest estates in its class, a factor maybe influencing a disappointing 43.0mpg average and shortage of low down pulling power from the 150PS, 2.2-litre diesel, complete with raucous engine note.

Honda has, however, produced a power and handling improvement in the form of a sharper, more eager but £3000 dearer 180PS Type-S model. Its overall fuel consumption suffers by just under 1mpg, but the unimpressive CO2 rating of 157g/km remains unchanged.

Our Accord's driving dynamics were compromised by the steering rack being lubricated by a rogue batch of grease, which generated a hesitant sticky feel on sweeping motorway bends. But that was the only perceptible fault in a Honda that has narrowed, but not quite closed, the gap to Germany's finest.

Honda Accord Tourer 2.2 i-DTEC EX
Mileage6925
Claimed combined
consumption
47.9mpg
Our average
consumption
42.8mpg
P11D price£25,290
Model price range£20,190-£27,490
CO2 (tax) 157g/km/22%
BIK 20/40% per month£93/£185
Service intervalvariable mls
Insurancegroup 11
Warranty3yrs/90,000mls
Boot space (min/max)406/672 litres
Engine size/power2199cc/148PS
Top speed/0-62mph129mph/9.6secs
Why we’re running itDoes Accord meet Honda’s
claims that it’s taking the
brand into premium territory?
PositiveHandsome, loaded spec,
dependability
NegativeAverage economy,
lacks low end pull



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