Honda Accord review
The Honda Accord is a premium alternative to mainstream saloons. It's not the largest in class, but it's luxurious and well equipped
The Honda Accord boasts superb build quality and an upmarket interior design that means it can challenge established German rivals like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 in the premium executive class. The exterior design is subtle, and the Accord is refined and comfortable, which makes it an excellent cruiser. Available either as a saloon or estate, the Accord isn't the most practical car in its class and it also has higher running costs than most of its major rivals.
Our choice: Accord 2.2 i-DTEC ES 4dr
The Honda Accord is smartly styled, but it doesn't especially stand out or break the mould like the radical looking Honda Civic. It looks more upmarket than rivals like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia, but can't match the badge appeal of Audi or BMW. The interior is excellent, with attractive, soft touch plastics throughout and reassuringly high build quality.
Engine choice is quite limited, with two petrols and one diesel to choose from. Fortunately, they all provide strong performance. The 2.0-litre VTEC petrol comes with 154bhp and is quite smooth, while the 2.4-litre comes with 198bhp and therefore feels particularly brisk. However the best option is the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel – it's ultra quiet but has enough torque to make overtaking easy. The Accord also boasts precise steering and a slick gearchange, but it's competent rather than thrilling, and the BMW 3 Series gives a much more engaging drive.
The Accord was awarded a maximum five-star rating for safety in Euro NCAP crash tests. Because the brand has its own testing facility, the Accord is one of the safest cars in its class. Six airbags, anti-whiplash headrests and ESP are all standard fit. It is also likely to be one of the most reliable. Honda ranked an impressive sixth overall in the 2012 Driver Power survey, while the Accord finished an admirable 38th.
Unlike some rivals, the Honda Accord isn't available as a hatchback, which blunts its practicality. The boot opening is quite narrow, so getting large items of luggage in and out can be difficult, and the rear suspension setup protrudes into the loading area, making it an awkward shape. With 467 litres of space it trails behind most of its rivals, but the rear seats do split and fold to make room for longer items. Passenger space is also an issue – there's a decent amount of headroom, but the rear passenger footwell is quite tight, and its not as roomy as a Toyota Avensis or Skoda Superb. The main dash controls are a little confusing, but each of the four model lines is well equipped, with important features like air-con and cruise control included as standard. GT spec adds sporty extras like an aerodynamic bodykit, bigger wheels, leather trimmed steering wheel and alloy gearknob.
Honda doesn't currently have any stop-start or turbo petrol technology at its disposal, and consequently the Accord is some way off the pace when it comes to economy and emissions. The diesel is the most frugal and in ES trim returns just over 50mpg and emits 138g/km. The 2.0-litre VTEC petrol can manage over 40mpg and 159g/km with a manual gearbox, while the bigger petrols and automatic versions are considerably worse.