Honda Accord review

Our Rating: 
3
3.0/5.0
2008 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Honda Accord is a premium alternative to mainstream saloons. It's not the largest car in its class, but it's luxurious and well equipped

For: 
Upmarket looks, premium interior, smooth diesel
Against: 
Poor efficiency, limited practicality, stiff suspension

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Way back when, the Honda Accord was a serious alternative to compact executive saloons like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, thanks to its superb build, high-end interior and sleek styling. However, as its rivals have moved on, the Honda Accord has stood still somewhat and it's suffered in terms of efficiency and driver appeal.

As it's star has waned, the Honda Accord now sits somewhere between more mainstream saloons such as the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat. The Honda Accord is available as either a Tourer saloon or estate, but there's no hatchback alternative unfortunately. Practicality isn't a strong point for the Honda Accord, either, with boot size and rear legroom failing to match that of its competitors.

The Honda Accord is available in four different trim levels - entry-level ES, ES GT, EX and top-of-the-range Type S. The Honda Accord isn't necessarily a high-achiever but it's definitely a decent all-rounder with tonnes of safety features and equipment. It offers lots of accessories and a strong driving experience too.

Our choice: Accord 2.2 i-DTEC ES 4dr

Styling

3.5

The Honda Accord is starting to feel a bit long in the tooth when compared to some of its rivals. The design even comes off second best in comparison to other cars in the Honda range such as the latest Civic. Inside, though, the Honda Accord boasts superb build quality with lots of soft-touch plastics and solid-feeling switchgear.

The Honda Accord's interior is definitely more upmarket than that found in the Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia, so it's a shame the Accord lacks the badge appeal of a BMW, Audi or Mercedes.

The Honda Accord comes well specced irrespective of trim level, and it gets alloy wheels and cruise control as standard. However, if you want larger wheels and features such as Active Cornering Lights and a leather interior, you'll have to opt for top-spec Type S models, which are considerably more expensive than the entry level Honda Accord ES. On the plus side, though, the Honda Accord ES does get smart touches such as a leather steering wheel and gear knob, plus USB connectivity and cruise control.

Driving

3.2

The Honda Accord gets two petrol engines and one diesel unit in its range, and they all have pretty decent performance. The entry-level 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol comes with 154bhp and is generally quite smooth, while 198bhp 2.4-litre i-VTEC is the quickest in the line-up thanks to a 0-62mph of 8.1 seconds.

The sole diesel unit, a 2.2-litre diesel, has 148bhp and it manages to reach 62mph in 9.4 seconds.

Honda Accord

Overall, despite its 'cockpit' inspired cabin and snug driving position, the Honda Accord isn't as exciting to drive as the Ford Mondeo, but it does offer precise steering and minimal body roll.

Reliability

4.2

In terms of safety, the Honda Accord is one of the safest cars in its class thanks to a top score of five-stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. All models in the Honda Accord range get lots of safety equipment, including electronic stability control (ESP), six airbags and anti-whiplash front headrests all as standard. Meanwhile, optional extras include lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

The Honda Accord finished 31st in our 2014 Driver Power survey, which is impressive for a car that's definitely starting to feel a little outdated. Overall, owners praised the Honda Accord for its in-car tech, build quality and reliability.

Practicality

3.4

The Honda Accord may look big, but step inside, and its size is deceptive. The saloon model gets a narrow boot and only has 497-litres of total boot space. Once again, this leaves the Honda Accord trailing most of its rivals. Those seeking more practicality might do well to consider the Honda Accord Tourer estate, which offers a maximum boot space of 1,183 litres.

All Honda Accord models come with 60:40 split/fold rear seats as standard, but passengers won't find as much rear legroom as you would in a Skoda Superb. One thing also lacking in the Honda Accord range is a hatchback alternative.

Running Costs

2.9

The Honda Accord seems off the pace in terms of economy and emissions when compared to the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat, which get ECOnetic and BlueMotion technology respectively as a way of reducing running costs.

Across the Honda Accord range, stop/start technology isn't available on any model, and both petrol versions offer poor fuel consumption at 40.9 mpg and 38.7mpg on their respective combined cycles. Their emissions are also high with 159/km for the 2.0-litre engine (this increases to 168g/km when it comes with the five-speed automatic gearbox), and 199g/km for the 2.4-litre. In automatic guise, the 2.4-litre model’s emissions drop slightly to 195g/km.

The 148bhp 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel engine is our pick of the Honda Accord range. It's impressively refined, smooth and manages 53.3mpg (46.3mpg for the automatic) on its combined cycle, plus 138g/km of CO2 (159g/km for the auto).

In short, Honda definitely has a lot of catching up to do in this department, with most rivals offering stop-start or turbo petrol engine technology to boost their efficiency numbers.

Disqus - noscript

Shame it didn't have 4 rings or a blue and white propellor badge, AE would praise its aggressive looks, reliability and quality.

For what its worth, a great car but now a runout model.
Effectively replaced by the Civic estate and the CRV SUV/Crossover thing.

I was about to say the same thing.

Must have been a slow day at AE for them to wheel out a rehashed review of a car launched about 5 years ago and likely to be discontinued.

AE can you explain why for reliability it gets only 4 stars? I can't think of any manufacturer with a better pedigree for Reliability.

Yes the lack of those badges is the Accord's main drawback

Well at the one level this review is correct. I complain in my Honda dealer's that Honda have lost the plot on cars in this segment of the market. The Accord hasn't markedly changed in a decade - with just the revamp in 2008.

The Accord has never been a good car for narrow twisty lanes (it soon gets a little out of shape), but driving on most windy A or B roads, the road-holding and handling are superb. It is a car that exudes safety and untroubled progress, even in the Tourer form.

On paper (or on the web) it falls short of the more modern computer degenerated fantasy mpg figures quoted by many manufacturers these days. And of course that fantasy then feeds the CO2 fantasy figures as well. In the real world my diesel Accord Tourer produces long journey mpg averages in the upper 40's and as I only start once and stop once that exaggerator of mpg/more to go wrong, would add nothing.

One area neglected by Honda (and the Japanese in general) is a decent modern automatic gearbox. The current offering is at least a 15 year old design, but it doesn't seem to be a Honda priority at least for the European market.

Having driven Mercs, Beamers and Audi's of a similar size they are just as lacking in room, especially in the rear and boot - and all suffer from the "and would like the steering wheel option" syndrome. There is hardly anything you add to my 5 year old Accord EX.

Given the undoubted reliability of Hondas I would say it is still a 4 star car today.

3/5 stars is far too generous for this bland car. Yes it's probably one of the most reliable cars in the class but you've gotta rule this out if driving enjoyment is important to you. I've given up waiting for Honda or Toyota/Lexus to build a standard car with the driver in mind. The GT86 is great but it flair doesn't rub off on its standard cars.

Last updated: 28 Apr, 2014
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