Skip advert
Advertisement

Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC ES GT

Diesel power and mid-life makeover give saloon a timely boost

The cleanest and most efficient diesel ever to feature in the Accord is designed to turn the Honda from a bit-part player in the saloon car market into a leading light. But its diesel powerplant isn’t all that’s new. 

A mild makeover has given it a subtle lift, with an angular front bumper and dark chrome grille providing slightly more visual impact. Our ES GT test car’s alloys also offer a welcome boost.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Honda Accord

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_narrow","fid":"68307","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image"}}]]

Whatever you think of the exterior, the Honda has an air of precision-engineered excellence inside. The angular dashboard and sheer number of buttons on the centre console won’t be universally popular, but the switchgear works superbly and it all feels incredibly well built.

The Accord is more spacious than the cramped Alfa from behind the wheel. Slender windscreen pillars also ensure there are smaller blind spots. And there are some fun neat details, too. The wings on top of the seats feel reassuring around your shoulders, and the red footwell illumination provides a classy ambience at night.

The screen for the optional sat-nav is poor, though. It costs a hefty £1,150, but its dim, clunky graphics look as if they’re from an Eighties computer.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Rear space is disappointing for a car of this size, too, yet the seats are comfortable and still provide more space than in the 159. Plus, the 467-litre boot is bigger, and has a low sill which makes loading heavy items easier. 

Hit the road, and the revised 2.2-litre i-DTEC engine is the star of the show. It feels more like a petrol than a diesel unit, and its smooth nature and lively responses give it a sporty feel.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Acceleration is swift and in-gear pace is strong, but you need to use the entire rev range if you want to make the most of the performance on offer – it’s often quicker to downshift than rely on the engine’s torque to do the job.

The i-DTEC unit’s smoothness and overall flexibility add to the impression of technical efficiency from behind the wheel, and all the controls have a very accurate feel. A fantastic gearshift is another Honda trademark, and the Civic Type R-inspired lever doesn’t disappoint, delivering quicker and crisper changes than the Alfa.  

The Honda inspires more confidence in corners, and turns in swiftly thanks to well weighted steering that’s light at low speed yet firms up reassuringly at pace. Relaxed suspension settings mean there is some body roll, but movements are well controlled and there’s plenty of grip. It’s best at speed, as the set-up cushions occupants over the worst bumps, and the well judged damping maintains its composure.

Things are less assured around town, where the Honda feels more jittery and thumps over potholes at low speed. 

At the end of our test, the Honda recorded economy of 36.4mpg, ranking it ahead of its Italian rival – will that be enough to tip the scales in its favour? 

Details

Chart position: 1
WHY: Visual changes are slight, but the mechanical differences are more obvious. The cleanest diesel ever to feature in an Accord is the biggest highlight.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

No more EV! New BMW X3 gets petrol, diesel and PHEV power only
BMW X3 - front
News

No more EV! New BMW X3 gets petrol, diesel and PHEV power only

The all-new premium BMW X3 SUV has a sharp new look and cutting-edge tech, but no iX3 EV this time around
18 Jun 2024
New Citroen C3 Aircross gets seven-seats to fight Dacia Jogger, plus £25k pure-electric version
Citroen C3 Aircross - front reveal
News

New Citroen C3 Aircross gets seven-seats to fight Dacia Jogger, plus £25k pure-electric version

Citroen has somehow managed to cram seven seats into its new compact SUV, although the pure-electric e-C3 Aircross is only available with five
19 Jun 2024
Car Deal of the Day: £14,000 off a factory fresh, top-of-the-range Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf
News

Car Deal of the Day: £14,000 off a factory fresh, top-of-the-range Nissan Leaf

Nissan’s electric family hatchback with a huge discount is our Deal of the Day for 20 June
20 Jun 2024