The customer, says Honda, is always right – and so the Japanese firm has given us the new Accord GT.
The GT shows that the Accord is still a force to be reckoned with. Impeccable build quality, a great engine and an engaging chassis mean it remains a class contender. The styling tweaks are subtle, but in fairness there wasn’t anything wrong with the standard car’s look. As a rival to prestige brand models, it has a lot going for it, particularly in terms of equipment. Yet a range-topping Ford Mondeo Titanium offers nearly as much standard kit and an even more involving driving experience.
It’s aimed at Honda fans who are looking for something a little more sporty than the standard Accord, and is being lined up to tackle the likes of the BMW 3-Series head-on.
It’s a tough challenge, so to lend a hand, engineers have given the family saloon a little late-life nip and tuck. However, with a replacement due in less than a year, can the changes help the Honda win the fight? We were first behind the wheel to find out.
A walk around the GT reveals only subtle revisions have been made to the styling. Classy smoked chrome is used for the grille and door handles, while graphite-coloured alloys and a tiny bootlid spoiler complete the look. Also exclusive to the GT is the striking White Pearl paint finish. Overall, the Accord remains a handsome car, despite its advancing years.
Climb aboard and the same understated approach has been adopted inside. The most noticeable change is the addition of polished carbon fibre on the dashboard and the door pulls. Look a little harder and you’ll see new fabric is used to complement the half-leather seat trim. It doesn’t matter that these updates are far from radical – the cabin is a pleasant place in which to spend time. Getting comfortable at the wheel is easy, and there’s ample space in the rear. There’s also a generous amount of equipment – satellite navigation, Bluetooth and a CD multichanger come as standard – while all the cabin materials have a high-quality feel and are tightly screwed together.
Under the skin, the GT-spec modifications comprise the addition of sports suspension. This slightly stiffer set-up gives the Accord great composure in corners, while still maintaining the car’s supple ride over bumpy surfaces. Only slightly numb steering detracts from the experience.
Elsewhere, it’s business as usual. This means Honda’s excellent 138bhp 2.2-litre i-CTDi diesel has been carried over unchanged. Punchy, refined and free-revving, it remains one of the best oil-burners in this sector. Combined with the standard slick shifting six-speed manual transmission, it also offers great fuel economy.
At £20,767, the Accord GT comfortably undercuts prestige rivals from BMW and Audi. And if you demand greater practicality, there’s always the stylish Tourer estate version. Better still, with an impressive 13th-place finish in the Top 100 of our Driver Power 2007 reliability and satisfaction survey, it’s clear there’s life in the old dog yet.
RIVAL: Audi A4 1.9 TDI S Line The mid-size Audi will also be replaced by a new model next year. Still, it currently offers a handsome shape, top-notch quality and a premium badge. But it can’t match the Accord’s kit, while the TDI is unrefined and lacks the pace of the Honda unit.