Honda Accord

The customer, says Honda, is always right – and so the Japanese firm has given us the new Accord GT.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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.

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