Honda Accord Tourer

There are certain things you can't escape if you live in a town - not least of which are regular trips to the local dump with bags of rubbish. It has been a frequent haunt since I took a week off work to do a massive garden clear-up. Thankfully, two trips in our Honda Accord Tourer was all it took to dispose of 11 bin liners full of weeds, ivy and grass cuttings. The trouble is, the Honda is so good at this sort of work, it's in constant demand for weekend load-lugging - in the last nine months,

  • Comfortable driving position, good dealer service, easy to fold seats, standard kit, punchy engine
  • Beige seats and boot carpet show dirt, several cabin rattles, sunroof stopped working<br/>

There are certain things you can't escape if you live in a town - not least of which are regular trips to the local dump with bags of rubbish. It has been a frequent haunt since I took a week off work to do a massive garden clear-up. Thankfully, two trips in our Honda Accord Tourer was all it took to dispose of 11 bin liners full of weeds, ivy and grass cuttings. The trouble is, the Honda is so good at this sort of work, it's in constant demand for weekend load-lugging - in the last nine months, we've racked up more than 20,000 miles.

You can't put your finger on any one thing that makes the Accord so popular, because it covers most bases very well. Obviously, the boot is a major attraction. At 1,707 litres with all the seats down, it has a vast cargo area. But there are some neat touches that make it rise above its rivals - things such as seats that fold flat in a single movement using only one lever. The electric tailgate is also brilliantly useful, although colleagues have spoken about their dogs being puzzled about the boot door seeming to open on its own...

So it's easy to use as a load-lugger, but it also does hassle-free motoring well. From a driver's point of view, it's superb. Our car is the 2.4 Ex-ecutive, which has an upmarket ambience about it. The standard satellite-navigation system is one of the easiest to use because of its touch screen, which also incorporates the audio controls. And the front seats are among the most comfortable I've sat in. They're electric and multi-adjustable and it's easy to find a decent driving position.

However, they're not perfect, because the light-coloured leather marks too easily. We spent a good couple of hours cleaning the seats one weekend and still couldn't get them spotless. The same criticism applies to the boot as well - all those trips to the tip have left their mark on the carpet, which does seem to scuff easily.

Honda recently finished fourth in our annual Driver Power satisfaction survey, with reliability one of the firm's key strengths. But it hasn't been such positive news for our long-termer. In our last report we told you the xenon headlights needed adjusting, and that has since been sorted under warranty. Whitehouse Honda of Bexleyheath, Kent, did the work - and we only had to wait 20 minutes.

The sunroof also packed up, although we managed to get that fixed at the 12,500-mile first service, even though we were slightly late getting it done, with the odometer reading 13,190 miles. As we hoped, the service was completed with the minimum of fuss, costing us a mere £105.26, while the dealer fixed the roof and cured the squeaking driver's window, too.

Unfortunately, the sunroof has failed again, while an annoying series of squeaks and rattles has developed. The loudest of these is coming from the boot, but the folding rear seats are also murmuring. On the plus side, a noise we noticed from the glovebox seems to have cured itself.

The car has also returned to the dealer for a series of updates, all covered under warranty. The alarm was tweaked to make it less sensitive to extreme temperatures, the tailgate dampers changed and the engine intake breather pipe replaced - apparently it wasn't manufactured to the correct tolerances. The only other reliability issue has been a slow puncture, but National Tyre Service plugged the hole for only £20. Despite its expertise with loads and driver comfort, the Honda hasn't had a completely smooth ride so far, and the shine is starting to fade from the ownership experience.

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