There are four engines to choose from, a 154bhp 2.0-litre petrol, a 198bhp 2.4-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesels with either 148- or 177bhp. All are smooth and strong. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, and all but the higher-powered diesel are available with an optional five-speed automatic, which saps performance.
Accord owners are likely to be doing long motorway shifts in their cars, so the jittery high-speed ride is less than ideal. Things get worse around town, because the low-speed ride is even more lumpy and unsettled. The car holds on reasonably well through bends, but the numb steering means you won’t have a great deal of fun.
The engines are audible when revved hard, but they’re also pretty smooth, a characteristic they share with the gearshift. Wind noise is also pretty well isolated, so it’s a real shame that the loud, incessant road noise you hear at all speeds ruins the Accord’s overall refinement.
Compared with other family cars like the Ford Mondeo, the Accord looks very expensive indeed. In fact, prices are closer to compact executive cars like the Audi A4. Granted, resale values are more Audi-like than Ford-like, but it’s still too pricey to recommend. Also, fuel economy and emissions are nowhere near as good as those of rivals, making the Accord expensive to run.
Traditionally, Honda has had a spectacular record in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys. In 2012, however, owners rated the Accord as below average for reliability. It was given the same rating for interior quality, and we can see why; it lacks the lustre and attention to detail of some rivals.
The Accord has all the latest electronic braking and anti-skid features, including trailer stability assistance, and there are six airbags and anti-whiplash front headrests if the worst happens. Diesel EX and Type S and 2.4-litre petrol EX models offer the option of a lane-change-warning system and cruise control that brakes the car in emergencies. Deadlocks and an alarm are standard.
Honda is justifiably proud of the Accord's comfortable, all-enveloping seats. The relatively slim pillars are another boon, giving you impressive visibility. The dashboard layout is less clear; there’s a vast array of identically coloured and similarly shaped switches, which are impossible to tell apart at a glance.
There are bigger family saloons than the Accord, but it's still spacious and the seats in the back are almost as comfortable as those up front. It's not quite so competitive for boot space, although few will find it inadequate. Being a saloon rather than a hatchback also restricts what you can get in.
Entry-level ES models don’t get Bluetooth or automatic lights or wipers, which you may expect in a car costing this much. ES GT versions fill those gaps, plus they have a sporty bodykit, while EX models are loaded with equipment. The high-powered diesel engine is available only in Type S trim, which gets xenon headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels.
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The lower-powered diesel gives all the performance you need and keeps your fuel bills low. Entry-level ES trim has plenty of kit, too.