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 Tourer 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 wagons like the Ford Mondeo Estate, the Accord looks very expensive indeed. In fact, prices are closer to compact executive estates like the Audi A4 Avant. 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.
The rear suspension intrudes into the luggage bay, and because of the car’s slinky roofline, the Tourer’s boot is also quite shallow. That means the Honda can’t carry as much cargo as its rivals can. Many rivals are also more generous on passenger space, although few will complain that things are too tight.
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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Well worth a look if you’re after a big estate, as this is one of the most stylish, despite losing some practicality as a result. The diesel engine is the perfect match, too.