First drive: Honda Accord 2.4 i-VTEC

* 2.4-litre Accord on test * High emissions * Refined and supple...

First drive: Honda Accord 2.4 i-VTEC

There's a lot to like about the 2.4-litre Accord. It feels fabulously well made, the seats are as comfortable as an old armchair, and the engine is super-smooth.

If you do a lot of motorway miles, you'll also appreciate the supple ride and refinement.

You'll be able to enjoy playing with lots of toys, too. If you can think of a piece of kit, the Accord's got it, as well as the option of some crash-avoidance and sophisticated cruise control systems you've probably never even dreamt of.

The rest of the car isn't so good. All that equipment is controlled by too many scattered buttons and the ride is fidgety around town. The steering feels artificially weighted and, although competent, the Accord isn't exciting to drive in any way.

The £1300 optional auto gearbox fitted to our test car also blunts the engine's performance. Although the long gearing keeps carbon dioxide emissions down (204g/km compared with the manual's 209g/km) and ups fuel economy (32.8mpg compared with 32.1mpg), it also hurts pace to the extent that the engine never feels like it puts out 198bhp.

Being available in top-level trim only pushes the price up, and running costs are high. The lesser Accords make much more sense.

• The Accord 2.4 i-VTEC is available now from £23,260 (£24,560 for the automatic version).