- We like...Punchy engine, smooth ride
- We don't...Not the BMW that it would like to be
Latest Accord saloon sets its sights on luring away BMW 3-series buyers. But is it good enough to win them over?In the city nearest to where Motors.co.uk hangs out, every other minicab is an Accord. Now Honda may not thank us for pointing that out – especially when they’re busily marketing the latest model as a car you’d want on your buying shortlist next to BMW’s 3-series and Audi’s A4.
But the fact that cabbies love ’em pays the big Honda a huge compliment. You see, taxi drivers want their cars to be spacious, tough, good to drive and, above all, reliable across huge mileages. For them, the Accord scores well on all counts. Not least reliability: for years it has performed consistently well in customer satisfaction and reliability surveys.
So, is it the 3-series beater that Honda would dearly love it to be? Not in our book. First, it can’t quite match the BMW’s superlative suspension control and steering response. It dsn’t have that ‘think and you’re there’ sense that the 3 delivers.
That said, the Honda runs it pretty darned close. Honda is upfront in saying that it set the BMW as the benchmark for the team developing this car. Fair play to them, because they’ve mimicked the feel and response of its steering, and copied the way that it eases down the road, soaking up road imperfections. But a copy always feel slightly second-best , and that’s where the Accord finds itself.
Against other family saloons, though, it all but cleans up. To drive, it bests Volkswagen’s Passat, Renault’s Laguna and the Peugeot 407, yielding only (at the moment) to Ford’s Mondeo, which for us is one of the most rewarding cars to drive, period.
And its 2.2 litre diesel motor hustles along what is one of the biggest cars of its type, pulling smoothly and hard. It sounds rattly when cold but warms quickly and quietens to chuckle along sweetly. At motorway speeds you near no more than a purr, while an expertly insulated cabin makes for calm and hushed travelling. And while it is economical and low in emissions this engine falls behind the peerless mpg and CO2 figures achieved by a BMW 320d.
The cabin on our ES Sport is a quality place to sit and exceptionally roomy, too. The dash echs the same space-pilot chic first seen in the current Honda Civic. And, if you pick the optional sat-nav and DVD package, you get a huge screen, slap-bang centre of the dash. But while the cabin looks and feels good for a family car – ours had part-leather seats – it isn’t good enough to scare the interior design teams at Audi just yet.
The Accord is expensive for a family car. Honda argue that it’s well equipped and that it’ll lose value second-hand more slowly than most. Perhaps.
Don’t get us wrong: the Accord is a good car, one of the best in its sector. We like it very much. But as a rival for Audi or BMW, it has yet some ground to cover.
To read the motors.co.uk review of the Honda Accord Tourer, click here
To view and buy new or second-hand Honda Accords, click on motors.co.uk
- Engines2.2 CDTi
- 0-60 mph9.6sec
- Insurance groups11
Motors.co.uk value verdict: