What is it?
Yet more proof of Honda’s insistence on doing things its own way: this is the new Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC automatic.
The Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC auto is the first time that Honda has offered any diesel-engined car with an automatic transmission.
The engine in question is the firm’s commendable 148bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel lump, and the gearbox (again an in-house Honda creation) is a new five-speed self-shifter.
This powertrain should also be fitted to the CR-V – and eventually the Civic and FR-V – but it’s likely to find its warmest reception in the Honda Accord, since Accords are so popular as high-mileage company cars.
What’s it like?
As a tool with which to cover big distances, the new Honda Accord i-DTEC auto is both agreeable and effective.
The new gearbox is fast and smooth-shifting, and plays to the diesel’s strengths by locking up quickly and allowing the motor to pull properly in the lower reaches of its powerband.
The auto makes what was already a refined and relaxing car an even more pleasant place in which to travel. Provided you buy one without Honda’s noisy sports suspension, that is.
The auto ’box does blunt the Accord i-DTEC’s performance a little, though. The Accord is quick to kick down, but can feel a little slow on the motorway (blame the absence of a sixth ratio).
The Accord auto is also no match for the manual car in terms of outright fuel economy (Honda quotes 44.1mpg, but on the basis of our test you’d probably only get 35mpg as a real-world figure).
Should I buy one?
If you’re buying a diesel auto because you want a refined and easy-to-drive car you should; Honda’s new Accord i-DTEC auto delivers on both these counts very well indeed.
The Accord 2.2 i-DTEC auto isn’t the best performer in the class, and it could be more frugal.
But then if performance, entertainment and fuel economy are what really matter to you then a BMW 320d will be at the top of your shopping list anyway.
You get the impression that Honda could have followed the crowd, opted for ZF’s excellent six-speed auto and made this car just as convincing.
But then, Honda is a company that tends to do things its own way, and there’s nothing wrong with that.