From £22,310
More upmarket, but fails to match the established premium brands

Our Verdict

Honda Accord
Latest Accord is the eighth version in 32 years

The Honda Accord has a comfortable interior, but it's a forgettable drive with a fiddly dash

  • First Drive

    Honda Accord Type S

    Still a competent and likeable package in isolation, but too expensive for a car that’s still a way off class leading
  • First Drive

    Honda Accord Type S

    Moderately impressive new diesel is still trumped by its rivals

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.

Join the debate

Comments
24

10 April 2008

I have to disagree with the author of that article when he says keep hold of your 320d. Ok so the drive might not be as good as a 320d, but its better equipped and more spacious, and certainly more exclusive than a 3 series BMW. Its not quite as well built as an Audi A4 but rides better. Its not as plush as a Merc C Class, but its a lot cheaper. It seems to me that if you way up all the pros and cons, the Accord makes a more convincing argument as a whole than most of its competitors. Perhaps its biggest threat is the Mondeo, ok the Accord will hold its value better, but it costs more in the first place which balances that out.

10 April 2008

I'd have to disagree with the article aswell. However I do not think the Mondeo is the biggest threat - its TO big and has no brand kudos what so ever.

What happened to the Aero kit on the GT pictured? To subtle! The Accord displayed in Geneva had a fantastic body kit - see this link...

http://jalopnik.com/photogallery/euroaccordsedan/1000871647

Come on Honda give us a Type-R or at least a Type-S!!!

10 April 2008

Sounds like it does not major on any one area, but does a good job all round of improving on the impressive last model.

It is true that the three German marques mentioned are going over to MMI type systems, but why is this viewed as being the best way to go. Most of these cars are going to end up as company vehicles, therefore drivers will have at least two to three years in them. Time enough to get used to the various buttons (in the case of the Accord) or the twirling of an MMI dial. Don't really thinks this matters.

How does Matt Saunders know whether Honda toyed with an MMI style setup but rejected it for whatever reason?

nh

10 April 2008

You car journalist really do write "n'importe quoi" (as the French say): “whatever”, that is.In october you Autocar guys tested the i-dtec in the MK 7 Accord. This was the conclusion:"Either way it's further proof that despite a late start Honda is really getting to grips with diesel. Our quick test track drive proved that its capable of matching BMW, Audi and Merc for performance and refinement. If the next year's Accord is as good as its diesel engine, it's likely to be some car."Now you write that the engine is less refined than the one in Audi’s A4 2.0tdi (of all cars…).This is what Autocar wrote about that “fabulous” Audi/VW 2.0 tdi in the November 28th 2007 report of the VW Tiguan 2.0tdi:“This is a relatively noisy engine, with a gruff, rattly nature that intrudes far more than you get in, say, a diesel Honda CR-V or Land Rover Freelander.”Now, whereas the I-DTEC is deemed to be (even!) more refined then the quite fabulous I-CTDI, it would all of a sudden be less refined then the “relatively noisy, gruff, rattly” 2.0tdi? Right.And the C200cdi’s engine? Well, I read the comparison test in March 12th Autocar issue in which the c200cdi lost out of the First place because of it’s engine, which was too gruff.Then, there’s the idrive/MMI-issue. Are you guys inconsistent by purpose or what? I do have to check the issue with the new A4/320d/Mondeo etc. comparison at home. Yet I believe to remember from that and other tests that the idrive in particular is not popular with you journalists at all. Of course, it’s Honda’s failure then, not to use anything of the kind…May I also remember you of Autocars’ comment on the MK7 Accord i-ctdi:“The Japanese mainstream at its very best, the Accord has matured into a very fine car over the years that offers a real alternative to prestige European marques such as BMW, Audi and Saab. Design is understated/smart”Really, it’s that I like cars. Otherwise I’d stop reading your nonsense.The quality of your journalism apparently is nowhere near that of the lousiest car you’ve ever tested.

Try to a little bit objective at least please. A hint: the XF-hype is NOT an example of objective journalism, nor is this "premium"-brand publicity an example of it.

nh

10 April 2008

You car journalist really do write "n'importe quoi" (as the French say): “whatever”, that is.In october you Autocar guys tested the i-dtec in the MK 7 Accord. This was the conclusion:"Either way it's further proof that despite a late start Honda is really getting to grips with diesel. Our quick test track drive proved that its capable of matching BMW, Audi and Merc for performance and refinement. If the next year's Accord is as good as its diesel engine, it's likely to be some car."Now you write that the engine is less refined than the one in Audi’s A4 2.0tdi (of all cars…).This is what Autocar wrote about that “fabulous” Audi/VW 2.0 tdi in the November 28th 2007 report of the VW Tiguan 2.0tdi:“This is a relatively noisy engine, with a gruff, rattly nature that intrudes far more than you get in, say, a diesel Honda CR-V or Land Rover Freelander.”Now, whereas the I-DTEC is deemed to be (even!) more refined then the quite fabulous I-CTDI, it would all of a sudden be less refined then the “relatively noisy, gruff, rattly” 2.0tdi? Right.And the C200cdi’s engine? Well, I read the comparison test in March 12th Autocar issue in which the c200cdi lost out of the First place because of it’s engine, which was too gruff.Then, there’s the idrive/MMI-issue. Are you guys inconsistent by purpose or what? I do have to check the issue with the new A4/320d/Mondeo etc. comparison at home. Yet I believe to remember from that and other tests that the idrive in particular is not popular with you journalists at all. Of course, it’s Honda’s failure then, not to use anything of the kind…May I also remember you of Autocars’ comment on the MK7 Accord i-ctdi:“The Japanese mainstream at its very best, the Accord has matured into a very fine car over the years that offers a real alternative to prestige European marques such as BMW, Audi and Saab. Design is understated/smart”Really, it’s that I like cars. Otherwise I’d stop reading your nonsense.The quality of your journalism apparently is nowhere near that of the lousiest car you’ve ever tested.

Try to a little bit objective at least please. A hint: the XF-hype is NOT an example of objective journalism, nor is this "premium"-brand publicity an example of it.

10 April 2008

No diesel automatic yet - they'll struggle in the premium market

10 April 2008

[quote nh]You car journalist really do write "n'importe quoi" (as the French say): “whatever”, that is.In october you Autocar guys tested the i-dtec in the MK 7 Accord. This was the conclusion:"Either way it's further proof that despite a late start Honda is really getting to grips with diesel. Our quick test track drive proved that its capable of matching BMW, Audi and Merc for performance and refinement. If the next year's Accord is as good as its diesel engine, it's likely to be some car."Now you write that the engine is less refined than the one in Audi’s A4 2.0tdi (of all cars…).This is what Autocar wrote about that “fabulous” Audi/VW 2.0 tdi in the November 28th 2007 report of the VW Tiguan 2.0tdi:“This is a relatively noisy engine, with a gruff, rattly nature that intrudes far more than you get in, say, a diesel Honda CR-V or Land Rover Freelander.”Now, whereas the I-DTEC is deemed to be (even!) more refined then the quite fabulous I-CTDI, it would all of a sudden be less refined then the “relatively noisy, gruff, rattly” 2.0tdi? Right.And the C200cdi’s engine? Well, I read the comparison test in March 12th Autocar issue in which the c200cdi lost out of the First place because of it’s engine, which was too gruff.Then, there’s the idrive/MMI-issue. Are you guys inconsistent by purpose or what? I do have to check the issue with the new A4/320d/Mondeo etc. comparison at home. Yet I believe to remember from that and other tests that the idrive in particular is not popular with you journalists at all. Of course, it’s Honda’s failure then, not to use anything of the kind…May I also remember you of Autocars’ comment on the MK7 Accord i-ctdi:“The Japanese mainstream at its very best, the Accord has matured into a very fine car over the years that offers a real alternative to prestige European marques such as BMW, Audi and Saab. Design is understated/smart”Really, it’s that I like cars. Otherwise I’d stop reading your nonsense.The quality of your journalism apparently is nowhere near that of the lousiest car you’ve ever tested.

Try to a little bit objective at least please. A hint: the XF-hype is NOT an example of objective journalism, nor is this "premium"-brand publicity an example of it.

[/quote]

Come on Autocar, get out of that and stay fashionable.

Have to agree with most of this thread, especially the gruff engine bit and the MMI/i drive. Surely a button marked say "Sport" or "boot release" is easier to get to than navigate through the i drive systems trying to find what heading you need before finding the bit you want.

10 April 2008

Some very pro-Honda posts here but be fair guys, the article says some very good things about the new Accord in direct comparison to the Europeans. You can argue til you're blue in the face about the qualities of this Honda but in truth it looks like its built for the American market or even built over there. Stick a Chevy badge on it and I'd never notice!

Regarding BMW 320d versus Accord I-DTEC the argument about the Accord 'being more exclusive' is like saying M&S jackets are more exclusive than Gucci. The bottom line is this Accord looks like a Kev kit-car for the blue rinse brigade.

Honda's diesel engineering may be up to European standards now but the sales charts will tell you what they think of other factors in the purchasing decision (lifestyle, brand, design, depreciation/re-sale).

11 April 2008

So far a style goes, whilst difficult to tell from pictures, I'd say Honda have regressed. The current model is one of the most attractive medium saloon's on the market. This one looks contrived and just plain "wrong".

If they want to compete in the "premium" market they need to get the styling better than this.

Anonymous

11 April 2008

The original diesel Accord test was, as we stated, a development car on a Japanese track in the previous Accord. I should know I was the one driving it. A lot can happen between development and final production - especially when entire is fitted in an entirely different car.
On that subject, perhaps you should also consider applications of the same engine. Especially when in one, the Tiguan, is a transverse application and the other, in the A4, is a longitudinal version. That's just for starters. You have different mountings, bulkheads, firewalls, sound deadening materials and a completely different team of engineers with different objectives and budgets to work to.
Oh and as a rule we don't like the i-drive system but are in favour of Audi's MMI system and a similar one in the latest Mercs.
Personally, I think that we gave the new Accord a very fair hearing. That's also why we will be giving it four stars in the mag next Wednesday.

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