Moderately impressive new diesel is still trumped by its rivals

What is it?

This is proof, according to Honda, that it is serious about diesel cars. The Honda Accord Type S is a semi-performance version of the Japanese manufacturer’s Mondeo rival, but it’s equipped with a tuned version of its 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine instead of a high-revving VTEC petrol powerplant. The all-aluminium oil-burner now produces 177bhp, a rise of 29bhp over standard tune, and 280lb ft, a gain of just over 20lb ft.

The Honda accord Type S also gets sports suspension, 18in wheels, and an ‘Aero’ bodykit. Honda claims that the car can crack 0-62mph in 8.8sec, and hit a top speed of 136mph, while returning combined fuel economy of 48.7mpg and emitting 154g/km of CO2.

What’s it like?

Reasonably impressive. The fatter alloys and bodykit give the angular Honda Accord a chunky look, and the tuned engine pulls strongly, even if its sweet spot is relatively narrow (it starts at just under 2000rpm and is really done by 3000rpm). It’s nicely subdued at motorway speeds, and the 65-litre tank promises a cruising range of well over 600 miles.

The ride quality is decent enough, with a little shimmering on poorer surfaces but damping that remains generally composed over all but the worst urban potholes. The gearbox has a slick, positive action and the steering is nicely weighted, if a little short on feel.

The Accord’s cabin remains an attractive place for long journeys; it feels beautifully built and un-Japanese in its execution, although some of the switchgear layout is a little scattered.

Should I buy one?

You should put it on your list for consideration if you’re in the market for a diesel car of this size, but the Type S’s biggest problem is that it fails to excel in any one area. Its ride is beaten by a Mondeo’s, its refinement is at least equalled by the Insignia, and its driveline, powerplant and steering are all trumped by the hottest diesel Mazda 6, which also happens to be considerably cheaper.

In the end, the interior and the Honda ownership experience may convince you to commit, but you’d have to be very friendly with your dealer to pay the premium being asked here.

John McIlroy

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voyagernz 14 August 2010

Re: Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC 180 Type S

nh wrote:
However, even if the newest Accord always comes second behind always different competitors for performance, dynamics, (perceived) quality, fuel consumption, refinement, etc., doesn't that mean then that as a package, it trumps all the others?
well said.

Johnny English 6 August 2010

Re: Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC 180 Type S

If all Hondas looked as good as the Accord Estate, perhaps more people would come to appreciate their engineering as well...

Uncle Mellow 6 August 2010

Re: Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC 180 Type S

Daz159 wrote:
Sadly people still (generally) have little idea that quality is not about soft touch plastics but the engineering that goes behind the car i.e. mechanicals and electricals.

Too true.