More upmarket, but fails to match the established premium brands

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.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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aceman 27 December 2008

Re: Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC EX GT

I know I've just written a comment a few days ago but I've changed my overall verdict from poor to pretty good.

I just think it has grown on me a lot and after a bit of thinking I'd say good.

They've tried to make sporty yet substantial family car. And although it's not as brilliant as some other Volvo's it has, by far, beaten the C30.

aceman 24 December 2008

Re: Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC EX GT

I think the biggest mistake was the automatic transmission

cdtiman 21 December 2008

Re: Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC EX GT

Mine still whistles but I like the sound too !

I drove the gt with the sport suspension and I guess 17inch tyres and it was quieter and smoother than mine which has 16" tyres and no sport suspension. My previous car was a type S saloon with 17" and sport suspension which didnt ride as well as my tourer does but the longer wheelbase and extra weight may have an effect on that also.

Overall my only criticisms of the new one is that the load bay whilst large enough is less than the previous one and that there is a bit less rear legroom. The new one rides and handles a bit better is quiet on the mortorway and the seats are very comfortable. The engine is much snappier from low revs and is so smooth I thought I was driving the petrol version - and not the 2.0 petrol either !!!!

So I would say try the GT and the non-GT models but to me the GT was fine as large bumps etc were shrugged off by the suspension. Hope this helps !