I have just been handed the keys to our long-term Honda Accord Tourer. I won’t get to spend much time with it, because it goes back in a few weeks. And on the evidence of this weekend’s driving, that’s a great shame.
If any carmaker has so far represented the car industry’s recession, it has been Honda. The newspapers have been full of pictures of unsold CR-Vs stored at Southampton docks. Worse still, Honda has closed the Swindon plant for four months, albeit ahead of switching the production line over to building the new Jazz.
Well, it mystifies me why Honda should be in the sales soup. Take our Accord as an example. It's a magnificent machine. From the superb high-back seats (better than my old V70 could offer), to the beautifully made and precisely weighted switchgear, this car a lesson in high quality mass-production.
The diesel engine is amazingly refined and the superbly accurate shift action a lesson to others. Brilliant headlights, ultra-clear instruments, stacked standard specification…I won’t go on.
The entry-level Accord ES Tourer can be put on the road for £21,990 and that’s before the any showroom deals. Why would anybody buy, say, an Audi A4, which – in my option – is in many ways an inferior machine?
Honda has never gained the sales traction it so richly deserves in Europe. Years ago, when working on another magazine, Honda’s advertising account manager came to see me. She wanted my opinion on Honda. A few days later she brought the agency’s creative team to hear my top-of-the-head spiel.
I blabbed on about Honda’s unrivalled engineering prowess and why it was not communicated in the same way BMW has managed. Eventually that same creative team came up with now-famous ‘Cog’ ad, which featured a ‘deconstructed’ Accord working as moving sculpture.
Isn't it nice when things just... work? Garrison Keillor says at the end of ‘Cog’. It is, especially when they work as well as our Accord seems to. I just wonder why more car buyers don’t agree.