Review

Honda Accord saloon

Honda Accord saloon

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • High-quality interior
  • Fantastic reliability record
  • Smooth, quiet and powerful diesels
Cons
  • Only available as a saloon
  • Rivals are cheaper to run
  • Not particularly practical

“This generation of Honda Accord is a good all-rounder, with a fantastic reputation for reliability and a smooth diesel engine.”

Throughout its time on sale, the 2008 – 2015 generation of Honda Accord garnered a reputation for outstanding reliability. Respondents in our 2015 Driver Power confirmed this reputation, rating it highly not just for reliability, but as an overall ownership proposition, too. 

When it was launched, the Accord hovered between the mainstream (the Ford Mondeo) and the premium (the BMW 3 Series) ends of the market and was essentially a compromise between the two. It cost more than its mainstream rivals but didn’t have the same level of quality as the luxury cars in its class.

There are issues with the comfort of the car's ride and fuel economy but the diesel engine itself is exceptionally smooth, and delivers impressive performance, too.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.6 / 5

Even when it was new, the Accord’s running costs lagged behind rivals

The Honda Accord has never been a frontrunner when it comes to efficiency and running costs, and that’s even more the case now as engine technology continues to improve. Even the most efficient diesel version of the Accord lags behind its rivals, returning just 53mpg and emitting 130g/km of CO2. This equates to an annual road tax bill of £130. 

Even when it was new, the best of its rivals could comfortably beat this, and its more modern rivals are way ahead – many are now exempt from road tax. 

The petrol versions don’t make for much easier reading, either. The range of antiquated, non-turbocharged engines can only manage up to 41mpg and the thirsty 2.4-litre model can only manage 33mpg. This means you’ll pay between £180 and £265 in road tax. 

If you buy an approved used Accord, you can add to the standard 12-month guarantee for between £399 and £940, depending on whether you want to go for a 12, 24 or 36-month extension, while a used service plan costs between £340 and £995, depending on the car, its age and how many miles it’s done.

Engines, drive & performance

4.1 / 5

It’s decent to drive, but the Ford Mondeo and BMW 3 Series are more fun

The sweet spot in the range is the 2.2-litre diesel fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox. This gives the best balance between performance, refinement and efficiency. The 0-62mph sprint takes just 10 seconds and the power is spread evenly across the rev range, offering flexible performance. 

It’s hard to recommend any of the petrol engines – unless you absolutely must have the fastest versions of the car – as they cost so much more to run than the diesel. The 2.0-litre petrol version manages the 0-62mph sprint in 9.4 seconds, while the 2.4-litre version will do it in 8.1 seconds. 

Try to avoid the five-speed automatic gearbox. It dulls the car’s responses, harms fuel efficiency, changes sluggishly and makes the car quite noisy on the motorway, too. 

While the Honda isn’t as much fun to drive as a Ford Mondeo of an equivalent vintage, it’s still perfectly competent. It grips well and the suspension keeps the majority of body roll in check. It’s a pity the steering is a little lacking in feel, however.

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

Entry-level models offer excellent comfort but higher spec cars get firm sports suspension

The Honda’s interior, although very well built, really is starting to show its age. The materials on offer aren’t up there with the best in class and the design now feels dated. 

Getting comfortable behind the wheel is at least easy, though, thanks to the good range of adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel.

The basic versions of the Honda Accord are the best models to go for if you’re looking for comfort. Models above ES are fitted with firmer suspension that alters the cosseting ride of entry-level models. The sports suspension does make the Honda more fun to drive though, so we would suggest test-driving both to see which setup you prefer. 

The Accord is very quiet, with little road or wind noise, and the diesel makes up for its relatively poor economy to some extent with its excellent refinement.

Practicality & boot space

3.2 / 5

The lack of a hatchback option limits the Accord’s practicality

With a decent amount of space in the back, the Honda Accord can accomodate five adults with relative ease but we did find foot room underneath the front seats lacking. If you want more rear legroom, the Skoda Superb is extremely tempting. It has the best rear legroom in its class and beats many cars from the class above.

The Accord is also limited by its saloon-style body shape (there wasn’t a hatchback version), which means it can’t carry bulky items as easily as some of its rivals. With a load capacity of 467 litres, boot space is still quite reasonable, but the Skoda Superb trumps it again with a 595-litre load bay. Honda does give the car 60:40 split rear seats however, which mean getting longer items in the car shouldn’t be too hard.  The more spacious Honda Accord Tourer might be a better option if you need more space.

Reliability & safety

4.6 / 5

The Accord's reliability record is astonishingly good

One thing you can be sure of is that the Honda Accord will be well built, and the car came 40th out of 200 cars in our 2015 Driver Power survey, including a very impressive 19th place for reliability. This is a nine-place drop compared to 2014, but the 2015 survey did include an extra 50 cars, some of which are much newer. Areas that came in for praise were reliability, seat comfort, in-car tech, and build quality. Practicality was the category in which it lost the most ground. 

When it was tested by Euro NCAP, the Honda picked up a five-star rating for safety. The car is equipped with airbags, traction control, ABS, electronic stability control, as well as anti-whiplash headrests. Spend some more money, and you can also get equipment such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and a system that can warn of an imminent collision. 

Price, value for money & options

3 / 5

Either an over-priced mainstream family car or a great-value premium saloon

If you want a car that looks classy and is extremely well built, then the Honda can look like good value because it is cheaper to buy than cars such as the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series. However, It will cost more to run than many of its rivals.

Climate control, electric heated mirrors, four electric windows, and cruise control are all standard across the range. Move up to ES GT and you get aluminium trim inside, plus a body kit and spoiler on the outside. EX models get niceties like leather upholstery, climate control and heated front seats, while the top-of-the-range Type S adds larger alloy wheels, as well as bright xenon headlights with an auto-dipping function. 

What the others say

3.8 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
It wasn’t long ago that we rated the Accord as the best car in the family class. Then it was beaten in our group tests by the Passat. But could it be time for a comeback from the Japanese saloon? The Honda was facelifted last year, gaining new bumpers, wheel designs and colours, plus one or two cabin modifications.
4 / 5
It's not as spacious inside as some rivals, especially in terms of rear passenger space. On the plus side it's available with Honda's excellent i-DTEC engine - one of the best diesels on the market, plus it's as reliable and durable as you'd expect a Honda to be.
3 / 5
It's a Honda, so build quality and reliability are top-notch, with a rattle-free cabin full of soft-touch plastics. There's a wide choice of engines, too, and the 2.2i-DTEC diesel is a peach.
4 / 5
Lowered centre of gravity, a wider track and the all-new front double wishbone and rear multilink suspension with variable rate dampers, plus greater body rigidity mean that the Accord more readily reacts to driver input. Handling is more responsive and confidence-inspiring and body roll has been reduced.
Last updated 
13 Jan 2016
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