Honda Accord saloon
Price £23,200 - £33,685
- Great quality interior
- Flawless reliability
- Smooth and quiet diesels
- No hatchback version
- Not very efficient
- Poor practicality
At a glance
"The Honda Accord is a saloon with great all-round ability, an excellent diesel engine and a reputation for superb reliability."
The Honda Accord is a saloon car that falls somewhere between mainstream models like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia, and premium cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. It's certainly higher quality than the former, thanks to an upmarket interior, excellent built quality, sleek looks and an unmatchable reputation for reliability. It also comes with a much higher price tag than those rivals, and less practicality thanks to its relatively small boot and the fact it doesn’t come as a hatchback, only in saloon and estate forms.
But while it sits above the likes of the Ford and Vauxhall, it doesn’t quite belong in the same class as the BMW and Audi. Why? Because, while it's impressive, it can’t quite match the standards those cars set for style, desirability, performance and efficiency. It's a jack-of-all-trades, doing everything well but not excelling in any one particular category to the point where it becomes class leading. Some buyers will see it as a cut-price premium saloon that comes with plenty of safety kit and equipment levels, while others will see it as a very expensive and poor value mainstream rival to the likes of the Skoda Superb.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Accord’s poor economy and efficiency shows its age
The Honda Accord is an old model now, and nowhere does it shows its age as much as when it comes to economy and efficiency. There is a choice of three engines: two petrols and one diesel. The petrols are staggeringly inefficient to run, with the 2.0-litre i-VTEC offering 40.4mpg and 162g/km CO2 – which puts it in tax band G costing £175 per year. The larger 2.4-litre i-VTEC is even worse. It will do 32.8mpg and 199g/km CO2, putting it in tax band J with an annual cost of £260. The diesel engine is better, but still a long way off class best – the 2.2-litre i-DTEC will do 53.3mpg and emits 138g/km CO2. This compares really poorly with rivals. The Skoda Superb GreenLine version is capable of 67.3mpg and 109g/km CO2, as are the BMW 3 Series EfficientDynamics models.
Interior & comfort
Entry-level models offer excellent comfort but higher spec cars get firm sports suspension
There are four specification levels to the Honda Accrord: ES, ES GT, EX and Type S. Only base spec ES models get the standard suspensions setup, all other versions come with firmer sports suspension. The standard setup is very good for comfort, providing a soft and cosseting ride. The sports suspensions is a little firmer – it strikes a good balance between comfort and handling for the most part, but you’ll get jolted around a bit on rough roads or when going over bumps and potholes. The cabin is very well insulated – there is barely any wind or road noise. And all the engines are very quiet, the diesel especially so, which makes it a relaxing cruiser. There's enough space for five adults inside, but the Accord can’t match the Ford Mondeo or Skoda Superb for interior space.
Practicality & boot space
No hatchback option and average boot and interior space
The good news is that versions of the Accord come with 60:40 split-folding rear seats as standard, which helps you to make the most of interior space when it comes to carrying big loads. The seats fold easily, too. Boot space is decent at 467 litres of capacity, but short of both premium rivals (the BMW 3 Series has 480 litres) and mainstream models (the Skoda Superb has 595 litres). It's a similar story with interior space – decent but far from class leading. You’ll get five adults in but they won’t have as much space as they would in a Skoda Superb or Ford Mondeo. There are plenty of storage bins and cubbyholes dotted around the cabin, too, but ultimately the Accord's practicality is hampered by the lack of a hatchback model. The saloon boot opening is pretty narrow, which makes it difficult to load bulky items and limits its ability as a family car. If practicality is important, you’re better off going for the Honda Accord Tourer estate car, which offers 1,183 litres of boot space.
Reliability & safety
Few brands can match Honda’s reputation for reliability
Honda is generally seen as one of the most reliable brands in the business – and it backs this up with solid results in customer satisfaction surveys. It consistently performs well in the Driver Power chart and held on to its sixth place in the 2013 manufacturer rankings out of a total of 32 companies. The Accord did well, too – and even managed to climb 13 places to go from 28th in 2012 to 25th in 2013. That's really impressive given that most cars inevitably slip down the rankings as they get older.
The Accord also picked up a five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and it comes with a long list of safety equipment that includes six airbags, anti-whiplash headrests, traction control, ABS and electronic stability control. Plus there's a range of optional safety equipment to pick from, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and a collision warning system that beeps and tightens the drivers’ seatbelt as it detects a likely crash.
Engines, drive & performance
Competent but not as fun to drive as a Ford Mondeo or BMW 3 Series
There are three engines available on the Accord – two petrols and a diesel - and all of them offer good performance. The petrols are faster but, because their economy and efficiency is so poor, we’d recommend the 2.2-litre turbodiesel. With 148bhp, it's still got plenty of power and will get your from 0-62mph in under 10 seconds but it's also smooth, quiet and reasonably efficient. Go for the six-speed manual gearbox over the automatic, as the latter is only five-speed and you will really feel the lack of a sixth gear on motorways. All versions of the Accord handle well – the steering is precise and responsive, there is plenty of grip and the suspension is firm enough to keep the car tight through corners. But it's just not as fun to drive as a BMW 3 Series or Ford Mondeo.
Price, value for money & options
Either an over-priced mainstream family car or a great-value premium saloon
The Accord offers a higher spec and lower price than cars like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series – but can’t match either for desirability, efficiency or performance. And it's higher quality than the Ford Mondeo or Skoda Superb, but comparatively impractical, expensive and poorly equipped. So, whether or not you think it is good value very much depends on your point of view. If you’re in the market for an executive saloon with plenty of equipment and don't much care which badge is on the bonnet, then the Accord makes a lot of sense. There are four specification levels: ES, ES GT, EX and Type S – and all come well equipped. Entry-level ES models get automatic climate control, cruise control, all-round electric windows, electric heated mirrors, MP3-compatible CD stereo, and remote central locking. You can be fairly sure the Accord won’t break down on you, too, and resale values are strong – so you’ll cling on to a decent proportion of your money when it comes time to sell.
What the others say
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.
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.
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.
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.