Honda Accord 2.2d 2009

For many years Honda made reliable petrol engines, the VTEC engine provided bulletproof performance, diesel was largely ignored, Honda dabbled with diesel in other people’s cars but stuck with the petrol for their own. But the market changed, CO2 emissions became a hot topic, so the pressure mounted and Honda designed their own diesel, just the one a 2.2d. The “love/Hate” advertising made the world think Honda had invented a wheel, it was successful, a low CO2 engine for Europe meant a whole new segment of the market opened up to Honda.

In its current form the DTEC 2.2d engine can be found across the Honda range, it has 150g/km which makes the tax €302 a year compared to €823 for a pre 2008 model.

The Accord is certainly an impressive looking car, the low nose and wide body makes it cut quite a dash, there’s a lot of styling going on, very straight lines intermix with a slope over the roofline.

The inside is much curvier; the two tone dash with touches of chrome is very pleasant to look at. In the middle of the dash there’s a built in sat-nav system, it’s a Europe wide one with all the Honda dealers pre-programmed in, a little H appears where I’m currently parked. Beneath that lies the USS Enterprise of control system, I love in-car gadgets but Honda has gone a bit mad with the amount of buttons on the dash. You would really want to spend a little time working out where things are it’s no good looking for the radio controls when you’re on the move. There’s even more controls on the steering wheel, volume, cruise control and phone being the most important.

The seats are big, they feel wider than most of the German stuff; it’s no bad thing either, it makes them very comfortable. The front seats are electric and heated, the arm rest slides back and forward, when you open it you’ll find an iPod connector but best of all a USB connector for any MP3 player, my Creative Zen plugged straight in and I could select songs fro the steering wheel controls. Things are just as good in the back, there’s room for 3 adults back there with tonnes of leg room, the boot is 460ltrs with is big enough for most needs.

On start up the 2.2d (148bhp) is quiet and refined, even from cold. The gear shift leaver is set high and out in front of you, so changing gears is like sliding a bolt action rifle, there’s also little arrows on the rev counter that tell you when it’s most efficient to change gears, it’s an economy feature that makes it feel you’re changing gears to early on the way up and late on the way down. The red line comes around 4500rpm like any other diesel but the power delivery feels very refined and consistent. After I got out on the motorway the acceleration to cruising speed was smooth, as soon as I changed into 6th gear the whole car went silent, just a slight wind noise and the air con. The build quality is fantastic, you don’t drive along, more waft along the motorway.

Getting off the motorway and onto some back roads, the big diesel wakes up, and the steering is weighty enough to make it an involving drive, the 0-100kph time is 9.6sec but if I’m honest it feels quicker. Honda seem to have done a good job on the handling, it’s sharp and involving in the corners and stable on the straights, the gear box is light and easy to find the right gear. If you obey the change light on the dash Honda say you can achieve 61mpg, although that’s unlikely it might not be impossible, even with the weird driving I do to test a car I still got 48mpg average.

Parking a big car like this is always a problem, it takes time to get used to it, Honda must have known that the visibility out the rear window is on the tight side because they put parking sensors front and rear and a reversing camera, so parking is a doddle. On the drive back I decided to test the sat nav, so I set the Honda garage as my destination and a voice like Joanna Lumley came on, I would have done what ever she wanted, I don’t know who the voice belongs to but I would listen to it all day.

The Accord is exceptionally built, cheap to run, bombproof reliability, looks good and plenty of toys. Its price new is on the high side starting at €39,804 for the 2.2d which is perilously close to 3 series money, as a car it’s more than a match for the BMW it’s just that Honda badge hasn’t got the same clout down the gym. But if you want to be different and have a car that you won’t loose in a car park and has a beautiful voice on the sat nav the Accord is it.

The car I drove was sold a couple of days later, and it’s popular too. Thanks to John Adams car sales, Ballymacken, Portlaoise for the test drive, he does have a 2010 version on Carzone. For further details call 05786 21613

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