Tuesday, 28 January 2014

REVIEW - Honda Accord Type-S

An often forgotten name in the world of executive saloons is Honda. Their offering- the Accord- has been around for many years, being updated along the way. I grabbed the latest model for review. And I opted for the top-of-the-range diesel Type-S. So what would it offer the reps and commuters? And is it overlooked for good reason, or is it a hidden gem? I set about finding out, so read on to see what I thought...

Looks - 8/10

The Accord Type-S is a rather good looking car. On the outside the bold lines are complimented by the GT aero pack (front spoiler, rear diffuser and side skirts) as well as 18" alloy wheels. I did think a twin exit exhaust at the back would have really completed the look, but instead the Honda gets a hidden back box. The side profile is one of my favourite angles on the accord, but I feel the front end could have been made more sporty with some nice daytime running lights to really add to the presence created by the angular styling.

On the inside there is some nice aluminium trim and lots of leather. There's also a sort of dark wood effect trim which seems a bit out of place. More of the aluminium trim would have been preferred but the overall effect is still very nice. The gear knob is particularly nice, and there's big red dials to create the sporty image. Despite its practicality the central control knob for the stereo is a bit big and clunky to look at; it stands out a bit, but aside from this the cabin is logically laid out, and all the plastics are nice quality too.

Handling/Performance - 9/10

The power plant under the bonnet of the Accord Type-S is a 2.2-litre diesel engine, but gets more power for this sportier version. You get 180PS and 380Nm of torque which gets to the road via a 6-speed manual gearbox. As you would expect, the Accord doesn't hang about; 0-62mph is dealt with in 8.8 seconds and the top speed is 137mph. Power delivery comes in short bursts- as you would expect from a diesel- with only a slight lag from the turbo. As you work through the 6-speed box the speedo soon climbs, and the in-gear acceleration is very impressive indeed.

Honda have the drivers in the forefront when cars are designed, and this really shows with the Accord Type-S. The steering is one of the best I have ever come across. The weighting is perfect, and nicely responsive too. Round corners the turn-in is fantastic, especially when you consider the size of the car, and the heavy diesel lump up front. The ride is firm, and if the truth be told it's probably a little too firm. Most Accord diesels will do a significant amount of motorway miles. And on a longer drive the ride becomes noticeable. In no way is the Accord uncomfortable; the seats are brilliant, but you can still feel yourself bumping around a bit too much.

Economy - 9/10

The 2.2-litre engine is more economical than you would expect from such a large unit. Honda have been working hard on making their cars more efficient, and the Accord benefits from that. Combined fuel consumption is a respectable 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 147g/km put the Type-S in VED band F. Road tax costs £140, and the same in the first year. I wasn't entirely sure why Honda didn't fit start/stop technology to the Type-S. They have it in the parts bin, and it would undoubtedly reduce the emissions. I still think £140 tax for such a large executive saloon is reasonable, though company car users may look elsewhere to reduce their P11d taxable benefit.

Practicality - 8/10

The Accord is a decent-sized saloon car. Front-seat passengers seem to benefit from the most space. At 5'7" I don't have my chair the furthest back, and there was just enough room behind me, for me. If the drivers seat was much further back rear legroom would suffer a bit. That being said the Accord is extremely comfortable for all occupants. As a driver I really liked having a proper footrest fro my left foot, as this is essential on a long drive. With the navigation system, bluetooth, and iPod connectivity, the Accord has media dealt with. Also featured is high-intensity discharge (HID) lights and cornering lights, which also add practicality to night-time driving. The boot is a reasonable size, but as with all saloons the loading area itself is limited.

Fun - 8/10

There's enough technology in the Accord to keep you occupied on any journey. The iPod interface is user friendly and allows you to blast your favourite tunes out of the brilliant stereo. The hands-free
telephone system is a little less intuitive, but once you get the hang of the commands it too works well. For me what made the Type-S so much fun is sticking it round a few bends. This is a car for a keen driver as much as it is a high-mileage cruiser, and the handling always put a smile on my face. And when you're driving on the country roads the firmer suspension becomes less of a nuisance as
well, and helps the Accord stay planted through the bends.

Concluding Remarks 

I would definitely conclude that the Honda Accord is a hidden gem. This is a practical, efficient diesel saloon with smart styling and a great level of kit. Best of all, it's a drivers car, and showcases Honda's commitment to keeping drivers in mind when designing new cars. Prices for the Accord Type-S start at £30,930 with metallic paint a £500 extra. That's all you should need though, because the list of standard kit is plenty to keep you happy. So if you're looking for a family saloon, or a motorway cruiser, then why not consider a Honda Accord; the drivers choice. Visit the Honda website or pop into a local dealer for more information.

Total Score - 42/50

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