Honda Accord Saloon (2008 - 2012) review
Read the Honda Accord saloon (2008 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.The Auto Trader expert verdict: 3.7 The Honda Accord occupies the middle ground between the volume and premium marques. It features smooth engines, good equipment levels and an attractive design.
- Great engines
- Cabin quality
- Too many small buttons inside
- Lack of a hatchback option
- Not exactly cheap
At a glance
The new Honda Accord is an evolution of the previous generation model, with sharp lines, a bold front grille and pretty rear tail treatment. It looks expensive, and can hold its own against the cheaper Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat, as well as the premium market occupied by the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. There’s also the availability of an estate, though no five-door hatchback is offered. ES GT and Type S models feature a muscular body kit which makes the Accord look sporty and athletic.
The quality of materials used is excellent with lots of soft-touch plastics and a solid, built-to-last feel about the cabin. The design is attractive, with good use of metallic appliques and piano black detailing. The only downside is the sheer number of tiny buttons that litter the centre console. It makes things difficult when on the move, when all of the functions look and feel the same. The instrument cluster display itself is both clear and classy, with the metal rings surrounding the dials adding a sporting flavour to the cabin. The seats are both supportive and comfortable, and hold the torso in place when cornering enthusiastically.
The cabin is a comfortable place with plenty of legroom front and rear. Headroom is generous too, and there’s 460 litres of boot space with the seats in the upright position. This is less than both the Volkswagen Passat and Audi A4, but the same as the BMW 3 Series. Buyers who need more luggage room could always choose the load-lugging Tourer. The important figures for caravan owners are that the Accord can haul anything from 1,100kg to 1,700kg. Diesel engines, the most popular for towing, in manual guise can pull the upper limit, while with an automatic gearbox, just 1,100kg is possible. This aspect is considerably worse than all of the Accord’s main rivals.
Ride and handling
The driving experience isn’t as sharp as the Accords looks. The large Honda is more at home on long motorway journeys than challenging B-roads. The problem lies with the lack of steering feel. It’s a shame, as the Accord otherwise has relatively tidy handling and decent levels of grip. Refinement from all of the engines is impressive, and there’s virtually no wind noise apparent. Road noise is dependent on the choice of wheels. The larger the alloys, the more there noisy it is.
There’s a choice of two petrol, and two diesel engines, with all but the most powerful diesel unit available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. There’s a 154bhp 2-litre and 198bhp 2.4-litre with petrol power, and two 2.2-litre turbodiesel engines producing 148bhp and 178bhp. Performance is about average for this kind of car, with the best selling Accord 2.2 i-DTEC engine producing 148bhp, able to accelerate to 62mph in 9.6 seconds and a maximum speed of 132mph in manual guise. Choose an automatic gearbox and these figures are 10.3 seconds and 129mph respectively.
CO2 emissions and fuel economy aren’t as good as some of its class competitors with the best selling Accord 2.2 i-DTEC ES GT emitting 149g/km of CO2 and recording an average 50.4mpg. A similarly powered BMW 318d can achieve 119g/km of CO2, and 62.8mpg, and Ford’s Mondeo 2-litre TDCi achieves 139g/km and 53.2mpg respectively. There’s good news, however, when it comes to used values where the Accord traditionally performs very well, and insurance groups are competitive when compared to both the volume and premium marques.
Honda’s reliability record is beyond reproach and the Accord continues this trend. In all reliability indexes and surveys, the Japanese car maker emerges near to, or at the top. Honda dealers are also known for their good customer service, and owners are generally satisfied with the Accord.
When the Accord was tested in 2009 by crash test safety watchdog Euro NCAP, it scored a five-star safety rating. All Accords feature driver, passenger, side and head airbags, as well as vehicle stability assistance, traction control and anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution. In addition, top spec models are available with lane keeping assist, active cruise control and a collision mitigation braking system. There are also ISOFIX child seat safety fasteners. There isn’t the option of rear seat side airbags though.
All Accord models are decently kitted out, including the entry level ES models. They come with 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, leather steering wheel and gear knob, air-con, electric windows, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and an audio system with USB and auxiliary sockets. ES GT models add 17-inch alloy wheels, a body kit, front fog lights and sports seats. EX trim builds on the entry-level ES models with 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, automatic headlights, electric sunroof, front fog lights, rain sensor, auto dimming rear view mirror, electric and heated seats, leather upholstery and sat-nav. Sporty Type S models also include 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights and a full body kit.