Car Review: Honda - Accord  Series 08 (3 stars)

The Honda Accord aims itself at the premium cars and pleasantly surprises

As profits get squeezed for manufacturers across the board, it seems like premium is the new black - that hallowed end of the market where people will pay extra just because they love the badge. Everyone wants to be there, but not everyone deserves to be. Honda looks like making a concerted stab at moving more upmarket with its new Accord.

It looks good. The sharp design is something of a departure from recent form for Honda and manages to fuse the European/US/Japanese influences on the company quite cohesively. You can certainly see it sitting without shame in the same car park row as a BMW 3-Series or an Audi A4.

The cabin is as upmarket as the exterior suggests too, with a solid, driver-oriented dashboard making you feel at home in the car straight away. It isn't the most spacious car in its class, however - rear leg room is quite limited and the boot is quite small. This either makes the Accord feel cramped or homely, it depends on your perspective.

Refinement is impressive - the engines are just loud enough to remind you they are there and quiet enough they won't get on your nerves. Wind noise is also notable by its absence. All in all the effect is pleasantly relaxing, aided by a good standard-fit stereo and a range of reasonably-priced optional extras.

It is a good car to drive, though. The steering is solid and reliable yet feels agile and the suspension is comfortable without compromising the driving experience. A pleasant surprise when manufacturers are often tempted to craft a jarring ride in the name of a 'sporty' drive.

The 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine is the best of the petrol offerings, whilst the 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel is probably the best fit overall with the Accord package. It propels the car from 0-62mph in under ten seconds, only just losing out to the 2.0-litre petrol on performance, and yet it will return a healthy 50.4mpg in saloon guise.

The new Accord represents quite a price hike over the old model, which Honda hopes is justified by the new quality feel to the car. It's never as simple as that, though - will people pay more for a Honda? It had better hope that current customers aren't put off by the price rise - the bigger issue is of course whether drivers of rival cars will be tempted by the package.

Honda Accord Series 08 StatisticsCar Reviews

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