(Pocket-lint) - I'll make something clear up front: I'm currently working out what company car I can afford to run, and I was close to discounting the Accord Tourer because it's just out of my budget range. Since having one on test, I’ve decided there are some things more important that money – and one of those is feeling like you’re driving a car you meant to be with.
The Accord Tourer is not just a good car; it’s truly exceptional. In a segment populated by good-looking machines (BMW 3 Series aside), the Accord stands out. The Tourer’s rear end is imposing and beautifully sculpted, and the whole body is finely proportioned. While good looking counterparts such as the A4, Passat, Octavia, Mondeo and Avensis all suffer in their estate guises, the Tourer is an improvement on its saloon form.
An almost bullet-shaped body is wrapped around a stiff but forgiving chassis, affording great handling and a poised ride. Even the crappy bits of the western section pf M25 (that rutted and undulating bit that goes over the M4 for those who don’t have the pleasure of negotiating it twice daily) are ironed out wonderfully. Obviously, the motorway is where the Accord operates best – like a pregnant salmon in a swift river, or a fat geek at an all-night back-to-back Star Wars marathon. But it’s great on the twisty stuff and inner city roads, too.
Not that it matters which road surface you choose to pound. With the good ride, optional leather seats and a dashboard layout that makes good, ergonomic sense you’ll struggle to be less than completely comfortable. The Tourer gives you all the space you need, too, with a well proportioned boot and easy loading height.
The toys Honda were nice enough to provide me proved to be better alternatives to most of the gadgets and gizmos I’ve seen in other manufacturer’s equivalent models. The satnav poops from a great height on the conformal versions fitted to its German rivals, while the collision avoidance, cruise control and lane departure systems work supremely well – set them up to run in together and sensors maintain a constant distance to the car in front and keep you planted between the white painted lines. That means, if you remain vigilant, you can take your feet off the pedals and pretty much become a passenger. I made a 35-mile motorway journey without touching any pedals or using the thumb controls for the cruise control. Astonishing.
The only down side to owning an Accord Tourer is the cost. If you’re a private buyer, then a petrol-powered Tourer with all the trimmings and an automatic gearbox is a relatively expensive proposition. It proves to be significantly more than all but the 3 Series Touring and the A4 estate. I’d definitely plump for a fully loaded Skoda Octavia as it’s the closest in terms of quality and fun, while being cheap as chips.
As a company car buyer, however, low emissions on the diesel manual versions results in a much kinder tax bill and once you add on all the extras, the dent isn’t much greater.
Combine all this with the legendary reliability and customer service of Honda, and you’re left with one of the few cars on the road that makes sense to both your head and your heart.
Engine: 2.4 petrol auto (2.0 petrol and 2.2 diesel also available)
Top Speed: 127mph