With an engine that is whisper-quiet while cruising at the motorway limit but delivers a delicious roar when pushed hard, it provides the best of both worlds for drivers. And although I have by no means been gentle with the accelerator, economy has crept up as high as 36mpg at times, much of which I put down to the benefits of cruise control allowing for a steady pace. However, when needed the Accord has bags of ability, cornering with little roll and accelerating swiftly, although the engine needs to be revved hard to get the best out of it.
The Accord has the looks to go with its performance and inside, despite a significant amount of plastic, it carries the quality of build we have come to expect from Honda, backed up by an impressive three-year/90,000-mile warranty. But sadly, this is not a car without its niggles, such as the horrible plastic stalks behind the steering wheel for indicators, windscreen wipers, etc, which are a throwback to the previous Accord and which also appeared in its sister car, the Rover 600, and were responsible in both cars for seriously damaging one's first impressions.
The seat, while supportive, becomes a bit uncomfortable after many miles, although my passenger did not agree. And finally, Honda should take a leaf out of Ford's book and favour large stereo buttons rather than the small and hopelessly confusing variety in the Accord.
Overall, I am happy to class the Accord as a great car, a good all-rounder that represents value for money, handles excellently and copes admirably with long journeys. But there is a catch. No matter how good a car is, there is no guarantee of it being a winner with everyone. I told a company car driver what I was testing and he immediately dismissed it, saying: 'Honda - that's an old man's car.' Honda engineers must despair sometimes.