All the chosen rivals mentioned below come within about ú1,500 of the Accord's on-the-road price of ú22,750, but Honda seems to have scored an own goal with the 2.0-litre costing only ú500 more. Once again, it raises the question of whether, after three years/60,000 miles, it's worth buying a top-spec upper medium car or a low-spec medium prestige vehicle. The VW Passat 2.3 V5 costs ú21,595 and offers quality, lots of room and that lovely five-cylinder engine. ú21,625 brings you the Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 16v Twin Spark with Sport Pack 2 and all the driving pleasure associated with the marque.
Moving into the medium prestige sector, there is the BMW 318i SE at ú21,195 and the Audi A4 1.8 SE at ú21,106. Three years/60,000 miles down the line and the figures become more clear cut. As expected, it's the BMW which tops the CAP Monitor Future Residual Values table, at ú9,625, or 46%, of cost new. The A4, 156 and Passat all home in on 36%, the Audi worth ú7,625, 156 ú7,650 and Passat ú7,650.
The 1.8 Accord SE Executive will retain ú7,075, or 34%, of its new price, with the 2.0-litre holding up the bottom on 33%, or ú7,225. And it's the BMW which tops the pence per mile running costs at 29.2 and a combined fuel economy value of 35.8mpg, followed by the A4 (33.2mpg) and 1.8 Accord (33.6mpg) on 32.1ppm, the 2.0 Accord (32.8mpg) 33.5ppm, with the VW (29.4mpg) and Alfa (33.2mpg) trailing on 33.7ppm.
In this company, the Accord seems dull - it's comfortable, certainly reliable, but Honda has a little way to go yet in shedding its blue rinse image.