Fleet News

Honda Accord 1.8 VTEC SE Executive 5dr - 4,870 miles



##hondac.jpg --Right##IT has been an interesting experience to swap the keys of a Rover 75 for our long-term Honda Accord. In their last incarnations the Accord and Rover 600 were twins, built on the same platform and rolling off the same production line. This time they are very different cars, appealing to their own sectors of the same user-chooser market.

The Accord is the smaller vehicle, competing in size with the likes of the Vauxhall Vectra, while the 75 is nudging the Vauxhall Omega in its dimensions. And where the Rover is a gentlemanly cruiser, smooth and refined but unengaging to drive, the Accord feels more sporty and urgent. At this point, comparisons between Accord and 75 should cease, given the substantial difference in price between the two ranges (the Honda starts at ú15,700, compared to ú18,300 for the Rover), although it is worth bearing in mind that our test Accord 1.8 VTEC SE Executive tips the scales at a whopping ú22,750, well into 75 territory, albeit not on a spec-for-spec basis.

The Honda's price tag does at least include such luxuries as full leather seats, satellite navigation, and a superb Bose stereo. But the real gem in the Accord's crown is its 1.8-litre engine which potters quietly in town, but springs to life when the throttle is opened above 3,000rpm. The car's satellite navigation system merits a mixed review, gaining top marks for its directions to a hotel in Nottingham, but losing points on a subsequent trip for ignoring a bypass and taking me right through a city centre.

As a driver's car the Executive proves a fine companion, although its understated looks will make it hard for many user-choosers to justify its price. This on-the-road bill sees it fighting with prestige marques that may not match the Honda's driving performance or specification, but do have a badge and image to boost their fortunes.

Jonathan Manning

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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