In addition, I have had to buy a new fuel filler cap (ú18.12) after realising one of my colleagues had left the original at a petrol station. One of the front tyres has also developed a slow puncture which I will have repaired as soon as possible, probably at the Accord's forthcoming 10,000-mile service. Other than that, a top-up of engine oil is all that the Honda has needed.
I am enjoying the hassle-free driving experience from the Honda, although the engine's Jekyll and Hyde character is sometimes rather frustrating. Below 4,000rpm it sometimes feels as though it could not muster enough power to blow the skin off a rice pudding. It is only above 4,000rpm when the VTEC system kicks in that you really get a move on. Once wound up, the Accord performs very well and takes high speed cruising in its stride.
This style of driving has not dented the fuel economy though, and our test fuel consumption has risen to 32.6mpg (very close to Honda's claimed 32.8mpg figure). As well as fuel economy, carbon dioxide emissions are a key factor on fleet choice lists. Under the new CO2-based regime, scheduled for introduction in 2002, an Accord driver's BIK tax would be based on 23% of the list price (ú4,542).
Facts and figures aside, it is the general look and feel of the Accord that will have some sway on decisions. The Accord's quality is evident from the feel of all the controls and materials. Coupled with Honda's reliable image, the car makes a favourable case for itself. Another bonus of the Accord in SE Executive trim is it is loaded with gadgets, including heated leather seats which have proved very welcome on cold mornings. Generally, the Accord has impressed me by doing nothing amazingly well but everything competently.