Fleet News

Honda Accord 1.8 VTEC SE - 620 miles



##hondac.jpg --Right##A KEY-FOR-KEY swap has brought a far more realistic Honda Accord to our long term test fleet. The options list of the outgoing 1.8i VTEC SE Executive had more ticks than a school swat's maths exam, and as a result carried the excessive on-the-road price of ú19,750. Its replacement, an Accord 1.8i VTEC SE, may have lost the leather seats, satellite navigation and CD-player, but it is by no means poorly specified, and sits more comfortably with a ú16,900 price tag.

Yet the true appeal of Honda cars lies beyond skin deep beauty, and as an avowed Honda fan, the new Accord and its 1.8 VTEC engine seamlessly continues the marque's engineering pedigree.

This is not supposed to be a comparative road test or a Honda eulogy, but the contrast between the Mazda 626 2.0 Sport that I exchanged for the Accord could not be greater. Where the Mazda continually contradicted itself - white dials but bland dashboard, boot spoiler and alloy wheels but jelly-mould shape, sport label but ordinary driving experience - there is a consistency to the Honda.

The company's publicity machine may focus on the splendid VTEC engine, but there is much else to praise in the car. Its build quality, from the shut of the doors to the ergonomics of the seat, wheel and instruments continue to impress, while its ride and handling accommodate both sober start-stop traffic in town and headlong sportiness on favourite A-roads. The flexibility of the 1.8-litre VTEC engine does, of course, help enormously. Colleagues have criticised the power delivery of this unit, or more specifically the fact that the car only performs with any alacrity above 3,000rpm. However, I find the car's lack of fizz at lower revs to be an ideal aid to obeying urban speed limits, and encounter no problem in winding the engine up for more rapid progress.

Finally, in these environmentally-charged times, I was impressed to find in the Honda's glovebox a copy of the Government's 'Guide to Greener Motoring' and a clear fact sheet on the car's fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

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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