Fleet News

Honda Accord 2.0 Executive automatic - 12,950 miles



AS the Fleet News road test team prepares to bid a fond farewell to the long-term Honda Accord, I have spent the past few weeks pondering a key question – 'What makes a good fleet car?'

I have spent plenty of time in the Accord recently as it ferried my wife to hospital for the birth of our daughter Kate in October and I have also covered the country seeing relatives or attending meetings on my return to work.

That provided a lot of thinking time to come up with some of the key factors that make a good company vehicle.

From the driver's point of view, most want something that makes them stand out in the company car park, shows off their importance within the company, is good to drive, is reliable, comfortable and – for those who pay for their own fuel – is cheap to run.

So how does the Honda match these needs? The marque certainly has aspirations to offer a premium alternative to some of the more 'run-of-the-mill' brands. The new Accord is much better looking than the old model and I feel it achieves the 'several rungs up the ladder' image that executives wish for.

As for being good or even fun to drive, the Honda handles well in corners, has one of the best four-cylinder engines available and if you use the manual over-ride on the automatic gearbox, the two work well together.

But the price for its level turn-in on corners is a ride that transmits more than a few road bumps and thumps through the cabin.

As for fuel economy – well, it's not a diesel, but 32mpg from an automatic isn't bad and the £20,000 price tag is competitive, unless you really want a Jaguar or BMW badge on your key ring and are prepared to compromise on standard equipment.

From a fleet manager's point of view, residual values running costs and reliability are all important issues. Used prices for the Accord are strong at £7,200/36% after three years/60,000 miles and the car has just come top of our FN50 reliability survey – quite a feat considering the survey covered more than 500,000 vehicles.

Demand in the used car market is strong because of the brand's reputation for quality. And servicing costs are pretty cheap, too, at just over £80 for the 12,500-mile overhaul.

So, what makes a good fleet car? Well, in my view after more than 10,000 miles, the Honda Accord fits the bill, both for the driver and fleet manager.

Company car tax bill 2003/04 (40% tax-payer): £165 per month

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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