Stupidly, I left it until the Accord was very low on diesel to fill up, but at least I was close to home. I pulled up to the pump, pushed the filler cap lever, unhooked the nozzle from the pump and stood there. The flap was resolutely closed, like a child refusing to take its medicine.
Five minutes of embarrassed tinkering, poking and pulling didn’t get the thing open, so with a queue forming behind me, I went home to have a more concerted go at it. Even with more time, I couldn’t prise it open with various long, thin implements: the bolt was still firmly in place holding the cap shut. As a last attempt before calling Honda Assistance, I resorted to the most unscientific method – pushing the lever lots and lots of times while swearing at it.
Amazingly, one of the dozens of presses finally activated the bolt and the flap sprang open triumphantly.
Cue dash back to the garage with the flap flapping in the breeze. Fortunately, because of the Accord’s amazing ability to go long distances without fuelling, its dicky flap hasn’t needed to be tested again, and it’ll visit the local dealer for a once-over before it needs to.
Apart from this small problem, the Accord is running beautifully and I have to say that I can’t agree with previous tester Adele Burton’s claim that the car takes a long time to warm up. However, my girlfriend is in agreement with our shivering features editor, so it’s either an issue specific to the ladies or my winter coat (a helpful layer of post-Christmas blubber) is rendering me impervious to the chill.
Model: Honda Accord 2.2 i-CDTi Sport
Price (OTR): £19,500
CO2 emissions (g/km): 143
Company car tax bill (2004/5) 22% tax-payer: £53 per month
Insurance group: 12
Combined mpg: 52.3
Test mpg: 48.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £6825/35%
HSBC contract hire rate: £390 per month
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles