Fleet News

Honda Legend - 650 miles



##honlg.jpg --Right##THERE is one major downside to running a Honda as a long-term car: there's rarely a newsworthy problem to spice up your report. Back in the good old days of unreliable fleet vehicles, writers of long-term road tests looking for points of interest were spoilt for choice. Engine failure, faulty wiring, rust patches, dripping sunroofs - the cars of the late '70s and early '80s were a motoring journalist's delight.

Even if the car handled averagely, was reasonably fuel efficient, was fairly comfortable, and neither stylish nor hideous, there would always be the fascinating tale of the exploding fuel tank or the interior trim which had a habit of waving goodbye to its parent mooring - despite the presence of some rather attractive brown glue.

In 1993 I ran a long-term Honda Accord for a magazine called Carweek and had similar trouble finding reasons to spice up my regular reports. Like the Legend, it was utterly reliable, comfortable, extremely capable on long journeys, and thoroughly capable in almost every department. These Hondas may not be the most rewarding drives in the world - but they come close to being the ideal company cars.

The closest I got to nailing an exclusive scoop with the Legend was when the cruise control appeared not to work. My pulse raised, I raced into the office prepared to blow apart Honda's reputation for complete reliability and engineering excellence. Sadly, it transpired that the problem was with me - not the car. It was me who was unreliable, and Honda - I apologise for ever doubting your integrity.

Despite carrying all the positive hallmarks of the Honda brand, the Legend lacks character, and for me it represents the end of the last generation of Hondas - excellent in most aspects, but needing some star quality. On the evidence of the new Accord, however, it seems as if the Japanese manufacturer is moving into new territory where its cars are as good to drive, and as desirable, as they are superbly engineered and reliable. It will be interesting to see if Honda can really crack the executive car sector in the future.

Mark Catterall

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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