WITH state of the art technology in a stylish new range, the all-new Accord puts Honda at the forefront of the quality sports saloon market.
The new Honda Accord is set to establish a new bench-mark for sporting excellence.
The rakish exterior styling is complemented by a stylish, spacious new interior that furthers Honda's traditional quality standards. It combines it with an impressive array of standard equipment with four trim levels – SE, Sport, Executive and Type S – with curtain airbags and dual zone climate control as standard on every model in the range.
Honda has an unbeatable reputation for cutting edge engineering, witnessed by the New Accord's impressive technical credentials that include a choice of two superb new i-VTEC petrol engines. Both offer exceptional power outputs for their size – the 2.0-litre with 155 PS and the range-topping 2.4-litre with 190 PS.
Each sits in a sophisticated chassis that has been carefully honed for taut, responsive handling with a cosseting ride.
The New Accord range starts with the 2.0i VTEC SE at £16,495 OTR and is topped by the 2.4i VTEC Executive auto, which costs £22,095. A versatile Tourer will join the saloon line-up in May while a diesel-powered version will be on sale at the beginning of next year.
Already, the New Accord has received critical acclaim from Industry analysts: for example, CAP Monitor predicts that future residual values across the range will match those of the BMW 3-series. It adds up to a deeply impressive package that is likely to prompt a major shake-up in the sports saloon market.
The Accord's vibrant, distinctive styling reflects both a high degree of individuality and the enhanced dynamic qualities of the new range.
Honda's unique 'bio-tech' design philosophy combines class-leading aerodynamic efficiency – it has a drag coefficient of just 0.26 – with a sense of power and solidity. Exquisite detailing such as the side indicator repeaters in the wing mirrors and chromed door handles, emphasise the Accord's quality appeal.
The sporting shape hides technical hardware that reaffirms Honda's reputation for engineering integrity.
Honda's latest engine technology is built in to both petrol engines. Dubbed i-VTEC, it combines both VTEC (Variable ValveTiming and Lift Electronic Control) and VTC (variable Timing Control) to provide outstanding power and torque at all engine speeds, with low fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
Both engines are already compliant with the stringent EU2005 emissions requirements, and are among the first in the world to do so.
The 2.0-litre 155 PS unit is fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the 190 PS 2.4 enjoys the benefit of a sixth ratio. Both are also available with an advanced five-speed automatic with sequential manual shift that electronically adjusts to take account of driving styles and road conditions.
The New Honda Accord's position as a quality alternative to more ordinary models is reflected in its predicted future residual values.
Leading industry analysts at CAP Monitor predict that after a typical three-year/60,000-mile operating cycle, the New Accord 2.0 i-VTEC Executive, for example, at £18,995 on the road will command a residual value of no less than 39% of cost new.
Such figures put it on a level footing with the BMW 3-series, the acknowledged benchmark in the class: the comparable 318i SE also retains 39% of its £21,355 price. Other competitors include the Audi A4 2.0 FSI at £19,565 which is predicted to retain 37% of cost new. The Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 JTS Lusso (£18,930) and MG ZT 1.8T 160 (£18,970), retain just 31%.
Commenting on the results, CAP New Car Monitor Editor, Jeff Knight, says Honda's approach to the car had been 'very sensible from all angles'.
He adds: 'The New Accord's build quality is exceptional, and it's very well engineered. Honda has also sought the advice of the leading leasing companies to optimise the specification and has adopted a responsible approach to the manufacture and disposal of the vehicles.
'There is no question that Honda has moved away from the mainstream.'
The new Accord is not only great to drive and look at, it also offers some of the lowest running costs in its class, according to CAP Monitor.
The combination of strong predicted RVs, reduced service costs and combined economy of a remarkable 37.7mpg for the 2.0 ensure that the New Accord appeals to the head as well as the heart.
The New Accord 2.0 i-VTEC Executive, for example, costs just 29.5 pence per mile to run, compared with a BMW 318i SE at 30.1ppm and the Alfa 156 2.0 JTS Lusso at 33.8ppm.
CAP New Car Monitor editor, Jeff Knight, noted that: 'The New Accord's low costs are indicative of the benefits of the technologically advanced range of i-VTEC engines.'
Added to that, the 2.0 i-VTEC SE, for example, emits just 176g/km of CO2, placing it in the 17% tax band under the 2002/3 BIK tax rules, lower than any comparable diesel. Even the luxurious 2.0 i-VTEC Executive falls into the 18% band, which, for a higher rate taxpayer, equates to a BIK liability in 2002/3 of just £1,356 per year.
There are four trim levels for the New Accord. The 2.0-litre model is available in SE, Sport or Executive forms, while the 2.4 can be specified as either Executive or sporting Type S.
Even the entry 2.0 i-VTEC SE has dual zone climate control, curtain airbags, an integrated CD player, electric windows and mirrors, 15in alloy wheels, a sunroof and keyless entry.
Upgrading to the Sport adds cruise control, 16in alloys and front fog lamps.
The range-topping 2.0 i-VTEC Executive, at £18,995 offers leather trim, power front seats, wood trim, rain sensing wipers and a six-disc CD changer. Equipping an Audi A4 1.8T to this standard would add £4,545 to its £19,860 OTR price, while an MG ZT 1.8T 160 with similar spec would cost £21,020.
Opting for the 2.4-litre engine introduces an even higher level of luxury. Both the i-VTEC Executive and Type S models feature drive-by-wire throttle technology and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), which acts automatically to counter a skid. To this, the Executive adds a DVD navigation system with touch screen technology, while the Type S caters for the enthusiast with a sporting body kit, bright metal facia inserts and front fog lamps with prices from £19,095 OTR.
Mirror-mounted indicator repeaters (above) are a neat safety touch.
|New Accord: cost comparison with competitor models|
|OTR price (£)||CAP Monitor RV(£/%)*||Cost/mile (ppm)**||CO2/tax rate (g/km/%)**||Combined cons (mpg)|
|Honda Accord 2.0 i-VTEC Executive||£18,995||£7,275/39||29.5||182/18||37.7|
|Alfa 156 2.0 JTS Lusso||£18,930||£5,700/31||33.8||207/23||32.5|
|Audi A4 1.8T||£19,860||£7,350/37||31.9||199/21||34.0|
|BMW 318i SE||£21,355||£8,175/39||30.1||175/17||39.2|
|Lexus IS200 2.0 S||£18,615||£7,675/42||31.1||223/28||28.8|
|MG ZT 1.8T 160||£18,970||£5,825/31||32.4||194/20||35.3|
|Saab 9-3 1.8t Linear||£18,495||£7,200/39||-||199/21||34.0|
|Volvo S60 2.0T S||£19,995||£7,475/38||33.0||218/25||30.7|
* CAP Monitor RVs and cost per mile figures over three years/60,000 miles ** Figures for 2002/3 tax year.