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Headline:FastSaloons.com Honda Accord i-CTDi road testDate:26/03/2004
Source:FastSaloons.com   (Click Here for more details).OurRoadTests
   
Review:FastSaloons.com Honda Accord i-CTDi road test  

FastSaloons.com
Review


Honda Accord i-CTDi

Test Date
12 - 19 March 2004

Our Thoughts
There's a new Honda that's making a big noise - well actually the exact opposite.

Honda's first in-house diesel is receiving rave reviews. So does it warrant inclusion on fastsaloons.com or it is all just hype.

1st Impressions - Exterior Styling


Not pretty, but more striking than previous model
The new Accord is and interesting car to look at. It actually makes me think of a story that I read in a recent copy of CAR magazine, which was about motor-gaffs. In the article was a story about the Lotus Elan, a car that I am quite fond of but never had the pleasure of driving. It turns out that the Elan is not the car it was suppose to be, due to a number of miscommunications / misunderstandings or general botches. The Elan actually has a shorter wheelbase and its body is actually bigger than that which was designed. The car in other words is to big for its legs - and this is the feeling I have with the Accord the body seems to be too big or at odds with the rest of the car. I sort of like the car, but somethings feels wrong.

On the flip side I followed the existing Accord down a road and couldn't help thinking how bland the car looked. So at least the new Accord makes a statement.

Compared to the Type S we tested previously the i-CTDi has the standard body kit and looks toned down.


Interior Styling



Great spec, great seats and lots of Storage
Two-tone interior - dark grey below window line, light grey above the window line. The effect is good and makes the interior feel light and airy. Dash has two types of plastic - main dash is rough surface, with a smooth surface in the middle, making up the central console. In addition the car has a black maple wood effect on the horizontal surface on the doors and also the console between the driver and passenger.

Very well specced car with heated electric seats, sunroof, windows and mirrors, Air con and cruise control.

Incredibly comfortable heated black leather seats. Quite wide seat and the driver's seat is very manoeuvrable. Both the driver and passenger seats are electric - the driver having more directions of travel.

The Honda is 'Cubby-hole heaven' - with an enclosed compartment, open compartment, hidden drinks compartment (2 drinks) and finally the armrest has a further two compartments (a shallow tray with a large bucket beneath).


Ride, Handling & Steering



Some cars just don't encourage spirited driving - the Accord does.
The Honda's steering is light, but direct and with reasonable feel. The car has a big steering wheel and you are able to feel what is happening beneath you. Torque steer, a by product of front-wheel drive is minimum, a good job considering the car's low-end grunt.

Ride is good. Initially I thought the car was not as firm as the Accord Type-S but when pushed the car feels very stable and the handling is pretty neutral, tending to understeer (an obvious trait of front wheel drive) when pushed a little harder or when the stability control is disabled.

The third day of the test was god-awful weather, raining really hard and lots of standing water. The car drove very comfortably on the roads, driving along at a good old lick, and basically taking the conditions under it's control. The stability control (VSA) system, reigns in everything from aquaplaning to spinning wheels. The result is a very confident drive. I really enjoyed driving the car even in the bad conditions.

Balance on left-right corners is also very good, you can throw the car around and the car reacts quickly and correctly.

The brakes were also excellent. Throughout the 7 days they were always convincing and consistent in their performance. Both high speed and low speed braking feel was good. All Accord models are equipped with ABS, EBD and brake assist as standard. And the effect is superb. Wet or dry you don't doubt the car will stop. Chassis balance under braking is also very good.


Engine, Gearbox and Performance

The most refined diesel ever - are some of the claims for the 2.2litre common rail diesel engine that sits under the bonnet of the i-CDTi.


Smooth diesel, great manual and decent performance.
And it's not far wrong, generally the car stops having the tell-tale diesel clatter once you get above 5mph. Only when you open up the throttle fully do you get some of the diesel noises back - and even then it is hardly harsh. Vibrations are well handled and the only time you'd experience some would be if you left the car in a tall gear at low speeds. Honda has not done things by half and have considered all aspects of the car when designing their first diesel.

When considering the 340 Nm peak torque of the 2.2 litre Honda unit, only the 6-cylinder BMW 330d (390 Nm) and 5-cylinder Mercedes C270 (370 Nm) units have more torque, but the 4-cylinder Honda engine has far superior fuel economy.

In FastSaloons.com league states the Honda is 173rd most torquey car out of the 400 cars listed.

Honda seems to have cracked manual transmissions. All of the recent Hondas I have driven have had great gearboxes. This cars 5-speed manual, specifically designed to take the diesel's extra torque, is no exception. Changes are slick and provide a good feel for the driver.

Engine power comes in strong a little above 2000 rpm. The engine has an indicated red-line starting at 4,5000 rpm and power gradually fades out at 5000 rpm. With it's adequate torque the engine is still entertaining, with reasonable shove from 2000rpm, acceleration is brisk rather than manic - but still good fun.

Honda have designed the car with motorway use in mind - to illustrate how much they have thought about this they have actually made the 4th-5th gear change diagonal (vs. the normal dog-leg) to make shifting easier for the driver.

Our tests encompassed all types of roads and the car felt at home on all of them.

We were actually able to beat the times posted by Autocar to 100mph, but the rest of the numbers were very close:
Acceleration0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100
Honda Accord i-CTDi (1 (03 - )) (3.7) (5.1) (7.3) (9.6) (12.6) (16.8) (21.6) (28.5)
Honda Accord i-CTDi (1 (03 - ))
FastSaloons.com
(3.64) (5.11) (7.45) (9.84) (12.82) (16.45) (21.60) (26.74)
*All FastSaloons.com stats are performed on private roads and repeated several times with the average displayed.


Practicality




Plenty of room front, back and boot
Front and Rear cabin space in the Accord is good, so too is it's boot volume of 459ltrs.

The big news with the Honda diesel is the performance/economy equation of the engine. As seen above the Honda is no slouch and compares well with it's rivals. In terms of 0-62 mph acceleration times, the Accord returns 9.4 seconds, the fastest 4-cylinder car with the exception of the BMW 320d.

On the economy front the Honda also performs well. The official figures of 42.2mpg (urban), 61.4mpg (extra urban) and an overall combined figure of 52.3mpg.

In terms of combined fuel economy the Honda currently tops the fs.com chart. An approximate calculation of the cars fuel economy whilst it visited FastSaloons.com was comfortably over 40mpg even with the additional challenge of performance testing. The theoretic range is a whopping 748miles.

The 143g/km emission figure for the Honda is also the best on Fastsaloons.com.with all it's rivals trailing behind, the closest being the BMW 320d with 148g/km.

Insurance wise the Honda is a group 12.

Conclusion

Honda is late to the party but has come bearing gifts that most people will find hard to ignore.

The car combines good performance with good economy. This means it fares well at both when compared to it's rivals from BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar, Alfa, Volvo and Saab. In competing with the premium brands it distances it from the likes of Vauxhall, Ford and MG.

The levels of engine refinement are a big step forward too, competing with, and even beating established players.

Priced at just over 20grand (£20200) the Honda is priced well compared to it's rivals:
  • Vectra diesel £19950
  • Jaguar 2.0D £19,995
  • Alfa Romeo 156 2.4 JTD £20025
  • Saab 9-3 2.2 Tid £20495
  • Merc C200 Cdi £20660
  • Audi A4 PD130 £21250
  • BMW 320d £21415
  • Volvo S60 D5 £23075


  • If your looking for a diesel saloon but still want some fun then the Honda delivers. Is it hype was the original question - nope the car is the real deal…

    Neil


    Links:
    Honda Press Release for the i-CDTi

    Our Review of the Honda Accord Type S

    View all photos taken during this test










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