Honda's Accord is a big car and in estate form or tourer is suitable for local authority usage, explains David Stokes.
If you've driven the Subaru Legacy - which as most car lovers know is a very well-built car, well over-engineered with four wheel drive and a very free revving and powerful engine - the Accord seemed a little loose and rather less steady on her feet.
This isn't a fair perception as most cars would seem to have less performance than a Legacy, the Accord is good for a large estate in all aspects of performance be it road holding, acceleration and top speed.
The exterior looks a little slab-sided for my taste but, that apart, it's a very useful car with a considerable carrying space for equipment and comfortable seating for five.
First impressions are of a comfortable car with well-designed seats, good driving position with all the controls within easy reach of the driver.
I am always pleased that I can close the electric windows when I have removed the key from the ignition, that really niggles when you have taken the key out and you have to replace it to close the window.
Cargo space details
The electrically-operated tailgate entertained those who have never seen one before, it is a useful optional extra though especially if you are carrying a heavy item to the car, you can open the tailgate before you start carrying the load, walk over and you don't have to put it down to open the door.
In the cargo space there are four foldaway tie-down loops to fasten down any load that is wont to wander about. On each side there is a light and on the right-hand side as you look in through the tailgate is a 12-volt socket. Behind each of the rear seat backs there is a roll-up-and-roll-out dog guard, each seat back has its own dog guard and they clip together to make one big guard that takes up the whole width of the cargo space.
The rear seat split in the normal 60/40 split and can be folded individually on one operation although it takes a bit of practice. You fold the seat back forward and the seat swab folds forward and at the same time the headrest tucks itself away.
The seats are very comfortable although for such a luxury car there is a dearth of controls for heated seats, rear seat airconditioning, radio etc, you do get an ashtray and switches on the door armrests to operate the electric windows.
Out on the road I did find it all too easy to spin the wheels - so a light foot in the low gears is a must. The gears were wellspaced and, along with the very flexible engine, the Accord is a joy to drive. The dash dials are simplicity themselves to read although the radio CD player takes a bit of getting used to.
Also provided is a DVD player that plays on the information GPS navigation screen to keep the kids quiet when having to wait in the car for longish periods. The GPS system is straightforward to program and use and even has a mini joy stick to move the cursor around the map.