IF YOU don’t mind the same old styling, the Accord Euro is an excellent car. It’s not the cheapest in its class and there are some minor issues, but overall this is a contender for carsGuide Car of the Year. The test car was the base Accord Euro that lines up with the mid-range Mazda6 and Ford Mondeo. It is on par with these cars when it comes to features, though the Ford comes standard with automatic transmission.
The entry-level Euro has all the important features such as dual-zone airconditioning, eight airbags and cruise control.
Unlike the regular Accord, the Euro actually handles, gives some feedback through the steering and is fun to push along a winding road. It is also nimble, and you can tip it into corners at quite a pace.
Honda has done a good job with the suspension. It is firm enough to keep the car settled, but has enough give to absorb a fair number of bumps without disturbing the occupants.
More carmakers are producing cars that are overly stiff, so this is a good compromise.
The engine is a strong point. It’s not the smoothest four-cylinder unit, but it spins all the way through to 7000 revs. In most conditions you wouldn’t bother to push it past 4000 revs because it has enough low-down pull, but it’s excellent that you can.
This engine is stronger than the standard petrol Mazda6 and Mondeo engines. But it’s a shame this is the only Honda option. Mazda and Ford offer turbodiesel engines, and Ford also has a turbo petrol.
Honda makes fine manual gearboxes and the Euro’s transmission is no different.
This is a brilliant crisp transmission with a direct action and a sporty short-throw lever.
The interior is good, though the big dial that dominates the dashboard looks silly because all it does is control the audio options.
Some parts of the interior, including the dashboard top and door strips, are made from a nice soft plastic. But the smooth-matt plastic used for other parts, including the centre console, looks plain and already had scratches.
If the test car looks ordinary after a few weeks, imagine what one would look like after a few years of family life.
There’s good legroom and headroom in the back, but the rear seats don’t fold down so you can forget about carrying long items.
The boot is not that big. The full-size spare is a nice feature, but it does protrude into an already compact boot.
The Euro is quiet. Road noise and tyre noise levels are low except on country roads with coarse chip tarmac. DOESN’T look much different, but it’s a good allrounder that’s sporty yet still comfortable.