HONDA ACCORD VTi-L
What was once the clash of the cardigans is now far less beige and boring. This pair can cart kids or a crew in comfort, without inducing a coma for the driver, says Stuart Martin
VALUE The Accord range-topper has leather-wrapped steering wheel (with a raft of control buttons), two screens, seven-speaker Bluetooth and USB equipped audio, satnav, keyless entry and ignition, power/heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and full-size spare. TECHNOLOGY Propelled by a new 2.4-litre i-VTEC alloy engine (129kW/225Nm ), the Accord claims 8.1L/100km (previous model, 8.7L). Honda retains the five-speed automatic. Active engine mounts reduce vibration and active noise cancelling cuts low-end drivetrain noise. DESIGN Styling is not polarising, nor is it unattractive. The interior continues the low-key theme, with quality feel and good cabin space for four adults plus baggage. Boot space is a claimed 457L (a Commodore has 496L, petrol-only Camry 515L). The Honda has folding rear seat backs for flexible lugging. SAFETY Only four ANCAP stars but it has six airbags, trailer sway control, automatic adaptive LED headlights (with auto high beam). Add front and rear parking sensors and blind spot monitor. Cameras enable multi-view from rear and, from left-hand mirror, an 80-degree view. DRIVE It’s a calm and relaxed journey, with a comfortable cabin, decent ride quality and non-taxing drive. The little four is smooth and willing but is a little light-on for torque when teamed with only a five-speed auto. It works well through the bends, too, although steering is light.