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Accord drives Honda upmarket
12:23pm Tuesday 9th September 2008 in Motors
FOR many, Honda stands for above average quality cars in sectors where the average mass market seller is, well, average.
Witness the Japanese firm's Jazz, CR-V and Civic — all high quality products competing head-on with offerings from Ford, Vauxhall and the like.
Notice something missing?
Honda's Accord 2.2 i-DTEC ES GT Saloon is what you are looking for.
The compact saloon and estate pairing that, in recent years, has offered Audi-esque levels of quality and sophisticated class at a price and market position more in common with Ford's Mondeo.
The gradual but noticeable shift upmarket by every major car maker has changed the car buyer landscape, however.
"The Accord is being openly positioned to exceed expectations and change a few perceptions along the way."
In a bid to offer consumers more of everything – luxury, prestige, equipment, style – everyone has had to up their game.
And, it would appear, buyers are willing to pay for it either directly or through leasing deals and company user-chooser schemes.
This is where the Accord comes in, so often the more considered choice for drivers seeking a departure from the usual German marques.
It is clear from the promotional material accompanying this Accord that Honda has its sights firmly on the compact executive market.
With the likes of Audi's A4 and BMW's 3 Series having featured heavily in the firm's benchmarking processes, you can be sure that the Accord is no imposter.
From the Accord saloon’s styling and the focus on improved ride and handling to the effort that has been expended getting the cabin ambience just right, the Accord is being openly positioned to exceed expectations and change a few perceptions along the way.
The Accord saloon's basic design has been retained, which should please the Honda faithful and anyone else less than satisfied with the German opposition's thrusting, in-your-face approach.
Tasteful, restrained in places yet refined and expensive-looking, the saloon strikes an attractive pose without looking like it is trying too hard.
It is a similar story inside; the cabin layout is similar to the old car. Far from a negative attribute, it means you get to experience first rate ergonomics, build quality, cabin materials, refinement, noise suppression and comfort.
Factor in, depending on the model, full colour sat-nav, voice recognition, Bluetooth phone connection, iPod and MP3 player connectivity and it is easy to appreciate Honda's desire to make the Accord experience an enjoyable one.
The car is available with adaptive cruise control, a sophisticated lane keep assist feature plus a collision avoidance function that will audibly warn then tug at your seatbelt before applying some braking pressure to help you avoid a possible frontal impact. As a package this suite of features amounts to a serious offering alongside the usual traction and stability control plus the usual array of airbags.
Available in three trim levels (ES, ES GT and EX) the Accord saloon offers a refreshingly different take on the traditional compact executive.
Solid, dependable, stylish and well equipped and oozing with quality, this Honda proves that not following the herd can be a rewarding experience.