The Honda Accord has been in NZ for over 30 years now, and in the ‘70s it gained a following for its handling, comfort and fresh design. During the ‘90s the Accord saw its fourth and fifth generations, and we all got a little complacent with its reliable goodness. It needed something more – a few new tricks – so like many twenty-somethings it pursued the kiwi right-of-passage known as the O.E and is now back as the Honda Accord Euro. Currently, in its second outing as the Accord Euro and eighth generation as the Accord it’s ready to demand our attention again and show us all that it has learned on the continent.
When I went to Europe I returned with some fridge magnets, a beer gut and credit card debt. The 2008 Accord Euro is in far better shape but has also gained in size, being dimensionally bigger in every way than its predecessor and only slightly shorter in length than its V6 big brother (the review of which is linked at the bottom of the page). That said, the Accord Euro is a master of disguise and its dominant front end, crisp creased lines and up-swept profile mask its true proportions. A wider track and an aggressive yet elegant stance create a well-rounded look that is thoroughly modern. Italy must have been the Accord’s first European stop and it’s visible in the Euro’s puffed up fenders and coupe-like roofline that smacks of Italian flair in both looks and intent.
Inside, the Accord Euro’s graduated dimensions provide generous leg and shoulder room for occupants, and a genuine feeling of spaciousness. All the interior materials look and feel a higher quality than other vehicles in its price-range. The heated leather memory driver’s seat was soft and nicely deep but over-supportive in the lumbar region for my slouchy tastes. Controls are intuitive and easily reached and there are good storage areas available. The instrumentation is a real feature with crystal effect backlit gauges housing needles that seem to float. This set up looks good during the day and dashing at night. Overall, the interior is a little guilty of trying to do too much with its mix of black and silver plastics and marble-look detailing. Having the graphite-trim sweeping upward from the centre storage bin, into the dash and through to the curves in the door is pleasantly symmetrical, but won’t be to everyone’s taste. This uncharacteristic styling decision is proof enough that the Accord has spent time in France.
Germany always going to be the most important destination on the Accord’s European trip, Honda has fancied itself as the Japanese BMW for a long time. The underpinning engineering on the Euro all checks out well and helps maintain its image as a true driver’s car. Packed under the bonnet is the reworked 2.4-litre i-VTEC engine that produces 148kW of power and 234Nm of torque. The 16-valve power plant will get the Euro travelling at 100km from standing in the 9-second bracket which isn’t bullet-train quick, but is good for a free-breathing four-cylinder engined mid-size car. Like any VTEC if you keep the motor working between 4500rpm and 7000rpm it will show you a good time. A five-speed automatic transmission makes a good travel buddy for the engine and delivers smooth well-timed shifts. There is an auto sports option for more enthusiastic performance, and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters for manual changes.
On the road, the Euro is an absolute pleasure it mixes fantastic balance with a German level of refinement. The cabin remains quiet from most wind noise and picks up only minimal road sound. The chassis is supremely balanced and can’t be picked on for being either too soft or firm. Twisty roads provide no issue for the Accord with its nimble handling and low-set engine that further works to disguise the generous proportions and 1518kg vehicle weight.
The Accord Euro’s build quality is unbeatable at the price and it is very economical for the performance on offer, being capable of returning figures of 8.9l/100km (combined). So if it doesn’t leak oil and doesn’t drink too much the Accord must have skipped the UK on its European holiday.
Final stop on the Accords tour was the home of automotive safety, Sweden. Electronic Stability Protection is standard on the Euro and is coordinated to steering input, assisting the driver if the vehicle is skidding. Traction control and front, side and curtain airbags are all included to insure safety has been well addressed.
After its long journey the Accord has found its way back to us in NZ with more than just a ‘Euro’ badge. It has a high equipment level as standard, a well-powered engine, poised ride and balance and ultra-modern European styling. For all its travels, what the Accord Euro does best is what it has always done; offer very good value for money, something that is pure Japanese.
To read specifications of the Honda Accord Euro, click through to the next page.
Price: from $40,400
What we like:
- Sharp exterior styling
- Solid build quality
- High handling ability
What we don’t like:
- Interior design decisions
- Grown too large
- Tone down the lumbar support
Words and Photos, Adam Mamo
Honda Accord Euro (2008) – Specifications
Engine: 2.4-litre 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC
Maximum Power: 148kW @ 7,000rpm
Maximum Torque: 234Nm @ 4,400rpm
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual or 5 Speed Automatic with Gear Logic Control
Maximum speed: MT/AT km/h 227 / 227
Acceleration: MT/AT 0-100km/h 7.8 / 9.5
Front Suspension: Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension: Multi-link with variable gas pressurised shock absorbers and stabiliser bar
Wheels: 17″ x 7.5″ alloy wheels. Full size spare wheel under floor.
Tyres: 225/50 R17 (for 17″)
Vehicle Stability System: VSA – Vehicle Stability Assist (Electronic Stability Control) incorporating Traction Control
Braking System: ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), EBA (Emergency Brake Assist) and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) Front-ventilated discs 320mm. Rear solid discs 305mm
Overall Length (mm):4,726
Overall Width (mm): 1,840
Overall Height (mm): 1,440
Wheelbase (mm); 2,705
Track – Front/Rear (mm): 1,590 / 1.590
Ground Clearance (mm); 150
Kerb Weight – Manual (kg): 1,484
Kerb Weight – Auto (kg): 1,518
Boot Capacity (VDA litres): 418
Turning Circle – kerb to kerb (metres): 11
Maximum warrantable towing weight (kg): 1500
Tank Capacity (litres) 65
Recommended Fuel 95 Octane Premium
Emissions Control: LEV II (Low Emission Vehicle) and Euro V emissions control
Fuel economy – combined (ADR 81/01) L/100kms: 8.9
Optimal NZ drive test Auckland-Taupo-Auckland L/100kms Man/Auto: 6.96/6.47
Fuel Saver Infomation
Make and Model: Honda Accord Euro S Auto
Star Rating: 4 stars out of 6
Yearly Cost : $2,310
Mileage: 8.9 Litres per 100 km – Reference: 5614 AUTO
Note: 2008(a) cost per year based on price per litre of petrol $1.85 and an average distance of 14000 km