Aero plain

Honda’s worthy Accord estate undercuts obvious rivals from Audi and BMW

There is a modern breed of estate car which is overtly sporting. The BMW 328 Touring and Subaru Impreza 2.0 Turbo, for instance: rocket ships in a straight line, easily capable of consuming a mountain bike and a couple of large dogs, but perhaps a little too softly sprung for those who want every ripple in the road surface to reach the seat of their leans. You can have a sporting estate, but it will inevitably involve a degree of compromise.

Honda’s Accord Aerodeck looks for all the world as though it should be a barnstorming estate in the modern idiom, but its svelte profile hides more modest ambitions. The accent is on comfort and value, rather than performance. It may have a top speed close to 130 mph, but the top-of-the-range 2.2i ES will take quite a while getting there. The four-cylinder engine is sluggish, and you need to stir the gear lever constantly to access the 146 lb ft of torque which finally comes on stream at 4500 rpm. It is neither flexible, nor particularly restful on the ears.

But it scores very highly in other areas. At a fraction over £20,000, for instance, it is a couple of thousand pounds cheaper than a BMW 320 Touring… and it features air conditioning, twin airbags and cruise control as standard. And build quality is on a par with Germany’s finest, too.

The chassis could probably cope adequately with rather more than the available 150 bhp. Suffice to say that it rides well on Honda’s traditional preference for double wishbones, making the Aerodeck as comfortable as it is practical and stylish.

The Aerodeck is devoid of outstanding attributes, bereft of major flaws. It represents excellent value for money; just bear in mind that its performance does not match its appearance.