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Though the four cylinder Honda Accord can't boast the performance levels of its six cylinder stablemates, it does offer the same impeccable standard of finish, plus impressive handling qualities, pleasant driving characteristics, an ergonomically excellent control layout, and good interior space.
Of course the four cylinder Accord also has the advantage of being cheaper than the six cylinder models. Available in one VTi version only, the Accord "four" costs $36,850 in five speed manual form or $38,850 for the four speed "Grade Logic" automatic.
Now upgraded to 2.3 litres (from 2.2 litres), the four cylinder Accord engine boasts small, but welcome, gains in power and torque output. Variable valve timing is standard.
As expected, equipment levels increase as you go up the Accord range, however the four cylinder VTi is still a very well equipped car. Standard items include dual front airbags, air conditioning, anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes, variable ratio power steering, cruise control, central locking, power windows, electric mirrors, an engine immobiliser, tilt steering wheel and height-adjustable driver's seat, a four speaker stereo, a driver's footrest and a fold-down rear seat.
The completely new body that's common to all Accord models is only marginally bigger than its predecessor, but it provides increased head, shoulder and leg room. The new body is also said to be structurally much stronger and to offer improved crash protection.
As for the six cylinder Accord tested earlier this year, finish on the four cylinder version looked to be impeccable. Honda's reputation for building high quality products is well earned and plays an important part in the brand loyalty displayed by so many owners.
Inside the Accord, there's good space for four adults, but the rear seat width could prove just a little squeezy for three adults. Seat comfort is generally good, though for me, the front cushions are too short to provide effective thigh support. The Accord's cabin has a refreshingly bright ambience that makes a nice change from the sombre all-grey interiors featured in many of today's cars.
Naturally enough, boot capacity is the same as for the six cylinder models and that means good overall space, with the ability to fold the one-piece rear seat when required. The stepped boot floor is a minus, but at least you get a full size spare tyre.
Obviously, the 2.3 litre four cylinder Accord doesn't perform as strongly as the 3.0 litre V6, but it's certainly competitive with other medium 'fours' such as the Mitsubishi Magna, Toyota Camry and Mazda 626.
Low speed response is good for a 2.3 litre engine and performance is smooth until the engine operates in its higher rev ranges, when it tends to roar and become a little coarse.
Showing the benefit of a larger engine revving slower than a smaller engine at a given speed, the previously-tested V6 Accord proved a little more economical on highway cruising than the four cylinder version. As expected, the four cylinder car turned the tables in city and suburban running and used half a litre per 100 km less. Overall fuel consumption was the same for both models.
As is often the case with four cylinder and six cylinder models sharing the same body, the four cylinder Accord handled even better than the 'six'. The 'six' was good, but the 'four' felt better balanced and a little more nimble in tight situations.
Emergency braking was very good in the test car, its four-disc anti-lock system pulling the car up straight in commendably short distances.
The four cylinder Honda Accord represents a viable and less expensive alternative for buyers who don't necessarily need the extra power or additional equipment of the six cylinder model.
The 'four' displays the same high quality finish of the six cylinder model, it's very well appointed, and is generally a very pleasant vehicle to drive and ride in. All round, the Accord is a prime example of why Honda owners tend to be such a loyal group. They obviously appreciate the quality, reliability and enviable resale value of the marque.
Test vehicle supplied by Honda Australia Pty Ltd.
|Price of vehicle tested||$38,850|
High standards of finish
Engine roar at medium-to-high revs
|Country of manufacture||SA|
|Warranty||Three years, 80,000 km|
$36,850 - five speed manual
|Number of cylinders||4|
|Engine size||2.3 L|
|Induction||Multipoint fuel injection|
|Claimed max power (kW)||110 kW @ 5700 rpm|
|Claimed max torque (Nm)||206 Nm @ 4800 rpm|
|Wheel size||15 "|
|Width (including mirrors)||1785 mm|
|Fuel capacity||65 litres|
|Max towed mass (trailer plus load)||1200 kg|
NRMA Theft Rating
|Points on scale 0 - 120 (high score is best)||82|
Acceleration - Test results
|50 - 80km/h||6.3 secs|
|60 - 100km/h||7.9 secs|
|0 - 80km/h||7.6 secs|
|0 - 100km/h||11.1 secs|
|Best recorded during testing||10.2 L/100km|
|Worst recorded during testing||13.4 L/100km|
|Average on test||11.3 L/100km|
|Distance to stop (from 80km/h)||28.9 metres|
|Interior noise at constant 80km/h||66 dB(A)|