2012 HONDA ACCORD EURO REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Medium sedan
Fuel Economy (claimed): 8.7 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 9.7 l/100km
There’s a new front fascia, slightly tweaked tail-lights, new interior trimmings and new additions to the standard spec sheet.
The rest of the 2012 Accord Euro package is familiar fare, and with such a personality-filled powertrain and slick manual gearbox, that’s definitely a good thing.
Quality: The doors close with a solid thunk. Interior trim, tactile surfaces and plastics are very appealing and every part of the cabin is screwed together tighter than a drum.
Smaller details like the three-dimensional instrument cluster make the Accord Euro feel quite special (compared to most other mid-sizers), and the general cabin ambience is among the best in this class
Comfort: Keen drivers will appreciate the deeply sculpted backrests and the excellent upper-body support they offer. On the other hand, the front seat squabs are relatively flat, and don’t provide nearly as much lateral support.
However, although a little flat, they are not uncomfortable thanks to spacious footwells, adjustable lumbar support and eight-way power adjustment for both driver and front passenger.
Headroom and shoulder room are plentiful in the back, but leg and knee room isn’t so abundant. Two adults can be seated comfortably, but the tall centre tunnel makes the centre seat a kids-only affair.
Equipment: Standard features on the Accord Euro Luxury include rain-sensing wipers, auto-on xenon headlamps, foglamps, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB input for the 10-speaker audio system, a six-disc in-dash CD stacker, a trip computer, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Storage: The Euro’s boot isn’t the most capacious in its class, measuring in at 467 litres. The aperture created by folding the 60/40 split rear seats is also fairly small, so carrying outsize items like flatpack furniture may be a challenge.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The Accord Euro’s 2.4 litre naturally-aspirated petrol four loves to rev, is impressively tractable and feels like it was ripped out of a hot hatch.
The numbers are sharp too: it produces 148kW at 7000rpm and 234Nm at 4300rpm. The Accord Euro is no slouch as a result, but with a 1500kg-odd kerb weight, neither is it a rocketship.
Power delivery is delightfully linear; however, with little in the way of low-down torque (a familiar Honda trait), you need a lot of revs on the dial to keep the Euro moving briskly.
It’s unfussed cruising at highway speeds in sixth gear, but steep grades and overtaking necessitates some cog-swapping to keep things on the boil.
That’s not such a bad thing though: rowing through the Accord Euro’s six-speed manual is an enjoyable experience. The shifter is delightfully slick and light with a clearly- defined gate and a nicely-weighted clutch pedal.
In fact, the only truly annoying characteristic of the Euro’s manual driveline is its propensity to ‘hang’ onto revs after the clutch pedal is pushed in (a minor annoyance).
Refinement: In terms of refinement, the Euro is one of the nicest Japanese midsizers around. The cabin is well-isolated from vibration and suspension noise, and tyre roar isn’t overly intrusive.
The engine gets vocal higher up in its rev range but, again a Honda trait, thanks to its beautiful balance, it emits a throaty and almost melodic throttle-body sound.
Suspension: While not overly soft, the Euro’s suspension is more compliant than you’d expect. The rev-happy motor and precise gearshift have distinctly sporty overtones, but the cushy suspension produces too much pitch and roll during spirited driving - although grip is still plentiful.
The upside is that the Euro is a comfortable cruiser, and it soaks up choppy urban roads with ease.
Braking: With ventilated discs up front and solid discs at the rear, the Accord Euro’s brake package has little problem stopping the 1525kg Honda.
ANCAP rating: Five stars
Safety features: Standard safety equipment includes front, front side and full-length curtain airbags, three-point seat belts, front anty-whiplash headrests and pre-tensioning front seatbelts.
Stability control is standard accross the Accord Euro range, along with traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/100,000km.
Service costs: Servicing costs vary from dealer to dealer. Before purchase, contact your local Honda service centre for servicing costs.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Volkswagen Jetta 147TSI Highline ($37,990) - Almost line-ball on power with the Honda but with far more torque (280Nm, to be exact), the Jetta’s 2.0 litre turbocharged engine is more tractable around town.
The options list may be pricey, but VW’s sophisticated DSG twin-clutch automatic is standard on the Jetta 147TSI. (see Jetta reviews)
Mazda6 Touring sedan ($31,450) - The Accord Euro’s natural enemy, the Mazda6 has a surprisingly engaging chassis. However there’s not as much power from its 125kW 2.5 litre four-cylinder, and the Mazda’s rubbery gearshift isn’t as enjoyable to use as the Honda’s.
Build quality isn’t quite up to the standard of the Euro, but a recent model update gives the Touring a similar spec list to the Honda for a lot less cash. (see Mazda6 reviews)
Kia Optima Platinum ($36,990) - Kia’s gobsmackingly attractive Optima is only available with a six-speed automatic, but that’s more than compensated for by the Optima’s smooth engine, well-appointed interior and buttoned-down suspension tune. (see Optima reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Searching for a sporty sedan but can’t justify the extra cost of the larger domestic RWD offerings? The Honda Accord Euro is well worth a look, particularly in manual form.
Keen drivers may prefer a tauter suspension tune, but the manual-equipped Euro has a lot of appeal as a daily commuter with a distinctly sporty feel - much more so than the automatic variant.