Honda Accord Tourer shapes up

It was clear the Honda Accord Tourer had grabbed the man's attention, writes Andy Russell. He admired it and then announced he might at last have found an estate car his wife would like.

It was clear the Honda Accord Tourer had grabbed the man's attention, writes Andy Russell. He admired it and then announced he might at last have found an estate car his wife would like.

Against the big-selling Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia and Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series estates it's easy for people to overlook the Accord and that's a great shame.

The latest Accord Tourer is the best-looking yet (not something that could be said about its slabby, square-backed predecessors) with its rounded tailgate and strong lines especially with the Type S version's subtle sporty bodykit.

The Type S is a more recent addition to the Accord range, both saloon and Tourer, and is being seen as a 'halo' model - a flagship to attract more attention to the range as a whole - and it certainly seemed to work during my time with the car.

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The Type S also benefits from Honda's most powerful diesel engine ever - a 180PS version of the new 2.2-litre turbo diesel. I've long been a fan of Honda's diesel and it just gets better and better. The standard version is impressive but a revised turbo charger, cylinder head and larger intercooler have given it another 30PS to compete against a growing band of more powerful rivals.

Lots of low-down pull and a useful 380 Newton metres of torque between 2,000 and 2,750rpm mean strong performance on demand and even when using the super slick six-speed gearbox to work it hard the engine remains smooth and refined. Fuel economy is not as good as some rivals and even driven gently I never saw more than 43mpg.

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But it's a peach to drive and really doesn't feel like a big estate car.

Other Accords are biased towards long-distance comfort, but the Type S gets sports suspension which makes it feel sharper and more agile on twisty roads. OK the ride is firmer, partly due to chunky 18in alloy wheels and low-profile tyres, but it's not unpleasantly so.

The Accord Tourer is a big car and can carry five adults comfortably but rear legroom is only adequate with the chunky front sports seats well back and there isn't a lot of foot room beneath them.

Think lifestyle estate and you won't be disappointed with the Accord. The rear end is more stylish than spacious and there's some wheelarch intrusion in the boot floor but you still get a 395-litre loadbay with the seats up, rising to 672 litres to the window line with the 60/40 backs folded flat. There's also useful underfloor storage and the optional remote tailgate opening is worth considering.

The driving position is good with plenty of adjustment and the dashboard is attractively styled and if you like lots of buttons you'll love the Accord - it's a long time since I resorted to the owner's handbook to find out how things work!

The Type S comes fully loaded with safety kit and creature comforts including voice recognition for the standard sat-nav and Bluetooth hand-free phone link. An extra �1,790 buys the advanced driver assist system (ADAS) of adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking and lane keeping assist.

It's easy to overlook the Accord Tourer when thinking about estate cars… but not when you see it in the metal.

Honda Accord Type S 2.2 i-DTEC 180 Tourer

Price: �29,280; ADAS model �31,070 (range starts from �22,215)

Engine: 2,199c, 180PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-62mph, 9.2 seconds; top speed 134mph

MPG: Urban 37.1; extra urban 56.4; combined 47

Emissions: 157g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 23pc

Insurance group: 27E

Warranty: Three years/90,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? Length 4,748mm; width (excluding door mirrors) 1,840mm; height 1,440mm

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