28 Nov 2013

2013 Honda Accord Tourer Review

Matt Hubbard reviews the Honda Accord Tourer 2.2 i-DTEC EX Auto

2013 Honda Accord Tourer

I recently drove the new Honda Civic and was blown away by it.  The interior of the Civic is futuristic and funky, even if the latest generation's styling is a little more bland than the previous.  The Civic is a fabulous car with brilliant design, a nimble chassis and decent engines.

Then, when Honda agreed to let me borrow a car I asked for an Accord Tourer as I'd recently tested estates from Volvo, Ford and Skoda and have a Jaguar Sportbrake and Subaru Outback scheduled.

Estate cars are the backbone of Britain's families.  Americans, who call them wagons, don't really 'get' the concept of an estate.  Or rather car companies who supply to America don't.  American car enthusiasts cry out for diesel wagons but rarely get them because the wider American public likes 'sedans', crossovers, SUVs and pick-up trucks.

Volvo has finally got the idea and will supply the superb V60 estate in the US next year, but only with petrol engines.

Honda supplies 11 models in the States, one of which is called the Crosstour and looks like a Hondafied BMW X6.  But Honda only supplies saloon and coupe versions of the Accord.  Not the estate, or Tourer as they call it.

Which is a pity because the Honda Accord Tourer is a perfectly reasonable car.
2013 Honda Accord Tourer

I've owned a few estates over the years.  When you've got children and dogs it's the only style of car to go for.  A hatchback is slightly too small and a full size 4x4 is ridiculous, unless you plan to tow or go off road.

The most boring, yet most economical and practical, estate I've owned was a 1998 Volkswagen Passat TDi 110.

The BMW 5 series 2.5 litre diesel engine had incredible turbo lag, the two Subaru Outbacks I owned were brilliant but thirsty, the Mondeo Ghia X had a TDCi engine that grenaded itself at 6 months old, the two Mercedes W124s were brilliant but thirsty (and one snapped a driveshaft) and the Audi S4 cost me a fortune.

The Honda Accord Tourer is most like my old Passat.  Not glamorous, but practical, it gets on with the job of being a spacious load logger with the minimum fuss and low running costs.

The exterior is a step up from the previous model.  The flanks and front end are quite stylish if not cutting edge.  Its rear is its most stand-out feature.  The windows narrow towards the rear and the hatch slopes up to give an almost sporty look.

It does seem to attract muck from the road though, just like the Mk4 Golf's rear end used to do.

That, though, is alleviated by the self opening and closing tailgate which is operated from the key fob.  It's quite brilliant and emits a beep which your dogs soon learn to recognise and make sure they are out of the way as it swooshes down to shut.

The loan car came in White Orchid Pearl which didn't do the Accord's shape any favours.  A darker colour such as red or blue would make it more attractive to the eye.  The exterior was also slightly over-chromed for my taste.  The option to have door handles in body colour would be helpful in this regard.

The interior was much more functional and grown up than in the Civic.  Instead of a spaceship-like console around the driver we get a mix of hard plastic and luxurious touches such as soft closing lids and attractively lit buttons and dials.
2013 Honda Accord Tourer interior

The seats are quite comfortable and electronically adjustable, with a nice, deeply set footwell.  Oh the joys of pedals set at a depth for drivers with normal sized legs, rather than short stumps that so many cars are designed for.

The steering wheel is fully adjustable for rake and reach so you can attain a comfortable driving position quite easily, and with room in the back seat behind a tall driver too.

The dials look nice, although the graphics in the small trip computer in the centre of the rev counter are a bit old school.

The centre console gets decent storage in the form of two cupholders next to the handbrake (yes, a real handbrake!), an ashtray and 12V lighter and a big storage box under the armrest.

The automatic gearstick, like the steering wheel is trimmed in good quality leather.

Above the gearstick we get heater controls (akin to a Porsche Cayman's quite bizarrely) and then the sound system.

Ah yes the sound system.  I get very upset if a new car, especially one that costs £31,490, doesn't have digital radio as standard.  The Honda Accord Tourer has a 6-disc CD player (my CDs are all in the loft, gathering dust), an FM/AM radio and a wired USB connection.

No digital radio and no Bluetooth smartphone connectivity.  Agh.  Yet it does have Bluetooth connectivity for phone calls.  This works very well by the way.
2013 Honda Accord Tourer dashboard

The satnav takes some getting used to and the satnav and stereo functions are not intuitive.  I didn't like the input, via a stacked knob/dial system.  This is the latest generation Accord so it should get the latest Honda tech.  The company that makes Asimo should make a better infoscreen and sound system (although the actual sound quality is very good) and satnav with more intuitive controls.

The interior has some nice touches, with aluminium swathes around the centre console and glovebox and a lovely shape to the overall dash, and air vents.

The rear seats are spacious and comfortable, with leg room for 6 footers.  The boot loses some width over the previous generation Accord estate but it's quite deep and is completely flat.  Also, because the Accord Tourer is front wheel drive only the boot floor is low, which is great for lugging shopping bags, and ancient dogs.

The seats fold flat too, and to do so is simple.  The dog net/load cover is attached to the car, rather than seats, which makes folding the seats easier.

On to the business of driving.

In this entire regard it is typically Honda.  The engine has 150bhp and 258 lb ft of torque, and a minimal amount of turbo lag from a standstill.  It has adequate grunt and returns 40mpg on a run and 35ish mpg around town (the official figure is 44.1mpg).

0-60mph takes 10.7 seconds, which is theoretically quite slow.  It is quite heavy at 1,766 kg which keeps that 0-60 time down but the engine's torque only really comes into play once you get going.

The auto gearbox is one of the best I've used, even though it's only a 5-speed.  It just gets on with the job.  You don't feel the need to use the flappy paddles (yes, it does have them, mounted on the steering wheel like a Jaguar's) because the 'box is one step ahead of you most of the time.  It simply works.

The steering and chassis are up to the job without being overtly sporty.  The steering is quite light but is reasonably direct.  It's certainly not sloppy and the wheel has no dead spot at the centre.  The ride is comfortable although it can jar a tiny amount on uneven surfaces.
2013 Honda Accord Tourer

One day I spent ten hours on the road in the Accord Tourer.  The seat, the ride, the drive were comfortable, although the lack of decent sounds drove me potty.  I alighted from the car at the end of the day feeling pretty fresh.

This is a car for people who want a car as a tool.  A practical, economical, not too expensive load lugger for the family and all their accoutrements.  On all those fronts it delivers.

The Skoda Superb estate is cheaper, the Volvo V60 feels more luxurious and has more and better tech, the Mondeo estate is not as good on most fronts.  The Honda sits in the middle of the pack, doing its thing and doing it well.  Most people will buy it because it's a Honda, and they won't be disappointed.


Price - £31,490
Engine - 2.2 litre, inline-4, diesel
Transmission - 5-speed automatic 
0-60mph - 10.7 seconds 
Top speed - 126 mph 
Power - 150 bhp 
Torque -  258 lb ft 
Economy - 44.1 mpg 
CO2 - 167 g/km 
Kerb weight - 1,766 kg

2013 Honda Accord Tourer boot

Review by Matt Hubbard