Wednesday 21 February 2018

Kinda fonda this Honda


I don't care what anyone says: there is plenty of money lying high and dry in savings and deposit accounts all over the place. I haven't got it; most of you haven't either. But by all accounts there is as much as €90bn -- yes ninety billion euro -- stashed away.

Oh, those lucky people! Imagine having money in the bank. Just imagine. More luck to them and long may they continue to prosper -- and maybe spend a few euro.

This week's review car, the Honda Accord Type-S diesel, is one that might tempt a few of them to part with some of their dusty loot. It might also prompt those who are lucky enough to be in a position to borrow a few euro to do so.

Mind you, they are spoilt for choice when it comes to what they can buy for around €40,000 these days. Our emissions-based tax system -- which the Government will fiddle with over the next 12 months -- has so altered the landscape that cars such as this and mid-size BMWs and Audis and Mercs now all hover around the critical €40,000 line.

The Accord Type-S is really a showcase for the Accord that has become something of a favourite for families and fleets. The Japanese tsunami tragedy delayed plans for the heavily revised mainstream car.

Now, later than planned, it wags its tail at us and begs to join the family.

I found there were pros and cons for considering what is a large, fairly salubrious saloon. It was so easily driven it concealed a striking power lurking under the bonnet. I mean 180bhp is not scorched-earth power but blended with a six-speed gearbox and a tight chassis it brought a lot of energy to the drive.

That is the important element in any car that purports to be of the 'sporty/ performance' variety. The chassis/handling/ride must complement the power. The only criticism is that the lower profile tyres did sometimes leave it prone to the odd jar from badly gapped roads.

Cleverly, though, for the self-conscious among us, this proclaims its prowess modestly enough. While sharply designed and delineated as Type-S with performance cues here and there (18-inch alloys, aero bumpers, side sills), it does not wear boastful bling on its sleeve.

So you can definitely use it to the full as a family/company car but also knock great fun out of it. And it can move, believe me. While it has the handling ability to go with it, please be careful or you will rack up penalty points faster than euro in a politician's pension.

It is a car to enjoy, with big comfortable seats, lots of equipment and plenty of room front and back. My biggest source of enjoyment, truthfully, was just the energy that came through from driving it. That is what makes people part with their money.

Yet, regardless of its many merits, you will get people thinking along parallel lines. They will argue that if they are going to spend nearly 40 grand on a car, they might as well spend it on a 'big name'.

Even if the 180bhp on tap in the Accord may not be matched by some or all of the 'Germans' you can buy for similar money, their 'snob' value -- what else would you call it? -- could be a huge compensatory factor.

It's a fair point. One countered, I think, by the extensive level of spec and equipment on the Honda. When you add some of the stuff up, it makes a hell of a difference.

But ultimately what we have here is a classic dilemma. One which is resolved satisfactorily one way or the other, really, because the choices are of a high standard anyway.

But it only arises for those who have, or can get, the money. For the likes of you and I, the Type-S is a dilemma we'd love to have.

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