STYLES come and go in car design but the ubiquitous estate car goes on and on. Whether you call it
STYLES come and go in car design but the ubiquitous estate car goes on and on. Whether you call it a tourer or an estate this model derivation has a useful extension at the back with a tailgate that reveals a load space which can hold all manner of things including pets, camping gear and the like. The estate car is to my mind one of the most enduring of car forms.
It’s also pretty useful and this week’s drive — revisited after a decent interval of nearly three years — is the Honda Accord Tourer. This was the car that I was appraising when we moved lock, stock and what seemed like 10 barrels after 16 years living in Caversham: the move proved to be of seismic proportions. But the Accord Tourer acquitted itself well at the time. And this time around, too, I was impressed by what a useful and rounded vehicle this is.
There are many new forms of car that have come to the fore in the intervening short years since we moved here. Now it is not so much about tourers or estates. Instead the automotive trade talk is peppered with “compact SUVs” this and “mini MPVs” that. Some carmakers have even gone to the dubious lengths of taking proven models and morphing them into something often uglier than the original, simply for the sake of change.
But when it comes down to it, I believe that car buyers do not wish to be offended by the sight of a much-loved model exaggerated and distorted for the sake of change.
It is more likely that they want actually to like the look of the car they are driving, to get good value for money, with reliability and good economy. And for most motorists, I’m sure, it’s rather nice if the car proves to be useful other than just a form of transport for getting from A to B.
The first thing that strikes you about the Honda Accord Tourer is that it is a very comfortable car, probably a prerequisite for anyone contemplating touring or long journeys. The black leather upholstery seems to mould beautifully into the ambience of the car’s interior: if you were buying an Accord Tourer you would probably contemplate no other upholstery material.
But the Accord Tourer’s appeal does not stop there. You feel while driving it that you have room and space around you, not only to stretch out but also to carry things and deliver them without discomfort from an arduous journey.
I know that when we moved to Gloucestershire, the Accord Tourer then was brimming with domestic paraphernalia, all the personal stuff that did not make it into one of two removal vans or that we considered too precious to risk other than in our own close possession.
A closer look at the list of standard equipment on the Accord Tourer reveals just why one finds it comfortable to be at the wheel. These features are innumerable; in fact, on the spec list provided by Honda I counted more than 80 standard features.
These include some assets one might expect as standard but Honda believes in giving the motorist quality and good value. So you also get little luxuries as standard such as ambient footwell lighting, eight-way power-assisted driver and passenger seats, driver’s memory seat, driver and passenger vanity mirror illuminated with lid in sunshade, hands-free telephone system, front and rear bottle holders and glass electric tilt or slide sunroof with sunshade. I could go on because as I say the standard features list is long — and I suspect put together with some care — and you get all this in a car where the Accord Tourer range starts from £22,700.
So this revisit has proved a success. Some newer motorists might think twice about buying an estate car, but I suggest that they not be fooled by models that rely on trends or gimmicks to attract them. The estate is still a good buy and you could start with confidence with the Honda Accord Tourer.
lVehicle tested: Honda Accord Tourer 2.2 i-DTEC EX Automatic
lPrice range starts at: £22,700
lEngine: 2,199cc diesel
lPerformance and fuel consumption: Max speed: 126mph, 0 to 62mph: 10.7 seconds, Combined cycle: 42.8mpg, CO2 emissions (g/km): 174, 2009 Overall Euro NCAP safety rating: 5 stars