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Honda Accord 2,4 Type S

Broadcast date : 2nd May 2004

The Honda Accord Two Point Four Type-S is a difficult car to categorise. It is best described as a sports sedan, but it employs a mix of luxury and no-nonsense simplicity that sees it appealing to a wide cross section of car buyers.

It was probably this combination of raw driver appeal and practicality that saw it come within an ace of being chosen as the 2004 Car of the Year. It was pipped by the excellent Renault Megane, but everyone agrees it was close call.

The most impressive part of the Accord may be its exterior styling, with its Darth Vader type headlights giving it an almost brutal appearance from the front.

However, comparatively small wheel sizings soften the looks in profile, while from the rear the clean sharp-edged styling again points to a performance orientation

Fitted with a one-forty kilo watt four-cylinder engine which uses V-Tec variable valve timing for an excellent spread of torque, the Accord falls short of being a performance car in the BMW 330 or Mercedes C230 mould.

Yet its package will delight the performance-orientated driver. This is largely due to one of the most communicative steering systems on any car in production.

Each road ripple, each load-change on the front wheels is felt through the leather -covered steering wheel. And yet the Honda, at all times, remains poised and fluid.

The same sense of satisfaction comes in using the metal-topped gearlever. Rarely has a gearshift felt as slick and positive as this one.

And in terms of chassis balance and near-neutral handling in high-speed corners, the car is exemplary.

In fact, the Accord could do with more power to go with its thoroughbred handling. And the engine note, although sporty enough, lacks just a bit of finesse when you rev it to the redline at seven thousand rpm.

You won't find super hi-tech gizmos in this car. There is no navigation or computerised read-outs. But the Accord does come equipped with a CD player, front, side and head-airbags, climate control and sports seats. It is a genuine four seater with space for the occasional fifth passenger.

Covered in black leather the cabin is quite sombre, even austere. Our main criticism from an aesthetic point of view was the design of the controls on the centre console. These rather look as if they were lifted from a portable hi-fi.

But quality throughout is first rate, and there is a saying in the motor trade that you don't get rich selling Honda spare parts.

The Type-S designation refers to the car being a six-speed manual version.

There is also a five-speed automatic version known as the Executive, but this manual version is our choice. That gear change is just too good to leave to computerised decision-making.

The Accord Type S is up against the Mazda Six 2.3 Lux, the BMW 320i and the Mercedes-Benz C180 Kompressor in this price bracket of around Two Hundred and Forty Five Thousand Rand. Our view is that the Accord is the best of the bunch in this price bracket.

The Honda Accord comes with a three year, one hundred thousand kilometre warranty and a three-year, sixty thousand kilometre maintenance plan.

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