Form versus function: it’s a perennial design battle and sums up the difference between the outgoing Honda Accord Tourer and the new – eighth
generation – model launching in September 2008. The old version was one of the most practical and innovative load carriers on the market, but frankly a little dull to look at. The new design is a more coherent form, but offers a lot less space and luggage functionality. Rob Peter, pay Paul. So should I care about this new Honda Accord Tourer?
Yes and no. Fundamentally it looks more desirable, like a car that’s been designed to be an estate from the outset – not a saloon with a bigger end added afterwards. There were two independent design teams for the old saloon and Tourer. The new cars were designed by one team from the word go. It shows.
The new Tourer is 30mm lower with a curvier roofline and faster back featuring more distinctive taillights. Bolder side creases and flared wheel
arches banish the slab sides of old. Less classy is the gappy metal-effect slatted front grille that seems ill-fitting and cheap within the smart new
headlights.Click 'Next' to find out why the Honda Accord Tourer has taken a step back...Where did all the function go on the Accord Tourer?
Lowering the roofline and making the hatch ‘faster’ rather than virtually vertical as on the old model reduces space. Badly. Seats up, the Tourer actually offers less room than the saloon (406 vs 460 litres). The old Tourer managed a whopping 626 and even the new A4 Avant has 490.
At least there's a useful extra 53-litre rectangular under-floor space that will fit a mid-sized weekend bag. But fold the rear seats down and the main luggage area only expands to 672 litres up to the waistline – the old one did 921 to the same point. Let's not beat around the bush: this is a serious disappointment on an estate car.It gets worse... impracticality rules
There are still shopping hooks on the boot walls and a helpful one-height load floor (there’s no lip), but the wheel arches intrude significantly to
impede long wide loads and you can no longer slot away the tonneau cover under the load floor when not needed – a genius design touch on the old wagon.Click 'Next' to read about the Honda Accord Tourer on the roadSlick interior, good drive and safety galore
The new interior is slicker, more comfortable, and higher quality than the last model (especially in top-spec EX GT trim). As you'll read in our test of the saloon
, it's a great place to sit. Though rear headroom is fine in this remodeled estate, legroom is weaker.
The new 148bhp 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel engine is 10bhp more powerful than today's excellent i-CDTi engine and has better economy (50.4mpg)
and emissions (148g/km CO2) too. Unsurprisingly, the diesel is expected to take 70 percent of Tourer sales. For lower tax and running costs, it's a no brainer over the 154bhp 2.0 and 198bhp 2.4 petrol units. The 2.2 diesel: pick of the range
The 2.2’s a fine model to drive, feeling very solid on the road with accurate, well judged steering, good body control and whispery refinement. The Tourer will command a £1300 premium over the saloon, and prices nudge upwards from today's - now stretching from £19,260 to £27,960, reflecting Honda's obsession with moving closer to Audi and BMW. Honda Accord Tourer: the verdict
Yes, the new Tourer is a good car, but you can't help feeling it’s traded its functional trump cards for a form that doesn’t quite deliver. It's no longer a great estate, and that's surely going to damage its aspirations.