Car: BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218
Join Date: 18th February 2009
Location: Suffolk, UK
Thanked 21 Times in 14 Posts
Another Civic to Accord Tourer...
Okay, I've had the 2.2 i-DTEC ES GT Tourer for a little over a week now and time to put some thoughts onto screen. I suppose this is mainly for anyone contemplating moving to the Accord or perhaps change from previous versions of Accords.
Firstly the cabin; could be summed up as comfortable and spacious but with minor niggles. Primary controls are standard Honda and moving into the Accord presents no problems in that respect. Some minor controls, e.g. the aircon group are quite small and positioned relatively low down so it takes a little while before use becomes instinctive with just a quick glance down. Good, clear instumentation (in red) with information available to the driver similar to that in the Civic but without the rev and eco lights (no real loss). As stated by others the quality of the cabin, seat fabrics and components is first rate. All round vision is good even with with the rear window being quite small. A good driving position is easy to achieve with a good range of adjustments for both seat and steering and as is usual with Honda's the relationship between body and pedals is spot on. Seating in the front is again very good including good lateral support (sports seats in this instance). Seating in the back is good for two despite the lack of leg room but would be challenging on long journeys for 3 given that the seats are sculptured for two. We aren't exactly a family of giants (me tallest at 5' 11'') so leg room is not an issue. There are a number of storage options, some of which are a little out of the way and of dubious long term use - the centre console storage area is set back between the front seats so is not easy to use on the move; it has a sliding armrest though, which is a plus point.
Satnav/ICE - the ES GT comes with full Satnav and the premier sound system. Although not TomTom the Satnav is easy to use and has some very useful features like traffic information. Traffic information is free but I'm not sure if this facility is available in the UK only. I've not had to use it yet but suspect this will come in very handy in the summer. The Satnav system is an Alpine unit (no idea which version); pleasant female voice but no options to change but very configurable in many other respects. Guidance appears good with plenty of warning of junctions or changes of direction and with a screen appearing showing junction details alongside the 2D map (no 3D mapping). Different from TomTom but not worse - although it doesn't use TomToms IQ system (or similar) there is the ability to set your own average speeds for different road types.
The audio system really is very good, 10 speakers, including the Sub, provide plenty of musical presence and the centre dash speaker is particularly good for radio vocals. A range of inputs such as USB, 6 CD changer and 3.5mm aux means plenty of music on tap for those longer journeys. The system works particularly well with iPods (my son's, I've a Samsung P3) and USB sticks with full control via the in-cab controls. None iPod players don't work when connected via USB except for charging (which is handy) but work instead via the 3.5mm aux input.
Built in to the Satnav and Audio system is voice control, this provides control of Satnav, climate control/temperature and audio system. There are a wide range of voice commands with a handy list of the same available via the information function. These will take a little time to learn but Honda make a point in the manual that the voice command system should be used whenever possible as an aid to safety (perhaps acknowledging that some of the minor controls are a little fiddly). I've yet to try hands free calling but see no reason why this will not be effective.
Now down to the drive... the GT comes with 17" wheels and sports suspension (e.g. firm). I live out in the sticks, driving mostly rough B roads and single carriegeway A roads (and the occasional blast on the A12/A14). Most holes, lumps and bumps are soaked up easily by the suspension but with the relatively firm set up it is inevitable that some get through but it is far superior to the Civics ride, even with 17" compared to my old 16" wheels. Steering is very responsive but a little odd in that tramlining is readily apparent or the cars EPS system is providing steering inputs, perhaps due to the nature of the roads - suspect a bit of both. Steering weight is unexpected in that it feels a little heavy at low speeds but muscles like Garth are not needed. Cornering and road holding is very good and, subjectively, better than the Civic. I think the suspension in the Civic does it no favours in this respect.
Performance: despite the extra sporty bits and the looks, as you might expect the performance, whilst not sparkling is not bad at all. It doesn't have the immediate response and get up and go of the Civic 2.2 but once it understands you've put your foot on the throttle it is willing enough.
Cabin noise is reasonably supressed; below about 45mph the loudest noise is the engine (a fairly deep note - none of the Civics turbo whine) but above that wind and road noise come to the fore but not to the point where it becomes intrusive (quieter than the Civic).
Fuel consumption: so far I'm averaging 45mpg from a mixed bag of B roads, A roads and dual carriegeway (up to ~70mph). Given the temperatures at the moment this isn't too bad - about 4mpg less than the 2.2 Civic under the same conditions.
In summary than - a good looking, very well appointed and put together car that drives very well but with some minor niggles and perhaps a little challenged in the back for space. Am I pleased with it? Definately, this is the car I wanted last year but couldn't afford, better in almost every respect to the Civic (I miss the magic seats the most). I can see me still driving this in 3-4 years time and still feeling very pleased with it.
Last edited by chrishunt; 30th January 2010 at 15:52.
Reason: Forgot to mention performance.