30 April 2023 The car that chose us

We weren’t really looking for a car, but having changed jobs and had to hand back my EV recently we were short of a car. However a friend of ours had sadly just died from a long term illness and we had offered to help his partner sell his old car. His partner, with whom we had become friends over the years asked us whether we wanted to buy the car and we somewhat spontaneous agreed a deal. So we are now the proud owners of a 2012 Honda Accord 2.2 diesel automatic ES-GT, and a fine automobile it is too.

It’s noticeable how much cars have changed in the last handful of years such that this example from just over ten years ago has a number of characteristics that place it firmly in the past. I’ll give a few examples.

1. It’s a classic three box saloon without any hint of SUV or semi-coupe about the styling.

2. It has many buttons on the dash. This must have been around ‘peak-buttons’ and is from the period before touch screens and menu driven settings. Everything has a button and although there is a large screen in the dash it’s not interactive.

3. The Sat Nav is driven from a DVD and the audio is a six CD auto-changer. Before we all had smart phones and cars got connected this was how we navigated with occasional expensive upgrades the only way to update the maps. A far cry from constantly refreshing google maps and live traffic data of today. The six CD auto-changer is from a bygone era before music streaming was ubiquitous and we just plugged in our phones and accessed Apple Car Play. The audio system is actually very good with crisp CD quality and a subwoofer built in.

4. Five speed automatics. My previous Honda, a more modern CRV, had a dinky 1.6 turbo diesel and a nine speed gearbox. But here we have to make do with just five well spaced ratios although it has ultra-modern paddle shift buttons on the back of the wheel so you can go all ‘F1’.

A conventional auto box, albeit with sport mode and paddle shift if you want to play

5 Big diesel engines. Before we all started downsizing to twin turbocharged mini- diesel engines, then hybrids or even full electric, it was perfectly normal to have a 2.2 single turbocharged direct injection diesel like this. Loads of torque, not much rev and a growly engine note are the key characteristics of this Honda unit which has the legendary reliability, but was getting to be a bit long in the tooth in the mk8 Accord. It has that lovely diesel character of making lots of noise under load before going all quiet once it has attained its speed creating a relaxing cruising environment. This long legged ability really marked out this era of big diesels as they could hold high speed for many miles with minimal noise and excellent economy. Pleasing some, but losing efficiency, this model has no stop:start facility so it happily idles in traffic without interruption, but with the resulting extra fuel consumption and pollution.

This car has come with a comprehensive history which I have only just started to explore. It’s been well looked after by the Honda main dealer and had an extended warranty which paid out on a replacement EGR pipe for example. We will probably use a local trusted garage rather than the main dealer for this phase of the car’s life.

So that’s the introduction to our latest car, our fifth Honda but our first Accord. We are very pleased with her and are looking forward to many miles of trouble free motoring.

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