I HAVE long been a devotee of the Honda Accord which has one of the best diesel engines on the market.
It is easily as smooth and quiet as a BMW and, in fact, this big Honda matches the 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class in every way.
Some motoring writers have said it’s not as much fun as the 3-Series but I think it is right up there in the driving enjoyment stakes.
And of course, it’s a Honda, so build quality is second to none and longevity and reliability make other car manufacturers wince.
I drove the 150bhp 2.2 diesel and it’s as smooth and quiet as most petrols, pulling happily from tickover in sixth gear without a murmer.
Acceleration off the mark is up with most similar cars, but the in gear urge beats them hands down, making it a marvellous companion across country.
The ride is very good even over rougher surfaces and the handling and road holding are every bit as much fun as BMW can provide.
A perfect driving position is available for all sizes thanks to excellent seat and column adjustment and the interior ambiance is brilliant.
The ES GT I drove comes with climate, cruise, stability control, 60/40 split-fold rear seats, sports suspension, Bluetooth and an MP3 connection.
Honda Accord 2.2D ES
Mechanical: 148bhp, 2,199cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 131mph
0-62mph: 9.7 seconds
Combined mpg: 53
Insurance group: 24
CO2 emissions: 138g/km
BIK rating: 21%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 90,000 miles
Main rival: Mercedes C-Class