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VW Jetta 147TSI Highline vs Honda Accord Euro Luxury

Volkswagen Jetta and Honda Accord go head-to-head.

VW Jetta 147TSI Highline and Honda Accord Euro Luxury go head-to-head in this comparative review.

value

VW Jetta 147TSI Highline

from $38,990

The Volkswagen Jetta matches the Honda for features, goes harder and the six-speed auto uses less fuel (both cars run on 95RON). The dash looks more austere than the Honda but that only proves looks are deceptive. There might be fewer buttons but the on-board computer's menu options are as extensive as a top-end restaurant.

Honda Accord Euro Luxury

from $40,140

The Honda Accord Euro was ahead of the game when it launched here in 2008. Just how far ahead can be shown in the fact the facelifted 2012 model is slugging it out with a pair of new vehicles - Hyundai's i45 and the Subaru Liberty - for third place in the mid-sized segment. It looks as good as ever, but the five-speed auto shows its age and hurts it on fuel use. I'd say buy the manual, but you won't .

design

VW Jetta 147TSI Highline

VW is the motoring equivalent of Lego - it builds functional modular blocks that interconnect to create something special. The results are classy but conservative cars intended to be instantly identifiable as a VW rather than resembling the latest syling trend.. The Jetta rolls on its own wheels these days, rather than being a "Golf with a boot", giving designers another 190mm to extend luggage and rear seat space.

Honda Accord Euro Luxury

The latest edition can be picked by the two bar grille (it was three), reworked front bumper and a more muted red on the tail-lights. The overall styling hasn't dated and the Euro looks good parked next to a Ford Mondeo or Mazda6. Inside there's a satin alloy finish on the door handles and all models pick up Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

technology

VW Jetta 147TSI Highline

The Highline's touchscreen will "guide" you in to parking bays by showing lines indicating where you'll end up with the current amount of lock on the steering wheel. It's no self-parker, but will help in the supermarket scuffle.  The suspension is 15mm lower than regular Jettas and it comes with a headlight cleaning system and fog lights.

Honda Accord Euro Luxury

A fly-by-wire accelerator and electric power steering system are two of the trick items in the Honda. You don't notice the first, which means it works, while the steering varies between super-light at carkpark speeds and hefty during a run through some mid-speed corners. The 2012 update has added trailer stability assist. It works by braking either of the front wheels when it detects the trailer, boat or caravan is starting to slew around.

safety

VW Jetta 147TSI Highline

It's a five-star car in Europe but the big news for the Jetta is the Crash Impact Sound Sensor.  It adjusts the deployment of the airbags to match the crash severity and location. How?  The system measures the sound waves that are felt and heard at the point of impact and adjusts  the deployment of the airbags to the crash severity. It earned VW the Bavarian innovation prize.

Honda Accord Euro Luxury

The Accord Euro is a five-star ANCAP car. The chassis based around Honda's ACE body structure and the company says it directs the impact forces away from the occupants. Six airbags and the expected safety software from stability control to brakeforce distribution give it the features on paper and there's still the reassurance in driving a Japanese car that was engineered by Honda.

driving

VW Jetta 147TSI Highline

The Jetta is a quick, competent car. The Honda's dual wishbone suspension deals with potholes and bumpy roads marginally better than the VW. Not that it matters - the VW is about a second quicker in the 0-100km/h sprint and the 147kW/280Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol mill is one of the few engines in this class that has the Honda's measure in most situations.

Honda Accord Euro Luxury

This one of the best mid-sized sedans to go for a fang in yet is still an easy drive around town. The engine and gearbox both help with this. Gentle pressure on the go pedal has the auto shifting gears before the 4000rpm threshold where the variable valve timing makes things manic. The 2.4-litre engine's 148kW/230Nm is close to best in class for performance but the five-speed costs it at the pump, where it uses 8.5 litres/100km.

Verdict

VW Jetta 147TSI Highline

Honda Accord Euro Luxury

The VW value is too much to look past. 'd back the Honda's better handling to keep in touch on a twisty downhill run, but I'd still buy the Jetta. The Euro needs an new model to get back to the top of this mid-sized heap.