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Used car focus: Honda Accord – 2003 onwards

Honda finally shrugged off Accord’s dowdy image when it launched this model in 2003. It’s a car that’s as sharply styled as it is impeccably engineered.

It was neatly summed up by the strapline that accompanied the ‘Cog’ advert at the car’s launch: ‘Isn’t it nice when things just work?’. It’s a sporty and well equipped package, but not one that comes cheap.

LINE-UP

There are four trims in the Accord line-up: SE, Sport, Executive and Type-S. All get dual front, side and curtain airbags, remote central locking, dual-zone climate control and electric windows. Sport adds 16in alloy wheels and front fog lamps, while Executive gets High Intensity Discharge headlights, six CD autochanger, DVD sat-nav and electric front seats. Type-S specification is similar to that of Sport, but available only for the 2.4-litre engine.

The Tourer estate is available with a few gadgets more than the saloon, such as keyfob-operated tailgate and easy-fold rear seats that create a large, flat loadspace.

DRIVING PERFORMANCE

When it comes to ride and handling, Honda usually excels and this Accord is no different – it leads the way for many other cars of this size.

The ride is superb, smoothing out all but the biggest of holes and giving a relaxing ride on the motorway. And it reacts well when pushed, cornering with grace and showing little sign of bodyroll; the steering is light and direct.

COMFORT

It’s by no means a squeeze for passengers, but the Accord is a little tighter than its class rivals.

This is fine for a solitary travelling rep, but as an executive motor, or a family car, it feels cramped with three in the back.

Up front the driver should easily be able to find a comfortable driving position; the seat and steering wheel are both highly adjustable. Visibility isn’t so great in the saloon and the sat-nav on top models can be distracting.

ENGINES

Both petrol engines (2.0 and 2.4) are slick and powerful, delivering excellent performance. The 2.0 offers a mix of economy and performance that’s well suited to everyday driving.

The pick of the range is the outstanding 2.2-litre CTDi. It’s pricey, but it’s also one of the best diesels on the market. Its unique construction means it behaves like a petrol and delivers impressive fuel economy.

SAFETY

Accord gets a four-star Euro NCAP rating, which is only average for this class. It loses marks because the front passenger’s knees aren’t sufficiently protected in a crash.

But it ticks all the right boxes in other areas: six airbags, ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution, while security consists of deadlocks, immobilizer and a perimeter alarm as standard.

Parker's Buyers' Lines

"Even after two years I still look forward to driving it"
"Impressively quiet"
"Dealer and Honda UK were great at sorting the few small problems I had"

On the forecourt

Fast movers:
2.2-litre CTDi
Exceptional engine that’s fun and frugal. Trade: 0404-0505 £12,700-14,200
Retail: 0404-0505 £14,400-16,100
Tourer models:
Stylish and practical family estate. Worth £800-900 more than saloons.

Ones to avoid:
SE models
Entry-level model; spec could be better and standard 15in wheels don’t look big enough.

In the workshop

There have been two recalls: one in 2002 for an ignition switch that could fail and another in 2003 for the lack of protection to the wiring harness in the boot.



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