AM Online

PARIS First look: Honda Accord



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New D-sector entrants like the Jaguar X-type have encouraged Honda to move the next generation Accord, on UK sale early next year, upmarket.

This means higher prices - they are likely to start at around £17,500, close to the top end of the outgoing model.

“Around 60-70 per cent of sales for the existing Accord are for models costing more than £18,000,” says the company.

The Accord has been designed for the European market, with curved lines following a bluff rear end and what Honda terms “emotional wheel arches”. It's quite imposing with a piercing hawk's eye stare.

The chassis is tuned for European buyers, benchmarked against the BMW 3-series; in contrast the outgoing model was referenced against the VW Passat. Buyers are also likely to be considering the Volvo S40, Lexus IS200 or Audi A4.

The Accord will be launched as a five-speed 155bhp 2.0-litre and six-speed 190bhp 2.4-litre petrol four-door saloon. An estate will be added in early summer and a diesel, Honda's new in-house developed unit, will be available in early 2004.

First-year sales of 6000 will rise to 12,000 a year once the full range is available.

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