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Honda Accord 2003 review

The four-cylinder Accord Euro, from a sharp $34,250, looks to recapture the model's spot as a sporting, prestige machine. It is a more dynamic car in style and nature than the bland, and steady selling sixth-generation car.

That model started at $40,900 for the four-cylinder automatic.

To further broaden the appeal of the new Accords, a second, wide-bodied model will arrive in September with a V6 engine. More a five-seater, it will be targeted at the likes of Holden Calais buyers.

This Accord Euro runs a 2.4-litre engine which produces a handy 140kW to make it one of the more spirited four-cylinder engines on the market – once headed beyond 3500rpm.

 
 
HONDA ACCORD EURO

Type: Four-door sedan

Price: $34,250 (manual), $36,250 (auto); Euro Luxury $40,800 (manual), $42,800 (auto)

Engine: 2.4-litre, four-cylinder

Power: 140kW @ 6800rpm

Torque: 223Nm @ 4500rpm

Transmission: Six-speed manual, five-speed automatic

Fuel consumption: 9.1 litres/100km (manual)

Length/width/height: 4665mm/1760mm/1445mm

 

There is the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or five-speed, sequential-style automatic transmission, plus a host of driver aids from ABS to traction control and "vehicle stability assist" for curbing understeer or oversteer on the front-drive cars.

The Japanese car boasts a long list of standard comfort and safety features from driver and passenger airbags to six-disc CD stacker, power windows and 16-inch alloy wheels. It's enough gear, Honda says, to appeal to those considering more expensive European sedans.

Accord Euro Luxury models, starting at $40,800, also have curtain airbags, electric seats, rain-sensor wipers and a sunroof, among other extras.

The new package looks right to re-establish the Accord's credentials among business professionals on the rise.

Styling is a mix of Audi A4, Alfa Romeo 156 and Mazda6, with a touch of BMW 7 Series and even Holden Commodore around the nose. The result is neat and tidy with a far bolder attitude than its predecessor, if not quite as aggressive as the Mazda, one of its major rivals.

Honda Australia product planning manager Justin Orr says the Accord Euro will appeal to professionals aged 35-50 years, largely married couples with young children.

"In many ways, the Euro signals the rebirth of the Accord as a mid-sized sports sedan that will compete with the best from Japan and Europe," Orr says. "It is leaner, sharper and sportier than its predecessors and yet retains Honda brand qualities of style, clever engineering and attention to detail."

The Euro version looks the part, with a clean, safer and more rigid body than before. It also is claimed to have the biggest boot in its class.

Inside is comprehensively packed with gear and, again, has Honda's usual tidy approach to aesthetics and attention to detail. There's dual zone airconditioning, cruise control and remote entry in a pretty comprehensive package.

On the road, the Accord Euro is certainly a more involving car than its predecessor, with a rework of the independent double wishbone suspension up front and five-link suspension at the rear.

Ride is good, the handling benign and there's little indication of torque steer up front. Yet the steering is a little lifeless until into the turn and there is a deal of tyre noise over coarser back roads.

While the engine has a punch, the power arrives at a relatively high 6800rpm. It does need to be worked for the best results, either through the six-speed manual or the sequential-style five-speed automatic.

The Accord Euro is a tight, good-looking package at a good price. It undoubtedly will re-establish this Honda's credentials among the mid-sized, sporting crowd.

But the competition this season is fiercer than before, with the Mazda6 already acclaimed by critics and consumers alongside the upmarket Holden Vectra and an all-new Subaru Liberty headed this way.

Pricing guides

$5,870
Based on 16 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$2,990
Highest Price
$6,333

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
V6 3.0L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $2,990 – 6,333 2003 Honda Accord 2003 V6 Pricing and Specs
V6 Luxury 3.0L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,499 – 6,333 2003 Honda Accord 2003 V6 Luxury Pricing and Specs
V6-L 3.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $4,700 – 7,590 2003 Honda Accord 2003 V6-L Pricing and Specs
VTi 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $2,700 – 4,620 2003 Honda Accord 2003 VTi Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$2,990

Lowest price, based on 16 car listings in the last 6 months

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