Car reviews - Honda - Accord - EXi 4-dr sedan
Looks, handling, ride, comfort, refinement, engineering excellence, image and reputation
Room for improvement
Parts and servicing can be expensive
25 Jul 2003
TO most automotive observers, the name Honda is identified with technology.
Through its successful involvement in Formula One and motorcycle racing, the company has established a reputation as a manufacturer of quality family and performance cars.
The Honda model range extends from the entry level Civic Breeze three-door hatch through to the Ferrari-like NSX with many stops in between, but the Accord is the mainstream Honda contender in the medium-size family sedan market.
It comes in sedan, hatchback and wagon body styles in a variety of equipment levels ranging from the EX, EXi, LX and Si to the VTi and VTi-S.
All sedans and wagons share a 2.2-litre engine except for the EX, LX and Si models which have a 2.0-litre engine.
The engines of the more expensive VTi and VTi-S have Honda’s patented V-Tec variable valve timing system which alters camshaft timing to increase engine torque in the mid range and top end.
The Accord EXi four-door sedan, our subject car, has the more basic 2.2-litre, fuel-injected engine with single overhead camshaft but four valves per cylinder.
The engine drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearbox.
Despite the lack of V-Tec technology, the engine is extremely smooth with excellent torque in the mid-speed range.
The four-speed automatic transmission features "fuzzy logic" - Honda’s term is Grade Logic control- to improve shift patterns and reduce unnecessary gearshifts on hills. Suspension is all independent by unequal length wishbones and coil springs front and rear.
The steering is power-assisted variable ratio rack and pinion with features designed to give greater feel and reduced steering kickback.
The brakes are vacuum-boosted discs all round, ventilated at the front. ABS is only available on the top of the range line VTi-S model.
The body of the Accord is very stiff with 38 per cent more rigidity than the previous model while safety has been built in with improved crash protection from a front, rear or side impact.
There is comfortable seating for five adults with adequate leg room for tall passengers.
The standard of finish inside is very high with firm but comfortable tricot-trimmed seats, fold down rear centre arm rest, centre console with driver’s arm rest, full instrumentation and a tilt-adjustable steering column.
Standard features include air-conditioning, a driver’s airbag, central locking, metallic paint, power mirrors, power steering, power windows and a four-speaker radio/cassette player.
Driver’s lumbar support adjustment, driver’s foot rest, remote boot release and rear seat heater ducts are part of the well equipped package.
Road performance is excellent. The well contoured seats hold the driver firmly and the engine performs well, particularly in the important mid range. Handling is predictable and the light gearchange of the manual very precise.
Good ride, accurate steering and powerful brakes contribute to impressive point-to-point motoring.
A bonus is the good fuel economy with about 9.0 litres per 100km expected in a mixture of city and highway travel.
The Honda Accord is a refined vehicle. Its engineering excellence coupled with high standard of finish and good equipment level make it a desirable purchase.
Overall, the Accord offers great value for money and a high standard of motoring.
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