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First look: Honda reaches new Accord

Bold look: The new Accord's exterior style is much bolder than the car it replaces.

Sharper styling, more space, more features and increased performance are offered by the seventh generation Honda Accord

20 Aug 2002

HONDA has revealed its seventh generation Accord mid-size sedan, which will go on sale across the US on September 9 as a 2003 model but will not hit Australian shores until next year.

Every Accord generation since the 1976 original has been larger than its predecessor and the latest version is no exception.

The bigger and stiffer new body also features an all-new cabin, uprated suspension and driveline, plus increased standard equipment.

Honda Australia hopes the new Accord's significant facelift will push sales back up. The current car has struggled since major price increases in 2001 and sales are down even further in 2002.

If it is to bounce back, it will have to do it against ever stiffening competition which will include the new 380N Camry and the Mazda6 replacement for the 626.

Like the current Accord on sale here since 1997, the new one you see here is designed by American Honda, although cars sold in Australia are actually built in Thailand.

There is also a smaller version of Accord with different styling which will be built in Japan and aimed primarily at home market consumption and Europe.

The Americans also build a coupe variant of the Accord, but there seems no prospect of that coming here. There has been speculation about a wagon version returning to the line-up in the future and being a possibility for Australia.

The new Accord's exterior style is much bolder than the car it replaces, although there are signatures familiar from the latest Civic like the large headlights which wrap back over the fender.

Inside there's more room and a more upmarket treatment with increased use of wood and leather, larger seats, an LED dash, dual zone air-conditioning, upgraded audio and a DVD-based sat-nav system.

Safety is improved courtesy of new side-curtain airbags in addition to dual front and front-side airbags.

The new car will come with the choice of four-cylinder or V6 engines, both significantly boosted over the current line-up.

The four cylinder grows from 2.25-litres to a 2.4-litre unit and with I-VTEC assistance adds 10kW to produce 120kW, but also meets the Californian Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standard.

More exciting is the prospect of a Type R version of the four-cylinder. Already photographed testing at the Nurburgring, the car is said to pump out around 190kW and be set for introduction in 2004.

The new V6 is the same 3.0-litre capacity as its predecessor but now punches out 179kW, well and truly eclipsing the 147kW produced by the current Accord.

The engines are mated to new manual and automatic transmissions - the latter a five-speed to replace the old four-speed.

Suspension continues to be via double wishbones up front and multi-link at the rear, although Honda says it has been updated and refined. It also says the body is stiffer to improve handling behaviour.

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