Model: 2003 to 2007 Honda Accord
Vehicle type: Sedan / Coupe
Approximate used price range: $8,000 to $25,000
History/description: Few cars brought a reputation for reliability and peace of mind to the mainstream market quite like the Honda Accord. After numerous generations on sale, its knack for delivering safety, efficiency and sensibility have landed thousands of copies in driveways across the country.
The last-generation Accord was sold from 2003 to 2007 as a four-door sedan or two-door coupe. Standard power came from a 160-horsepower four-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic gearbox. Optional was a 3.0-litre V6 that cranked out 240 horsepower. Output figures for both powerplants climbed slightly over the course of this generation.
The V6 could be mated to a six-speed manual in all coupes, and a six-cylinder, six-speed configuration was available on sedan models later in this generation’s life as well.
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Available features included heated leather seating, a sunroof, navigation, Bluetooth and automatic climate control, depending on the model selected.
What owners like: Many folks who chose a last-generation Accord did so for its reputation and reliability. Most note no issues with performance or fuel economy — saying their rides are comfortable, easy to drive, and easy to see out of.
What owners hate: Common owner-stated gripes of the last-generation Accord include awkward placement of the sunroof controls, high noise levels on some models, and hard seats. Some owners also wish for better handling and a stiffer suspension.
Common issues: First and foremost, the Accord engine range uses a timing belt which requires periodic and relatively pricey replacement. If the replacement is neglected and the belt snaps, it could destroy the engine instantly and without warning. Ensure your used Accord candidate isn’t overdue for a timing belt change.
Numerous owners have reported failure of the LCD climate control display screen and stereo system. Both can be frustrating and expensive problems, and test drivers are advised to ensure both are working properly.
Note the condition of the vehicle's brakes, "feeling" for any dull shuddering or vibration through the pedal, which could indicate worn-out brake components. Note that clicking or grinding sound as the vehicle is first started is likely an ABS system self-check and no cause for alarm.
Finally, this generation Accord suffered from a potentially problem-prone automatic transmission. Symptoms reported include sporadic shifting, failure to shift or "slipping" before failure of the gearbox.
Some owners reported a high-pitched whining noise as a final warning before failure of an internal bearing assembly, which causes lock-up of the gearbox and tires, resulting in a loss of control.
This well-known and documented problem was eventually addressed and rectified by a recall, so be certain to ask the seller if this work has been performed. A Honda dealer can also check for the performance of recall work if provided with the vehicle’s VIN number.
The verdict: There are numerous more worrisome family sedans in the used market today. If your used Accord model checks out mechanically, don’t hesitate to snatch one up if the price is right.