Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $5,000 – $13,300*


2003 Honda Accord 4-door sedan


2004 Honda Accord 4-door sedan


2004 Honda Accord Hybrid 4-door sedan


Honda Accord interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6 models)
  • Build quality
  • Instruments/controls
  • Quietness
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Rear-seat entry/exit
  • Rear-seat room (coupes)

Accords successfully straddle the Passat and Camry, offering some of the pricier VW’s confident road manners matched with the more conservative Toyota’s isolation. Augmented by precision engineering, enviable refinement, and Honda’s own envious record of reliability, that hit-making blend helps make the Accord a Best Buy. Accord popularity keeps resale values high, so used-car prices tend to be somewhat hefty.

Overview

For 2003, Honda answered arch-rival Toyota and its 2002 Camry redesign with a reworking of its midsize front-drive Accord coupe and sedan. In addition to new styling and more power, Honda added several first-time features. Dimensions changed only modestly, but for the first time, Accord offered curtain side airbags, a five-speed automatic transmission, and a 240-horsepower V6 (40 more than before).

Returning were four-cylinder and V6 sedans and coupes, in LX and upscale EX trim, plus a price-leader four-cylinder DX sedan. The four-cylinder grew from 2.3 to 2.4 liters, to gain as much as 25 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission was standard on four-cylinder models. Optional for them, and included with all V6s, was a five-speed automatic (replacing a four-speed).

Also new for 2003 was a sportier V6 EX coupe with a six-speed manual gearbox–Accord’s first–plus special trim and 17-inch wheels (versus the usual 16s or 15s).

ABS became standard for all Accords, not just high-line models. V6s and four-cylinder EX models continued with four-wheel disc brakes. Traction control was exclusive to V6 models, where it was standard. Front side airbags were standard on V6 models and the four-cylinder EX, and available on LX models. Curtain side airbags were exclusive to EX V6s, where they were standard.

EX models could have an optional navigation system with voice control for navigation, audio, and climate functions. All models got a tilt/telescope steering column, and all but the base DX included remote keyless entry that could open the side windows from the keyfob.

Joining leather upholstery as standard on EX V6 models were dual-zone automatic climate control and heated seats, which were also available in leather-upholstered four-cylinder versions. V6s and four-cylinder EXs included an in-dash CD changer.

Compared with previous Accords, sedans added an inch to wheelbase, were fractionally taller and wider, and had slightly more head room. But they lost a little rear leg space. Coupes grew an inch wider and slightly longer and taller, on an unchanged wheelbase, but shrunk a bit in rear head and leg room. Curb weights changed little. Rivals included the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, and Volkswagen Passat.

Yearly Updates

2004 Accord
Satellite radio and expanded availability of curtain side airbags highlighted the 2004 modifications for Honda’s popular midsize. V6 models added traction control. Head-protecting curtain side airbags were standard on EX V6 models, and for now also available on EX four-cylinders. For 2004, EX V6 and EX-L (leather) models added standard satellite radio. Chevrolet’s reworked Malibu was a new competitor.
2005 Accord
Honda expanded its gasoline/electric-powertrain lineup for 2005 with the addition of an Accord Hybrid sedan. Developing 255 horsepower, the V6 engine was assisted as needed by an electric motor and used a five-speed automatic transmission. As a fuel-saving measure, a new Variable Cylinder Management System deactivated three cylinders when cruising or deceleration.
Like the Civic Hybrid, the Accord version could not be driven on electricity alone, and no plug-in charger was ever needed. The Accord Hybrid featured a unique grille, decklid spoiler, special instrumentation and electric power steering. According to Honda, its new active-noise-control system electronically quelled mechanical, road and wind sounds.
Curtain-type side airbags were now standard on all Accords, along with front torso airbags. EX-L, EX V6 and Hybrid models had leather upholstery, satellite ratio, dual-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats. Those models also could be equipped with a navigation system.
2006 Accord
Freshened styling highlights 2006 for Honda’s popular midsize coupes and sedans. For ’06, nose and tail styling is revised, and interior trim is altered. EX V6 sedans are newly available with a 6-speed manual transmission.
2007 Accord
Honda’s popular midsize sedans and coupes are little changed for 2007 pending a redesign for the ’08 model year.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Regular Accords came with a choice of four-cylinder or V6 power. A five-speed manual gearbox was standard on four-cylinder models, with a five-speed automatic transmission optional. All V6 models have the automatic, except for the EX V6 coupe, which featured a six-speed manual transmission. Introduced for 2005, the Accord Hybrid got a more powerful V6 engine, augmented by an electric motor. For 2006 and 2007, the EX V6 sedan was available with the six-speed manual transmission that had previously been offered only on the coupe.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 161
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
26/34
24/33
ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/183
Engine HP 240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 212
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
20/30
21/30
ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/183
Engine HP 255
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 232
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

30/37

Road Test

Four-cylinder models are peppy enough with the slick-shifting manual transmission. When new, an EX coupe accelerated to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. With automatic, four-cylinder Accords feel a little labored up long grades or in urgent freeway passing sprints. An EX-L coupe did 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds. Though it lacks a manual shift gate, the five-speed automatic is smooth and responsive, despite occasional hesitant downshifts.

Honda’s energetic V6 is lively and satisfying. An automatic coupe was able to reach 60 mph in 7.0 seconds. The V6 feels even stronger with the six-speed manual.

An Accord Hybrid is quicker from a standstill than a regular V6 Accord, and also feels strong when underway. Some testers, however, have noted an exaggerated decrease in momentum during low-speed coasting.

In tests of four-cylinder coupes, a manual-transmission EX averaged 22.7 to 30.6 mpg, An automatic-transmission EX-L got 25.2 mpg, including gas-eating performance runs. An extended-use automatic-transmission four-cylinder EX-L sedan averaged 26.1 mpg, in mostly highway driving. Another averaged 22.4 mpg with more city miles.

Among automatic-transmission V6 models, an EX sedan averaged 22.4 mpg in a mix of city/highway driving, and 26.1 mpg in almost exclusively highway runs. An automatic EX V6 coupe averaged 24.3 mpg. Honda recommends regular-grade fuel for all engines.

Expect a generally absorbent ride on bumps and ruts, but all Accords have a decidedly taut suspension. Compared to DX and LX models, V6s and four-cylinder EXs have stiffer 16- and 17-inch tires that thump a bit on rough roads, though it’s seldom irksome.

Poised and front-drive predictable on twisty roads, an Accord changes direction with a sportier feel than most rivals, abetted by quick, informative steering. V6s and four-cylinder EX models provide the best cornering grip and precision. The Hybrid and V6 are most athletic. Other Accords are less composed in fast turns, on their narrower all-season tires. A tight turning radius aids low-speed maneuverability. Simulated panic stops with ABS have been stable and progressive, if not exceptionally short.

Accords deliver close to Camry-level noise isolation. There’s still too much thump over bumps and washboard pavement, but little coarse-surface tire drone, and wind rush is generally modest. Slight vibration at idle marks the four-cylinder engine, but like the V6, it’s smooth in medium-speed cruising and rises to a pleasant muted growl at high rpm. Hybrids are not noticeably quieter than regular V6s.

Clear and legible gauges are accompanied by simple and handy minor controls. Audio systems have switches and display settings with innovative, informative graphics. The optional navigation system may be mastered with fair ease, and its voice activation is a simplifying touch, but its use requires precise wording in a clear voice.

Interior materials fall short of the Passat’s class benchmark, but nothing looks or feels cut-rate. Test examples have generally demonstrated Honda’s exemplary overall workmanship, though some had uncharacteristic creaks, plus slightly misaligned dashtop panels and trim gaps that did not line up neatly.

Front occupants enjoy good room on comfortable, well-shaped seats. The tilt/telescope steering column enhances driver comfort, as does the height-adjustable seat that’s powered on V6s and four-cylinder EX models, but uses a manual, VW-style ratcheting lever on other LX Accords. The center console lid slides forward to enhance its role as an armrest. Headrests, a tall rear deck, and the rear-pillar shape impede visibility directly aft and over-the-shoulder, especially in coupes. Accords with certain interior colors have suffered distracting windshield reflections.

Rear space is not quite wide enough for three adults, but two are comfortably uncrowded. Unfortunately, the cushion’s outboard ends are surprisingly squishy, and some may find the backrest excessively reclined. Head room is six-footer adequate. Leg and toe space are good to generous, depending on front-seat positioning. Entry/exit in sedans is trouble-free, but doors could open wider. Coupes demand a crouch-and-crawl technique past long doors, which can be awkward in tight parking spots.

Both body styles have spacious trunks with flat floors and low liftovers, but not much height below the rear parcel shelf for bulky loads. Sickle-shaped trunk hinges intrude, too. All models except the Hybrid have a folding rear seat with key lock, but the one-piece backrest limits versatility. Small-item cabin storage is ample, along with bottle-holding door map pockets.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2004 Accord EX V6 sedan w/automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 10
100%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 10
100%

Total: 71

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.1 187.6 71.3 55.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.8 17.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 36.1 43.1 31.9
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.9 189.5 71.5 57.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.0 17.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.4 38.5 42.6 36.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Airbags
Description: The airbag warning light may come on due to a defective occupant position detection sensor requiring its replacement. It may also come on if a laptop computer is used near the front passenger seat, so this must be avoided. (2003)
Automatic transmission
Description: Four-speed automatic transmission may shift late or erratically when cold due to faulty linear (pressure control) solenoid. (2002-04)
Blower motor
Description: Blower motor overheats, blows the fuse and may melt the fan because motor cooling hose becomes clogged. (1990-04)
Brakes
Description: Steering wheel vibration when braking is caused by thickness variations in the brake rotors due to the type of brake pads used and revised pads are available. (2003-07)
Engine mounts
Description: The car tends to drift from side to side due to uneven camber settings and can only be corrected by relocating the engine cradle as far right as possible. (2003)
Sunroof/moonroof
Description: The moon roof may not close completely due to a defective limit switch that must be replaced. (2003)
Timing belt
Description: Two problems on V6 engines affecting the timing belt and water pump were being handled as a recall. The automatic tensioner for the belt leaks down resulting in excessive slack while a problem with the water pump casting causes misalignment of the timing belt. Both components to be replaced at the same time. (2002-03)
Wipers
Description: The tubing in the windshield washer reservoir deteriorates then gets transferred to the windshield and wipers requiring replacement of the tubing and wipers. (2003)
Electrical problem
Description: The ABS warning light comes on as water gets into the rear wheel speed sensor(s) which should be replaced with improved ones. (2003-04)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may come on if the battery gets weak (low state of charge) requiring software updates to the powertrain control module (engine computer). (2003-04)
Check-engine light
Description: Check engine light may illuminate on hybrid models due to glitch in engine control module software. (2005)

Recall History

2003 Accord
Description: The windshield-wiper motor may become inoperative because of corrosion caused by water leaking into the wiper-motor-breather port. Dealers will install a cover over the motor, and if the motor shows signs of corrosion, it will be replaced.
2003-04 Accord
Description: Heat build-up in automatic transmission may eventually lead to gear tooth chipping or gear breakage, resulting in transmission lockup.
2004-05 Accord
Description: During deployment, fabric of driver’s front airbag may tear after contact with inside surface of airbag cover.
2004-05 Accord
Description: Bad seat position sensor wiring may cause the SRS indicator light to illuminate. A failed seat position sensor causes the air bag system to default to full inflation pressure, regardless of the seat position.
2005 Accord
Description: Loose terminal in main fuse box may cause fuel pump to lose power, possibly causing engine to stall without warning; if pump becomes inoperative, engine may not start.
2005 Accord
Description: A coil wire inside the fuel pump relay may break, causing the fuel pump to lose power and the engine not to start.
2005-2010 Accord
Description: The outer race of the secondary shaft bearing may be broken during certain driving styles. A broken outer race may cause abnormal noise, the malfunction indicator light to turn on, and allow contact between the transmission idle gear and an electronic sensor housing within the transmission. This could result in a short circuit causing the engine to stall. Additionally, broken pieces of the outer race or ball bearing from the secondary shaft may become lodged in the parking pawl resulting in the vehicle rolling after the driver has placed the gear selector in the park position.
2007 Accord V6
Description: Power steering hose may deteriorate prematurely, resulting in cracks and leakage. If power steering fluid leaks onto a hot catalytic conerter, this can cause a fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.