The 7th generation Honda Accord comes to us in
2003 bearing significant changes, including a new dress and new shoes to dance in.
Responding to a market bursting at the seams with new product and even several new
automotive genres, Honda went back to the chalkboard and scribbled out a four-letter
formula for not only survival but swelling success: more.
SUVs come in a variety of sizes: Behemoth, not-so-behemoth, and
slightly behemoth, and now crossovers are making their way to market as well, in the form
of the Pontiac Vibe and Suzuki Aerio SX. Obviously the market is growing for other-than
vanilla sedans, and the buyers are coming from somewhere. While market shifts dont
affect the midsize class as harshly as they do the sports car market, trends do develop,
and can certainly alter sales figures, and thus the bottom line. Honda noticed this, and
set out to build an Accord to satisfy a broader number of folks (if thats possible).
There is something to be said for patience and biding-of-time.
Nissan has for years been lighting the path of the fast sedan, stuffing big V6s in 4-door
guise and making them go Zoom Zoom. Still, Honda waited and churned out squeaky-clean
Accord after squeaky-clean Accord, busying themselves attaching "LEV" badges of
various forms to their trunk lids and never worrying much about performance. With the
Maxima closer to the bottom of the wishing well than the top, Honda played blind to
vehicle character and simply built nice cars. Then the Altima arrived, and everything
When Nissan debuted its own 240 HP grocery-getter in the form of the
Altima, and reintroduced the Sentra SE-R in 4 door form as well, the Maxima went from
singing solo to part of an orchestra an orchestra of 4 door,
performanceoriented sports cars with a little more to offer than your average
midsize sedan. This time Honda took notice.
Ignoring obvious marketing collisions with their own Acura products
by releasing a 240 HP, 6 speed (finally!) accomplished sedan, Honda has answered the call
to play, and the midsize class is all the better for it.
Finally having a car with class and gusto, the new Accord is a car
Honda dealers can beam about, a mini-flagship of sorts to lead the way.
And thats not all. The smaller 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine is
also under the direction of an i-VTEC cylinder head, and sees a 10 HP increase itself,
while replacing the 4-speed automatic is a redesigned 5-speed version. Vehicles equipped
with the 4-cylinder/automatic combination will meet SULEV standards and, once again, put
(keep) the Accord in rarified air.
The redesigned Accord is on sale now and the bad boy 6-speed V6
sometime in early 2003. The sedan and coupe continue to be fraternal twins, separated by
very different styling. The 4-door Accord has a look slightly reminiscent of the Nissan
Altima (with a hint of Peugot in the taillights), while the coupe looks rakish and angled,
much like a meshing of the Acura CL and the 2002 Honda Civic coupe.
New colors available include Desert Mist Metallic, Graphite Pearl,
Redondo Red Pearl, and Sapphire Blue Pearl. The sedan is 1.2 inches wider and a tenth of
an inch longer than the previous sedan, while the wheelbase has been stretched a full
inch, reducing the rear overhang and increasing the cars visual intent. The coupe is
now an inch wider as well.
New changes include:
Increased front interior room
Increased rear knee room
New larger seats with added comfort and support
Upgraded audio systems
LED instrumentation on all models
Available dual-zone climate controls
Sliding center armrest
Additional and improved bottle and cup holders
A new multi-functional key, which eliminates the need for a remote key fob
Available side curtain airbag (EX V6 models)
Additional safety equipment includes:
Standard dual stage front air bags
Driver's and front passenger's side airbags (standard on EX 4-cylinder and all V6 models
and available on LX 4-cylinder models)
Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) for available passenger seat side airbag
Added rear headrests in outboard seating positions
LATCH child safety seat mounting system.