Tim S bought this 2020 Honda Accord Euro for $7,500 (including all on-road costs). Tim S would buy this car again because: “Owning this car, albeit only for a short time, was a very special experience for me.
Let’s go back in time for a moment: My grandparents bought a pearl white seventh-generation Accord Euro new in 2004. Before that, Nana had an LD Astra hatch, and his other car was a first generation Discovery TDi. They were looking for something more comfortable, safe and generally easier to live in. I remember they cross-shopped with the XV30 Camry, and I think they made the right choice.
I was seven years old when he bought the Accord Euro. During those times, Nana would take my brother and me for outings or stay with him during school holidays. Since then, Ive finished primary school, completed VCE, graduated uni and started working full time. My perspective is that a lot has changed since my grandparents took possession of the car, yet the car remains a part of our family life.
In early 2020, I was 22 and between cars. I wasn’t driving much so I could always borrow one of my parents’ cars (or my then partner’s car if I was desperate), but I started driving regularly a few times a week. It did, so I started thinking about keeping my own car. wheel again.
My dear Nana was about 88 years old at the time, so naturally my family and I saw this as a good opportunity to gently relinquish passenger-only duties to her while keeping the old Honda in the family.
In February 2020 I took ownership of the car for $7500. It had 50,000 km on the clock, and I added less than 10,000 km to it when I had it. The cream fabric interior would not have been my choice from a practical point of view, however the bright interior was a nice place to be (certainly more aesthetic than the ugly dark gray fabric option).
From the outside, I think the car looks very old, with simple, elegant lines and attractive lights.
After making a few upgrades during my ownership, I sold the Accord Euro in December 2020 for $11,400 to a very enthusiastic L plater. While I was ready for an upgrade, I was sad to part with a car that had been in the family for over 16 years.
For me the vehicle was completely reliable and ran without any errors. My grandmother usually served it on schedule for the most part – not really a problem because of what she put on it. It was always offered at a Honda service center. The only problem I had was the slightly sticky lock on the front passenger door, which occasionally required a second push of the key.
I remember at some point in my grandmother’s ownership, one of the ignition coils failed. Luckily the car wasn’t left to limp on three cylinders for long as it was immediately booked in for a service to fix the problem.
When I took the car in for service shortly after I bought it, the mechanic called me and told me there was carbon buildup. I think the work was a few hundred dollars extra, so ultimately decided to leave it to the next owner!
I have no complaints about the Accord Euro ownership experience. The service intervals seemed reasonable to me and the services were reasonably priced. I would have preferred if the car was a little more economical and could run on the standard inline (91), but overall it was a car that I enjoyed owning and driving.
There’s a lot to be said for the convenience of owning a car that has few dings and scratches. The car had sustained some APD (accumulated parking damage) despite Nanna’s careful hands and keen eyes, but it meant I was much more likely to be hit by a runaway trolley if its door was slammed shut. Can park in supermarket and shopping center carparks without worry.
What I liked most about the Accord Euro was the build quality. Every part of the interior and exterior was engineered and beautifully assembled, with tight, consistent gaps, high-quality materials, and no fuss.
The quality seals, feel of the knobs, buttons and switches and things like opening and closing the doors were representative of Japanese quality and, in my opinion, the Accord Euro was built when it was positioned as a true competitor to the 3 Series. . .
Given the price I paid for the car, the features stack up pretty well.
The base model features projector headlamps, power windows with auto driver’s window, power mirrors with LED indicators, dual-zone digital climate control, speed-sensitive wipers, leather gear lever and steering wheel, dual exhaust with chrome tips. , came with a courtesy lamp. Illuminated steering wheel controls for the front doors, lamps in the vanity mirror, glove box and ashtray, and radio and cruise control.
A convenient feature was having the boot release button on the key, while the windows could be opened remotely to air the car by holding the unlock button on the key.
At the time of purchase, the car was optioned with cream carpet floor mats, protective black plastic strips on the bumpers and doors and a flat tongue-style tower bar which was a must-have feature for me. As someone used to the practicality of hatches and SUVs, moving to a sedan was a bit of an adjustment, however being able to fold down the rear seats came in handy.
The Accord Euro had good safety credentials, with ABS, traction control and ESP as standard. Unfortunately it only had curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger, so I avoided people in the back seats whenever possible.
During my ownership, I made some minor changes with the help of my father. We modified the wiring of the interior lights so that the front dome lights come on when the doors are opened (previously only the rear dome lights came on).
We’ve also installed a metal tape-style hidden reversing sensor, and a reversing camera that appears on the replacement rear-view mirror, which also added auto-dimming functionality. The addition of sensors and camera was a huge value add for me as I rely on these features to park safely and accurately.
For the most part, the Accord Euro’s drivetrain was a ripper. It had a 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder i-VTEC engine producing 140kW and 223Nm, which was impressive for the time.
The engine had a distinct Honda personality and engine note as well as a heavy dose of premium unleaded – another Honda specialty. The pre-facelift Accord Euro, like mine, had a mechanical throttle, despite competition from Toyota and Mazda using drive-by-wire throttles up to that point.
This feature will be introduced in 2006 along with a multi-function trip computer and other minor changes.
The car I had was equipped with an electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission. Like most automatic transmissions used in Honda vehicles, the ‘H5’ was designed and built in-house and used clutch packs instead of planetary gear sets.
Thus, it is mechanically similar to a manual transmission. It was a smooth shifting unit and got the job done well, however the car crawled very aggressively when on throttle which could be a bit annoying when navigating low speed manoeuvres.
According to claimed figures, the Accord Euro can launch itself from 0 to 100 km/h in less than eight seconds, which is pretty obvious. It certainly had enough power to make the traction control light flash when taking off from the lights in the wet.
In normal driving conditions, the transmission would shift fairly quickly, which was great for economy and refinement, but it dulled performance a bit. Likewise, there was a wide spread of gears, with the transmission shifting into fifth at around 70 km/h.
It was compensable, but a little too much sauce on the throttle could result in a double downshift and more noise and wobble than desired.
Flicking the chunky leather gear lever to the right of drive in manual mode will light up another seven-segment display on the instrument cluster to show the current gear. Razor-quick gear changes weren’t expected, but manual mode offered a bit more engagement and control when in mode. The transmission also had a D3 option which I had no use for.
Given that the trip computer didn’t have a fuel consumption readout, I naturally didn’t pay much attention to the economy figures. Based on manual calculations at the pump, the car used 10L/100km around town, which dropped to around 8L/100km on the open road (when driving to Bendigo, for example).
Slightly better economy would have been nice, but it didn’t concern me in the least for driving.
Given the car’s vintage, there isn’t much technology to speak of, but the execution of what technology there was was generally excellent. Standard on the Accord Euro was an AM/FM radio with a six-disc CD changer, which was almost exclusively not included in talkback AM radios until my ownership.
To help make the infotainment millennial-friendly, I bought a Bluetooth-FM transmitter and a suction-cup phone holder.
The transmitter was a great purchase and worked really well. The position of the 12V power outlet meant the unit was within reach and I could use the buttons to skip and pause music and accept calls.
It also had a 2-amp USB port handy for charging my phone, which I mounted on the left side of the instrument cluster. I ran Android Auto for Maps, Spotify and Google Assistant on my phone.
Audio quality through the FM transmitter was quite good. The head unit was powerful and the six-speaker system was impressive, with the oval-shaped parcel shelf speakers producing plenty of deep bass. The LCD radio display with graphical volume level was a bit bland by today’s standards, but the way the volume gradually increased when the radio was turned on was a nice touch.
If I was so excited, I could buy and install a Bluetooth module that uses an external CD changer interface that would allow me to skip tracks using the steering wheel controls, but I couldn’t justify the significantly higher cost. Could not offer.
Another important piece of technology in this car was the instrument cluster. It was the first Accord to use LED backlighting, and the way the large dials were easily visible was great.
The design of Honda’s instrument clusters has barely changed, as they are clean, contemporary and very easy to read. Functionality was very limited, however, with the display only able to cycle through the odometer, trip A, trip B and outside temperature.
The Accord Euro was generally a comfortable enough place to be, however the ride was quite firm. Along with the suspension tune, the small diameter wheels and low profile tires don’t help the ride quality either.
However, the strength advantage is that the car stayed very flat around the turning bits. The steering was heavy by today’s standards – almost frustratingly so – but it gave the Honda a sporty, solid feel.
A sticking point with this car was the steering’s handling on uneven surfaces.
In particular, accelerating to the lights and braking where there’s a rut in the road can pull the steering quite dramatically – an effect I’ve seen in other front-wheel-drive vehicles, but not to this extent. I hope this is something that Honda was able to iron out in later models.