Honda's strong-selling midsize Accord sedan underwent a massive redesign for 2003 that included more-powerful engines. A five-speed automatic transmission replaced the former four-speed unit, and a V-6-powered coupe with a six-speed manual gearbox joined the lineup.
For 2007, Honda introduces a V-6 Special Edition trim level that includes 17-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, steering wheel audio controls, a six-disc CD changer and an alarm system.
Sedans come in LX and upscale EX trim levels, along with LX V-6 and EX V-6 versions and an LX Special Edition. LX and EX coupes are offered with four-cylinder or V-6 power.
An Accord Hybrid with a gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain went on sale late in 2004 as a 2005 model.
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Honda designers said they used the cheetah as an influence when styling the latest Accord. The sedan features faceted corners and geometric headlights. Sculpted bodyside panels are accompanied by nearly flush window glass. For 2007, two new exterior colors are offered for sedans: Moroccan Red Pearl and Cool Blue Metallic. Tango Red Pearl is a new exterior color available for hybrids.
Honda says the current chassis is tuned for a sportier, more European feel by using larger, more performance-oriented tires: 15-inchers for DX and LX sedans and 16-inchers for EX and V-6 models. The EX V-6 coupe with a six-speed gearbox gets 17-inch tires, while other coupes use 16-inch rubber. Sedans ride a 107.9-inch wheelbase, while coupes have a 105.1-inch span.
All models seat up to five occupants and feature a relatively high belt line. A sliding center armrest is standard, and the driver faces a large round speedometer.
All models have LED instrumentation, and a multifunctional key eliminates the need for a separate key fob. An optional DVD-based navigation system features voice activation and 3-D route visualization.
Under the Hood
The Accord's 2.4-liter four-cylinder develops 166 hp. The available 3.0-liter V-6, which operates with drive-by-wire throttle control, generates 244 hp. A five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission can mate with the four-cylinder, but V-6 sedans come only with the automatic. EX V-6 models can be equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Antilock brakes, dual-stage front airbags and rear head restraints for all seating positions are standard. Vehicle stability assist, brake assist, daytime running lights, and side-impact and side curtain airbags are standard in all Accords.
The solid, quiet, refined Accord makes a fine family sedan. Any Accord model is exceptionally pleasant in virtually every respect, but the sedan trails a bit in the ride comfort category. Generally, the ride is smooth, but some bumps are bothersome.
Apart from slight steering deadness on-center, the firm suspension pays off in confident handling. Performance with the V-6 and automatic transmission also excels by delivering quick bursts of acceleration. Seat comfort and support are appealing, the brightly lit gauges are great, and the air conditioner is potent. Space is either adequate or ample all around, but the cockpit feels cozier than in some midsize cars.
Introduced for 2005, the Accord Hybrid uses a next-generation gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain that promises the power and performance of the regular Accord's 3.0-liter V-6 and the fuel economy of a four-cylinder-powered Civic sedan. Rated at 253 hp with its 3.0-liter i-VTEC gasoline engine, the Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system can deliver near-peak torque across its full operating range, according to Honda.
For additional economy, Variable Cylinder Management technology deactivates three cylinders while cruising and during deceleration. Special touches on the Accord Hybrid include a unique grille, a trunklid spoiler and special 16-inch wheels. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard.
Vehicle Stability Assist and a power moonroof are standard on the Accord Hybrid, which also gets a temporary-use spare tire. Spoilers have been revised, and mirrors now have built-in turn signals.
The Accord Hybrid performs as promised — delivering energetic acceleration — but its auto-stop system can be somewhat overzealous. In stop-and-go city driving and even in rush-hour highway traffic, the gasoline engine tends to shut off and restart repeatedly. The transition between gasoline-only operation and kick-in of the electric motor is often accompanied by a light thump. Honda's Civic Hybrid is more seamless in operation. Fuel economy in a moderate-length trial fell well short of the EPA's estimates. Otherwise, you get all the virtues of the Accord experience, including a generally comfortable — though less than gentle — ride, and confident, controlled handling. Back to top