Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Honda Accord Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Honda Accord Overview

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America's Sweetheart Just Got Sweeter

There is a reason the Honda Accord has been a best seller five generations in a row; it's because people who work hard for their money know a good deal when they see one. With the new Accord, you get more than just a good deal, you get a good deal more than what's on the previous model for about the same out of pocket; this is the Honda magic that has mystified the company's competition for decades and kept the Accord so close to the hearts—and pocketbooks—of millions of Americans. With the launch of the 2003 Accord, Honda is ready to reel 'em in all over again.

The Accord walks—or in this case rides—a difficult path. Automotive enthusiasts want it to be more sporty and have a flashier exterior. Consumer groups want it to offer the best in both safety and environmental responsibility while still remaining within reach of the average car buyer. And as for the competition? They just want it to go away. But Honda knows whom they have to please most, and that is you the customer. So while the new Accord may not be the most radically designed car on the road or the most gadget-filled toy under the tree, it is still a solid, comfortable, safe and affordable sedan. For most Americans, that is all they require of their daily transportation; all the other Accord benefits are just icing on the cake.

For 2003, the model lineup continues to include both a coupe and sedan with three trim levels available: DX, LX and EX. The Accord is bigger than the previous model, both in length and width. This increase in size translates into more interior room and an increase in cargo volume beneath the trunk lid. The Accord's new size also changes the way the car behaves; the car feels more substantial, almost full-sized in the way it adheres to the road, absorbs irregularities in the pavement and stifles annoying wind and road noise. The Accord's suspension benefits greatly from the lessons taught at Honda's sister division, Acura. The double-wishbone suspension, a long favorite of Accord buyers, remains intact, but with improvements made to the rear multi-link configuration. The result is a sedan that handles curves far more like a small sports car and seems only to be limited by the all-season radial tires that come standard from the factory.

An all-new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on all trim levels and with a horsepower rating of 160, is more than capable of making the Accord get along, especially when teamed to the standard 5-speed manual (a 5-speed automatic is optional.) For those who require more power, Honda's flawless 3.0 liter V6 is optional on LX and EX models. With a net output of 260 horsepower, an LX V6 sedan with a 5-speed automatic transmission is still able to earn an EPA fuel rating of 21-mpg city and 30-mpg highway. And here's a bonus: on EX coupes, you can get a 6-speed manual. Who says driving an Accord is not much fun?

The interior itself is beautifully done. The seat bottoms have been widened and lengthened to fit taller drivers and with their pillow-like padding, the seats themselves might even be called posh. There is a noticeable improvement in rear-seat head and legroom over the previous model; a welcome addition to the cargo space is the center pass through hidden behind the rear-seat armrest. The steering wheel now features controls for cruise and audio and can both tilt and telescope. A chevron shaped center stack houses the radio and ventilation controls and all are clearly marked and placed so that either the driver or front passenger can operate them without having to lean over. Each individual element of the Accord's interior comes together to impart the overwhelming feeling that you are sitting behind the wheel of a much more expensive sedan.

The Accord's greatest strength can be found in the value-leader DX model. Available only as a four-cylinder sedan, with a base price of $16,260, the Accord DX is without competition from its primary rivals, the Camry, Taurus and Passat. And the DX is not stripped to the bone either. Standard equipment includes ABS, a 5-speed manual transmission, rear defroster, front and rear cup holders, AM/FM stereo with CD, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power windows and full wheel covers.

LX and EX trims get even more standard equipment, but it's their options list that is most intriguing. This year, you can order your choice of audio systems, including one that can play MP3 (MP3s take up less space on a CD, so you can burn 100 or more songs onto a single disc.) There is also Honda's excellent voice-controlled navigation system and a rear seat DVD entertainment system to keep your passengers eyes off the road (and out of your hair.) Later in the model year, Honda will offer a performance package for the V6 Accord coupe; the package will contain stiffer springs and shocks, upgraded 17-inch alloy wheels and performance tires, a rear spoiler and special ground effects.

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