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Dimensions and weight change little, but theres fresh styling, more power, and some first-time features. Returning are 4-cyl and V6 sedans... Read More
Dimensions and weight change little, but theres fresh styling, more power, and some first-time features. Returning are 4-cyl and V6 sedans and coupes in LX and upscale EX trim, plus a price-leader 4-cyl DX sedan. The 4 cyl gains as much as 25 hp, while a revised V6 gains 40 hp. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard for 4-cyl models. Optional with the 4 cyl and included with the V6 is a 5-speed automatic, replacing a 4 speed. Also new for 03 is a sportier EX V6 coupe with 6-speed manual--Accords first--plus 17-inch wheels vs. 16s or 15s on other Accords. Minimize
128 Reviews from Epinions.com
Apr 14, 2003
Bravo Honda, Accord Coupe EX Impresses, Once Again!
Pros: Sharp, classy, refined and luxurious PLUS performs to impress. LATCH safety
Cons: Needs a V6. Coupe V6 = Expensive, and NO MANUAL. High theft rate
The Bottom Line:
The revamped Accourd Coupe EX is one of the hottest new cars of 2003 for obvious reasons, but beware of price gouging and theft!
I can still remember when Honda introduced the newly redesigned Accord Coupe for the 1998 model year... Everyone awed by the cars sleekness...The prior Accords were already fairly sleek looking and drove well - but this was serious; The car was available with an impressive 6 cylinder and it looked pretty good!
Nevertheless, Although I always did like the car, something about its lines never sat right- it was kind of a big cheese wedge - like a newly built rendition of the old Triumph TR7/TR8 - that big "wedge" look. However, all new for 2003, the Accord Coupe has been redesigned, and WOW is it ever sharp! The new lines are still razor sharp, yet much more flowy and continous - the roundness and curves built in with the sharpness of the cars silhouette is perfect symbiosis, and aside from asthetics, MAN, does THIS CAR MOVE. The only inherent complaint I have before we even delve into this baby, is the inexplicable fact that you cannot purchase this automobile with a 6 cylinder AND a manual transmission! This to me, is completely inexplicable - the car is sharp as hell, runs like a cheetah and DRIVES 110% FUN - BUT, cannot be had in this form with a 5 speed! It has been like this since 1998, and still I cannot understand!
The first thing you'll notice about the new EX is that the cockpit has been completely redesigned, simplified yet made more sophisticated. The gauges look sharp, ready to run, yet their surrounded by a very luxurious leather trim facade with gorgeous curves. THe 8 way power lumbar supported drivers seat is extraordinarily comfortable, yet as I would later find out, perfectly capable of supporting my body while I threw the car around in my upstate NY playground (although they're a bit to "luxury" intended to hold you snug during ultra-aggressive cornering... Being a motorcycle fanatic and ex road racer, you tend to remain in the know about what roads are incredible and which ones are not... Needless to say, we have our own little priving ground, and THAT is where the Honda was destined to run. More on the interior, spacially the car FEELS a bit bigger - especially evident in the headliner for both front and back, the car just feels like it has a bit more space, and bit more comfort, a bit more luxury. While the backseat isn't as roomy as the comparable Solara, it is very close -- Legroom will still feel cramped for someone close to 6 foot (like myself at 6' even) however this is a common scenario with most comparable mid-size coupes, and given the trim accents, the seat is more than ample. The console automatic feels very ergonomic in hand and the leather wrapped steering wheel is comfortable and precise... Bear in mind however, I drove the EX model with the snazzy luxury interior accents - The LX/DX models have more black plastic instead of classy trim (either wood or metal depending on what EX you choose). In any event, the luxury interior REALLY boosts the creature-comfort factor just in overall interior feel - without it, I'll admit, the LX/DX does feel considerably"cheaper" interior wise. Also, thumbs up to Honda for SAFETY. Honda has incorporated it's LATCH technology into the seat/seatbelt ergos for child safety - LATCH is Honda's fancy term if lowered anchors and belt tethers... Despite its Gimmicky sounding acronym, LATCH technology is for real, and anything that helps protect a child's safety is a very good thing - Bravo Honda!
Speaking of steering, the new Accord certainly brings some of the raw sportiness of the 97 and older Accords back to life...The new Accord's suspension and steering rack are set up for precision and accuracy AND for comfort and drivability. While the Honda most certainly doesn't have that "BMW-esque" 100% driver's-car feel, the car is ready to cruise and have fun. The sporty coupe is a real gem in the backroads where I tested, except for the fact that you just can't get it with a manual transmission AND a 6 cylinder! I'm happy to report that by next year, Honda WILL (FINALLY) offer this awesome coupe with the option of 6 cylinder with 6 speed manual transmission (similar to the Acura RSX) However observe one shrewd move on behalf of Honda Marketing: The car will NOT be offered with a 5 speed manual - only a 6 speed... This is a convenient way for Honda to charge more for the "high performance" transmission, instead of simply utilizing a standard 5 speed which would actually cost LESS than an automatic. Instead Honda has chosen to go with a 6 speed to justify charging the same amount as an auto (or possibly a few bucks more). Also note, the 6 cyl/ 6 speed manual combo will only be offered with the coupe and NOT the sedan.
On the road, the Accord EX performs like champ, despite the automatic transmission! The 6 cylinder churns out a whopping 240 horsepower - this is 40 more than the prior Accord's 200! The engine puts out 212 ft/lbs of torque (6250/5000 RPM respectively). While the Nissan Altima shares a similar torque and identical horsepower figure, the Honda unit makes this power with a half a liter disadvantage.. Accordingly (no pun) it would seem to make sense that the Accord need to be revved out to produce comparable acceleration...NOT SO. The Honda powerplant feels confident across the entire rev range AND once the engines powerband kicks in (at around 3300 RPM and up) the car REALLY MOVES! Unlike the past Accords (including the imfamous "wedge") This Accord is spectacular power wise - I'm quite excited to see how the 6 speed manual teams up with the engine next spring! One comment I will make is that the 5 speed automatic is a perfect match for the V6's power profile - the transmission shifts virtually seamlessly and seems to be in perfect synch with the engine -- This is a winning combination and while the Accord is no race car, the car can get out of its own way effortlessly, and will surprise alot of Honda nay-sayers, leaving them jaw-dropped-speechless!
One area I will criticize the car is in its suspension - the coupe I drove came with sharp 17" alloy rims - The stock Michelins were 215/50's and really complimented the cars cornering well, except at times, I felt like I was pushing the cornering limits of the car's suspension far before approaching the limits of the tires... In hard corner entries the Michelins stuck wonderfully (and at least on the sportbike side, I am NOT a big fan of Michelin!) However I did experience significantly more body roll than I would have expected in such a car! Doubtlessly, the fact that the stock tires with 17" alloys are the 50 profile (as opposed to a lower profile, more aggressive 45 profile, as included in high-performance sports cars. The point is, despite the sharp looks, the Accord is still no NSX! The independent 4 way multi-link suspension performs extremely well in a performance-touring way, however when pushed hard, it will feel obvious that the cars limitations (performance wise) are not in the powertrain or tire department, but strictly suspension... Give it a few months, once the tuners get a hold of the car, we'll really see what aftermarket parts will uncover in this cars performance envelope!
Other than hard cornering, in the high speed department, that car feels very secure and stable - I ran the car up to just under 130 in the straights, there was still some more Go left, but I was running out of straight road. In the high-speed sweepers, the car feels very much at home - despite moderately detectable body roll, the car's "toury" feel is very comfortable and confidence inspiring... Honestly, a very meaningful thought jumped into my head while driving this car - I thought to myself "Stop treating this car like it's the 350Z you just bought!" and quite honestly, as soon as I stopped trying to make it a sports car, the best attributes of its performance-tourer really surfaced. I'd also like to remind the reader, that I drove this car with the 17" alloys - Despite throwing the car into some serious corners with minimal complaint from the trusty Michelins, I highly doubt the 16's (or ESPECIALLY the 15's) would do close to as well - In fact, I suspect the car would be completely eliminated from any sort of association with "sports" and be thrown completely into the performance-cruiser category. nevertheless the EX is ALOT of fun to drive, and although a little soft suspension wise, can really be a blast to drive hard!
A few more words on the Coupe, since IT is the car in question here- The lines have really been refined and dialed in - it feels as if FINALLY, after 5 model years, Honda finally got it right...The front fenders and skirt have gorgoues curves, the rear-side windows have a wonderful french-curve outline complimented by the slope of the cars hatch...Interior wise, the car combined class and excitement and refinement - the car is REFINED. However along those lines, brings one final complaint- the exhaust note! Despite the newly discoverd 40 EXTRA HORSEPOWER, the Honda's bark is SURPRISINGLY harmless...To the point where it bothered me! I would have liked to hear a little more grunt from this convincingly powerful V6 - it was so quiet that it caught me a bit off guard! Although I'm not a fan of coffee-can mufflers, the Coupe NEEDS more grunt, aftermarket parts are going to sprout up EVERYWHERE. ALong the same lines, the Accord is bound to be a BIG HIT with the tuners for far mre than exhaust reasons - suspension tweaks are going to be the key to unlocking ALOT more performance in this car - I can see ALOT of Accord sleepers coming about in the next few months, ESPECIALLY come next year, when the 6 speed manual comes to the U.S....
In terms of price, right now the Honda is staying surprisingly competitive, considering the typical premium the name commands.. The Accord sedan is actually priced well below the Camry SE and the V6 Altima- about a 1500 dollar margin. However for now, if you're set on a manual transmission with a V6, the Altima is the only game in town - however once the Manual V6 Accord is out, I can't see Nissan having ANY other option than to start offering incentives to keep it price competitive. As for coupes however, The Accord ceases to be a bargain, once you begin adding on the goodies... The car I drove was priced exactly as follows:
EX V6 AUTO baseprice: 25,900
17" alloys : 1,336
Ground Effects : 1,280
Rear Spoiler : 569
Trim Kit : 285
Premium Mats : 132
Add destimation charge to the above and you come to just under 30 GRAND! Add tax on top of that, you get 32,500 at the Long Island 8.5% bracket! This is not exactly a deal - once you've broken 30 thousand, you're getting into VW territory and you're way out of the Altima and Camry leagues... One side note, at least on Long Island and Manhattan, there are NO DEALS for the Accord - Honda has been very stingy this year, this includes ESPECIALLY the introduction of the new Civic SI - which is AWESOME and price-gouged accordingly! For sure, thsi years Accord Coupe EX does NOT come cheap - AND DO NOT forget, that just like the past dozen years plus, the Accord will NO DOUBT be one of the top (if not THE TOP) most stolen cars around!
In conclusion, the new Accord is one hell of an achievement on the part of Honda- after 5 long years, the car finally feels "complete." Nevertheless, driving the current top "EX" model revealed one SWEET cruiser of a coupe, however the suspension proved to be a bit too soft to call this a real sports car... But watch out - the Manual V6's introduction is just around the corner, I'm VERY looking forward to driving next years model and really seeing what this V6 is capable of when teamed with a clutch and a 6 speed!
I have a gut feeling that this car is going to knock the Altima off its current pedestal, and again, once the tuners get a hold of this thing, the fur is REALLY going to fly! Unfortunately, however, I can see 2 major deterents holding the car back 1) The price; Honda is giving nothing away, at least here in NY... High prices on the EX coupe PLUS the lack of a manual transmission will probably keep people away. 2) Theft rate! The accord has been one of the top 3 most stolen cars for over a dozen years (being THE TOP most stolen car for a significant portion of those years) and it will only get worse once the manual V6 goes into play.
On the good side however, Honda has really struck a winning note with the looks and refinement of the new Accord Coupe! The newly spruced-up V6 has gobs of power and the car really impressed me in terms of acceleration. Getting away from performance, a big thumbs up for SAFETY, Honda's LATCH technology works - and if it makes it safer for my child, it gets my approval for sure. The Accord coupe is one very sweet cruiser, and provided you can deal with the cost, the theft rate, the absence of a manual transmission (temporarily) and a boring exhaust note, the Accord is one of the sharpest mid-size coupes available for 2003. Bravo Honda!
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