UK Car Road Test

Honda Accord 2.4 Executive 2003


UK Car used car road test

Honda Accord 2.4 VTEC Executive 2003 Tip-tronic.

Honda's Accord has been manufactured in different guises now for over two decades. It has been available in hatch estate and saloon with a coupe introduced in the last shape. This current shape is created by Honda quoting (The power of dreams).

This Accord is starkly different to the others before it and a very modern and sleek- looking car. It's available in hatch, saloon and estate format. Variable sized petrol engines provide several power outputs and a diesel offers affordable running with moderate power as well. This model tested is the top of the range 2.4 Executive which is fully loaded with more toys than Woolworths.


This Accord looks huge at first, which is deceptive as it is not much bigger than the earlier models. It does possess much more character though, with sharp lines running front to rear and a very defined bumper hosting the Honda grille/logo.

It has a very sports-like appearance which is skillfully enhanced with two exhaust pipes protruding from under the rear bumper and graphite coloured 17" alloy wheels which I found particularly effective as I normally find wheels other than silver are yucky and tasteless. Not this car though. Honda, with a subtle contrast between the car and wheels, have achieved a very grand effect which is very noticeable without being loud. Limited use of chrome and colour-coded bumpers also add to the stealth look which this car possesses. The paint finish is exceptionally high quality and the high spec Xenon headlights add to the exterior looks.

The interior is equal in quality and much more complicated than outside. The seating on this car tested is black leather. with the door panels and dash in very dark grey. Despite this, the car is not dark or dingy and this is achieved by the large windows and a sunroof which allows plenty of light in, thus making the interior a bright place to be seated. The leather finishing is also high quality and the seat detail is credible as well as very supportive and comfortable (it could be described as a little too firm but this is just my personal point of view). The rear seats will carry two passengers very comfortably and three with a little squeeze. Arm rests combining cup holders are fitted front and rear, allowing the car to compete with a Virgin train rail service in all seats but the driver's until Honda's dream allows the car to cruise, steer and stop on its own. I'm sure this will happen one day but not by next year's model though.

Having inspected this car inside and out, I am greatly impressed - the overall detail is good and the build quality is very high for a Nippon car. Normally I prefer our European neighbours cars. No, not the French but the almighty German makers like BMW and Audi in particular.



Even before sitting in this car I was being won over by it which is very unusual for me as I drive a large variety of cars and rarely consider one with more appreciation than another (unless again it's French-badged, errr, Renault). This Honda was very impressionable in all aspects so far and already had my attention and a growing admiration. Comfort Features  
Adjustable Steering Column from
Adjustable Steering Column
Centre Arm Rest Rear from
Centre Arm Rest Rear
Cup holders from
Cup holders
Drivers seat Lumbar Support from
Drivers seat Lumbar Support
Front Door Bins from
Front Door Bins
Head Rests (front & rear) from
Head Rests (front & rear)
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat from
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Height Adjustable Seat Belts from
Height Adjustable Seat Belts
Pollen Filter from
Pollen Filter
Remote Petrol Cap Release from
Remote Petrol Cap Release
Time Clock from
Time Clock General Features  
12 V Accessory Power Point from
12 V Accessory Power Point
Colour Coded Bumpers from
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Mirrors from
Colour Coded Mirrors
Digital Odometer from
Digital Odometer
Heated Rear Window from
Heated Rear Window
Tinted Windows from
Tinted Windows Luxury Features  
Air Conditioning from
Air Conditioning
Cigarette Lighter from
Cigarette Lighter
Climate Control from
Climate Control
Cruise Control from
Cruise Control
Electric Mirrors from
Electric Mirrors
Electric Windows (front & rear) from
Electric Windows (front & rear)
Heated Mirrors from
Heated Mirrors
Illuminated Passenger Vanity Mirror from
Illuminated Passenger Vanity Mirror
Leather Upholstery from
Leather Upholstery
Multiplay CD from
Multiplay CD
Radio Cassette from
Radio Cassette
Satellite Navigation from
Satellite Navigation
Sunroof (electric) from
Sunroof (electric)
Trip Counter from
Trip Counter


Once I got seated I attempted to decipher the array of instruments in front of me as well as the switches and buttons around and about. There are so many switches, dials and buttons that I began pressing some of them almost at random in an attempt to make personal adjustments. The electric seat was easy and quickly adjusted, I even found how to heat my seat very quickly which was particularly gratifying as it was January. The lighting was easily operated and I recognised the stereo remote and cruise control on the steering wheel from other cars I have driven. The electric windows and mirrors are similar to other marques so all was well but only until I  became utterly lost in attempting to operate the radio. Firstly, the volume control is on the right and not left hand side so I was tuning the stereo without hearing music and could not initially figure why. Applying more attention to the display in front of me was initially fruitless and I almost gave in to the prospect of reading the handbook to figure out the operation of the stereo, heating and sat-nav (how embarrassing).

However, persistence prevailed and, without so much as one page read, eventually I figured it all out and deemed it all ingenious and efficient. I have to mention that this car has more menus than a video recorder and can take the same time to programme. The system operates by selecting the desired function by pressing the buttons around the outside of the screen, which then displays the various menus. You can then touch the screen itself to adjust the heating or even store a radio station, thus allowing a myriad uses in a very small area. Once I understood the functions I very much enjoyed its simplicity. The sat nav is also very clear and concise, any desired location is very quickly accessed using the touch screen which has a programmed logic built in for speed and accuracy.

Honda's Accord Executive has always been well equipped and I cannot imagine anything more which could have been fitted to this car. With so much spec it is gratifying that the fascia is considerably clear and simple with switches which are not clumsy, bright or (for that matter) ultra-modern in looks. Honda have really applied themselves by providing a great deal of quality and equipment without shoving it loudly into your face.


Initially I accept there is a great deal to familiarise yourself with. It took a while for me to adjust the stereo volume without changing channel by mistake and I kept looking for the cockpit temperature adjustment which is displayed in the pod at the top of the dash along with the radio stations. However, once I became familiar I was quite smitten with it all. It is like riding a bike - once you have figured it all out it's simple and easy to do again.





Honda have produced their first manufactured diesel for this Accord although they have had diesels before by sourcing them from Rover of all makes. The engine in this car is the well regarded VTEC abbreviation (valve technology electronically controlled). This is the largest four cylinder engine that Honda utilise, being 2.4 litres.  It has a great pedigree as well as a proven durability/reliability and superb paper statistics with xxxxxx bhp and a top speed around xxxxxx mph.
The engine provides drive through to the front wheels via a transversely mounted gearbox which is hidden under the air filter; the gearbox is extremely small and incredibly lightweight for its demanding function.

Start the car and the revs are high for a short while until it generates some heat into itself. It is very noticeably quieter and smoother than any other Honda four pot I have driven. When the engine has heated up a little the cold start subsides and the engine settles down to about 700 rpm. You simply would not know it was running unless you looked at its tacho or pressed the gas pedal. When you depress the gas pedal the rpm needle very quickly zooms towards the red end of the gauge, and the exhaust confirms there is ample activity in the engine's volumetric efficiency.