2003 Honda Accord -- Overview

7/29/2002 2:17:19 PM

The all-new seventh-generation 2003 Honda Accord moves the Accord lineup to a new level of world-class style, sophistication and performance. Both the Sedan and Coupe have been redesigned and re-engineered to top the midsize class in engine performance, ride and handling, comfort and convenience features, safety, quality and refinement.

The rapid growth in the popularity of SUVs and "crossover" vehicles has expanded consumer choice and increased competition for the already highly competitive midsize buyer. As a result, the Accord development team targeted not only its traditional competitors, but also the finest European sedans in terms of design, engineering and "emotion" in an effort to move the Accord lineup to a higher level. The result is the finest selection of Accords ever made, setting new marks in key targeted areas while maintaining the durability, quality and reliability (DQR) and value that made the Accord one of the best-selling cars of the '90s.

What's New

  • New exterior and interior styling
  • New 160-horsepower 4-cylinder (+7%)
  • New 240-horsepower V6 engine (+20%)
  • New 5-speed manual transmission
  • New 5-speed automatic transmissions (replaces 4-speed automatic)
  • New 6-speed manual transmission available on the Coupe EX V6
  • The latest safety technology, including now standard ABS
  • Side airbags available on LX 4-cylinder models, standard on EX and V6 models
  • Side curtain airbag system available on the EX V6 Sedan
  • Re-engineered four-wheel double wishbone suspension
  • Reduced noise, vibration and harshness characteristics
  • Available next-generation Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System
  • Improved fuel economy and lower emissions
  • New second generation Traction Control System (TCS) integrated with Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) for V6 models

Accord Sedan Specifications

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2003 Accord Sedan

2002 Accord Sedan

Wheelbase, in.

107.9 (2740mm)

106.9

Overall length, in.

189.5 (4813mm)

189.4

Overall width, in.

71.5 (1815mm)

70.3

Overall height, in.

57.1 (1450mm)

56.9

Curb weight, lb.

3053 (LX 5 MT)

3031 (LX 5 MT)

Interior volume, cu. ft.

116.7

115.8

Engines

2.4L 160-hp i-VTEC I4
3.0L 240-hp VTEC V6

2.3L 150-hp VTEC I4
3.0L 200-hp VTEC V6

Transmissions

5 MT or 5 AT (I4)
5 AT (V6)

5 MT or 4 AT (I4)
4 AT (V6)

Estimated Fuel Economy, City/Highway, mpg

26/34 (I4 5MT)
24/33 (I4 5AT)
21/30 (V6 5AT)

26/32 (I4 5MT)
23/30 (I4 4AT)
20/28 (V6 4AT)

Accord Coupe Specifications

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2003 Accord Coupe

2002 Accord Coupe

Wheelbase, in.

105.1 (2670mm)

105.1

Overall length, in.

187.6 (4766mm)

186.8

Overall width, in.

71.3 (1810mm)

70.3

Overall height, in.

55.7 (1415mm)

54.9

Curb weight, lb.

2994 (LX 5 MT)

2967 (LX 5 MT)

Interior volume, cu. ft.

104.0

106.3

Engines

2.4L 160-hp i-VTEC I-4
3.0L 240-hp VTEC V-6

2.3L 150-hp VTEC I-4
3.0L 200-hp VTEC V-6

Transmissions

5 MT or 5 AT (I-4)
6 MT or 5 AT (V-6)

5 MT or 4AT (I-4)
4AT (V-6)

EPA Estimated Fuel Economy, City/Highway, mpg

26/34 (I-4 MT)
24/33 (I-4 AT)
21/30 (V-6 AT)
20/30 (V-6 MT)

26/32 (I-4 MT)
23/30 (I-4 AT)
20/28 (V-6 AT)

Model Availability

Accord Sedan
As in previous years, the Accord Sedan is available in DX, LX and EX trim levels. The well-equipped DX Sedan is powered by a new 160-horsepower, 2.4-liter,

i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine and is available with either the new 5-speed or 5-speed automatic transmissions. LX and EX models are available with either the 4-cylinder engine or the new 240-hp V6. All LX and EX models are available with the 5-speed automatic transmission, while 4-cylinder models also offer the 5-speed manual.

At the top of the model range is the Accord EX V6 Sedan with leather interior. For the first time in an Accord model, a navigational system is available in EX sedans, the next-generation, voice activated Honda Satellite-Linked DVD Navigation System.

Accord Coupe
Accord Coupe buyers can choose between LX and EX trim levels and both are available with a choice of either the 4-cylinder or V6 engine. The 5-speed manual transmission is standard on 4-cylinder Coupes, with the new 5-speed automatic available. The LX Coupe V6 comes with a 5-speed automatic. The EX Coupe V6 is available with a 5 speed automatic or 6 speed manual transmission.

Body Design
Honda stylists used a fast jungle cat, the cheetah, as an influence when starting on the new Accords. Even at rest, it appears to be ready to move. The animal runs low to the ground, and has powerful leg muscles to propel it forward. These are classic cues used in the development of high-profile sports-car bodies but they are rarely used in the midsize segment.

Body Construction
The Accord's all-new unibody design is 27 percent stiffer in torsional rigidity while maintaining the same excellent bending rigidity of the previous generation. Extensive use of high-tensile steel and advanced engineering and manufacturing processes have also contributed to the Accord body's increased strength and stiffness. This helps to improve Accord's safety, performance and handling.

A new front subframe uses hydro-formed steel components. This system attaches to the body with special rubber "floating" mounts that reduce noise and vibration from the engine and front suspension. It's also designed to slide under the passenger compartment to deflect and better disperse crash forces in the event of frontal impact.

Engineers aimed putting the Accord at the top of the class in safety. Using supercomputers to model how collision forces are distributed throughout the Accord's unibody design, and Honda's state-of- the-art real-world crash test facility, the Accord meet its safety targets in internal testing, pending final testing by NHTSA.

Powertrains
As in previous years, Accord Sedan buyers can choose between an inline-4 and a V6 engine. Both are new for 2003 and feature a number of unique technologies.

The 160-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder features all-aluminum construction, twin balance shafts, chain-driven dual-overhead camshafts and i-VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) with Variable Timing Control, (VTC), which provides continuous phase adjustment for the intake camshaft. This new i-VTEC provides a wider powerband and improved drivability, along with higher fuel mileage and lower emissions. Balance shafts have been incorporated to limit noise and vibration. In California the 4-cylinder engine used for the LX and EX automatic transmission sedans will meet SULEV emissions regulations, the most stringent in the world.

The new 3.0-liter V6, which also features all-aluminum construction, increases output by 40 horsepower-some 20 percent-for the 2003 model year. This power output positions it at the top of the midsize class.

The newfound power comes primarily from five areas: 1) improved induction system and intake manifold; 2) a 3-rocker VTEC system; 3) increased compression ratio and the addition of a knock sensor; 4) larger intake valves; and 5) high flow exhaust system technology. An advanced engine mounting hardware in the new Accord features a unified "hybrid" design that integrates elements from the previous 4-cylinder and V6 systems. The new V6 Accord also meets ULEV standards for California specification vehicles.

Chassis
The 2003 Accords also have a new dynamic character. Engineers modified the double-wishbone suspension to improve ride and handling-in particular to reduce fore-aft body motions under acceleration and deceleration and to provide flatter cornering.

Engineers have tuned the 2003 Accord's chassis for a sportier, more European feel. In keeping with this effort, both the Sedan and Coupe are now fitted with larger, more performance-oriented tires that enhance ride and handling characteristics. The power rack-and-pinion steering also features new technology to provide more stability and reduced kickback.

Braking has likewise been significantly enhanced. Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) are now standard equipment on all Accord models. The 4-cylinder EX models and V6-powered models also add EBD (electronic brake distribution) as standard equipment for the first time. These components enhance chassis stability under braking and help trim braking distances in real world conditions. Engineers also enhanced Accord brake pedal feel and stroke.

Interior
The interiors of the new Accords blend driver-oriented features with information-oriented technologies. The higher beltline, along with a more prominent dashboard, provide a feeling of substance and solidity to the interior.

LEDs provide instrument illumination. When the car is at rest the instruments present a black appearance. The instruments light up in stages as the driver enters the car, inserts the key and starts the engine, revealing new large, bold meters. Dramatically improved driver and passenger seats and a more sport oriented driving position reflect the renewed effort that has gone into making the Accord the fun-to-drive standout in its class-whether you're going around the corner or cross-country.

Audio and climate control systems have also been significantly upgraded. EX 4-cylinder models with leather and all EX V6 models provide separate temperature controls for the driver and front passenger. Controls for the audio system, climate control and even the available next-generation Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System (NAVI) are consolidated into a single, easy-to-use display. The new NAVI system features voice activation for navigational tools, as well as audio and climate controls. The controls set new standards in terms of speed, ease of use, and amount of available information.

A host of new safety features can be found in the Accord's interior. In addition to dual-stage front SRS airbags, side airbags are now available on the LX 4-cylinder models and standard on all EX and V6 models. As with all Honda and Acura vehicles, the front passenger's side airbag is controlled by an innovative sensing system that disables the airbag if the passenger is in its deployment path. Accord EX V6 models also come standard with a side curtain airbag system covering both the front and rear side windows in the event of a side impact. This system leads the industry in terms of speed of deployment, inflated coverage area, and maximizing inflated bag thickness while minimizing internal pressure.

Competitors
The 2003 Accord Sedan has two primary competitors in the mid-size market segment. The first, the Toyota Camry, is a sales-volume competitor. In recent years Camry has been Accord's chief rival for the honor of America's best-selling car. The Camry-based Solara coupe is virtually the only competitor for the Accord Coupes.

Accord's other competitor, the Volkswagen Passat, with its distinctly European driving character, is more of a "lifestyle" competitor than a sales-volume competitor. It sold 95,028 units in 2001, about 23 percent of the Accord's total. The Passat has also been successful at attracting younger buyers. Other competitors include the Nissan Altima, the Ford Taurus, and Mazda 6.

Accord Sedan Competitive Comparison

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2003 Accord Sedan

2002 Toyota Camry

2002 Volkswagen Passat

MSRP

LX : $18,890*
Current LX 5-sp price

LE : $ 18,970

GLS : $ 21,750

Wheelbase, in.

107.9

107.1

106.4

Overall length, in.

189.5

189.2

185.2

Overall width, in.

71.5

70.7

68.7

Overall height, in.

57.1

57.9

57.6

Curb weight, lb.

3053 (LX 5 MT)

3086

3225

Interior volume, cu. ft.

116.7

118.4

110.4

Engines

2.4L 160-hp
i-VTEC I-4
3.0L 240-hp VTEC V-6

2.4L 157-hp I-4
3.0L 192-hp V-6

1.8L 170-hp I-4 Turbo
2.8L 190-hp V-6

Transmissions

5 MT or 5 AT (I-4)
5 AT (V-6)

5 MT or 4 AT

5 MT or 5 AT

EPA Estimated Fuel Economy, City/Highway, mpg

26/34 (I-4 Man.)
24/33 (I-4 Auto)
21/30 (V-6 Auto)

24/33 (I-4 Man.)
23/32 (I-4 Auto)
20/28 (V-6 Auto)

22/31 (I-4 Man.)
21/30 (I-4 Auto)
20/28 (V-6 Man)
20/27 (V-6 Auto)