Thursday, November 28, 2013

Used Car Review - Honda Accord (1998-2002)

On the fifth day of Christmas Myk Belmonte gave to me... five second generation Honda Accords!

1998-2002 Honda Accord

Having sensitivity to your market is one essential step to market success. You, as the car maker company, adjust to their needs and not the way around. If that country loves station wagons, give them a station wagon version. A nation of diesel users must have a diesel option in the bucket list. If that place has no affinity for coupes, then do not offer. That is one secret recipe of the Accord's success anywhere in the world - be it in Japan, North America, or South East Asia.

Sold from 1997 until 2003 in various points of the globe, the sixth generation Accord is offered in sedan, wagon, coupe, and hatchback configurations. Honda marketed different models for Japan, Europe, and one for American, Australian, and Asian markets. Japan has the Type-R and SiR versions while Europe gets the Type-R only. With numerous variations available for the whole world, let us not discuss more since it might take half of this article.

With the Mitsubishi Galant's introduction in December 1997, Honda Cars Philippines launched the sixth (second in the Philippines) generation model in February 1998. It gained a foothold in the executive market but the Cefiro was still the class leader. Sales stopped in 2003 to make way for the seventh generation (third in the local sense) Accord. Variants made available include the base VTi and the top end VTi-L.

Value and Costs
Want to reward with something premium this Christmas? Then a second generation Accord is a good pick, especially with units costing you between P170,000-P400,000. Do remember that modified units exist in the used car world, but steer clear of them since a stock unit is the way to go.

Thankfully, Honda Accords are extremely reliable vehicles. Cost of having one would lean on the expensive side due to the fuel consumption. Parts can be procured from any Honda parts store since this is a fairly popular model. Browse US automotive forums and you'll hear problems with the V6 models regarding their transmissions; it was good thing this engine didn't arrive at Philippine shores.

Exterior and Interior
Bland as it is, the second generation model is hiding the talent through clean lines. You may mistaken this for an EK Civic albeit inches larger.

A high quality cabin greets someone entering the Accord, whether he's the driver or passenger. Despite being assembled locally, gaps and squeaks aren't evident. Buttons for the radio and climate control is within driver's reach, which is a good thing. Wood trim is standard among VTi-L models, and the same goes with an in-dash TV monitor (added in 2001) that replaced the CD changer - that is also available on the VTi. Space for five without violating each other's privacy space is excellent.

While the engine options are the same as the first Accord, the 2.0 model is now equipped with VTEC technology. Your choice in VTi and 2001-2002 VTi-S variants is the F20B 1,997cc which possess 152hp at 6,000rpm and 190Nm at 5,000rpm. The icing of the Accord cake - and sold from 1998 until 2001 - is the H22A 2,157cc that has 157hp at 5,700rpm and 210Nm at 4,900rpm. With just minimal power difference, go with the 2.0 since it is adequate for your driving needs. There is nothing wrong with the 2.3 as it is one rev happy engine, but the trade-off is its less fuel friendly nature that can increase maintenance costs.

Driving Impressions
Hit a corner while revving the engine is nothing for the Accord. It loves to be driven hard, unleashing the VTEC technology that is known for. Handling is great despite the 1,000kg plus weight and body roll is minimized. Suspension settings is balanced to provide something for the highway runs and the city duties. Putting the car to a stop is no drama thanks to the ABS brakes in the VTi-L models (the VTi has none).

Underneath the bland looks comes a car that is talented on driving ability and engine performance. People wouldn't look at you, but once they ride with you, they'll be in for a shock. There is no denying that today, one can get an Accord for low prices and enjoy the drive.

The Good:
  • Comfortable
  • Fast
  • Fun to drive
The Bad:
  • Bland
  • Somewhat expensive to maintain
  • No ABS in base model
The Pick: 2.0 VTi-L

Engines: 1,997cc F20B and 2,157cc H22A I4 gasoline
Power: 152hp @ 6,000rpm (2.0), 157hp @ 5,700rpm (2.3)
Torque: 190Nm @ 5,000rpm (2.0), 210Nm @ 4,900rpm (2.3)
Fuel Consumption: 6-8km/L (city), 8-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front and rear independent double wishbone

Price (New): P950,000-P1,360,000
Price (Now): P170,000-P400,000
Rivals: Hyundai Sonata, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Cefiro, Toyota Camry, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes Benz C Class, Audi A4
On Sale: 1998-2002

Honda Cars Quezon City - (02) 712-6850
Honda Cars Pasig - (02) 988-1288
Honda Cars Kalookan - (02) 366-5701

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