2002 Accord New Car Test Drive
You'd think by now this car would be an also-ran.
The Honda Accord is entering the fifth year of its current model cycle. An all-new one is just over the horizon. Meanwhile, Toyota has just launched an all-new Camry for 2002, while Nissan has introduced an all-new and much larger Altima. And there's no shortage of competition from other automakers that compete fiercely for buyers of mid-size sedans. The volumes are high so a lot is at stake here.
In spite of all this, we feel the 2002 Honda Accord is the best mid-size sedan available today. Simply put, it does everything well.
The interior is roomy and comfortable, the chassis is responsive and well damped, the brakes are excellent, and both of its VTEC engines (a 3.0-liter V6 and a 2.3-liter four-cylinder) are incredibly smooth. It is remarkably easy to drive and every aspect of it is user friendly.
Honda sold 414,718 Accords during calendar year 2001, making it number one in passenger-car sales, and it has been one of America's best-selling cars for the past 10 years.
Not much has changed with the Accord since last year. For 2002, Honda has added a new SE trim level that adds popular features to the value-oriented LX.
Another thing that hasn't changed is its quality, durability, and reliability. J.D. Power and Associates ranks the Accord's mechanical quality and body and interior quality as 'better than most.' An entire generation has grown up with Hondas, and 26 years of Accords have proven it to be a safe choice, a car that a family can buy and more or less forget, turning their attention to the other concerns of a daily life. We feel the Accord offers a bit more driving excitement than the Camry or the Taurus and a higher quality interior than the Altima.
Accord buyers choose among four trim levels, sedan and coupe body styles, and V6 and four-cylinder engines. Accords retail from $15,500 for a bare bones DX to $25,300 for an EX V6 with a handsome leather interior and many of the features associated with luxury cars.
The four-door sedan and the sporty coupe are nearly identical from an engineering standpoint, though the Accord Coupe features some performance tweaks designed to make it more fun to drive. Trim levels and pricing for Sedan and Coupe are nearly identical.
Only the sedan is available as a DX base model ($15,350), and it comes with a non-VTEC 135-horsepower four-cylinder engine, wind-up windows, and not much else. Air conditioning is optional. This model is best left to rental-car agencies and those who value a low price above everything else.
Most people opt for the LX and EX trim levels plus a new SE trim level that fits between the two.
LX ($18,890) and EX come with Honda's 2.3-liter four-cylinder VTEC engine rated at 150 horsepower and a five-speed manual gearbox; an automatic transmission adds another $800.
SE ($20,850) is essentially an LX with an automatic transmission plus a long list of popular features at a $1000 discount that includes special 15-inch alloy wheels, moonroof, keyless entry, security system, AM/FM/CD, wood trim, power height adjustment for driver's seat, floor mats.
EX ($21,500) models come standard with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes; leather seating surfaces are available on the EX for about $1250 and that comes with steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.
There's also a 200-horsepower V6 engine available for the LX and EX trim levels. LX V-6 ($22,600) and EX V-6 come standard with a four-speed automatic transmission and ABS.
EX V-6 ($25,300) comes loaded with leather seating surfaces, woodgrain trim, automatic climate control, and a programmable HomeLink universal remote control. It comes with an 8-way power driver's seat and a 4-way power passenger seat.
All Accords are equipped with dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags that detect seatbelt use and crash severity and regulate bag deployment force accordingly. Side-impact airbags are optional, however. LX and EX come standard with anti-lock brakes. V6 Accords come with Honda's TCS traction control.