Review: Honda Accord Tourer (2003 – 2008)

Rating:

Long load bed. Good Japanese build quality, all chain-cam engines.

Steering a bit light and feel-free. Best on smaller 16" wheels.

Recently Added To This Review

18 September 2019 R/2019/243:

Possible air bag inflator rupture. Passenger air bag may not deploy correctly. Fix: The inflator inside the passenger’s airbag module is to be replaced. Build dates: 17-11-2000 to 16-12-2014. Read more

9 August 2016

Report of 2005 Accord Tourer 2.2iCDTI reaching 200,000 miles reliably (apart from common issues with the electric tailgate & exhaust manifold). Now starting to smoke under accelation and replacement... Read more

1 March 2003

Station Wagon of 2003 Accord offering 576 litres loadspace with rear seats up, rising to 921 litres with them down. Rear seats fold flat in single action (like Honda Jazz and Mazda 6 estate). Tailgate... Read more

Honda Accord Tourer (2003 – 2008): At A Glance

What does a Honda Accord Tourer (2003 – 2008) cost?

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What's the Honda Accord Tourer (2003 – 2008) like to drive?

These days, if you make a mass-market family car youre in trouble. Because the mass is moving out of this market.

No one spending their own money wants to be seen in a reps special any more. Unless, of course, theyre buying it at such a knockdown price they cant help themselves. Theyd far rather have a second-hand BMW or Mercedes. And, if theyre spending upwards of £20k, they want a new BMW or Mercedes.

There are a few in-between cars, like the Audi A4, the SAAB 9-3, the Rover 75 and Volvo S60, and, to a lesser extent, the VW Passat and Skoda Superb. But Mondeos, Vectras, C5s, 406s and Lagunas are just too ten a penny to command serious cash.

So what do you do if youre Mazda with the 626, or Toyota with the Avensis, or Honda with the Accord?

Mazda simply decided to build the best mass-market family car, and came up with the sensational Mazda 6. Great car. Stunning value. We're now seeing the new Toyota Avensis appearing on Britain's roads; a bigger car than its predecessor.

Instead of making another mass-market runner like the Mazda 6, or a slightly bigger car like the new Avensis, Honda have moved the new Accord up a notch. They dont pretend theyve breached Mercedes and BMW territory. And they acknowledge that the A4 is also a different animal. But theyre definitely head and shoulders above the Passat. Really, theyve gone back to where they were fifteen years ago with the 1985 to 1993 Accords: Bigger and better than mass-market fodder, but not quite in the rarified price range of a BMW or a Merc. A bit like where Rover placed the 75 in comparison to the old 600.

So have they succeeded? At first the new Accord looks like a slab-sided Mazda 6, It isnt going to win any beauty contests, whether theyre held in Lagos or London. But at least it has a nice face with front wheelarches that bulge with some well worked-out shoulder muscles.

Under the bonnet you get 155 or 190ps and 190 or 225Nm of torque. And you dont have to wait for that pulling power. Most of it is under your foot from very low revs due to Hondas clever VTEC variable valve timing. The engines are also quite clean, conforming to EU5 emissions regulations two years early without spoiling the drivers enjoyment.

The 2.0 litre gets a 5-speed manual box, or 5-speed Tiptronic style automatic, confusingly forward for upchanges and back for downchanges and opposite to the way Mazda went. But this is a very pleasant, smooth and viceless engine, with no boomy periods, as happy at 50 or 80 as it is at 100mph plus. A lot of drivers who miss the 85-93 Accords are going to be very happy indeed with this car.

The 2.4 with 6-speed box has real and usable power. Plus fine handling, good bump absorption and plenty of feel thanks to the light but not too light steering. The 5-speed autobox is also well suited to this engine, though, unless you pre-select the ratio, it can make the wrong decision for you half-way round a corner.

The seats are set them and forget them superb. Honda has concentrated on ensuring that drivers sit properly, with their bums in a hole at the back of the squab and their thighs and back properly supported. The fact that you dont have to constantly fiddle to get comfortable on the move is testament to how good they are. Easily as good and maybe better than a SAABs or Volvos. Steering adjustment is up, down, in and out: the class norm these days.

Dash layout is exceptionally clear, with a huge central backlit speedometer, rev-counter to the side and everything else easily visible. Climate control, in-car entertainment and satnav controls fall easily to hand with minimum distraction from the road. And driver and front passenger can control their individual macro climates individually.

A great feature of the satnav is that its touch-screen, so much less fiddly than these things usually are. Lose your way and you arent likely to go flying off the route altogether while you try to reprogram it. Another nice touch is that in all models the driver and front passenger can separately control the temperature around them.
Quality is high with very fine shut-lines and doors that close with a quiet plap of expelled air. Even the handles are chunky and pleasant to touch. 53% of the body structure is high-tensile steel. Like you did with the 85-93 Accord, you just know this is a well-built car which will never let you down.

Back seats? Good, too, with plenty of leg and headroom. Boot? Enormous, with an extra-wide section at the back to accommodate the tallest of golfers clubs.

Theres also a Tourer station wagon in the UK from May 2003 at a straight £1,000 more than the saloon. For this, the interior designers have taken a few cues from their own Jazz and Mazdas 626 estate. Press the seatback button and not only does the 60/40 split backrest flop down, the seat squabs automatically jump up and out of the way. This leaves a completely flat floor, lower in the car than in a Volvo estate and nearly two metres long. Despite the low look of the roofline, loadspace inside is actually greater than a Mondeo or V70. So its an excellent cargo carrier, surfboard transporter or emergency bedroom. If you dont go for the £100 spare wheel option, there is a 50 litre lockable well underneath the rear load floor. And the tailgate itself is powered by concealed hydraulic struts with anti-trap and anti-foul sensors so it wont damage itself against a wall.

The Tourer is quite a bit heavier than the saloon as you can see from the figures, and on paper this blunts its performance somewhat. But not on the road. The 2.0 litre is lively in 5th even with the a/c on. The 2.4 Type S 6-speed is quite quick, but its stiffer suspension doesnt really suit the nature of the car. The 2.4 auto simply gels as the right combination of engine, gearbox, body and suspension. Its a bit softer than the Type S, obviously. But that helps rather than hinders. And the 5-speed autobox with Tiptronic style back-to-front shift works superbly well with a lovely feel to the chunky, precise shift lever.

Later, from March 2004, there will be a 2.2 litre common rail direct injected diesel with 150bhp and 300Nm torque.

Finally, safety. Its not enough to achieve a Four Star NCAP crash safety rating any more. These days, a carmaker has to go for the full Five Star treatment, which, with multiple airbags protecting the interior, Honda confidently expects to achieve. But theyve gone a step further by considering people outside the car as well as inside. By leaving a space under the bonnet and wingtops they gives pedestrians unfortunate enough to be hit by the car a nice, soft place to land.

So Honda can tick all the boxes. With the new Accord theyve got out of the mass-market D sector and back to where the Accord used to be. The engines are good to drive and environmentally friendly. The controls are light. The handling is excellent. Noise levels are low. And everyone is well protected. Not bad at all.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.2 i-CTDi 48 mpg 9.3 s 155 g/km

Real MPG average for a Honda Accord Tourer (2003 – 2008)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

94%

Real MPG

27–55 mpg

MPGs submitted

163

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Honda Accord Tourer (2003 – 2008)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best used estate for £4000?

My commute is a 100-mile round trip per day (four days a week) and I am looking for a utopian estate car or similar that is reliable, economical, costs under £4000 to buy and can tow a trailer for runs to the dump (large trailer) at the weekend as well as seating three children and two adults for longer runs. If on top of all that it could be a reliable automatic diesel then great but will accept a manual! The last part of my commute is in stop-start traffic in London so the auto would be great but I can't find any that don't seem to break at 100k miles which is probably where my £4k brings me in. I am genuinely not that bothered by type of car/luxuries on board, etc; it just needs to keep going and do the job reasonably well!
As you're probably finding, that's quite a big wish list for £4000. Any car that you look at for this price is likely to have high miles and could produce some big bills - especially with a diesel engine and automatic gearbox. A Skoda Octavia might be a good choice - they're popular with taxi drivers for a reason, but they're not without their issues. I think I'd be hunting out a Volvo V70. They have lots of space and, again, they're not without problems - but we've not had too many reports of faults. Alternatively, a Honda Accord or Toyota Avensis would be a good option, but finding a good one might be difficult.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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