I traded my 2007 Honda Jazz down to one of these as it was simply too small for a growing family, plus my wife only has an automatic license.
For a used buy, a sixth generation Accord (98-02) represents fantastic value. The VTi-L in my opinion is the pick. The 4cyl engine is the very last of the F-series and had been evolving since the early 1990s – it’s as strong as an ox. Also gets the best fuel economy, and since this model is considerably lighter than the V6, the performance is actually quite brisk.
Build quality is excellent – the car was close to $45k new so was a real contender to a BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 or Mercedes C Class. Every mechanic I talk to says the Honda is better built than its Euro rivals. I have to agree. Not one rattle after 11 years, the leather is rich, supple and hasn’t cracked or faded, and the paint is unblemished. Of course, much of this largely depends on the previous owner – but a well looked after Accord will last practically forever.
Re: servicing: Find a reputable & experienced third party mechanic, and these cars are cheap to run. Don’t use genuine Honda parts unless there is no other alternative – you will go broke. Whatever a dealer feeds you is a complete myth, these cars run fine, often better on generic (eg Repco) spares.