Even for a car that’s now 12 years old, Honda’s knack for style, flair and overall quality is clear. I bought our Milano (pink, and more on this later) red Accord Euro Luxury Navi for a song, as a wholesale customer trade in. And you’ll be hard pressed to find more car for the money.
This is my wife’s car, and by 2008 standards it is loaded with fruit. Full leather, heated front seats, a pretty decent stereo, plenty of airbags, vehicle stability assist, great looking 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, navigation, front and rear parking sensors, and even a reversing camera. Want me to go over that list again? Try getting all of this as standard equipment on an Audi, BMW or Benz (of the time) and you’ll be left wanting.
The interior is a genuinely nice place to be. You sit in the seats rather than on them, with back, head/neck, shoulder and lumbar support all very good. Headroom is fine for taller drivers, although it might be slightly compromised in the back seat. At suburban speeds, the car is whisper quiet. At highway speeds, the car is still whisper quiet.
It’s also very comfortable and in typical Honda fashion, the ergonomics are excellent. All the buttons are where they ought to be and work with precision. About the only complaint I can make is the rear view mirror. It just sucks. It has a tiny field of view.
How does it drive? Beautifully. The steering feel is a touch muted, but the handling is instant and direct with very little body roll. The Euro was always the sportier variant and it shows. Give it some beans with a twist here and there, and it grips like a cat on carpet.
Very confidence inspiring - just don’t go expecting sports sedan levels of performance. The 148kW 2.4-litre i-VTEC loves to rev, but the torque curve is set pretty high so there’ll be a few gear changes if you want to drive spiritedly.
The car's faults? There are a couple, and both are annoying. The K20 engine’s valvetrain tensioner has developed the infamous start-up rattle. This was common among many Honda models with the same engine. It will last 1-2 seconds then stop, and only seems to happen on a cold start up.
Replacing the tensioner will be very expensive, and internet searches suggest the problem may even happen again in the future. Opinions from well-trained mechanics are divisive, with some rating it mild whilst others say it’s severe, so definitely something to be mindful of.
The other fault is Honda’s notorious Milano Red paint. Quite simply, don’t buy a red one and I can’t stress this enough. There is a flaw in the actual pigment that sits underneath the clear coat, so once it fades (inevitable), no amount of machine polishing or detailing magic will alleviate the problem.
Overall, a fully specced Accord Euro is a great value, long-term buy. They are cheap to own and insure, extremely comfortable to drive, and plenty seem to amass big kilometres with a minimum of fuss. Find a one-owner example that’s had every service done by Honda and you’ll be laughing.