Used Honda Accord Hatchback 1998 - 2003 review

Category: Family car

It has no image at all, but it's good in so many areas you won't care.

Used Honda Accord Hatchback 1998 - 2003
  • Used Honda Accord Hatchback 1998 - 2003
  • Used Honda Accord Hatchback 1998 - 2003
Used Honda Accord Hatchback 1998 - 2003 review
Star rating

What's the used Honda Accord hatchback like?

This is a car that hides its talents. Under that bland metal you'll discover revvy engines and a lovely chassis. It rides firmly but remains comfortable most of the time, although the Type-R is stiffly sprung.

It's also spacious, comfortable and well equipped. Even the cheapest S trim offers four airbags, anti-lock brakes, a full suite of electrical gadgets and air-conditioning.


It has no image at all, but it's good in so many areas you won't care.

  • The Accord is extremely reliable, tough and durable
  • It's also nice to drive and well equipped
  • It looks pretty dull, and it's dearer to buy and run than a Ford Mondeo or a Vauxhall Vectra

Four Euro NCAP stars for protecting occupants in a crash and two for safeguarding pedestrians is a creditable score for a late-1990s model.

Wind noise is reasonable, but the engines work best when revved. The racket they make when you do that is attractive, but it may not be to your taste.

Driver comfort is excellent and there's plenty of room in the cabin, although space to stow odds and ends isn't over-generous.

Cars with sunroofs lose a couple of inches of headroom, which can spoil things for taller drivers. The boot is big but the suspension intrudes and restricts the width.

Ownership cost

What used Honda Accord hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Honda Accord hatchback?

It's not the cheapest to buy or to own. Prices are now pitched fairly, but you'll spend more running it than you would on a Mondeo or Vectra.

The 1.8 models fall into group 8 insurance, but the 2.0 is group 11 and the 2.3 in group 13. Move up to the Type-R and you enter group 16, although that's pretty reasonable considering its 209bhp.

The 1.8 will return up to 33mpg on average, which is fair for a family-sized car. The 2.0 covers just a mile fewer per gallon, while the 2.3 and Type-R travel up to 30mpg overall.

An Accord needs servicing more often than its rivals and the bills are high if you use a main dealer. Switching to an independent garage is an option, but only if they use the Honda parts and high-quality oils that the car needs.

Finally, although spares are expensive, you shouldn't expect to be buying them often.

Our recommendations

Which used Honda Accord hatchback should I buy?

The entry-level 1.8 S has all you need: four airbags, anti-lock brakes, remote locking, electric windows and air-conditioning.

That 1.8 is the smallest engine available, but it responds well if you work it hard. Go for a car with a manual gearbox, though, because the auto doesn't suit the engine's narrow power band. And, always choose this hatchback version over the saloon, because it's more useful.

You can also consider two other petrol engines - a 2.0 and a 2.3 - but the extra power doesn't add much to the car, and just increases running costs that are already high-ish. There's no diesel.

Trim-wise, you can also pick from SE, Sport and Executive, which bring varying levels of luxury, topped by the Executive's leather seats and wood-effect trim.

For high performance and super-sharp handling, the Type-R is a gem, its tuned 2.2 delivering 209bhp, while its big alloys and sports interior lift the Accord's humdrum appearance.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Honda Accord hatchback?