Remember when Honda offered two completely different Accord sedans at once? Two models, one that was US designed and Thai built, another that was sourced from Japan for domestic and European consumption? Y’know, the large one and the, ahem, good one?
At its local 2003 arrival, there was less confusion between the (CL9) Accord Euro and the regular (CM5/CM6) Accord than one might expect. Because they were very different and regarded separately by Aussie buyers given the choice of two four-door-sedan guises ostensibly under one nameplate.
The seventh-gen Euro, spanning 2003 to 2008, was bloody good. And remains good, if you find one in decent enough nick. While categorically mid-sized, it’s smaller, trimmer and more athletic in nature than the larger, cushier Accord stablemate aimed squarely at American buyers (where the Euro was also concurrently sold, as Acura TSX).
The Euro was (and is) genuinely sporty, with critically acclaimed handling and polished all-rounder execution. Honda was, at the time, still in its purple patch of offering Euro-rivalling, and sometimes -beating, engineering. Bundle that into a stylish design, inside and out, that still feels somewhat contemporary nearly two decades later and, generally, the Euro delivered the cut-priced BMW 3 Series competition its Japanese maker promised it would be.
It’s little wonder that it won its domestic Japan Car of the Year accolades in its launch year.
Australian versions got a one-spec-fits-all 2.4-litre naturally aspirated i-VTEC petrol four good for a healthy 140kW and 223Nm, backed by a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions – advanced spec for 2003 – driving the front wheels. It demands 95RON unleaded, with an advertised combined consumption of 9.1L (man) and 9.2L (auto) per hundred.
The model line-up was offered in other markets with a smaller ‘mild’ (113kW) 2.0-litre petrol and a torquey (103kW) 2.2-litre diesel, together with a hard-revving (7000rpm) bespoke (164kW) 2.0-litre with manual combination reserved for the hi-po Euro R, as sold in Honda’s homeland.
From the get-go, the local Euro range entered with ‘no name’ Manual ($35k) and Auto ($37k) offered alongside pricier and more comprehensively equipped, leather-trimmed Luxury versions ($41k man and $43k auto) that sit on larger (17-inch) wheels.
An MY06 facelift arrived at the tail-end of 2005, bringing a wider-grille and slimmer-headlight appearance if without much change to the mechanical package under the skin. Middling Tourer ($35k-$37k) and Special Edition (mid-$36k to mid-$38k) variants cropped up during 2007, offering some fiddled specification, but this was the last hurrahs for a generation put to pasture in mid-2008 to make way for a longer and wider if unsurprisingly quite familiar eighth-generation Accord Euro (2008-2016).
Honda called time on the Accord Euro nameplate in late 2014, though its local arm continued to sell the gen-eight locally into early 2016.