Remember when Honda made interesting cars? It still does (Honda NSX, Civic Type R, E…), but its critics are convinced the firm stopped doing so years ago when models such as the Accord Type R were sparkly new. Which is why people still get a bit hot under the collar about them.
We found a very tidy-looking 2002-reg with 120,000 miles for £4500. That’s about top money for one of these but, with so few good ones left, that’s understandable. This is a facelift version (slatted grille, red ‘H’ badge and, if they hadn’t been changed, black tailpipes). It comes with a fresh cambelt and tons of workshop receipts as evidence of regular maintenance. The seller claims it has always been garaged but we guess he’s speaking for himself, not the car’s previous four keepers.
So the first thing we’d do is check for rust. With these Accords, it nibbles away at the front bulkhead, out of sight. Even owners can be unaware of it. A fresh MOT should provide some reassurance that all is well there and in other structural places. It can also lurk behind window rubbers and on wheel arches.
The plastic undertray that traps water and debris takes its fair share of scalps in the form of rotten brake pipes and fuel lines. An MOT tester isn’t allowed to move undertrays, so don’t take a current ticket as proof that these components are sound.
Even a healthy engine will slurp its way through a litre of oil every 1000 miles, so check the level and the grade used. Until it warms through, it’ll sound tappety, but what you don’t want to hear are other noises suggesting worn con-rod shells or a failing crank pulley.