Honda Accord 1998-2002 review

Overall rating:4 Star Rating: Recommended
Updated: July 13, 2014
2002 Honda Accord
2002 Honda Accord (Photo: Honda)

The 1998-2002 Honda Accord is one the top choices for a budget family car. The Accord comes as a 4-door sedan or 2-door coupe, with a 4-cylinder or V6 engine. The Accord's roomy cabin offers good visibility, easy-to-use controls and comfortable seats. The trunk is spacious; rear seat folds down for extra cargo room. Available features included power leather seats, wood-grain trim, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, moonroof and 6-speaker audio system. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control system (TCS) as well as side airbags are available. Crash test ratings varied through the model years. Visit the Safercar.gov website for details. On the road, it's an easy-to-drive car with a firm, but compliant ride. The steering is precise and responsive. The V6 Accord is very smooth and powerful but a 4-cylinder model is a more sensible choice with today's gas prices. Honda Accord is proven to be dependable, but there are some issues to watch out for. We have done some research on common problems.

2002 Honda Accord interior
2002 Honda Accord (Photo: Honda)
Honda Accord engine
Honda Accord 2.3-liter VTEC engine


Engine:The 1998-2002 Honda Accord offered three engines: the base 135-hp 2.3-liter 4-cylinder 16-valve SOHC (Single Over Head Cam) feels a bit underpowered, but otherwise is a good reliable engine.
The 150-hp 2.3-liter 16-valve SOHC VTEC 4-cylinder engine offers the best combination of power and fuel economy. It's a strong and also reliable engine.
The 200-hp 3.0L SOHC V6 VTEC is the most powerful choice. All three engines have a timing belt that must be changed at recommended intervals. Read more about timing belt.

Fuel economy: The 1999-2001 2.3L VTEC Honda Accord automatic is rated at 20/28 mpg or 11.8/8.4 liters per 100 kilometers city/highway. This means you can get up to 375 miles or 600 kilometers to a tank. The 2001 V6 Accord gets 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway (13.1/9.0 L/100 km).

Pros: Fuel economy for 4-cylinder models, handling, smooth and powerful optional V6, interior quality and comfort, excellent braking.

Cons: Road and engine noise (4-cylinder models), automatic transmission issues, a timing belt will need to be replaced at certain mileage.

Overall: Honda Accord is fairly reliable and not very expensive to maintain. The one thing to watch out for is the automatic transmission problems; they are fairly common, especially in V6 models. Read more about common problems on the next page. We recommend the Honda Accord with the 2.3L VTEC engine, as it is good on gas and offers reasonable power.

What to look for when buying a used Honda Accord: Watch out for a blue smoke or loud engine rattle when the engine is started. During the test drive, pay particular attention to the way the automatic transmission works, especially on V6 models. If you notice any transmission issues like harsh shifts, jerks, delays, slipping between gears, noises, avoid the car. A clunk or strong jolt when shifting into Reverse is an early sign of a worn-out transmission. Read more on the next page.