As stated in several professional reviews, the Accord has always been underrated rather than underachieving.
I was looking for a second-hand car in the range of Volkswagen Passat, Audi A4 Tdi or BMW 320d.
I have a Citroen C4 HDI as a company car, and when I drove the Passat 1.9 Tdi (2002 Model) it felt like a car worse than the Citroen. Apart from the great power from the Tdi, there was way too much noise and vibration from the engine into the cabin.
I realized that the engine from the Passat was the same as the Audi, so the problem would be very similar.
I test-drove the Accord right after the Passat because my wife love it, and from the first meters of driving, i said “This is a proper engine and a proper car!”.
The engine and the automatic gearbox are very smooth and silent. It's the kind of car where you can't hear the engine when it's idling, nor when it's cruising at 120 /130 Km/h.
This car is very good at overtaking, specially considering it's size and weight.
On the other hand, the fuel consumption is OK, and i can average 7,7 litre /100 km on motorways and normal driving, which i find very good for a 2 litre engine with automatic gearbox.
The ride is firm, but comfortable, and the handling is very good.
This isn't a car for the fans of gadgets. It doesn't even have a trip computer, but i guess Honda spent the money on more important things, like the car itself.
There are another two factors that influenced my purchase decision:
1) This is my 4th Honda engine (including motorcycles). I still own my ’96 Civic with a history of absolute no failures (including headlamps).
2) At least where i live, you step every often into series 3 BMW's and Audi's A4. Strangely enough, it's much more exclusive to have a Accord than any of these German cars (the price is almost the same), and the engineering it's well up to it's German competitors standards, minus some bells, whistles and troubles.