RATTLES! Ever since this car was new it has been beset by a chorus of rattles. The buzzing driver- and passenger-side door panels have been more or less a constant since about 300 miles, while the thunking rear parcel shelf, rattling dashboard, and clicking steering column seem to all come and go as they please.
Brake rotors needed resurfacing after about 10k miles of gentle driving. Inexcusable.
Creaky door hinge around 25k miles. Easily fixed.
Cracked motor mount around 30k miles. Unfortunately, replacing the motor mount didn't cure the car's persistent vibration at idle.
Weatherstripping on passenger side came loose around 50k miles. Car is now rather noisy on the highway.
Great engine! 240 hp from 3 liters on regular fuel isn't uncommon these days, but it was big news in 2003. Nearly silent during normal operation, the engine speaks with a muted snarl at higher revs. 0-60 in under 7 seconds, and 24 mpg in mostly city driving. I've even seen 32 mpg on a long trip - higher than the EPA estimates!
Handles like a sports sedan. Ultimate grip is limited by the low-rolling-resistance tires, but the steering is responsive and has great feel.
Well-designed interior. Pleasing design, with high-quality, low-sheen plastics, nice leather and convincing fake wood. Lots of storage nooks and 8 (!) cupholders. Front seats are very comfortable and supportive. Great stereo (though its integrated head unit would probably be very difficult to upgrade). Interior is beautifully lit at night, with highly legible electroluminescent gauges and a classy indirect lighting.
Ride is a bit firm for a family sedan. Previous-generation Accords had a noticeably softer ride. Doesn't bother me, but if you live in the Rust Belt, you'd probably be happier with a soft-riding Camry.
Vibration at idle. Seems stronger when the A/C is on.
Noise. Engine is muted, but road noise is pronounced over coarse surfaces. WAY too many rattles, and lots of wind noise from the flapping weatherstripping at high speeds. In general, it seems that although the Accord is well-engineered and constructed of high-quality materials, these materials just aren't well put together.
A few noticeable instances of cost-cutting. Why the gooseneck trunk hinges? Why not a 60-40 folding rear seat? Why no auto headlights? Why does the passenger-side seat heater not warm the backrest?
The back seat is large, but the bottom cushion is too short and the backrest is too reclined for comfort. In addition, the headrests for the front seats are as hard as leather-covered bricks; forget about taking a nap in the passenger seat unless you have a pillow.
Disappointed is too strong a word, but suffice to say that this car hasn't lived up to my expectations for a Honda product. It's fun to drive, it sips fuel and it has been fairly reliable, but the build quality falls well short of Honda's reputation.