I feel I should leap to the defence of the Accord Type R. The fifth and reverse gear synchro problems are well documented, and Honda UK have been known to honour out of date gearbox warranty claims. Even if this is not the case, the work does not have to be done at a main dealer; the previous owner of mine had it done by a gearbox specialist and cost around £350, instead of the £1000-odd a main dealer will charge.
My biggest gripe concerns the ATRs fuel consumption, which is in the high twenties. The official factory figure is 29.5mpg, so my car, which is six years old and has 45k miles up, is not far under this, but the super unleaded only rule makes life expensive. Post facelift (2001 on) ATRs have a different ECU, and can run on standard 95RON fuel. Other bad points concern some rattly interior trim, possibly loosened over time by the taut suspension, but either fixable by a handy home mechanic, or ignored by turning the stereo up!
The good points are that the ATR is one of the most complete drivers cars around. Granted it's fast, and with 209bhp it should be, but it's so much more than that. That taut suspension gives it incredible poise, and coupled with its 8000rpm 2.2 VTEC, will dispatch almost any road with utter conviction. However, there's even more than that, for many modern sport saloons will tear up roads with disdain, but will also distance the driver from the action. The ATR has more feel and feedback than I could possibly have imagined. The perfectly dimensioned Momo wheel telegraphs every single detail of the road surface; every change in surface, any tiny camber thrusts and all available grip levels. It just picks up everything and delivers it into your palms and up to your brain. This allows you to get on with the job of really driving properly, with the real-time data stream keeping you locked in the loop, and laying waste to tricky backroads, twisty B roads and fast, flowing A roads. And it's not just the steering either; the fantastic Recaros, which seem as firm as the suspension, but never get uncomfortable, send the information from the back wheels just as well, so much so that your passenger can feel as much as you.
The only downside to this is that it can be a tad wearing when you're not in the mood to play, but it's still a quiet and refined cruiser, just not exactly blessed with a cosseting ride. Also, it's not really at its best on the bumpiest roads, but probably does as good a job as most cars. To sum up then, Hondas Accord Type R does have some compromises, but as a front-wheel drive sports saloon is pretty much without equal.
I agree with the post above, and certainly not the one at the top!
I quote: "probably one the greatest, most satisfying, most perfectly balanced and tuned drivers car to be built this decade, if not this century" - AutoCar Magazine.
Don't let one of these get away if you want one - you will not be disappointed!
I was recently looking at a T reg Accord Type R with a high mileage. A friend did mention that he hear there was a problem with the gearbox. After reading your article it appears that he was right. I'm staying well clear of this vehicle as my price bracket only covers the T and V reg range. Thanks very much for your advice.
I am the author of the first post above. I have read the comments added in defense of the Accord R pre 2001, all I can say is that I am a Honda enthusiast, I have owned a CRX VTEC (Mk2 greatest car ever built), Integra Type R, Civic Type R, Prelude Motegi and am also a Honda Revolutions member. Trust me this is the worst R badged Honda ever produced, at least until 2001. A nice steering wheel does not compensate for the money pit that this car is. The costs are not reasonable at all.
I have become the owner of a 2000 (W) silver ATR.
My car has been fairly modified with; full coilovers, 18" deep dish wheels with 35 profile rubber, full custom built stainless exhaust system with de-cat, fully adjustable strut braces, K&N typhoon air intake, superchip and a whole lot of engine dressing work and aesthetic work. As you can imagine it is "slightly" harsher on the road than the standard model, LOL, and will no doubt require considerably more maintenance work due to the increased stress levels on the car, but I am thoroughly enjoying the driving experience of the new car and the attention it draws. The car is ferocious when desired, but also feels comfortable at the journey home at the end of work. I would highly recommend these cars to anyone provided that they have the vehicle they are buying checked over thoroughly, and there is no substitute for a big bundle of receipts and service history to go with the car.
One complaint is that the clutch is quite heavy, and on the rear wheel arches there is a rubber strip to seal the join between the inner and outer arches, all this does is trap water and dirt in the bad weather and cause rust from the inside out, peel this back and check around the lip especially where the wheel arch meets the bumper for blistering. If it is clear discard the rubber strip and have this area cleaned, buffed back and coated in sealer such as body Schutz, Stonechip or Gravex. It's a stupid design and can become a headache.