Singapore - Nondescript and unassuming – If I had to describe the Honda Accord Euro R (CL7R), those would probably be two adjectives that I would use. After two and a half years of ownership, it felt like a good time to sit back and reflect on my depreciating asset (or liability?).
Part of the seventh generation Accord series (CL7/CL8/CL9) – and the badge-engineered Acura TSX - that was produced between 2002 to 2008, the Euro R is the performance variant powered by the venerable K20A. With a modest output of 217hp and 206Nm out of the factory, the versatile sedan sports stiffer suspension and chassis, a helical limited-slip differential, independent double-wishbone suspension and a snug pair pf Recaro Sport Toplines – wrapped no less in Alcantara. Officially only sold in Japan, this JDM model has been exported through the grey market to Singapore and a number of other Asian countries. In recent years, the Accord Euro R has wiggled its way as used imports into the likes of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Despite being a budget-conscious car enthusiast, making this car purchase went beyond monetary value. After eliminating any forced induction cars (The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X was in consideration), the choices were filtered right down to be between the Civic Type R (FD2R) and the Accord Euro R. Of course, it did not help that I spent my later teenage years drooling at Honda Civic EGs and EKs tearing down roads and having had a Honda Jazz GD1 and a Honda Integra DC2 VTi-R. One might call me a Honda fanboy who has also made a pilgrimage to the Honda Collection Hall a few hours from Tokyo. (Check the story here!)
With the difference in the annual depreciation between the two cars being roughly S$1,000 annually, other considerations that included seeking a car with an executive feeling eventually led me to go with the Accord Euro R. Despite being my first car paid out from my savings and slogging, my purchase was made with haste with little respect to the age-old adage – caveat emptor. Without proper inspections and being overly focused on the mechanical aspect of the car, I only discovered the godawful paint job, a cracked front bumper and badly damaged front grill on the day of handover. Nevertheless, while I had beaten myself over this lapse in judgement for the initial couple of weeks, it had also given me the opportunity to work on the car – zhng, if you may.
The visual appeal of the seventh generation Accord stands out and friends (the non-car loving ones inclusive) have complimented the design of the car - more so when they discover the age of it. I truly appreciate the distinct yet subtle design that still looks timeless in 2020. As a personal homage to the Honda R heritage, I decided to respray the car in the signature Championship White but with a gloss piano black roof.
To break up the lines of the rear, but yet not wanting a fuel economy busting GT wing, a Honda Modulo spoiler was imported from Japan and fitted on.
Honda had used Nissin single-piston brake calipers that were effective, but those were replaced by a set of AP Racing CP5200 four-piston callipers with 330mm rotors for better braking on demand given the high curb weight of the Accord.
Forged Bridgestone Prodrive GC-010E weighing in at just over 7kg on each side are wrapped with Bridgestone Potenza RE070 (225/45R17).
Coming in as OEM tyres for the Honda Civic Type R (FD2R), the solid sidewalls provide lateral stability when cornering. Undoubtedly, I could have gone for a wider width at the rear for a flushed look, but I preferred to keep rolling resistance to a minimum.
Keeping the car pliant with tires stuck to the asphalt is a set of Bilstein B12 Pro Kit paired with Eibach springs fitted at B-Select (Soon Lee).
Despite many available coilovers in the market, I made the conscious decision of going with Bilstein shock absorbers for a balance between comfort and sporty dynamics to avoid an angsty wife. All in, the car sits with barely two fingers spacing between the wheels and fenders. To keep labour cost low, all undercarriage bushings were replaced with Hard Race hardened rubber in conjunction with the installation of the front and rear camber kit from Drive’s Line.
The performance of this car, unfortunately, has regressed for reasons that I will not explicitly mention. The previous forged engine was replaced (with proper paperwork) with a stock-as-a-rock K20A imported from Japan apart from a Honda Civic Type R RRC oil pump. While output is nowhere near maximum potential, the pairing of a Honda Integra DC5 Type R ECU and Hondata K-Pro tuned by Driven Performance maximises whatever there is on tap.
A Gruppe M Ram Air Intake replaced the original airbox that came with the car – I would not deny that the aesthetical appeal of carbon fibre was a stronger factor over performance. That said, beneath the mesmerising weaves lie a K&N multi-layer cotton filter that funnels cool air into the engine.
Apart from the Defi Advance ZD which provides the necessary readings (water and oil temperature and oil pressure) without cluttering the dash, the Accord Euro R’s interior was slightly refreshed with the elimination of the old monochromatic head unit in lieu of an Android set, a re-wrapped Momo steering wheel and a now full black roof lining, A pillars and B pillars to keep my eyes focused on the road.
The car had previously been installed with sound dampening material which has been effective in keeping road noise at bay, I have been found wanting that rawer feel that can be felt in the other Accord Euro Rs that I have sat in. Of course, the pair of Recaro Sport Topline sport seats were retained – why defy every thought process of the Honda demigods?
A Skunk2 billet weighted shift knob helps provide a crisp shifting experience that is complemented by a CT Engineering short shifter that reduces the throw by over 35% - shifting through all six gears is thoroughly enjoyable.
Often, it feels like the Euro R is the untouchable class, way down in the caste system due to its nondescript looks, being ignored and being unmentionable. Yet, that is something I really love about this not-too-mainstream performance sedan - if you know it, you know it. A replacement performance sedan that ticks as many boxes? Ask many current owners who are facing this dilemma.
With my ultimate goal of taking the Accord Euro R up to Sepang International Circuit, the car is far from completion with a to-do list in place to be kicked off as soon as other life priorities are accounted for. Special thanks to SKM Motor Works, Eclipse Auto, B-Select (Soon Lee) and Nine Motorcraft for keeping the car in tip-top conditions. Check out the specifications below:
- Yokohama Prodrive GC-010E 8J +43
- Bridgestone RE070 225/45R17
- AP Racing CP5200 Four Piston Brake Kit
- OEM 330mm J Hook Rotor
- Steel braided brake hose
- Bilstein B12 Pro Kit comprising of Bilstein B8 Shock Absorbers and Eibach lowering springs
- 330mm J Hook Rotors
- CT engineering shifter adaptor
- Drive's Line Rear Camber Kit
- Drive's Line Front Upper Camber Kit
- Hard Race Hardened Rubber Complete Bushing Kit 24pc
- Honda Civic Type R 5.1 Final Drive
- Progress Tech Rear Sway Bar
- Cusco Type OS Front Strut Bar
- Hybrid Racing Heavy Duty Transmission Detent Springs
- Hybrid Racing Heavy Duty Gear Selector Springs
- Gruppe M Ram Carbon Fibre Air Intake with K&N conical filter
- Honda Civic FD2 Type R RRC Oil Pump
- Honda Civic FD2 Type R 5.1 Final Drive
- HKS Silent Hi Power Catback Exhaust
Engine (Previous set-up)
- CP Carrillo forged pistons
- CP Carrillo Pro-A Beam Connecting Rods
- Toda Racing 35 VTC Cam Gear
- ARP Bolts Head Studs Kit
- ATI Super Damper K-Series
- Tomei - Procam K20A Camshaft
- Defi Advance ZD
- Spoon blue wide rear mirror
- Recaro Sport Topline Series Alcantara Seat
- Custom wrapped black interior roof and pillars
- Rockford Fosgate 300 Watt 2-Channel AmplifierP3002
- Underseat Subwoofer
- Android Head Unit
- Iroad v9 dual camera
- Full interior and boot sound dampening by Silent
- Mugen Window Visors
- Honda Modulo Rear Spoiler