“Your mission, if you choose to accept it…” In the early noughties…Honda wanted their 7th Generation to be positioned higher in the market price-wise and quality-wise than the 6th Generation competition consisting of the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Vectra and Mazda 6… They were going after the BMW 3 series and Mercedes C Class… Which both came as saloons and estates only, not hatchbacks…so the Accord had to follow them and distinguish itself from the hatchbacks in the peleton... While simultaneously raising its game by returning to the magnificent design and build-quality standards of the 4th Generation Accord… While also trying to satisfy diverse demands from existing Honda owners…some of who were looking for the successor to the 6th Generation Accord Type-R…and some of who were looking for something as refined as the Legend but one size down…. So did Honda pull it off? Well, first of all my personal opinion…having owned a 4th Generation, then a 6th Generation, then a 7th Generation… …is that the moment I sat in the 7th Generation I knew that here was a return to the greatness of the 4th build-wise… …with the 2.4 petrol delivering the performance that you always wanted from the 4th Generation 2.0i but never got... …so yes, for me, they did. The 7th Generation 2.4 puts a smile on my face every time I drive it. It’s that good. But for others? Well… ...it never became the new BMW or Lexus... …the Type-S 2.4 satisfied the more ‘sensible’ sportier drivers… …but never replaced the ATR for those looking for real performance on and off the track. Refinement wise I think the petrol autos and 2.0 manuals did fully succeed in delivering what was asked of them by their owners. The game-changer though was the diesel engine. The diesel wasn’t even part of the 7th Generation lineup until a year after the initial 2003 launch... The I-CTDI engine, marketed as Honda’s revolutionary whisper-quiet, Honda-built from-the-ground-up answer to other manufacturers’ noisy oil burners, was popular from the outset. It was loved by fleet managers and private owners for m.p.g. reasons and by boy-racers for the huge power gains easily achievable thorough re-mapping. Reliability-wise there were issues but Honda largely addressed these through extended warranties. Fuel prices rises and vehicle tax changes made the diesel even more popular as time went on... ...and by the end of the 7th Generation Accord's lifecycle the diesel was the undisputed king. For me personally speaking, however…I will stay with petrol unless and until diesel engines deliver equivalent reliability…which seems to me at least some way off yet. In any case, this car is a keeper for me. Not only for financial reasons, but also because I would want to replace it with an 8th Generation 2.4 Accord Tourer with a manual gearbox, but in that spec, the 8th Gens are as rare as...........I dunno..........dinosaurs?