It was a quarter of a century ago that Honda launched the Accord Type R in the UK. What a time it was for the red ‘H’ over here, too, the Accord following the epic Integra and arriving just three years before the first UK Civic Type R. With the S2000 launched in the meantime. Once upon a time in the early 21st century, along with the Logo and the CR-V and the Legend, Honda was selling more than one Type R, a 9,000rpm sports car and the NSX. Quite some line up.
As a huge fan of fast four doors and a child of the PlayStation generation (do people still say that?), I have a huge soft spot for the Accord Type R. Given the choice of my first PH Heroes car almost 10 years ago, it was the Honda minicab with the big spoiler that was chosen - no, seriously. This wasn’t misplaced affection, either; the Accord tends to get forgotten about now in Type R history, but it was a proper thriller of a small sports saloon, sharp enough to make its front-drive rivals feel a bit tepid and often pitched against 4WD rivals like the Impreza Turbo for proper competition. A screaming four-cylinder engine was a given, of course, but the Accord also impressed with its ride, handling, and steering - it was a much better driver’s car than the Civic that came a few after.
Sadly, the Accord Type R only lasted for one generation (the CH1) in the UK, Honda (rightly) guessing that in the early 2000s it was wiser to pursue hot hatch Type Rs rather than saloon-shaped ones. However, that wasn’t quite the end of the story; in the UK, the fastest version of the replacement Accord was the 190hp Type S, but certain markets received something called a CL7 Euro R, a Type R by a different name. It packaged a lot of the DC5 Integra Type R’s running gear into a four-door bodyshell, creating something of a Japanese Domestic Market legend in the process.
Because even by Honda’s standards, this was a very, very unassuming fast car. There are so few clues that this Accord is powered by one of the world’s great 2.0-litre engines, will rev comfortably past 8,000rpm and outhandle pretty much anything else with four doors and four cylinders: the wheels are modest, the tracks narrow, the badges almost invisible and the car basically indistinguishable from any other early 2000s Accord. In the days of Evos and Impreza with big wings and even bigger attitudes, this must have seemed strange. 20 years later, the subtlety has aged well.
The interior looks great, too, heavily bolstered green Recaros famous from the first Accord Type R still fit to hold you tight and titanium gearknob in good condition. And check out the rear legroom: there is a family friendly Type R out there that isn’t a new and expensive Civic…
Speaking of cost, the Euro R is so under the radar that values haven’t soared. For the moment, at least. It just isn’t as well known (or as well loved, you’d have to assume) as some other Type R icons. There are older, higher mileage Civic Type Rs for sale at thousands more, and £13k doesn’t go as far as you might think buying a UK car, either. Look at the asking prices for Integras of any kind, too, be they UK or JDM; the demand is clearly there for the best ones. To the overwhelming majority of folk, this money for a 20-year-old Honda Accord with 86,000 miles just won’t compute. But if ever there was a fast car for the knowing few, the unassuming Euro R was it.
SPECIFICATION | HONDA ACCORD EURO R (CL7)
Engine: 1,998cc, four-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 220@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 152@6,000rpm
Recorded mileage: 86,600
First registered: 2002
Price new: N/A, JDM only
Yours for: £12,990
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