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Where should buyers start when trying to figure out which model year of a used car to buy? Looking at reliability ratings and owner complaints from sites like Car Complaints and Vehicle History can help narrow it down. Here’s a look at which Honda Accord model years each site recommends.

The history of the Honda Accord

According to Autotrader, the Honda Accord has been around since 1976 and has gone through 10 generations. It’s a dependable car that has appeared over the years as a coupe, hatchback, wagon, and sedan. It’s occasionally been the best-selling car in the U.S., so there are plenty of used Accords out there to pick from. In recent years, new generations have rolled out in 1981, 1985, 1989, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2018, often growing larger, more powerful, and more luxurious with each redesign.

How car reliability is measured

Two places where consumers can look to check the Honda Accord’s reliability in terms of performance and maintenance issues are Car Complaints and Vehicle History. Vehicle History is a great resource for information on and ratings on older models. Car Complaints lets owners submit complaints, and the site displays the information in graphic formats. It also hands out its “Seal of Awesome” for older vehicles with reliable reputations.

Vehicle History’s reports onHonda Accord model years

Vehicle History looked at the Honda Accord models dating back to the 70s and reported on the different generations and their weak points. Out of all generations, the folks at Vehicle History noted that the 10th generation, released in 2018, appears to be the best. The 10th-generation Accord has the most technology, nicest exterior styling, and more safety features than any of the generations before it. It can also be considered the most reliable, considering it’s the newest.

However, those looking to save money could find excellent value in the seventh-generation Accord, produced from 2003 to 2007. This older Accord generation is known for being very reliable, as many examples have reached 200,000 miles and beyond without any major issues.

A silver-gray 2011 Honda Accord SE midsize sedan model parked by a beach
2011 Honda Accord SE Sedan | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Car Complaints has data on the Honda Accord going back to the 1979 model. Submitted complaints stayed below 100 until 1998, when the number jumped to 438. In the years since then, only six have had fewer than 200 complaints: 2006, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021. While the 2019 through 2021 Honda Accord models may still be too new to have extensive problems, the 2006 and 2015 entries stand out as reliable model years.

Car Complaints has created a new list of best vehicles, which they give their “Seal of Awesome.” Unfortunately, none of the Accord model years makes the list. There are years, though, that are given the “Seal of Pretty Good.” These stand out from the other model years, which received the “Beware of the Clunker” and the “Avoid Like the Plague” seals. Receiving the “Seal of Pretty Good” are the model years 2006, 2007, 2011, and 2015.

The years to “Avoid Like the Plague” are the 1998 through 2004 and 2008 model years. Car Complaints calls out 2003 as the worst model year due to its transmission problems, also cited by CARFAX. The site also notes that 2008 had the most submitted complaints.

Safety features on the best Honda Accord models


The Worst Honda Accord Model Years You Should Never Buy

Variations in features over the years make it important to look at what’s included with each particular used car. Used Honda Accords from the best recent model years come with side curtain airbags and front side-impact airbags, which were introduced in 2005. Honda introduced advanced safety features with the 2013 Accord, and the Honda Sensing package of advanced safety and driver assistance features became available on all trims in 2016.

Between Vehicle History and Car Complaints, the top used Honda Accords to consider are from model years 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015.

Editor’s note: Ed Reeves contributed to this article.