They may not be sexy, but when it comes to purchasing a business sedan, many buyers choose a Honda Accord or a Ford Taurus. These midsized favorites have been in head-to-head competition for years, both reliable, tried-and-true workhorses for entrepreneurs who are seeking a business/pleasure/family vehicle.
For 2003, the Accord is completely updated and redesigned. With stepped-up power from a new 3.0-liter, V6 engine in its LX and EX sedans, the Accord pumps out 240 hp, compared to 200 hp from the Taurus' similarly-sized engine. Honda's base engine in this model line is a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder with 160 horsepower, while Ford's base engine is a 3.0-liter, V6 with 155 horsepower. The Accord's performance boost is in line with its new, snazzier styling. There's also more space and storage, dramatically improved seating, increased legroom, tilt and telescoping steering, and a voice-activated DVD navigation system.
While the 2003 Taurus has changed little, with just a few trim improvements and the interior spiffed up with optional burled wood and leather in the SEL model, a special Ford Centennial Anniversary Taurus limited edition is coming in the spring. Ford will produce fewer than 4,000 of the 100th birthday Taurus (which will be produced only in black in recognition of the first Model T's that were all black because, Henry Ford declared, black paint dried faster).
Both the Accord and Taurus have adequate cargo space (14 cubic feet of space in the Accord, 17 in the Taurus), and both make safety a priority with side airbags in addition to standard dual-stage front airbags. The Accord adds extra protective side-curtain airbags on its EX V6 model; Taurus offers a side airbag supplemental restraint as an option. Prices range from $15,000 to $26,000 for the Accord, and $19,000 to $22,000 for the Taurus.
Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 24 years.