History of the Honda Accord - 1976 through 2008

8/21/2007 12:22:00 PM

The Challenging Spirit

In March 1954, Soichiro Honda announced his plans to enter the company in the legendary Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) motorcycle race. He boldly said, "I announce my determination, and pledge with you that I will put my entire heart and soul, and turn all my creativity and skills to the task of entering the TT races and winning them."

He said this despite having no experience in international motorsports competition and having only produced his first real motorcycle only five years earlier. In 1959, he entered the race and, only two years later, Honda motorcycles dominated the event, sweeping the top five spots in both the 125cc and 250cc categories.

This challenging spirit and an absolute confidence in the power of dreams drive the company to this day. The challenging spirit is one of the fundamental pillars of the company; pushing it to succeed and improve where others might settle for "good enough." No car in Honda's lineup embodies a more complete picture of that spirit than the Accord. From its humble roots as a hatchback with a smaller wheelbase than today's subcompact Honda Fit, to today's full lineup of engines and body styles, Accord has a legacy of leadership unique in the industry.

Benchmarks

The Accord has always offered top quality and reliability in a fun-to-drive package. Along the way, the Accord has stood for innovation in terms of manufacturing, environmental performance, safety and luxury. In 1982, Accord became the first Japanese-nameplate vehicle produced in America*. In 1986, the industry's first racing-inspired four-wheel double wishbone suspension on a front-wheel drive car elevated the sporting factor of the mainstream sedan to new levels. The 2000 Accord became the first high-volume Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) sold. The 2005 Accord's standard side-curtain airbags have been cited by industry experts as a significant factor in other manufacturers' decisions to include side-curtain airbags as standard equipment. For 2008, the Accord has the company's exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure that is designed for enhanced frontal-collision compatibility with other vehicles. Ultimately, the Accord has consistently been a top-five selling vehicle in the U.S. for more than two decades, and is one of the best-selling cars in the history of the U.S. market, cumulatively selling more than 9.6 million from 1976 through 2006. It has been selected as one of Car and Driver Magazine's 10Best a remarkable 21 times in the last 25 years - more than any other vehicle in the award's history.

*Assembled from domestic and globally-sourced parts.

The Accord Story

The name Accord was derived from Honda's unremitting effort to achieve "accord" between people, society, and the automobile through advanced technology. The introduction of the first Accord in June of 1976 was significant for both the American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and the automobile industry as a whole. For Honda, then known mainly for its economical Civic, it was the first step toward becoming a full-line auto manufacturer and a major presence in the U.S. market. For the industry, the Accord defined a new kind of car - a practical automobile that combined economy and value with sporty style and spirited performance.


First Generation - 1976 - 1981

The first-generation Accord was initially available only as a three-door hatchback; a sedan later debuted in 1979. The 1976 Accord CVCC hatchback was 162.8 inches long, had a 93.7-inch wheelbase and was powered by a 1.6-liter, CVCC 4-cylinder engine. The 68 horsepower rating may seem low by modern standards, but a typical V-8 at the time produced about 140 horsepower. The 2,000-pound Accord actually had a better power-to-weight ratio than traditional larger vehicles that weighed in above 3,500 pounds. Comparatively, the Accord felt "energetic" despite the horsepower difference. Only one trim level was available in 1976 and the suggested price was $3,995. Cutting-edge for its time, the Accord featured an all-aluminum cylinder head, 5-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive, along with generous standard equipment that included an AM/FM stereo radio, rear defroster/wiper/washer and a remote hatch release. The innovative interior layout featured a combination of comfortable seating, logical controls and high-quality switchgear, along with a maintenance reminder system that recommended when to change oil, rotate the tires and more. The Accord design was refined during its first model cycle and new models were added. An upscale LX version appeared in 1978, and in 1979 a four-door sedan was introduced along with a slightly more powerful, 1.8-liter engine and power steering. The Accord proved to be so popular that customers' vehicles sometimes increased in value within the first years of ownership. In all, 18,333 Accords were sold that first year, and by 1980, the Accord achieved annual sales of 185,972. By 1981, the last year for the first generation, a luxuriously-appointed Special Edition model appeared that included a leather interior, alloy wheels, power windows and a sound system with a cassette deck - incredible features during an era when manually-operated windows, vinyl seats and optional AM radio ruled the automotive industry.


Second Generation - 1982 - 1985

The next all-new Accord debuted in the fall of 1981 as a 1982 model. This generation included the first passenger cars produced in America by a Japanese automobile company. Honda of America Mfg. began production of Accord sedans in Marysville, Ohio, in November of 1982. A longer wheelbase and a restyled, larger body presented a more upscale look. In 1983, a four-speed automatic transmission was introduced, which also helped to improve EPA-rated city/highway fuel economy to 29/40 miles per gallon (on automatic models). In 1984, the engine size increased from 1751cc to 1830cc, raising engine output to 86 horsepower. Fuel injection debuted on the Accord SEi in 1985, bringing the total horsepower to 101.

Third Generation - 1986 - 1989

The third generation Accord was launched in 1986 with five versions: the DX Hatchback, DX sedan, LX Sedan, LXi Hatchback, and LXi Sedan. A low, sleek and distinctive exterior design and retractable headlights conveyed a sporty demeanor. Larger in every dimension and more sophisticated underneath, these Accords were the first front-wheel drive cars to utilize a racecar-inspired double wishbone suspension design at the front and rear wheels. The wheelbase grew 5.9 inches to 102.4 as the length increased by 3.1 inches to 178.5. A larger 2.0-liter engine produced 98 horsepower on carbureted models; 110 horsepower on fuel injected models. In 1988, a new coupe version was a major addition to the Accord lineup - available in either DX or LXi trim levels. The coupe was the first product designed by Honda R&D Americas, Inc., was produced exclusively at the Marysville, Ohio, plant, and was one of the first domestically-assembled Japanese nameplate vehicles exported to Japan. The LXi Coupe had a MSRP of $14,960. In 1989, SEi versions of the sedan and coupe featured 4-wheel disc brakes, leather trimmed interior and a Honda/Bose® Music System.

Fourth Generation - 1990 - 1993

The fourth-generation Accord debuted in the fall of 1989. Featuring a longer 107.1-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 184.8 inches, the larger dimensions positioned the new Accord squarely in the midsize class. A new wagon model, designed and developed by Honda R&D Americas, was added to the lineup to join the Coupe and Sedan. The new 2.2-liter, 4-cylinder engine provided up to 130 horsepower (EX). Transmission choices were a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic with sport-shift mode. Prices: DX 4-Door Sedan, $12,345; DX Coupe, $12,145; LX 4-Door Sedan, $14,895; LX Coupe, $14,695; LX Wagon (1991), EX 4-Door Sedan, $16,595; EX Coupe, $16,595 and EX Wagon (1991).


Fifth Generation Accord - 1994 - 1997

A totally-redesigned Accord debuted in 1994 with new dimensions, resulting in a larger interior. The wheelbase grew to 106.9 inches and the overall length increased slightly to 185.6 inches. The Accord featured a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC). A significant milestone for the Accord and for this class of vehicle, the Accord received a V-6 engine in 1995 for the first time. The 24-valve, 2.7-liter engine produced 170 horsepower and 165 lbs-ft. of torque. The V-6-powered Accords featured a different, longer nose and a different grille.


Sixth Generation Accord - 1998 - 2002

A totally new Accord debuted with a new body and completely redesigned chassis and engine. A 2.3-liter 4-cylinder VTEC engine and a 3.0-liter V-6 engine were offered. Unique coupe and sedan body styles were used - the Coupe styled in the U.S. and the Sedan receiving styling from Japanese design studios. The wheelbase for the 2-door Coupe was 105.1 inches, while the Sedan rode on a 106.9-inch wheelbase. The Sedan and Coupe variations were the most different visually and mechanically of any Accord at the time, with the Coupe being designed, developed and engineered by Honda R&D Americas. Dual front airbags were standard along with available side airbags (standard on EX). Prices: DX 4-Door Sedan, $15,400; LX Sedan and Coupe (4-cylinder), $18,790; EX Sedan and Coupe (4-cylinder), $22,550; LX Sedan and Coupe (V-6), $22,400; EX Sedan and Coupe (V-6), $25,100. In 2000, the first Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) Accord was offered in California on EX Sedan 4-cylinder models with an automatic transmission. It was the first internal-combustion, gasoline-powered vehicle to achieve SULEV status, which is the most stringent emission standard in the world.

Seventh Generation Accord - 2003 - 2007

A completely-redesigned Accord debuted with entirely new styling inside and out in 2003. Larger and more powerful, a 160-horsepower, 2.4-liter DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine was introduced and was available with either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. A 240-horsepower 3.0-liter VTEC V-6 engine was introduced, and the Accord Coupe could be had with a 6-speed manual transmission for the first time. At the top of the model range was the Accord EX V-6 Sedan with a leather interior. Additionally, a navigation system became available. Side-curtain airbags and driver- and front-passenger front-side airbags were standard on the Accord EX V-6 Sedan for 2003, and became standard equipment on every Accord model by 2005 as part of the company's "Safety for Everyone" initiative. A powerful Accord Hybrid debuted for the 2005 model year, powered by a 3.0-liter i-VTEC V-6 with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) and Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology. In 2006, the entire Accord lineup received a facelift with new front and rear styling and changes to the entire line. Horsepower increased across the board with the 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine producing 166 horsepower, the 3.0-liter VTEC V-6 engine increasing to 244 horsepower, and the Accord Hybrid producing 253 horsepower.

Eighth Generation - 2008

Compared to the first Accord in 1976, the 2008 sedan's wheelbase is 16.5 inches longer, the width has increased by 8.9 inches, and the overall length has increased by 31.3 inches. What has not changed in that time is how the Accord embodies the same fundamental values of dependability, quality, reliability and a fun driving experience. Some might have left a good car alone, opting for a restyle and some evolutionary tweaks after sales of close to 1.9 million vehicles in the life cycle of the seventh-generation model. The seventh generation Accord continued to win awards and comparisons, all while maintaining the highest resale value in a highly competitive landscape. Unwilling to settle for anything less than leadership, the new Accord again pushes the limits of its segment with the goal of resetting the industry benchmark. Engineered to lead in the areas of value, quality and reliability, the 2008 Accord innovates with new levels of standard safety equipment, including Honda's revolutionary Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ ACE™ body structure and Accord's first 100-percent application of Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA™) on every model and trim level. Environmental leadership is demonstrated by offering the industry's first 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engine lineup that meets strict PZEV emissions standards as well as offering a new version of Honda's VCM technology that allows more powerful performance to exist with increased fuel economy. The end result is a package that is roomier, more advanced and fun to drive. The 2008 Accord features a 2.4-liter, i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that produces 177 horsepower on LX models and 190 horsepower on all coupe and EX sedan models. A 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 engine is available, featuring Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) for enhanced fuel efficiency. In short, the eighth-generation Accord is more powerful, refined and efficient than ever.

Innovative Accord Variations

Accord Station Wagon (1991-1997):
A Honda R&D Americas-designed and developed five-door Accord station wagon debuted in 1991, with a second-generation wagon debuting in 1994. As a derivative model, the wagon was based on the 1990 and 1994 Accord Sedans for North America and subsequently exported to Japan and Europe.

Accord Hybrid (2005-2007)
The Accord Hybrid was the world's first V-6-powered hybrid vehicle and Honda's third hybrid model when it was introduced in December, 2004 as a 2005 model. (The Accord Hybrid was preceded by the 1999 Insight and 2003 Civic Hybrid.) The third-generation of Honda's advanced Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system in combination with new Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation technology, delivered the world's best V-6 fuel efficiency in 2005 - on par with a 4-cylinder, compact-class Civic - along with highly responsive and powerful V-6 performance. By 2005 standards, the Accord Hybrid was rated at 255 horsepower while it achieved a city/highway EPA fuel economy rating of 29/37 miles per gallon. Revisions to SAE horsepower ratings and a freshening in 2006 resulted in a horsepower rating of 253. The 2007 city/highway EPA fuel economy rating was 28/35 miles per gallon.

Global Accord Variations

The Accord is currently sold in 160 countries and has always been a truly global model with cumulative manufacturing figures topping 15 million. Since 1998, Accord models in Japan and Europe have utilized a narrower version of the Accord platform to meet the preferences of local markets, which generally have narrower streets than North America. In China, the North American-width Accord is available. In Japan, a product similar to the North American-width Accord is sold as the Inspire. Worldwide, the Accord is produced in seven countries.

Accord (Europe):
European Accord powertrains include a 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine, a 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine, and Honda's acclaimed 2.2-liter i-CTDi 4-cylinder diesel engine that debuted in 2004. A Saloon (sedan) and Tourer (wagon) are the available body styles. In 2006, Accord was the first vehicle in Europe to offer Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS) - a system that maintains the position of the car in a lane by providing steering input when necessary.

Accord (Japan):
Similar to the European Accord, the Japanese Accord is available with a 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine or a 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine.

Inspire (Japan):
Similar to the U.S.-market Accord in body styling and running gear, the Honda Inspire exclusively features a 3.0-liter i-VTEC V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) that can switch between 3-cylinder and 6-cylinder modes.

Original 1976 Accord Press Release

HONDA INTRODUCES THE ACCORD CVCC

A completely new automobile from Honda - the Accord CVCC - will make its international debut in American and Japanese showrooms in early June.

A luxury automobile in its standard appointments, the Accord will advise its owner-driver when doors or hatchback are open - and which one - when either brake light is burned out, when it needs an oil change, a new oil filter, tire rotation, or when the fuel tank is running low.

A "bigger small" in the sub-compact luxury class, the Accord 5-speed is rated at 44 miles per gallon on the highway, 31 miles per gallon in the city and 36 miles per gallon combined by Environmental Protection Agency estimates. These figures cover all 50 states.

The Accord 5-speed carries a manufacturer's suggested list price of $3,995.

The car is powered by a larger version of Honda's exclusive CVCC advanced stratified charge engine, meeting all state and federal emissions standards without a catalytic converter, and operating on all grades of gasoline.

Cliff Schmillen, Assistant Director and National Field Sales Manager for American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Gardena, Calif., said he believes the Accord "will set a new standard for standard equipment" among all of its sales competitors.

The Accord is a two-door hatchback with a five-speed transmission. A two-speed Hondamatic transmission is optional. The latter is estimated by the EPA at 35 miles per gallon on the highway, 27 miles per gallon in the city, and 30 miles per gallon combined. The Accord will be available in metallic silver, blue and gold, with color-keyed interiors.

"In addition to its long list of standard equipment features, the Accord offers a quiet ride at any speed that we believe to be unprecedented in its size-and-price category," Schmillen said.

Several factors contributed to lower noise levels in addition to aerodynamic design, he added. New V-type engine mounts aided in reducing engine noise, while wind sounds have been cut sharply as a result of a new driprail design and new, U-shaped rubber moldings on the doors.

As in the case of the highly-successful Honda Civic, the Accord's four-cylinder CVCC engine is transverse-mounted to permit a shorter engine compartment which results in greater passenger space. The car also features self-adjusting, power assisted, dual-diagonal front disc brakes; four-wheel independent suspension with MacPherson struts, and rack-and-pinion steering for positive control. Like the Civic, the Accord is front-wheel-driven for better traction and to eliminate the driveshaft hump from the interior.

The Accord has a wheelbase of 93.7" as compared to 86.6" for the Civic sedan and hatchback. Overall length is 162.8", or 12.8" longer than the Civic. However, the Accord's front and rear bumpers do not require the large bumper guards that are standard on the Civic and which account for 4.5" of the Civic's overall length.

"Honda has built in the Accord CVCC many standard equipment features that come under the driver information category such as an electronic system with a low-fuel warning light, and a lighted diagram on the instrument panel which shows when doors or the rear decklid are ajar or when a brake light fails.

"Additionally, there's a unique color-coded maintenance reminder, which changes from green to yellow to red - signaling the owner when engine oil should be changed, when to install a new oil filter, and when to rotate tires," Schmillen said.

"When proper service has been obtained as indicated by the system, the owner merely inserts the ignition key into a slot. This resets the device which reverts to green and goes back immediately into operation for the next service cycle."

Other safety-related standard features of the Accord include:

  • Negative steering roll radius to assist in reaching a safe stop should a front tire blow.
  • Rear window defogger with wiper and washer.
  • Day-night rear-view mirror.
  • Wrap-around taillight system.
  • Brake failure warning light.
  • Radial-ply tires.
  • A four-headlight system.
  • Two-speed electric windshield wipers, plus an intermittent mode for mist or light rain.

Also in the safety category is a completely new Honda design feature that defogs both door windows by forcing air through ducts at each end of the dash, into the doors, and out of louvered grilles on each sill.

Comfort-convenience-luxury features of the Accord CVCC, all standard equipment, were listed by Schmillen as: Tachometer, trip odometer, wall-to-wall color-keyed carpeting, AM/FM radio, opening rear-quarter windows, large glove compartment with light, reclining bucket seats, stowage pockets in the rear seat armrest, a shelf on the instrument panel, inside hood release, inside hatchback release, tinted glass all around - and a coin box, with spring lid, at the top, left-hand corner of the dash as convenience for those motorists who need change handy for turnpikes or parking.

A light control post on the left side of the steering column not only functions as a turn indicator, but also is the lighting off-on switch, and controls high- or low-beam for the headlights.

A lever on the right side of the steering column regulates the windshield wiper-washer system.

The Accord CVCC was designed for good aerodynamic performance and high maneuverability, Schmillen said, with the emphasis on smooth, flowing lines and curves as opposed to sharp angles. He called attention to the unusually wide tread on the Accord, which, at 55.1" front and 54.7" rear, is the widest of any imported car in the Accord's price class - "a distinct plus in evaluating the car's stability."

Schmillen said he feels the Accord has a "family" resemblance to the high-selling Civic, although the front end is sharply different with a distinctive grill and dual headlight system. "Actually, the Accord has its own image of quality, personality, easy handling and economy - truly an accord of fine features at an affordable price," he said.

The Accord's CVCC engine, with its unique pre-combustion chamber to ignite a lean fuel mixture in the main chamber, has a displacement of 1,600cc. It develops 68 SAE net horsepower as compared with 60 in the Civic CVCC.

Simultaneous introductions of the Accord in the U.S. and Japan marks the first time that Honda has followed such a procedure. Previously, Honda cars were introduced first in Japan.

Notes:
Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include local transportation charges and dealer preparation.
Actual mileage will vary depending on the type of driving, driving habits, car's condition and optional equipment.