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Honda Accord History

1997 Honda Accord Coupe

2004 Honda Accord Coupe

Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is an automobile manufactured by Honda. It was introduced in 1976 as a 1600cc engine-powered midsized hatchback, with styling similar to an upsized contemporary Honda Civic. A conventional four-door sedan was released in 1977.

Original plans were for a mid-size car, along the lines of the Ford Mustang. It was supposed to be a V6-powered car with a long hood and sporty pretensions. Honda chose the name Accord, claiming no other name was available. But this was during the fuel crisis era, and the initial design was changed for a high-mileage, low-emission vehicle, and in the USA and Japan, a version was produced using Honda's CVCC technology, meeting emission standards of the 1970s and 1980s without a catalytic converter.

Like the smaller Honda Civic, the Accord uses front wheel drive and a transverse (sometimes called "East/West") engine layout.

The Accord became the first Japanese car to be produced in the USA in 1982, when production commenced in Marysville, Ohio.

In 1982, the Accord became the best-selling Japanese car by name in the US, holding that position for 15 years.

In 1994, the fifth-generation Accord was released, and it was a sales failure in the US. While the larger, redesigned Toyota Camry was making waves in the American market, Japanese tax laws prevented the Accord from growing as large as the Camry, making it too small for American tastes and too large for Japanese tastes -- though it did meet Asian preferences. It was also a break from the previous four generations of the Accord, with their boxy, rectangular shapes, instead styling the car along the lines of the Prelude and Legend. VTEC engines made its debut in the Accord, and the JDM Accord also featured a 2.2L DOHC VTEC as its top-model. A V6 engine, the 2.7 L C27 from the Legend, was introduced in 1995 in the US market to compete with the V6 Mazda 626. This generation was also the first where Honda produced the Accord in its Swindon plant in UK for European markets. This European Accord was based on the JDM Ascot Innova, which in turn was based on the fourth-generation Accord (CB-series). Europe is a market where Honda did not conquer, as Japanese cars then were deemed plain and characterless. This marketing strategy sowed the seeds for future Accords, as Honda tried to accommodate customer requirements of different markets.

In order to increase the Accord's competitiveness against its rivals in different markets, Honda CEO Nobuhiko Kawamoto decided on one basic platform for the sixth-generation Accord, but with different bodies and proportions for local markets. In 1997 the Accord split into three distinct versions, European Honda Accord, JDM Honda Accord and USDM Honda Accord. The USDM Accord finally became big enough for American tastes, and both the European Accord and JDM Accord were designed with the requirements of their respective markets. Comparing the three Accords, it is clear that the US version is more disticnt than the other two, with the JDM and European car being more sporty and the US car being more family-oriented. The F-series VTEC engines made its debut in the European and Japanese Accords, and the 90° C-series V6 engine was replaced by a more-compact 60° J-series unit for the US Accord. Surprisingly, Honda offered the US Accord in a number of Asian markets, resulting in mixed sales performance.

By 2003, the Accord had evolved through seven generations, with 2003 models offering power plants from 4 cylinder to V6 (for the US version only). Honda once again changed its marketing strategy, by merging the European Accord and the JDM Accord, streamlining the product range from three different bodies to two. Incidentally, the European/JDM Accord is also sold in the US as the Acura TSX, and the USDM Accord is sold in Japan as the Inspire, but with a number of hi-tech features not seen elsewhere in the US range. Mechanically, the 4 cylinder is the new K-series, and the 6 cylinder was the same J-series V6 as the sixth generation's, but its intake runners, exhaust, and headers contributed to a 40 horsepower (30 kW) increase. Honda continued the sporty theme with the European/JDM Accords and the family-orientation with the US car. Again, Honda sold only the US Accord in Asian markets (now made in Thailand), with mixed results.

For the first time, Honda offered an "enthusiast" version of the Accord in US, mating their 6-speed manual from the Acura CL to the V6 Honda Accord Coupe. A specific 4 cylinder model is the first production car in the world to meet California's Ultra Low Emission standards.

The 2003 model year also debuted Honda's GPS assisted Navigation system as an option for the Accord. Prior to the 2003 model year it was only available on the higher end Acura line as well as the Honda Odyssey.

In 2004 Honda announced that they would release a hybrid version of the USDM Accord. This vehicle is detailed in the Honda Accord Hybrid page.

For 2005, the Accord received minor updates such as revised taillights and new wheel designs. For its 2006 model year, the Accord received new rear end styling and more new wheel designs.


The 1978 Honda Accord hatchback was placed on Forbes Magazine's list of the Worst Cars of All Time. The Accord has been voted Car of the Year in Japan on numerous occasions, as well as setting the FIA speed record of Diesel cars in 2004, using a European Accord fitted with a 2.204L I-CTDI engine, the first Diesel engine by Honda. The Accord has been on Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list 19 times, in 1983-1991, 1994-1995, and 1998-2005. In the 22-year history of the award it is the vehicle that has appeared the most times. The Accord was also Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1977 and Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1994.

Honda Accord
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