Honda Accord – 1976 – 2022 Model Year Differences and Improvements

honda accord model year differences and improvements

The Honda Accord is a car produced by the Japanese automotive manufacturer Honda since 1976. The Accord was originally a hatchback, but later the lineup consisted of sedans, coupes, and wagons. The most famous of these is the four-door sedan model, one of the best-selling cars in the North American market since 1989.

Since its inauguration, Honda has offered the Accord several different body styles and versions, with vehicles having the Accord badge significantly different depending on the market.

Let’s briefly look at the generational development of the Accord to learn a thing or two regarding this car. Please read on.

1976 – 1980

The first-generation Accord was unveiled in late 1976. It was initially a two-door hatchback, joined by a four-door sedan in 1979.

The selling points of this first-generation Accord were impressive fuel efficiency, steering precision, sharp handling, and a comfortable interior, with standard features that include an AM/FM radio, cloth upholstery, a tachometer, and intermittent wipers. Other impressive innovative features included warning lights signaling blown-out bulbs and doors not properly shut and service-due reminders.

In 1978, Honda introduced the LX model with features such as power steering and air conditioning which were not common then. In 1979, a four-door sedan was introduced to the lineup. In 1980, Honda added a Honda Accord SE edition with features such as power windows, leather upholstery, and a digital clock.

Under the hood, the 1976 Accord was fitted with a 1.6-liter (CVCC) petrol engine with a 68 hp. This engine was paired with a 5-speed manual or a 2-speed semi-automatic transmission. The introduction of the four-door sedan in 1979 coincided with the introduction of a 1.8-liter (CVCC) petrol engine with 72 hp. In 1980, a 3-speed fully automatic transmission was introduced in place of the 2-speed semi-automatic transmission.

1981 – 1984

The second-generation Accord was unveiled in 1981 for the 1982 model year. Like in the previous generation, the 1982 Accord was available as a two-door hatchback and a four-door sedan.

This model was restyled, its body was slightly larger which made it look more upscale, and its wheelbase was slightly longer than its predecessor.

Standard features found on the 1982 Accord include velour upholstery, a digital clock, auto-reverse cassette stereo, air conditioning, power windows and power door locks, cruise control, power steering, power brakes, and a roof pillar antenna.

Under the hood, the 1982 Accord carried over the previously used 1.8-liter (1751cc) EK-1 CVCC petrol engine but with better power. In 1983, Honda introduced a 4-speed automatic transmission which made the car more efficient. 

In 1984, Honda introduced a 1.8-liter (1830cc) ES2 CVCC petrol engine with 86 hp. In 1985, this engine with fuel injection (ES3-EFI) was unveiled with an output of 101 hp. It was fitted on the 1985 Honda Accord SEi. These engines were mated with either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission.

1985 – 1988

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The third-generation Accord was unveiled in 1985 for the 1986 model year. Like in the previous generation, the 1986 Accord was initially available as a two-door hatchback and a four-door sedan, with a two-door notchback (coupe) joining the lineup in 1988. The car grew a bit, its wheels (wheelbase) were 5.9 inches further apart and its length increased by 3.1 inches.

The exterior design of the 1986 Accord was spectacular. It featured a low, sleek, and distinctive styling with retractable headlights and bladelike side profiles that gave it a sporty look

In 1989, Honda released the SEi model that was available as a sedan or coupe. Features available on this model included leather upholstery, a Honda/Bose® Music System, and 4-wheel disc brakes.

Under the hood, the 1986 Accord came fitted with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine with carburetor or injection as options. The carbureted produces 98 hp while the fuel injection model produces 110 hp. The engine was mated with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission.

1989 – 1993

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The fourth-generation Accord was unveiled in 1989 for the 1990 model year. The 1990 Accord was initially available as a four-door sedan and a two-door coupe, with a five-door wagon that replaces the hatchback joining the lineup in 1991.

The 1990 Accord was larger than its predecessor, with its length at 184.4 inches (five inches longer than its predecessor) and wheelbase at 107.1 inches. This growth made the Accord a midsize car, but also made the car’s cabin more spacious and comfortable.

The exterior styling featured an airy and well-proportioned roofline, a low beltline, and clean flanks. The flip-open headlights were replaced by fixed units. Honda described the 1990 Honda Accord as “lower, wider, roomier, more powerful, and have a contemporary, international look.”

Under the hood, the 1990 Accord was fitted with a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine with 130 hp. This engine was mated with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission,  with the automatic transmission having a sport-shift mode.

In 1991 an SE model with a 140 hp engine was introduced.

1994 – 1997

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The fifth-generation Accord was unveiled in 1993 for the 1994 model year. This was a totally-redesigned Accord, built on Honda’s CD platform with the car’s length growing by several inches.

The noses of the I4 and V6 models are different, with the V6 sporting a much longer nose, longer hood, and tall fenders. But it was not easy to tell their differences until both cars were parked side by side.

In 1996 the Accord received a mid-life facelift. Changes included a redesigned front fascia, new signal lights, new rear taillamps, and more rounded bumpers.

A Special Edition model was unveiled in 1997, its features included a single-disc CD player, keyless entry, a sunroof, a factory-installed security system, body-colored side molding, and distinctive alloy wheels.

Under the hood, the 1994 Accord came fitted with a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder (VTEC) petrol engine with 130 hp or 145 hp depending on engine tuning. In 1995 a 2.7-liter V6 petrol engine with 170 hp and 165 lb-ft was introduced. These engines were paired with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission.

1998 – 2001

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The sixth-generation Accord was unveiled in 1998. It was all-new, with a completely redesigned chassis and a new body, available as a coupe or sedan only, with the wagon no longer part of the lineup.

Sedans were bigger, broader, and roomier with cute styling cues. The coupe’s looks are disparate from those of the sedan, they featured unique sheet metal with sportier handling.

In 2001, the Accord received a midlife refresh.

Under the hood, the 1998 Accord came fitted with a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder VTEC engine with an output of 135 or 140 hp, while the 3.0-liter V6 petrol with 200-hp was optional.

Performance models were also available, these are the Accord/Torneo Euro R (CL1), Accord SiR-T (CF4), Accord SiR (CF4), and Accord Wagon SiR (CH9 FWD; CL2 AWD) 

2002 – 2006

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The seventh-generation Accord was unveiled in 2002 for the 2003 model year. The 2003 Accord was completely-redesigned and its interior and exterior styling was entirely new. Compared with its predecessor, the 2003 model was larger and more powerful, with the model sold in America (later sold as the Acura TSX)  differing from the one sold in Europe and Japan.

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Standard safety features included side-curtain airbags and front-passenger and driver front-side airbags as part of Honda’s “Safety for Everyone” initiative. 

In 2006, the Accord received a mid-life facelift with changes in front and rear styling among others.

Under the hood, the 2003 Accord came fitted with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine with 160 hp as standard. This engine was mated with either a 5-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. A 3.0-liter V6 VTEC petrol engine with 244 hp was an option. It transferred power to the wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. 

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In 2005, an Accord with a Hybrid was introduced. It was powered by a 3.0-liter V6 i-VTEC with VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) petrol engine paired with an Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology that produced 255 hp.

2007 – 2011

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The eighth-generation Honda Accord was unveiled in 2008. This model release saw the Accord’s dimensional growth continuing, with its length growing by 4.0-inches and width by 3.0-inches which made it a full-size car by EPA standards.

The 2008 Accord is roomier, advanced, and fun to drive. Standard features include power windows, dual-zone climate control, and an auxiliary input. the mid-trim adds leather upholstery, a sunroof, front/rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and fog lights. The premium model adds a rear parking camera and a navigation system.

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Under the hood, the 2008 Accord came fitted with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine with 177 hp or 190 hp depending on trim. A 3.5-liter V6 i-VTEC with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) petrol engine that produces 268 hp is optional.  These engines made the eighth-generation Accord one of the more refined, powerful, and efficient Accords.

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2012 – 2017

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The ninth-generation Accord was unveiled in 2012 for the 2013 model year. This model was reduced in size, regaining its mid-size car status lost in the previous generation.

Some of the changes on this Accord model included the switch to an all-strut suspension in place of the double-wishbones and electric power steering raised instead of the hydraulic assist. Other features include LED headlamps, daytime running lamps, and tail lamps; an adaptive cruise control system, and Smart Key.

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Standard features include an 8-inch WQVGA LCD screen, rearview camera, Honda‘s i-MID system with Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, USB connector,  and alloy wheels. 

Standard safety features include a blind-spot monitor, a lane departure warning system, and an optional forward-collision warning system.

Under the hood, the 2013 Accord came with a standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine with 185 hp and an optional 3.5-liter V6 petrol with 280 hp. These engines are mated with 5- or 6-speed automatic, or 6-speed manual transmission.

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2018 – Present

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The tenth-generation Accord was unveiled in 2017 for the 2018 model year. The 2018 Accord was available as a sedan only with the coupe discontinued.

The 2018 Accord is more advanced, and it came fitted with several advanced features such as a 6.0-inch head-up display (HUD), front and rear parking sensors, magnetorheological dampers, a four-way height-adjustable power lumbar support on the driver’s seat, and an acoustic PVB laminated front door glass.

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In 2021, the Accord received a minor mid-life facelift, with changes to the grille, wheel designs, and the introduction of brighter LED headlights. Another significant change was new standard features that include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay touchscreen integration.

Under the hood, the 2018 Accord came with a standard turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder VTEC petrol engine with 192 hp, paired with a 6-speed manual or CVT transmission. An optional turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder VTEC petrol engine with 252 hp was also available. This engine is paired with either a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic transmission.

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Conclusion

The Honda Accord is a car that has withstood the test of time, and ten generations later, it still soldiers on. What made the Accord withstand the test of time is its embodiment of the same fundamental values of reliability, quality, dependability, a fun driving experience, and durability.

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Written by: Samuel H. Mponezya

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