Pre-Owned Profile: 1994-1998 Honda Accord

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author photo by John Rettie December 1998

This popular car is a family friend.

As its name suggests, Car and Driver is a magazine for car enthusiasts. In its January issue each year it publishes a list of the "Ten Best" cars. The Honda Accord has ended up on this list no less than 13 times, which is pretty amazing considering that other cars on the list are mostly sports cars and sports sedans.

The Accord also appeals to those who are not so interested in cars judging by the fact it has been the top-selling car in the U.S. several times and has been among the top three best-sellers for more than a decade. Despite the fact an all-new model was introduced in the fall of 1997, it still ended up being the most popular car sold in the U.S. for the 1998 model year, just beating the Toyota Camry, its arch rival.

The popularity of the Accord is understandable -- it's a car that feels right at home. It's a car that provides reasonable performance, good economy, and decent room in a package that doesn't take up too much real estate. Although the majority of Accords are only powered by a four-cylinder engine it delivers sufficient power such that the car is still pleasurable to drive even with an automatic. (Many small cars with four cylinder engines just don't punch out enough horsepower for automatic transmissions.)

With millions on the road, there's a high chance you know someone who owns an Accord. Ask them how they like the car and I bet they'll sing its praises. If you want a dependable car that can be relied on for everyday transportation to and from work or school, a pre-owned Accord will get the job done.

What You Need To Know:

1. Review of a 1994 Honda Accord

2. Summary of Good and Bad Points by Owners

3. History of Accord

4. Review of Current Model

5. Basic Facts

6. Changes Year-to-Year

7. Safety Information

8. Value Guide

9. Option Installment Rate

10. Sales History

11. Awards and Commendations Earned

12. Other Reviews

13. Recall Information

14. Price of Spare Parts

1. Pre-owned Road Test -- 1994 Honda Accord EX

My Likes: Spacious feel inside for its size, precise handling, good gas mileage with the 4-cylinder engine

Dislikes: Nothing

Competitors: Toyota Camry, Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Lumina, Mazda 626, Volkswagen Passat, Chrysler Cirrus/Dodge Stratus

Miles: 95,000

Condition: B+

Price New: $20,500

Estimated Current Value: $10,400 (March 1998)

After driving a high-mileage four-year-old Accord, it's easy to see why this car has been the most popular car in America with retail buyers for most of a decade. Despite having double the mileage one would expect (which lowers the value by about $3,000), this Accord still felt crisp as new. The engine was smooth and the handling taut but comfortable. Shifting on the automatic was slightly notchy, but no worse than when it was new. The steering was still very precise.

This fifth-generation Accord offered slightly more power and a slightly larger interior than the previous generation Accord. Its exterior dimensions were slightly shorter and a tad wider.

Although the car has some sporty qualities, it doesn't really deliver enough power to be classified as a sporty car. The four-cylinder engine definitely works harder with an automatic transmission compared to one with the five-speed manual. Just over one-quarter of Accords sold during this period had a five-speed. So if you want an Accord with a five-speed, you should be able to find one. But don't get your heart set on a base DX model -- only about 7 percent of Accords sold in 1994 were base models. The remainder were pretty evenly split between the LX and EX models.

One of the nicest things about the Accord is the spacious feel inside. The dashboard sits low, giving excellent forward visibility. Dual airbags were standard from the get-go in this model. Despite being used for 95,000 miles, the driver's seat showed no signs of wear, though its color had faded slightly (as a result of not being garaged). In fact, the only signs of age were a slight rattle from the front suspension while going over potholes and a non-functioning bulb in the A/C warning light. The owner reported that the only problem he'd experienced was worn front disc brake rotors that had to be replaced along with the CV boots at about 70,000 miles. Otherwise, the car had only received regular maintenance and, yes, he said he would buy another one.

All in all, this example shows why the Accord is such a popular car in the U.S. It's a pleasant car that does everything without causing any commotion or excitement, which is just what most people want in car. It's the sort of car you can depend on every day. But it might not set the heart ablaze on a brisk weekend drive as much as some other cars.

2. Summing It Up - Owners' Views


"good fuel economy"

"it has a spacious feel"

"crisp handling"

Bad: none reported


"It's still as quiet as when I bought it."

3. History of Accord

The Honda Accord first appeared as a hatchback in 1976. It was very much the bigger brother of the Civic, which had put Honda on the map as a carmaker with Americans, when it was introduced in 1973.

Honda has always had a reputation for building some of the sweetest and silkiest engines. It's still true. Although the four-cylinder engine might not produce enough power for everyone's liking, in reality, it moves the car along as well as many similar-sized cars with six-cylinder engines.

Honda has managed to come up with a new version of the Accord every four years since 1982. Each time, the pundits have wondered how Honda can improve the car. Each time, they manage to do it. The four-door sedan has been the mainstay of the range since 1979. A two-door coupe was added to the line in 1988. A station wagon version was available from 1991 through 1997. The 170 horsepower, 2.7-liter, V-6 engine was added as an option in 1995.

In 1983, Honda started producing the Accord in its factory in Marysville, Ohio. Until 1998, some Accords continued to be imported from Japan but the majority came from Marysville, which has been cited several times as producing the highest quality vehicles in the world by J. D. Power and Associates. Now all Accords for sale in North America come from the Marysville plant. In fact, the all-new 1998 Accord is more American than many so-called domestic cars. Its official EPA domestic content rating is now 97 percent, with all engines and virtually all transmissions being made in the U.S.

4. Review of Current Accord

According to Honda, this year's all-new 1998 Accord has received the most comprehensive redesign in its 22-year history. It has a more spacious interior and more powerful four- and six-cylinder engines. Honda claims that the Accord now has more interior space than either the Toyota Camry or the Ford Taurus -- its two closest competitors.

For a change, the coupe has a distinctly different body style. It is much sportier than previous coupes, which were not much more than two-door versions of the sedan. The optional V-6 engine has an increase in size, giving the car more performance than before. Also the suspension has been redesigned to provide better handling yet leaving the same smooth ride.

I have had the opportunity to drive a four-cylinder sedan with a manual transmission and a coupe with a V-6 engine and an automatic. In both cases, I found the cars a joy to drive. They are what I call "transparent" cars. When you first get in them, they just feel right -- everything falls in place and you immediately feel right at home. Then after driving them for a while, you have a tough time finding anything to criticize. Other cars might have more character or idiosyncrasies that take some time to get used to. But in a Honda, most people feel comfortable right away.

Not surprisingly, considering the Accord had the biggest ever revamp in 1998, there were virtually no changes for the 1999 model-year car.

5. Basic Facts 1994 - 1997 Accord

Vehicle Type: Compact Sedan

No. Passengers: up to five

Origin of Assembly: Marysville, OH and Japan

Engine: Standard: 2.2-liter I-4, 130 hp

Option: 2.2-liter I-4, 145 hp

Option: 2.7-liter V-6, 170 hp ('95 on)

Transmission: 5-spd manual, 4-spd. auto; front-drive

Length: 184 inches

Wheelbase: 107 inches

Width: 70 inches

Height: 55 inches

Curb Weight: 2800 lbs. (approx.)

Cargo Volume: 13 cu. ft. (wagon: 26 cu. ft.)

Fuel Tank Capacity: 17 gals.

Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway): 25/31 (2.2-liter, manual), 23/30 (2.2-liter, auto); 19/25 (2.7-liter, auto)

6. Changes in the Honda Accord Line 1994 - 1999

1994 Model Year

Completely redesigned and re-engineered, the 1994 Honda Accord brings new levels of safety, styling, performance, and refinement to Honda's top-selling line of sedans, coupes and wagons

All Accord models feature a driver and front passenger air bag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) as standard equipment

Accord meets the 1997 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for side panel protection.

The Accord sedan and coupe is available in three trim levels--base model DLX, mid-line LX and the sportier, more luxurious EX. The Accord Wagon will be available in two trim levels.

1995 Model Year

The Accord added a V-6 engine to its lineup

Exterior design changes were made to the front end, sharpening the appearance of the front grille

1996 Model Year

New front and rear styling is highlighted by a chrome-accented grille while the rear styling features new combination lights and chrome accents. The trunk opening is nearly five inches larger for easier loading and unloading. Wider parking lights provide improved visibility.

All LX models now ride on 15-inch tires and new wheels, and a six-way power driver's seat has been added to the LX V-6 and EX 4-cylinder leather models.

1997 Model Year

A redesigned automatic transmission for smoother shifting

An improved air-conditioning system with faster cool-down performance

1998 Model Year

All new Accord sedan moves into the mid-size segment

Much larger interior

Enhanced safety and security features

More powerful, more fuel-efficient and cleaner burning engines

Improved ride and handling

1999 Model Year

Few changes other than some fabric changes and availability of additional exterior colors

7. Safety Notes

NHTSA Crash rating (1994 Model Year): Driver 4; Passenger 3 (5 is best)

Dual airbags have been standard on all Accords from 1994.

Accord has the best bumpers for resisting damage in low-speed impacts as tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

All Accords from 1994 on meet the side impact protection requirements for 1997 vehicles.

8. Value Guide

Prices listed are for base models. Options can add considerably to the lowest price listed as these are usually "stripped" models. In many cases, very few vehicles are ever sold at the lowest price listed! Source: Kelley Blue Book

1992 Model Year

New: $13,610 to $21,235

1993 Model Year

New: $14,480 to $22,450

1994 Model Year (new model)

New: $14,630 to $22,100

1995 Model Year

New: $15,320 to $25,330

1996 Model Year

New: $15,495 to $25,495

1997 Model Year

New: $15,495 to $25,495

1998 Model Year (new model)

New: $15,100 to $24,150

9. Option Installment Rate

Generally, when you order a new car you have a choice of factory-installed options. When you buy a pre-owned vehicle the choice is limited to what was actually installed on vehicles sold in that model year. Use this option installment rate as a guide to the chances of finding particular options on a pre-owned vehicle. Source: Ward's Automotive Yearbooks

1993 Model Year

Installment Rate


4-door 79%

2-door 17%

Station Wagon 4%


Automatic 72%

Manual 28%

ABS Brakes: 45%

Air Conditioning 96%

Power Windows 96%

Cruise Control 96%

Remote/Keyless Entry: n/a%

1994 Model Year

Installment Rate


4-door 81%

2-door 16%

Station Wagon 3%


Automatic 76%

Manual 24%

ABS Brakes: 52%

Air Conditioning 92%

Power Windows 92%

Cruise Control 92%

Remote/Keyless Entry: n/a%

1995 Model Year

Installment Rate


4-door 81%

2-door 14%

Station Wagon 5%


2.2 -liter 4-cylinder 86%

2.7-liter V-6 14%


Automatic 82%

Manual 18%

ABS Brakes: 55%

Air Conditioning 97%

Power Windows 97%

Cruise Control 97%

Remote/Keyless Entry: 6%

1996 Model Year

Installment Rate


4-door 88%

2-door 10%

Station Wagon 2%


2.2 -liter 4-cylinder 92%

2.7-liter V-6 8%


Automatic 84%

Manual 16%

ABS Brakes: 37%

Air Conditioning 98%

Power Windows 90%

Cruise Control 98%

Remote/Keyless Entry: n/a%

1997 Model Year

Installment Rate


4-door 88%

2-door 10%

Station Wagon 2%


2.2 -liter 4-cylinder 93%

2.7-liter V-6 7%


Automatic 88%

Manual 12%

ABS Brakes: 27%

Air Conditioning n/a%

Power Windows 93%

Cruise Control 93%

Remote/Keyless Entry: 25%

10. Production/Sales Volume History

Normally, a model year runs from October to September. Often though, when a new version is introduced, it hits the market before October. Legally, a model year can start as early as January of the preceding year. Accurate model year sales counts are almost impossible to collect as different model year vehicles are regularly sold side-by-side for several months. Production figures, when listed, include vehicles made for export to Canada, Mexico and overseas.

1994 Model Year

Production Run: Oct. 1993 through Sept. 1994

Total Number Produced: n/a

Total No. Sold in U.S.: 362,407

1995 Model Year

Production Run: Oct. 1994 through Sept. 1995

Total Number Produced: n/a

Total No. Sold in U.S.: 345,845

1996 Model Year

Production Run: Oct. 1995 through Sept. 1996

Total Number Produced: n/a

Total No. Sold in U.S.: 367,137

1997 Model Year

Production Run: Oct. 1996 through Sept. 1997

Total Number Produced: n/a

Total No. Sold in U.S.: 365,800

1998 Model Year

Production Run: Oct. 1997 through Sept. 1998

Total Number Produced: n/a

Total No. Sold in U.S.: 413,628

11. Awards and Commendations


"Best Import Sedan" - MotorWeek (TV)

"Import Car of the Year" - MotorTrend

"Ten Best" - Car and Driver


"Ten Best" - Car and Driver


"Perfect Ten" (one of the most significant automobiles from the first ten years of Automobile magazine) - Automobile

"Best Loved Compact Car in America" - Strategic Vision


"Ten Best" - Car and Driver


"Ten Best" - Car and Driver


"I expected to be disappointed with the power coupled to the automatic but that was not the case. It proved to be quite nimble, at least with just one person aboard. The new automatic transmission, which features an intelligent Grade Logic control, is much smoother than in previous models, which were often criticized for having a jerky transmission." - John Rettie, New York Times Regional Newspaper Group Test Drive, October 1993

"The Accord's stiffer chassis makes it tighter than its predecessor. The steering works more in the Euro tradition: heavier, with a bit more feedback from the tires, but also a little slower." - AutoWeek, July 18, 1994

"From the well-finished driver's seat, all the Accord's controls are within easy reach, and all operate with a crisp precision unmatched by even Toyota, which trails closely. Honda's characteristic low cowl makes for an expansive forward view." - Road & Track comparison test, Feb. 1995 (V-6 Accord)

13. Recalls

ID Number: 96V217000

Component: interior systems: passive restraint: airbag

Year: 1995

Year of Recall: 1996

Potential Number of Units Affected: 164,139

Summary: The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) Electronic Control Unit can cause the airbag to deploy unexpectedly. This type of unanticipated airbag deployment could result in abrasion to the hands, arms, or face of a properly positioned front seat occupant, or could cause more serious injury to an out-of-position occupant.

14. Cost of Parts and Service (Relative to Other Vehicles)

Headlight unit: $183 (above average)

Side marker lamp: $29 (average)

Door (left front): $603 (above average)

Fender (left front): $161 (average)

Note: these are estimated retail prices for commonly replaced body parts on a 1995 model. Prices are current as of mid-1998 but will vary from region to region and are subject to change at any time. Source: ADP Collision

The Rettie Report and Pre-Owned Profiles contain objective information from a variety of sources. The subjective comments are those of John Rettie.

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Pre-Owned Profile: 1994-1998 Honda Accord - Autotrader