Used Honda Accord review: 1993-1997
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Perhaps because of its involvement in Grand Prix racing Honda has always been a Japanese brand with a European flavour. For that reason it has stood out from the crowd of Japanese cars that have flooded our market.
When Honda unleashed its new fifth generation Accord in 1993 it followed the development path it had trod for many years. Its lines were clean, its surfaces smooth, only its tail was clearly derivative being a clear copy of the E36 3-Series BMW.
Even if it was a rip-off of the German BMW the tail fitted well within the Accord’s overall shape so it didn’t look out of place. If anything it was a case of taking what worked well on another model and using it to great effect on your own model.
Up against the likes of the Toyota Camry, Mazda 626, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Bluebird and Hyundai Sonata, all of which looked as though they were flopped from the same mould the Accord was pleasantly different.
Add to that Honda’s renowned engineering integrity and build quality and it was a winner from the start.
In 1993 when the Accord was launched Honda was in a state of transition as it began to introduce some of the technology it had developed as result of its long involvement in Formula One.
Honda was racing quite successfully in the 1960s when it had its own team and competed with cars designed in-house. After a sabbatical through the 1970s the company returned in the 1980s as an engine supplier to front running teams like Lotus, Williams and McLaren.
It was the technology learned from those great engines that began to filter through to the production models in the early 1990s. The most obvious being the VTEC engine with variable valve timing and lift that changed engine design in a fundamental way. Variable valve timing is used by virtually every carmaker today, but Honda was alone in its use back in the early 1990s.
The idea was brilliant. By varying the time the valves opened and closed, and altering the valve lift, the engine could be tuned to deliver good torque and fuel consumption while at the same time delivering plenty of power.
Honda made the modest claim that the VTEC engine developed less than five per cent more power than the equivalent engine without variable valve timing, but it also produced up to eight per cent better fuel consumption and boasted better mid-range torque.
The VTEC engine was one of two 2.2-litre four-cylinder engines Honda offered in the Accord. Apart from the VTEC variable valve timing it had a single overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and fuel injection, which combined to belt out 107 kW at 5000 revs and 198 Nm at 4500 revs.
The standard engine was a carry-over from the previous model. Its peaks were 103 kW at 5600 revs and 192 Nm at 4500 revs.
Both engines were smooth, thanks largely to a balance shaft, and unfussed when revved until at the very top end when things could get a little less pleasant.
Each could be linked to manual or auto transmissions. The five-speed manual was a nice shifter, while the electronic four-speed auto was well regarded for its compatibility with the engines and its smoothness.
Again perhaps because of its long association with motor sport Hondas have tended to be pretty smart in the handling department if sometimes that has come with a firm ride.
The new Accord handled well with a nice chassis balance that made it enjoyable to drive. Contributing to that balance was the four-door body, which was stiffer in both bending and torsion providing a more stable foundation for the suspension to do its job.
With the stiffer body, Honda’s engineers were free to let the suspension do its work in absorbing bumps in the road. As a result the ride was more compliant and comfortable.
Four-wheel discs did an admirable job of slowing the Accord while standard power steering made light of the wheel work.
Three models made up the Accord range. It started with the EXi sedan, which had the base engine along with air-conditioning, central locking, power windows, cloth trim and four-speaker radio/cassette sound. Cruise was added in 1996.
The remaining models had the VTEC engine. The VTi sedan and wagon added alloys, a sunroof, power driver’s seat and a couple of extra speakers over the equipment fitted to the EXi. The VTi-S sedan also had leather trim, anti-skid brakes and a driver’s airbag.
In the shop
Technology needs to be serviced and that goes particularly for Hondas. It’s crucial that the engine oil is changed regularly to prevent sludge from building up and equally important that the cam timing belt be changed every 100,000 km. Do those and the Honda engines will give little trouble in the long term.
Same goes for the gearboxes. The manual gives little trouble, but the auto needs regular servicing and it’s important to use Honda-specified transmission oil.
The Accord’s chassis gives little trouble, but check for ticking noises that might indicate a problem with a CV joint. It will be louder when turning.
Body stiffness not only aids crash protection and handling it also contributes to a car’s longevity and that’s the case with the Accord, which stands up well over time.
In a crash
Agile handling along with four-wheel disc brakes (anti-skid ABS on VTi-S and all models from 1995) gives the driver a good chance of avoiding a crash.
The Accord’s stiff body and a driver’s airbag provide quite good protection in the crunch.
• good build quality
• Honda prestige to underpin resale
• pleasant styling to doesn’t date
• Good feature content
• VTEC engine best choice for performance and economy
• Good fuel economy
The bottom line
Well engineered, well built prestige medium sized car that offers good value as a used buy for the long haul.
|Year||Price From||Price To|
Range and Specs
|(base)||2.2L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO||$3,850 – 5,610||1993 Honda Accord 1993 (base) Pricing and Specs|
|EXi||2.2L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$3,410 – 5,280||1993 Honda Accord 1993 EXi Pricing and Specs|
|EXi (4WS)||2.2L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO||$5,060 – 7,370||1993 Honda Accord 1993 EXi (4WS) Pricing and Specs|
|VTi||2.2L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$4,070 – 6,050||1993 Honda Accord 1993 VTi Pricing and Specs|