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The third generation Accord is unique throughout the entire history of the model. In only this Accord, the lines of its modern siblings are undetectable. The production started in 1985 and immediately the Accord won wild acclaim. In the first year 900 thousand automobiles were sold. The secret of the spontaneous success lies in a rich array of revolutionary innovations and decisions. Among these is the powerful fuel-injected engine, a new suspension with a twin perpendicular cross member, which was borrowed from the Formula 1 design (in the future this design will win fame for Honda's suspensions), a complete electric package and modernized interior, and the futuristic design of the overall automobile. In the mid 1980's the trend was particularly inclined toward fantastic and cosmic themes as well as futuristic forms. It is not surprising that the "blind" automobile design with flip-up headlights was extremely popular. The "blind" car concept still has its edge even today.

The third generation Accord won the prestigious award of "Automobile of the Year in Japan 1986" in 1985-1986 (the competition is conducted at the end of the year). In addition it became one of the top ten (TOP10) best cars in USA as rated by Car and Driver in 1985 and 1988.


B20A EngineBecause the automobile Honda is always regarded primarily by its engine, this topic deserves to be the first discussed. Horsepower and Torque curves The Accord received many different engines, the most sophisticated of which is the fuel injected 2.0L B20A, which was installed only in the Japanese versions of the Accord. This twin camshaft engine had an output of 160 horsepower, which made it unequaled to other offerings. The engine's design was in itself revolutionary in all aspects. An electronic fuel injection system called the PGM FI, four valves per cylinder with increased intake, completely aluminum block, twin-processor engine controller, and many other innovations allowed the engine to achieve amazing characteristics. The increased time of open valves The horsepower and torque ratings throughout the RPM range can be seen on the picture to the right. Sadly, this engine was never imported to the United States or Europe. The most common engines became the 2.0L-carbureted A20A1 (98 hp) and the 2.0L-fuel injected A20A3 (120 hp), A20A4 (122 hp). In contrast to the Japanese engines, which have all their information listed on Honda's site, the European models have very little information available. JDM Engine B20A In the table below, various model modifications are shown. For example, in USA several versions of the carbureted engine existed, which was modernized several times. In the table only the most powerful variant is shown. Depending on the region where the Accord was sold, the engines may have had slight differences such as the ECU adjustment depending on the gasoline available, the absence of the oxygen sensor etc. It must be noted that despite the small output, European engines created serious competition to other manufacturers engines of the same class, which often had higher displacement and horsepower output.

Engine Spec/
Engine Number
1.6 SOHC Carb
1.8 SOHC Carb
1.8 DOHC DCarb
2.0 SOHC Carb
2.0 SOHC Inj
2.0 SOHC Inj
2.0 DOHC Inj
2.0 DOHC Inj
Used in years 1985-1987 1985-1986 1985-1989 1987-1989 1988-1989 1986-1989 1989 1985-1989
Trim ??? LX-R, LX, EXL,
DX/LX LX-i 2.0 EX EXi 2.0 Si
Cyl./Valves 4/12 4/12 4/12 4/12 4/12 4/12 4/16 4/16
Displ. (cc) 1598 1829 1834 1955 1955 1955 1955 1958
Power (hp @ RPM) 88 @ ???? 110 @ 5800 130 @ 6000 98 @ 5500 120 @ 5800 122 @ 5500 137 @ 6000 160 @ 6300
Torque (Nm @ RPM) 90 @ 3500 152 @ 3500 165 @ 4000 148 @ 5500 169 @ 4000 166 @ 5000 173 @ 5000 190 @ 5000
Weight (kg)* n/a 1050 1060 1075 n/a 1110 1155 1080
0-100 km/h
(0-60 mph) (s)**
n/a 10.5 (10.1) n/a n/a n/a 9.3 (8.8) 8.9 (8.5) n/a
400m (s @ kmh) n/a 17.7 @ 127 n/a n/a n/a 17.2 @ 131 16.8 @ 134 n/a
1000m (s @ kmh) n/a 33.0 @ 158 n/a n/a n/a 32.0 @ 163 31.1 @ 168 n/a
* - Weight is specified approximately. It changes from a trim and such as a body.
** - The data on the specified weight. Different in results of kmh and mph because 0-60 mph, it's 0-96 km/h time.

Design and Concepts

Aerodeck sketch       Aerodeck sketch       Sedan sketch

All of the Accord models were designed in a "futuristic" trend which instructed the appearance of the chisel-like side view, sharp corners and lines, and the "blind car look discussed earlier, which all added to the sport appeal of this automobile. The bold and modern design insured the popularity of the Accord. Even though the Accord seems edgy and square when compared to the cars of today, it has a very original and distinct design. In the designers' sketches, one can see distinct influence of the cosmic era and design. One interesting feature to note is the fact that the designer shows an Accord, in the first picture, with a right-side steering wheel where the gauge cluster hints of a relationship to the digital gauges that were installed in the Japanese versions of the Si model.

Direction of air flowIn addition to popular trends, the chassis was well designed aerodynamically. For the first time the exterior was designed with the allowance for driving not only in dry conditions but also in the rain. Dirt and water that are projected from the cars in front and the Accord's own tires are directed away from mirrors and windows. The drag coefficient for the sedan was 0.32 and for the aerodeck 0.34

The Aerodeck model requires particular attention. The original Aerodeck has nothing in common with the current third generation siblings because it was an experimental model and didn't receive any further development. The name was borrowed for the later Accord models. The genealogic tree of the Accords 86 through 89:

Click to view full version from 1974 to 2003, 139 Kb The aerodeck has certain family ties, but not direct lineage to the Accord Hatchback of the second generation, which also didn't continue development. Among the production models, only the sedans and the coupes were thoroughly developed. The Aerodeck was a test model, the engineers at Honda tried to combine the Hatchback, coupe and the universal model into one. It is 4335mm in length and is the shortest Accord of the third generation (even shorter than the Hatchback!), it's small mass and powerful engine provided for a link between the car and the driver. It is not surprising that it became the Car of the Year! From the coupe it received the two-door design, from the hatchback the rear door. The complex form, which allowed for easier access to the cargo area also incorporates a glass piece in the top section. This radical design allowed for more light in the interior event though the rear seat passengers may not be able to see the sky above their heads. From the universal model, the idea of folding rear seats was taken, which allowed for the establishment of almost a flat floor in the back of the car. Another borrowed piece of design are the radically inclined rear pillars that can also be traced in the modern designs of the hatchback. From this combination a very successful and practical design emerged.

Other Accord models also have their own specific characteristics. For example the 88 coupes were the first to utilize the "sliding" safety restraint belts. Accords with the standard fixed headlights began production in '87. These models had a more enhanced package and appealed to the consumer with their more authorative look, while the "blind" Accords had a more sporty and aggressive appeal.


Interior SketchThe interior of the Accord is also a subject of peculiarity. The Aerodeck models were fitted with seats made under license from RECARO. Other models, however, were fitted with the simpler and less expensive seats. Digital Gauges The gauge cluster is easily readable and the overall ergonomics of the interior does not evoke any concern. The most notable advancements can be seen in the Japanese version models. These cars had digital gauges with the tachometer display based on the light-diode technology. (Similar systems are being installed in the S2000 and the Insight). And all this was offered in 1986! Most cars received a full electrical package, which included electric window controls, electric mirrors (some versions with heating), heated seats, electric antenna, and other electrical accessories. On the Vigor (the Japanese equivalent of the Accord) digital climate control could also be installed as an option. The desired temperature was displayed on the LCD as can be seen in the photo or the Japanese Shop Manual.

Digital Climate Control   Digital Dash from JDM Shop Manual

Suspension, Steering and Brakes

The suspension system in the Accord requires a separate note. For the first time the twin cross member technology was used, which proved it's effectiveness in the Formula 1 competition. Front Suspension Although this system is more expensive than the McPherson design used by competitors, the suspension design allowed for better handling and more stability. This system is still in use, with the only exclusion being the year 1999, when Honda, in order to decrease the price of the vehicles and simplify suspension design, opted to use the McPherson system on the HR-V, Civic, and the CR-V. This spurred a lot of discontent among the followers of the Honda brand. Brakes Possibly because of this reaction, the seventh generation Accord will again use the well-tested suspension design with two perpendicular cross members. All of the 86-89 Accords were also equipped with front and rear stabilizer bars. Steering is accomplished through parametric power steering, which means that as speed increases, the power steering decreases in range which is invaluable at high speeds. The brakes on the top of the line JDM Accords used twin piston calipers with large rotors, while the European Accords received the standard brakes consisting of all disk brakes with smaller size rotors and single piston calipers. Many Accords also had rear drum brakes (USDM in particular). In rare packages, Accords also had antilock brakes (ALB aka ABS). It is peculiar that cars with ALB were not imported or sold in the United States. In the pictures at the right it is possible to see the cutaway of the twin piston caliper brakes which were installed on the JDM Si version of the third generation Accord along with the B20A engine.


The third generation Accord is a unique and amazing automobile, as well as pretty much every other car in the Honda line-up. However this model in particular was the one that won Honda's acclaim in the US and in other countries truly earning it the title of "Driver's Car".

P.S.: The information on this page has been gathered from several sources. However the most prominent are listed below both of which refer to the official Honda site in Japanese.

Honda produced several variants of the 3rd Generation Accord. In japan and Europe one could obtain "blind" four door sedans and Aerodeck models along with the fixed head light four door sedan variations. The US however received only the "blind" version of the model in Sedan, Coupe, and Hatchback versions.

Accord 3dr Aerodeck
Dimensions (mm)4335x1695x1335
Available in:Europe, Japan

Accord 2dr Coupe
Dimensions (mm)4565x1695x1340
Available in:USA, Japan

Accord 4dr Sedan
Dimensions (mm)4535x1695x1355
Available in:Europe, Japan, USA

Accord 4dr Sedan
Dimensions (mm)4565x1695x1355
Available in:Europe, Japan

Accord 3dr Hatchback
Dimensions (mm)4440x1695x1355
Available in:USA

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