Car Blog Showdown: Mid-’80s family sedans

1986 Ford Taurus

1986 Ford Taurus

This is CarGurus’ second Car Blog Showdown. This week tgriffith and jgoods were each invited to select their favorite mid-’80s family sedan.

jgoods’ 5 reasons why the 1986 Ford Taurus is the best mid-’80s family sedan:

  • Lots of innovations with this car, including aerodynamic design, coordinated development teams, close cooperation of designers and engineers – all of which saved Ford from bankruptcy (as the new Taurus may not) and put the company on a new path.
  • The car has held up well. Introduced in 1985 as a 1986 model, it had good build quality.
  • Good power with the optional V6 and plenty of torque.
  • Interior design and controls were far better than its rivals’.
  • Just look at that sleek beauty! In styling it didn’t have to go far to beat out the competition.

tgriffith’s 3 reasons why it isn’t:

  • Never buy a car the first year it’s introduced.
  • Interior comfort can’t compete with the Accord’s.
  • The Taurus just wasn’t as reliable as the Accord, plain and simple.
1985 Honda Accord

1985 Honda Accord

tgriffith’s 5 reasons why the 1985 Honda Accord is the best mid-’80s family sedan:

  • It’s one of those cars that just keeps going.
  • Even with high mileage, maintenance is minimal, especially in the fuel-injected trim.
  • Comfortable, even luxurious interior when decked out in leather trim.
  • Looks a little like a tank and is as durable as one, but smooth and comfortable at the same time.
  • Go to any suburban mall, scan the parking lot, and you’ll still see ’85 Accords parked in the stalls.

jgoods’ 3 reasons why it isn’t:

  • Winner, “Homeliest Car of 1986” award.
  • Corrosion and overheating problems reported.
  • Carbureted versions often gave owners fits.

What’s your favorite mid-’80s family sedan? Why?


  1. mid 80’s Honda was the magic years. especially the 86 with PFI or programed fuel injection. water pump could be replaced independent of the timing belt, cover, and related. Just cheap to own all around and durable. better looking than accord, faster than accord, and better fuel mileage with Honda 3-valve engine.
    Honda even had an overdrive coupler on forth gear making for the feeling of a 5-speed automatic. By 1990 Camry caught accord in sales and quality. But in the mid 80’s the civic and accord ruled.

  2. Taurus all the way! When was the last time u saw a a 80’s Honda? I see 1st gen Taurus’s all the time and i live in the North East. The 3.0L Vulcan V6 is a fabulous engine.

  3. Yes I completely with you agree. Honda Accord
    Very good car. Japanese in general do qualitative cars which serve many long years and demand a service minimum.

  4. i accidentally stumbled across this interesting discussions and feel i should contribute. i am a Nigerian, from the Northern part of it. i bought a Honda Accord(1981-1985)model manufactured in 1985 in 1999 as a used car with a mileage of aabout 100,000 miles from the USA. On its to NIGERIA from COTONOU, the capital of BENIN REPUBLIC,it was involved in an accident as the driver slept while travelling over a distance of over 1000 kilometres. as at today, the car has clocked over 300,000 miles on NIGERIA’s deadly roads and it is still looking brand new. matter of fact i just overhauled it last sunday. the engine is still in PERFECT and i mean PERFECT condition!!!! so no work was done on the engine. there are thousands of these cars in NIGERIA going about doing what they know best. our only problem with this car is UNAVAILABILITY OF SPARE PARTS. ELSE 05 STILL REMAINS THE BEST CAR

  5. Without a doubt, the best were the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme models. My personal favorite is the ’84 H/O (Hurst Olds), but the Cutlass models during the 1980’s covered a very wide range of models and chassis configurations. This was the bread and butter Olds model of the 1980’s and was frequently a top seller. One of the best things about the Cutlass lineup was that you could get anything from a fairly basic, 4-door family hauler to a luxury vehicle, or a sporty/performance vehicle. The Taurus was a late comer compared to the Cutlass and although it eventually became the best selling model in America, it never had the breadth that the Cutlass model offered. As for the Honda, well– As great as their engines are (and were) they didn’t yet know how to make a car body that would hold up to salt or American driving conditions, and 1980’s Hondas quickly rotted away, the lock and window cranks seized up, exhaust systems dropped off, and transmissions and chassis components failed at regular intervals. It goes without saying, though, that the 1970’s and 1980’s are pretty bad times for car quality, and yes, that includes Japanese cars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.