40 Years of the Accord: Here Are Our Favorites

Honda 40

In 1976 Honda changed the automotive world by introducing the Accord, a slightly larger alternative to the popular Civic.

The 1970s were similar to today in that drivers wanted efficient cars to combat rising gas prices. The Civic and Accord did just that, while providing a dependable, high-quality, and fun-to-drive experience.

A smash success from day one, the 1.6-liter 68-hp Accord came with a nearly 50-mpg rating from the EPA.

Honda made the Accord much larger and less fuel efficient over the years. Here’s how Autoweek compared the first Accord to the latest model:

The wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) alone tells the tale — the 2016 Accord’s wheels are spaced 109.3 inches apart, whereas the 1976 Accord only had a 93.7-inch wheelbase. That’s actually 6 inches shorter than a 2016 Honda Fit’s wheelbase. Overall length is even more staggering — the 1976 Accord was a compact 162.8 inches long (about 19 inches shorter than a 2016 Honda Civic), while the current Accord is relatively gargantuan at 192.5 inches in length — a full 29.7 inches longer than the 1976 model.

Today the Accord is one of the “most American” cars on the road. With 40 years of Accords behind us, though, which was your favorite model year? Here are some of ours.


1976 Honda Accord Hatchback

The first year was significant because it introduced the car that was to become a legend. The earliest models didn’t require unleaded fuel and ran without a catalytic converter. Plus, AM/FM radio came standard. How quaint.



By the early ’80s, the Accord had grown into a family sedan with a more luxurious interior, a more attractive exterior, and a more powerful 86-hp engine.



A complete redesign was introduced in 1990. In addition to sleek new looks, Honda dumped the carburetor and made fuel injection standard across the entire line, which now included a wagon. In 1992, all Accords had antilock brakes and driver airbags.



Along with another redesign, the 1995 Accord received its first V6 engine, a 170-hp 2.7-liter mill borrowed from Acura.



The 2003 revamp of the Accord brought the car into the modern era with more power and an unrivaled interior. The 2006 refresh brought new front and rear designs along with larger wheels and an upgraded suspension. The material quality, build quality, and overall fit and finish epitomize Honda quality and make this era’s Accord one of the best ever made.



Whereas the first Accord came standard with AM/FM radio, the latest Accord, even in basic LX trim, comes with air conditioning, cruise, keyless entry, traction control, and so much more. One thing it doesn’t have is the original’s 50-mpg EPA fuel-economy rating.

With 40 years of Accords behind us, which was your favorite model year?


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Used Honda Civic
Used Honda Accord

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