1986 Honda Accord

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$4,334–$6,290
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chicagotribune.com
Honda totally restyled it`s compact Accord for `86, giving it the GMwedge shape design and thus making it look like most other Japanese imports onthe market today, which adopted the same design.

We drove the top-of-the-line LXi 4-door sedan. Less expensive LX and DXsedans and hatchbacks round out the series.

Honda extended the Accord wheelbase by 6 inches to 102 inches (1 inchmore than a Chevy Cavalier) and length by 3 inches to 179 inches for 1986.It`s supposed to mean more interior space, except for head room in the rearseat. An inch more could have been added with a slight slant to the rear seat back and a bit less padding (on the car seat, folks).

Honda also boasts of the car`s quiet from such features as triple doorinsulation. We agree, except at initial acceleration, when engine and theautomatic transmission in our car were a bit louder than expected, in a luxurycompact. Back off the pedal and cruise and quiet takes over.

The automaker has gone with a double wishbone suspension on all fourwheels, a system similar to that used on race cars. It means you get firm roadfeel, crisp cornering, very little body roll, yet almost no jostling overbumps or rough roads. Accord is nimble and has good road control. You canmaneuver with only fingertips on the wheel.

The engine is a fuel injected 2-liter 4-cylinder upgrade of last year`sfuel injected 1.8-liter four in what was called the Accord SEi. The 12-valveengine (2 intake, 1 exhaust valve for better fuel filling to the cylinders andincreased power output) is peppy if not quiet. The EPA rating is 25 miles agallon city/30 m.p.g. highway with 5-speed manual, 23/29 with 4-speedautomatic. More impressive than its quick starts off the line are itsstraight, solid stops when hitting the brakes hard.

Inside, the cloth seats are rich looking and comfortable, the dashcontrols visible and reachable, and a little sunken ledge on top of the dashis handy for holding small items to keep them out of the way. Don`t be fooled by a tiny deck lid. Trunk space is abundant because the cargo area goes backunder the rear seats, which fold for access to the trunk from within the car. Standard equipment in the LXi includes air, AM/FM stereo with cassette,power brakes/steering/windows/door locks, steel-belted Michelin radials, powerremote mirrors, tinted glass, power moon roof, digital quartz clock, cruisecontrol, rear window defroster, and reclining bucket seats to name a few.

The `86 LXi on Oct. 1 was priced at $12,675 with 5-speed, $13,125 withautomatic. With the rise in the value of the Japanese yen against the U.S.dollar, the 5-speed went up $524, to $13,199 and the automatic by $544 to$13,669 on Dec. 2.

Doesn`t Honda makes Accords in the U.S.? Yes, about half of the Accordtotal, the rest in Japan. But half the components of the U.S.-built cars aresourced from Japan; so all Accords went up in price.

We`ve had two long-st anding objections with Honda. One is that it livedfor years on the reputation established by the first Accord back in 1975,without upgrading the car. But now changes in engine, suspension, braking, andinterior appointments show progress--and an awareness the competition didn`tstand still when Honda did.

Our other complaint hasn`t gone away--price and dealer treatment ofcustomers--in demanding full list price plus an ample load of options beforethey can take one out the door.

A reader called to say he visited three dealers for an LXi and each had a separate ``added dealer profit`` window sticker demanding $500 to $1,000 over full sticker.



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