1991 Honda Accord
Honda has come up with a vehicle that`s not for everyone, the new mid-size Accord station wagon.The Accord wagon is for those who need more cargo-carrying capacity thanthe Accord sedan can handle but still prefer a vehicle that rides and handles like a car rather than a minivan. Ironically, when Honda began talking about coming out with a moremultipurpose type vehicle, the hope was that it would bring out a minivan orfour-wheel-drive utility vehicle rather than a wagon. The wagon, of course, is the easiest and less costly route to take. Thevan or four-wheeler would require a trip to the draftsman to come up with anall-new vehicle. To build a wagon all Honda had to do was take the sedan,stretch it by 1.5 inches, and add a hatchback lid in back. The wagon is built on a 107.1-inch wheelbase and is 186 inches long. It was designed anddeveloped in the U.S. and is built at Honda`s Marysville, Ohio, plant. Like we said, the Accord wagon isn`t for everyone. It`s a vehicle forthose who find a Caprice wagon too big and an Escort wagon too small. The strength is that it performs like a typical sedan. You don`t realizeit`s a wagon until you turn off the key, hop out and look at the tail end.Four-wheel, double-wishbone suspension, front- and rear-stabilizer bars,variable-assist power steering and 15-inch all-season radials contribute tothe sedan-like ride and handling. The wagon is available in EX and LX versions. A 2.2-liter, 16-valve,four-cylinder provides the power-125 h.p. in the LX version, 140 h.p. in theEX with a dual-stage intake manifold and tuned exhaust accounting for theadded power. We drove the EX version teamed with the standard five-speed manual, afairly smooth-shifting unit. The 2.2 provides good power and at the same time an acceptable EPA rating of 22 m.p.g. city/27 m.p.g. highway. But really, saddling yourself with a wagon and a five-speed? Resale isbad enough on a wagon since it`s considered a workhorse machine that probably was abused by the previous owner. It only gets worse when you add a five-speed, which most people don`t know how to drive and which therefore takes85 percent of the public out of the market for the machine as a trade-in.Automatic transmission runs $750 more, but you`ll get that back at trade-intime. With automatic the EPA rating slips to 20/26. Standard equipment includes power brakes, air conditioning, cruisecontrol, power-door and tailgate locks, power windows, body-colored dual powermirrors and AM-FM stereo with cassette. The EX adds a power-operated moonroof,a remote-entry system in which you press the key fob to lock or unlock thedoors, and alloy wheels. As for safety items, a driver-side air bag is standard, but antilockbrakes are not available. By its very nature a wagon hauls more than oneperson, typically young kids, and that makes the antilock brake system a must that Honda should add as quickly as possibl e. A week ago Honda bumped up prices $100. Base price is now $17,400 for the LX with manual, $18,150 with automatic. The EX starts at $19,150 with manual, $19,900 with automatic. That`s awfully pricey even with all the powerequipment as standard. Final Honda note: the Accord will be restyled for the 1994 model year.
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