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The third generation Honda Accord was introduced in Japan and Europe in 1985 and the rest of the world in 1986. The Accord had a very striking shape, and looked more akin to a sports car than a conventional 3-box sedan. It bore a resemblance to the second and third generation Prelude. One notable feature was the flip-up headlights, extremely unusual for a sedan. A fixed headlight version appeared in 1987 for European and Japanese markets. The fixed headlight version also had a different tailight cluster.

The 3rd Generation's suspension was a double wishbone setup, which was derived from Honda's work in Formula one. While this setup was more expensive than competitors' Macpherson Strut systems, it provided better stability and sharper handling. All 86-89 Accords Have front and rear stabilizer bars. The Accord's brakes were either Large 4-wheel discs with twin-piston calipers (as in the JDM Si model), smaller 4-wheel discs with single piston calipers, or a Front Disc/Rear Drum system. ABS was also available as an option on the 4-wheel disc brake models, although this was never offered in North American versions of the car. Base model Accords rode on 13-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, with more expensive models having the option of 14-inch alloy wheels.

The Accord's available engines included:

Engine # of Cams ' bhp Torque (Nm) Trim levels Years Made
A18A SOHC Carb 110 152 EXL, EX, EF, EL 1985 - 1986
B18A DOHC Dual Carb 130 165 EXL-, EX-S 1985 - 1989
B20A DOHC FI 160 190 2.0Si 1985 - 1989
A16A1 SOHC Carb 88 90 1985 - 1987
A20A4 SOHC FI 122 166 2.0i 1986 - 1989
B20A2 DOHC FI 137 173 2.0i-16 1989
North America
A20A1 SOHC Carb 98 148 DX, LX 1986 - 1987
A20A3 SOHC FI 110  ?? LXi 1986 - 1987
A20A3 SOHC FI 122 120 LXi, SEi 1988 - 1989

The Accord's interior ranged from spartan to luxurious. In the Japanese home market, The Accord was available with a full power package, Leather upholstery, heated seats, heated mirrors, a digital instrument cluster, and even climate control. The Accord Aerodeck (a three-door hatchback Accord made for Japanese and European consumers) had Recaro seats. Export Accords were not available with most of these options, presumably (and in the USA in particular) because Honda was seen as a builder of economy cars.

3geez in North America

Four basic models were available:

  • The entry level DX featured standard items such as cruise-control, rear window defogger and digital clock. Windows, door locks and mirrors are all manually operated, and commonly standard items today such as a sound system and right hand mirror were available but not standard. Hatch and sedan models featured unpainted black bumpers. For 1989 only, the DX coupe was also available in red with a black interior.
  • The mid-grade LX was loaded with standard features such as air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power mirrors on both sides, high-power AM/FM cassette, body colored bumpers, and rear seat armrest. Both the DX and LX models featured the A20A1, a 98 bhp carburated engine, though LX models received a larger front anti-sway bar. Earlier engine codes for 1986 labeled the carburated models as BS while the Fuel injected motor was labeled BT.
  • The top of the line LX-i add to the features of the LX with a 110 bhp fuel injected engine (A20A3), power moon roof, 14" alloy wheels (sedan only-the hatchback and coupe wore wheelcovers), rear anti-sway bar and full-logic cassette player. In 1988, the LX-i benefitted from 12 more bhp with a redesign of the A20A3 fuel injected engine.
  • In 1989 Honda brought back the SE-i trim which included cup holders, leather seats, a Honda-Bose music system, bronze-tinted glass, machined 14" alloy wheels, dual tip muffler and 4-wheel disc brakes. The SE-i was available in both coupe and sedan versions. Only two colors were offered in the sedan and coupe.

In 1988, the USDM Accord received a slight makeover. Bumpers, front trim (corner lights, eyelids and grille), and rear signal lights were modified, and larger anti-sway bars were added to improve handling performance. Fuel injected versions received a 12 hp boost, reaching about 122 hp at the crank. The Accord coupe was also introduced in 1988. Built in Marysville, Ohio, it was the first Japanese car to be produced in a factory located in the United States and exported back to Japan.