Prioritizing Humans, wider wheelbase and more fun is what the new mid-sized sedan Accord is all about when it debuted in late 1989. It literally came at a time when auto makers were full of worthy competition to the Accord but quite honestly a very lackluster competition for customers with refinement issues all around. If there’s any true word to describe the CB Accord, it would have be “Refined”. The test of time during the past 25 years have proven that this generation is practically bullet-proof and still on the road with many decades to go like it’s forefathers before. Welcome to the year 2015.
When someone comes to me and asks, “what is one of the best Honda’s one can own from the 90’s but on a budget?”, a few options come to mind. The popular CRX Si or any 4th generation Civic is a personal favorite due to the immense fun factor and community surrounding, the 5th gen Civic (EG) with it’s superb refinement and 25 mile radius popularity and the 4th gen Accord for it’s larger size and power options. It truly depends on what the person is wanting out of this, whether it’d be a project car or a daily driver. It almost always seems true when that individual is later driving one of the 3 I just listed. Truth be told, I notice more of the Civic popularity than anything but for those who want the power, the refinement and more attitude…..they always purchase the CB Accord.
Introduced in September of 1989, the 4th generation Accord was the first Accord to enter the mid-size category and offer the new, more powerful 16-valve “F” series engine to the public. The sedan grew in it’s wheelbase by almost 5 inches (now 107.1 inches) and kept it’s double wishbone suspension intact with some minor improvements. Styling of the series was more chiseled and angled which kept the low hood line but discarded the 80’s flip-up headlights to a more standard, reflected headlight housings of the times. Introduction of the OBDO PGM-FI ecu system was made standard on all models in the US / Canadian markets and fuel injection was the norm. Interior refinement was scaled up for better laid-out controls, increased shoulder room for all occupants, higher headroom & better located cup holders……yeah it was that big of a deal for some!
The Accord unfortunately grew into the a semi-plus size category for a typical Honda in the 90’s, base DX weighing around roughly 2,728lbs (1,237kg) in weight, EX models @ 2923 lbs (1,326kg). It also brought the Accord into the sophistication realm of how PGM-FI truly worked with many mechanics scratching their heads on the new ECU system. (Remember that satellite phones and the Sega Genesis were still on the table in ’90). This wasn’t the first time that PGM-FI was introduced as the previous generations of A20 engine offered it standard on SEi models, as well as the first Acura Legend. This across the board change for the new generation Accord revamped many dealerships to offer better in-house training and computer equipment for their Honda customers.
The true heart of the CB Accord for most was it’s F22 engine which featured two variants, the F22A1 (DX, LX models) & F22A4 (EX /EX-R models). Both engines are practically the same minus differences with it’s exhaust manifold on the A4 featuring a better flowing tubular design allowing more power. Both engine variants had PGM-FI (Programmed Fuel Injection) standard. Stats are below for each engine:
- Bore × Stroke: 85.0 × 95.0 mm
- Displacement: 2156 cc
- Valve configuration: SOHC, 16 valves, non-VTEC
- Compression ratio: 8.8:1
- F22A1: 125 hp (93.21 4 kW) @ 5200 rpm. (Accord DX, LX). The 1992–1996 Prelude S had a F22A1 but because of a different more aggressively tuned ECU (P12), the power output was 135 hp (100 kW).
- F22A4: 130 hp (96.94 kW) @ 5200 rpm. (Accord EX) The F22A4 is the same motor as the F22A1 minus exhaust header
Standard features of the LX model were kept the same as the previous generation including A/C, power windows, door locks and mirrors. The EX model added 5 more horsepower, a twin outlet muffler, 15-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, upgraded interior, rear stabilizer bar and 4 speaker stereo cassette player. ABS for models were available but optional at dealers. A newly designed rear engine mount for all automatic models was electronically computer controlled to diminish unwanted vibrations to the chassis.
Because of tightening auto safety regulations from the NHTSA, all 1990 and 1991 Accords sold in the United States came equipped with motorized shoulder belts for front passengers to comply with passive restraint mandates. These semi-automatic restraints were a two component system; a motorized shoulder belt along with a non-integrated and manually operated seatbelt. The shoulder belts automatically raced around each window frame encircling both the driver and front seat passenger whenever the front door closed. The process reversed to release them when opened. The lap belts however, still required manual fastening.
In 2011, the internet blew up with Accord owner “Million Mile Joe” LoCicero from New England achieving an unthinkable milestone of surpassing a million miles on his 1990 Honda Accord. With only doing regular maintenance and having to replace a blown fuel pump, the car still rolled with it’s original engine and transmission. It grabbed national attention and also Honda’s attention as they awarded the milestone for Joe with a local parade and a new Honda Accord. You can watch his story here:
Still to this day the 4th generation Accord is alive and kicking well with many people in the communities still driving their Accord as a daily for work, auto-crossing on weekends or as a show car. With the boom of the internet in the mid to late 90’s, online forum communities such as Honda-tech.com or CB7tuner.com have helped fellow owners keep their Accord’s running strong and share important DIY’s for those new to the game. I personally still see local CB Accords running around my neighbor hood with almost every reason to still be on the road. Almost all of my friends has either owned or rode in one at some point in their life. They truly were and still are for many the iconic Accord to own from the 90’s.