1998 Honda Accord LX V


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Jun 27, 2023

1998 Honda Accord LX V

From the Archive: Value? Yes. Character? Absolutely. Personality? Uh, can we get back to you on that? From the November 1997 issue of Car and Driver. They're feeling a little pressured at the factory

From the Archive: Value? Yes. Character? Absolutely. Personality? Uh, can we get back to you on that?

From the November 1997 issue of Car and Driver.

They're feeling a little pressured at the factory down in Marysville, Ohio, where Honda has built Accords since 1982. Until this all-new 1998 Accord went into production, this U.S. factory had always been able to rely on Japan to send in extra Accords if demand exceeded supply. Problems on the assembly line? Pick up the phone to Japan, and order some Accords.

But for 1998, Marysville goes "mother­line-less," which is how plant executives describe the fact that for the first time, all U.S.-spec Accord sedans will be built at Marysville, as will all Accord coupes. Period. If that's not enough pressure, con­sider this: The coupe and the sedan share only one major exterior part—the head­lights—and surprisingly few interior parts. And this: The 1997 Accord continued to sell so well that a lengthy plant shutdown to change over to 1998 production left some dealers Accord-less. Finally, the home office gave the U.S. factory just 20 days, beginning August 19, to go from full production of '97 models to full produc­tion of '98s—that's 1750 cars a day.

But no one at Marysville seemed wor­ried. This is, after all, Honda. And the plant has been preparing for this 1998 model since January 1993—that's before the redesigned 1994 Accord was introduced. Expect no shortages of 1998 Honda Accords.

Which is good, because there probably will be no shortage of customers. The cur­rent Accord is a fine car, but it seemed slightly off-target when introduced four years ago. Interior space was tight com­pared with other sedans in its price range. Only four-cylinder engines were initially offered. The 170-horse, 2.7-liter V-6, eventually introduced, was smooth and willing but smaller than the V-6s in comparable cars.

All that changes for 1998. Vir­tually nothing has been carried over—there's a new body, a new platform, a new interior, and a new single-overhead-camshaft 3.0-liter V-6 with VTEC, Honda's variable valve-timing system we've liked on every Honda and Acura that has been so equipped. Whereas VTEC engines in the Prelude, Integra, or NSX have provided a noticeable kick-in-the-pants sensation when a certain rpm was reached under hard acceleration, the Accord's V-6 has a more family-friendly, linear power delivery. It delivered our test Accord LX to the end of the quarter-mile in a respectable 16 seconds flat, at 88 mph. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph took 7.7 seconds. A Toyota Camry LE V-6 we tested in August did the quarter in 16.2 sec­onds at 86 mph and the 0-to-60 sprint in 8.0 seconds. The last Accord LX V-6 auto­matic we tested (November 1995) posted 16.8 seconds and 85 mph for the quarter and 8.4 seconds for 0 to 60 mph.

Power from the new Accord V-6 comes on so smoothly—thanks in part to its intuitive electronic four-speed automatic trans­mission, which is much less obtrusive than before—that at the end of the freeway merge ramp, you'll glance at the speedometer and be startled to learn you're traveling some 15 mph faster than you thought. At 80 mph, the Accord feels so stable and hunkered down that you'll want to lobby for another speed-limit increase. Apart from a little wind noise from the out­side mirrors, the Accord sedan is world­-class quiet.

Suspension-wise, this new Accord becomes less compelling. In a straight line, on typically rough Michigan inter­states, the ride is more jarring than expected, with expansion-joint impacts transmitted to the driver through the steering column and pedals. The suspen­sion design—unequal-length control arms up front and multilink at the rear, with gas-pressurized shocks—remains similar to that of the previous model; the LX now gets a rear anti-roll bar, previously avail­able only on the EX. With the all-weather Michelin P205/65R- 15 MXV4 radials, the Accord sedan corners without drama, as family sedans are wont to do. It's effi­cient, but not much fun.

The Michelins yowl when pressed, giving up in predictable increments as typical front-wheel-drive understeer ensues. Back off the throttle, and the Accord snaps back in line, as it's supposed to. Skidpad performance was a competent 0.78 g—same as that of the aforemen­tioned 1997 Camry LE. The V-6 Accords—insiders should know the six is recognizable by its five wheel lugs; four-bangers get four lugs—have four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes that stopped our 3294-pound sedan from 70 mph in 194 feet, 3 farther than the Camry LE. Anti-lock brakes are optional on all DXs and on the bread-and-butter four­cylinder LX. They're standard on the V-6 LX and deluxe EX.

Speaking of the DX, the base engine is a 2.3-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder with 135 hp. The optional four-cylinder engine is the same displacement, but with VTEC and 150 hp. The bump in the four-cylinder displacement from 2.2 liters in '97 to 2.3 for '98 was accom­plished by using thinner cylinder liners in the aluminum-alloy block. The 135-horse four is available in the DX and LX; the VTEC four-cylinder and the V-6 can be had only in the LX and EX. All engines can run on reg­ular gas. Four-cylinder models get the choice of a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, but all sixes get the auto box. The DX gets 14-inch tires and wheels; the LX and the EX get 15-inchers, with alloy wheels standard on the EX. None offers traction control.

Inside, the Accord LX sedan offers no surprises. Comfortable, supportive seats; a nice instru­ment cluster (built for the V-6 sedans and coupes by Ford, incidentally, while Delco, which is owned by GM, supplied some electronics); a thoughtful control layout; tasteful if understated cloth and vinyl trim.

Despite a high beltline, visibility is excellent, and the big windshield adds to a feeling of roominess. Although less than a half-inch longer on the outside than the 1997 V-6 model, and riding on the same 106.9-inch wheelbase, the 1998 Accord sedan makes exceptionally good use of interior space, making it a genuine mid-size car, thanks in part to a substan­tial increase in height (almost two inches) and track width.

Even with the front seats all the way back, rear-seat room is generous. All three rear passengers get three-point belts. EPA-­measured interior passenger volume for the '97 is 94.7 cubic feet and 101.7 cubic feet for the '98. The trunk is big and easily accessible, and the rear seat has a pass­through hatch that folds down, or the whole seat folds down if even more lug­gage space is required.

The underhood layout is handsomely efficient, with all service points accessible. Crank the V-6 up, and pop the hood. At idle, this is one of the quietest engines we've heard.

Outside, though, we wish Honda's styl­ists had gone a bit further. The 1998 Accord sedan certainly doesn't look like previous Accords, but if casual comments made about our test sedan are any indica­tion, it does look like a few other cars, with the Chevrolet Malibu the most frequently mentioned. Designers took a few chances with the Accord coupe. They took none with the sedan.

How much will that affect sales? Prob­ably not at all. And the Accord should be priced right. No firm numbers were avail­able at press time, but Honda promises the four-cylinder model should be stickered close to 1997 prices, and the V-6 will actu­ally be a bit cheaper. Our LX V-6 sedan, nicely equipped with power accessories but lacking a compact disc player and a sunroof, should list for about $21,700.

A future heads-up comparison test will pit the new Accord against the competi­tion, particularly the Toyota Camry. It should be a close battle.


1998 Honda Accord Sedan LX V-6Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE (EST)Base/As Tested: $21,700/$21,700

ENGINEDOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injectionDisplacement: 183 in3, 2997 cm3Power: 200 hp @ 5500 rpmTorque: 195 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm

TRANSMISSION4-speed automatic

CHASSISSuspension, F/R: control arms/multilinkBrakes, F/R: 11.1-in vented disc/10.2-in discTires: Michelin Energy MXV4 PlusP205/65VR-15

DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 106.9 inLength: 188.8 inWidth: 70.3 inHeight: 57.2 inPassenger Volume, F/R: 55/46 ft3Trunk Volume: 14 ft3Curb Weight: 3294 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS60 mph: 7.7 sec1/4-Mile: 16.0 sec @ 88 mph100 mph: 20.6 sec120 mph: 40.4 secRolling Start, 5–60 mph: 8.2 secTop Gear, 30–50 mph: 4.3 secTop Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.1 secTop Speed (drag ltd): 132 mphBraking, 70–0 mph: 194 ftRoadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.78 g

C/D FUEL ECONOMYObserved: 21 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMYCity/Highway: 21/28 mpg


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