1990 Honda Accord -- Body

The 1990 Accord has a fresh, new style that gives it a distinct, international look while reflecting traditional Accord design themes. Beneath the skin, its architecture is all new, redesigned for greater structural integrity. Its cabin is spacious, bright, and the focus of its overall design.

The Accord's unit body is stronger and more rigid, with extensive designed-in corrosion protection. Heavier gauge steel is used in many exterior panels, not only to increase strength but to ensure a feeling of quality and substance. Designers concentrated on reducing the number of seams, refining fit and finish and countless other details in an effort to create the perception, as well as the reality, of solid quality.

Larger in every major exterior dimension, the new Accord also has more interior space, particularly for rear seat passengers. And the interior, because of the Accord's large glass area, has an airy, open feeling.

Honda Accord Exterior Dimensions

. 1990 1989 Difference
Wheelbase (mm/in.) 2720/107.1 2600/102.4 + 120/4.7
Length (mm/in.) 4695/184.8 4565/179.7 + 130/5.1
Width (mm/in.) 1725/67.9 1712/67.4 +13/0.5
Height (mm/in.) . . .
1370/53.9 1340/52.8 +30/1.2
1390/54.7 1355/53.3 +35/1.4

The styling of the new Accord gives it a strong visual presence. Its look is refined and contemporary, with an international, European sedan flavor. Though a completely new design, it retains traditional Accord styling cues, like a sharply sloping hood, large glass area, wedge shape and high rear deck.

A central element of the design is the Accord's long cabin area, or greenhouse. Taking advantage of the car's added length, Honda designers moved the leading edge of windshield forward 150 mm (nearly six inches) and raked the glass back at a sharper angle. This shortened the hood, giving it a more aggressive look while softening the transition between the hood and windshield lines. Additional cabin length was added in the rear as well, allowing for a sharply swept rear glass without compromising rear seat headroom.

The front of the new Accord is rounded and set off by clear-lens, flush headlights that accentuate its width and add sparkling counterpoints to the flush bumper and front skirt. These halogen headlights are a new Honda design. Unlike conventional lamps, which focus the light through the lens, these have a clear lens and the light is directed by the faceted reflector.

The surface of the new Accord is nearly flush; there's just a 3 mm (0.12 in.) difference between glass and metal planes. Extensive wind tunnel testing was done to reduce wind noise, particularly along the A-pillars and top front corners of the car.

The Accord's profile is defined by a subtle character line which curves smoothly along the upper body, uniting the rounded front with the squared-off rear portion of the car. The side window frames accentuate the glass-to-metal relationship. (Glass area has been increased substantially: the windshield by 20 percent, the side windows by 17 percent and the rear window by 14 percent.) These elements combine with the Accord's short front and rear overhangs, wide stance, larger wheels and tires, and long wheelbase to give it a distinct personality and strong visual authority.

The rigidity of the Accord's unit-body has been increased, in every axis, through a combination of design refinement and the use of heavier gauge panels in high-load areas and the suspension mounting structure. The greater stiffness of the platform results in improved ride and responsive handling, reduced noise and vibration, and gives the car a solid, high-quality feel.

The body's torsional rigidity is increased by 20 percent and its bending rigidity by 30 percent. Equal or greater improvements in structural integrity were realized by redesigning the doors, floor pan, side sills, pillar cross sections, and the hood and deck lids. The doors, in particular, were strengthened to accommodate the larger windows, and the thickness of their outer skin was increased. New latch mechanisms were designed so that the doors close easily with a solid, high-quality sound.

Since the glass area of the new Accord's windshield is considerably larger than before, a new, completely integrated, modular windshield wiper system was designed. It incorporates a more powerful motor, linkage and other components into a single, modular unit contained in a lightweight aluminum frame. Air flow data was used to locate the windshield washer nozzles to minimize disturbance caused by vehicle speed.

Anew, more compact framework was designed for the moonroof, a standard feature of the Accord EX Sedan and Coupe. Its components are arranged in a single plane rather than in layers, making it 13 mm (0.51 in.) thinner, thus providing that much more headroom.

Corrosion resistant materials and special treatments are used in 85 percent of the Accord's body, with primer and paint covering the rest of its surface area. These include galvanized steel, zinc phosphate coating, urethane foam, and the injection of anti-rust wax. In areas particularly prone to corrosion, plastic and resin components are used; the fuel filler door, for example, is a thick, one-piece plastic moulding. Resin panels and splash shields line the entire lower perimeter of the car, from the bumpers to the side sills and inside the wheelwells, for further corrosion protection.

A major design priority was the elimination of flanges. These are exterior seams, often seen in the underbody and beneath the side sills, that are difficult to treat for corrosion resistance and are susceptible to rust. Instead, most of the Accord' s exterior body and chassis panels are joined by overlapping them so that flange joints are not necessary.

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