1994 Honda Accord -- Body - Overview & Styling
- The '94 Accord body is new in virtually every detail. Major areas of improvement include the following:
- Exterior and interior styling-A new sportier, more elegant look
- Aerodynamic efficiency-Quieter ride and better weather protection
- Safety-Greatly strengthened body structure that meets 1997 side-impact standards, and is reinforced for full-frontal, offset-frontal, rear barrier and rollover impacts.
- Quality and reduced NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness)- The Accord's rigid body, combined with new engine mounts, and high-tech damping materials throughout the body has yielded significant reductions in engine noise, vibration and road noise.
- Rigidity-The Accord body has 38% greater torsional stiffness and 25% greater bending resistance than its predecessor, yet weighs only 50 lbs. more. As a result, it has better finish quality, better handling and less NVH.
- Security, durability and environmental impact-Stronger, better protected locks and latches and the extensive use of galvanized steel help improve the Accord's durability. In addition, the Accord uses a CFC-free refrigerant in its air conditioning system.
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Designers at Honda R & D North America (HRA), Honda R & D Europe (HRE) and Honda's design center in Japan collaborated in shaping the new Accord. Their goal was to create a look that conveyed an image of "strength, "sportiness" and "intelligence."
While traditional Accord design concepts, such as a large, glassy cabin and the cab-forward design pioneered by its predecessor, are still present, their execution is completely new and different. The overall shape can best be described as an aero-wedge that blends the crisp lines of the classic wedge with the dictates of modern aerodynamic efficiency. The result is a more elegant and distinctive-looking automobile.
In profile, this wedge theme is quite evident in the strong character line that begins at the nose and rises, unbroken, over the front fender and along the upper side. As it passes along the rear quarter of the car, a pronounced rear fender blister accentuates it and helps carry the line to the extreme rear of the car. There, it terminates just a few inches below the rear deck.
The Accord's tall cabin blends smoothly into this overall shape. The large steeply-raked windshield and slender A-pillars flow up and into the roof without a sharp break, then continue back past a tapered B-pillar to a tapered, steeply raked C-pillar. The C-pillar dominates the rear of the car, blending smoothly into the rear deck and also extending down along the rear flank. This effect is even more dramatic on the Accord Coupe, because the C-pillar sweeps up to meet the roof at a steeper angle than on the Sedan.
The LX and EX Coupe also use an integrated antenna built into the rear window glass instead of a mast. This new design boasts the sensitivity of a conventional mast antenna and helps keep the Coupe's body lines uncluttered. In addition, it is not subject to damage or vandalism.
The body detailing is also more carefully blended into the overall design, helping to reinforce the Accord's quality look. The gap between the bumper's outer skin and the adjacent body panel is smaller, creating a cleaner, more integrated look. In front, the rectangular cool-air intake of the previous Accord is gone. Instead, the front bumper divides the cool-air intake into a louvered upper section and a lower section. The distinctive clear-lens, multi-reflector headlights first used on the 1990 Accord are retained; however, they are narrower and integrated into the sharper nose of the new car.
The rear of the Accord features a high rear deck with a small overhang along its trailing edge. The large, integrated taillights that dominate the rear are a break with Accord tradition, as they no longer extend across the width of the trunk lid. Instead, they stack vertically, their outside edges blending with the contour of the rear quarter panels. Body width is greatest at the beltline, with a pronounced inward taper toward the roof.
The 13 cu. ft. trunk is fully lined. A space-saver spare tire (Sedan and Coupe) is located under the cargo compartment floor. The trunk uses an articulated link hinge assembly. It allows the trunk lid to open more than 90 degrees, making cargo loading easier. In addition, the hinge assembly's compactness saves 1.5 cu. ft. of trunk space. The hinge uses gas-filled struts in place of springs. The struts have a slight pre-load so that the trunk lid will pop open approximately one-half inch, making it easier to raise the lid.
The Accord Wagon has the same shape as the Sedan from nose to C-pillar and then adds a large, glassy rear cargo area. The rear hatch's rake angle matches the rake of the C-pillar and improves aerodynamic flow. A rear window washer/wiper is also standard. Large taillights, with rounded corners, smoothly blend the lower rear into the flanks. The rear bumper of the Wagon features a built-in step to make roof access easier.
The Wagon's flat-floor cargo area is fully lined and has 25.7 cu. ft. of space. A full-size spare tire is located under the cargo compartment floor. A convenient cargo area cover provides security for valuables. The Wagon, Sedan and Coupe all have pre-wired electrical couplers for towing trailers. Rated towing capacity is 1000 lbs. for all models.
The Wagon's keyless, remote entry system now uses a radio-frequency transmitter and receiver instead of the previous infrared unit. The new system has an operating radius of 12 ft. The new radio-frequency system also works over a 360-degree range and uses fewer components. When the system is activated, it turns on the interior dome light and unlocks all the doors and the tailgate. If a door is not opened, the system will automatically lock all the doors again and turn off the dome light after 30 seconds.
In addition to creating a distinctive style, the Accord's aero-wedge styling contributes to improved performance, increased fuel efficiency, reduced wind noise and improved weather sealing.
To maximize their aerodynamic efficiency, the final shapes of the Sedan, Coupe and Wagon were derived from extensive testing in the wind tunnel at the Tochigi Honda R & D center.
In order to better manage the airflow around the underside of the Accord, its designers adopted several aerodynamic ground-effect devices found on contemporary racing cars. For example, the wraparound front air dam helps minimize drag and aerodynamic lift at the front of the car. The air dam's size, placement and shape also help improve brake cooling by redirecting air toward the calipers and discs. The air dam is also designed for minimal ground contact at steep approach angles.
At the front of the rear wheel arch, the side sill garnish has been shaped into a strake, or fence, that also redirects air away from the underside. Behind the rear wheel arch, the lower portion of the rear bumper forms a skirt that serves the same function. As this skirt wraps around the rear of the Accord, it opens to form a tunnel. This tunnel, along with the aerodynamically smooth underside of the trunk floor, and the Accord's high rear deck and rear deck spoiler, work to accelerate underbody air into the low-pressure area behind the car. The net effect is a reduction in both aerodynamic drag and lift.
Wind noise-measured in the cabin at a speed of 160 km/h (100 mph), over an 800 Hz band width-has been reduced a significant 3.1 dB, when compared to the previous Accord. In order to achieve this reduction, the Accord uses several aerodynamic noise reduction techniques. All glass is nearly flush-fitting and the door windows are installed in their winder mechanisms while in the up, or sealed, position, rather than in the conventional down position, thus ensuring a tighter seal. The rain guards along the roof have been redesigned and the windshield wiper arms have been lowered andrepositioned closer to the trailing edge of the hood. The number of body panels has been reduced, hence decreasing the number of turbulence-inducing gaps between panels. In addition, gap widths have been minimized.
One unique result of all the time the Accord spent in the tunnel is that its engineers were able to redesign the outside mirrors so that air flowed around them without creating a still pocket on the side glass. As a result, the mirrors are easier to see in the rain.
Crush Zones, Reinforced Body Structure and a Reinforced Passenger
Major efforts to reduce the weight of the Accord allowed its engineers to reinforce key areas for greater strength and better energy management in a collision. The Accord meets or exceeds the following impact standards:
- Full-frontal barrier impact at 30 mph (Honda tests at 35 mph)
- Angled (30 degrees right and left) frontal barrier impact at 30 mph
- Offset-frontal barrier impact
- (There is no government standard for offset impact; however, Honda engineers felt the '94 Accord should be designed to withstand this type of impact.)
- Current 20-mph side-impact standards
- 1997 U.S. government side-impact standards (33.5-mph angled impact)
- Full rear impact at 30 mph (Honda tests at 35 mph)
Honda engineers used computer-aided design (CAD) and extensive testing in order to design a structure that would meet their impact-protection goals and would also be structurally stiff. By applying various weight-saving technologies to the '94 Accord body, they were able to reduce its weight by 26 kg (58 lb.), when compared to the '90 Accord. Then 49 kg (108 lb.) of mass was put back into reinforcing key elements of the Accord's body. Ultimately, the '94 Accord body is only 23 kg (50 lb.) heavier than its predecessor, despite its greater width, yet it is considerably stronger, with 25% greater bending stiffness and 380/o greater torsional stiffness to static loading than its predecessor.
Specific areas of body reinforcement include:
- Reinforced A- and B-pillars and door jambs
- Reinforced main front frame rails
- Reinforced front outriggers (the angled section that mates the lower, front frame rail to the side sill)
- Reinforced lower side sills and side rails above the cabin
- The steering column support is now a reinforced bracket that extends all the way across the front of the vehicle, from door jamb to door jamb
- A reinforced front floor
Some of the measures taken to improve side-impact protection include:
- A reinforced, tubular side-impact beam in each door
- Energy-absorbing pads built into the door linings at hip and shoulder level
- A highly rigid body
- Stronger door latches
- Thicker steel in the front fenders, hood and doors