Home » The 2024 Honda Accord Is $7,000 More Expensive Than A 1976 Accord, How Much Better Is It?

The 2024 Honda Accord Is $7,000 More Expensive Than A 1976 Accord, How Much Better Is It?

Then Now Accord Ts
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The 11th-generation Honda Accord landed for the 2023 model year and, while it might not be a pickup truck or a budget model, it sells hundreds of thousands of units year in, year out. In a market where sedans were long declared dead, the Accord still helps Honda make bank. Let’s take a look at how the Accord of today compares with the very first models to hit the US all the way back in 1976.

Welcome to Then And Now, the recurring feature where we look at popular, influential, or otherwise important long-running models. We examine how they’ve changed in line with market trends and consumer preferences, and how they’ve survived the ever-changing automotive landscape. The Toyota Camry was our last Then And Now subject. Today, we’re putting Honda’s effective equivalent under the same microscope.

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We’ll stack up the numbers, scope the differences between the 1976 model and the new hotness, and find out whether the new model is still a legendary buy like so many generations that came before. Let’s get started!

Accord Wheelbases
These side views are in scale; the 1976 Accord had a 93.7 in. wheelbase, while the latest model measures 111.4 inches between the axles.

PRICE: 2024 Accord vs. 1976 Accord

The Honda Accord entered development after the success of the Honda Civic in the early 1970s. Having started with pint-size minicars, Honda was slowly working its way up to become a full-line automaker. The Accord was the next step on that path, with Honda looking to build a larger vehicle in a segment above the compact Civic.

The Accord first dropped in 1976, hitting the US market at a price of $3,995. That’s just $21,929 in 2024 dollars, which would make the Accord a bargain option in today’s market. As a guide, the median family income in the US was $14,960, equal to $82,117 today.

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Pictures Honda Accord 1976 1

The Accord once again relied upon the transverse front-wheel drive layout that had served Honda so well thus far. It was named to reflect “Honda’s desire for accord and harmony between people, society and the automobile.” The Accord was initially only available as a three-door hatch. The four-door sedan dropped in late 1977 in Japan, and reached the US market a little while later.

Photos Honda Accord 1977 1
The Accord hatch came first, but it was the sedan format that the Accord would eventually run with. JDM models were all about the fender mirrors, but these weren’t used in every market.

The 2024 Honda Accord starts at $28,990 by comparison. That’s a full $7,000 more expensive than the 1976 Accord, accounting for inflation. In the US, the median family income was $74,580 in 2022, the closest year that we have data for. Adjusted to 2024 prices, it’s equal to $79,083 today.

22.1 2023 Honda Accord Touring
The new Accord wears similar design language to the current generation Civic.

It’s obvious that the Honda Accord has ticked up in price over the years. Where a 1976 model cost just 26% of the median income, a 2024 Accord takes a more substantial chunk at 36%. That shift hasn’t come quickly; instead, the Accord, like the Civic, has slowly moved a little upmarket over the years.

Screenshot 2024 05 06 153111

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POWER & WEIGHT: 2024 Accord v. 1976 Accord

Engine-wise, the 1976 model featured a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with Honda’s CVCC technology. It delivered 68 horsepower. That doesn’t sound like much by today’s standards, but traffic as a whole was much lazier in the 1970s. Cars were much lighter back then, which helped offset the low power output, anyway. The first-gen three-door hatch weighed just 2,083 pounds at most. The sedan came later, and it had the same wheelbase as the hatch. This gave it a slightly odd overhang for a three-box car, but it was not an unattractive design. Initial transmissions were a five-speed manual or a two-speed Hondamatic semi-auto; the latter was eventually replaced by a traditional three-speed automatic in 1980.

Screenshot 2024 05 06 150951

Cvcc Detail

Screenshot 2024 05 06 150943
The original Accord would achieve 42 mpg combined with the five-speed manual. The new Accord Hybrid will do 44 mpg.

The Accord has come a long way since then. In 2024, it’s available solely as a four-door sedan, with the model now featuring turbocharged and hybrid engine options.  The base model has a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine which delivers 192 horsepower to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission. Alternatively, the Accord can also be had with a hybrid drivetrain. It consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors which combine to deliver a total of 204 horsepower. The new Accord weighs between 3,239 to 3,525 pounds depending on spec, with hybrid models coming in heavier than their solely ICE-powered counterparts.

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32 2023 Honda Accord 1.5 L Turbo Powertrain

31 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Powertrain
Honda offers a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine or a hybrid drivetrain in the new Accord. Note the orange high-voltage wiring on the latter.

The new model is far more powerful than the 1976 original, and far more sophisticated at that. The hybrid 2024 model has three times the power of the first US market Accord, while only weighing around 1.7 times as much.

That difference adds up to much quicker acceleration in the latest models. The original 1976 Accord would take over 15 seconds to hit 60 mph, according to contemporary road tests. The 2024 base model will smash that sprint in just 7.3 seconds, or 6.5 seconds if you’ve got the hybrid.

Sadly, though, the quickest Accord was of the previous generation. The turbocharged Accord Sport 2.0T had 252 horsepower, and would hit 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds.

The previous-generation 2018 Honda Accord Sport 2.0T is faster than any model of the current generation.

Notably, the new Accord is also much larger than the original. The 1976 Accord had a wheelbase of just 93.7 inches, compared to 111.4 inches for the 11th-generation model. The original was also just 63.8 inches wide and 175.2 inches long in sedan form, versus 73.2 inches wide and 195.7 inches for the 2024 model.

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Options: 2024 Accord v. 1976 Accord

When the Accord hit the market in 1976, it had a number of whiz-bang gizmos that were quite futuristic for its time. It featured a dashboard with a status display in the outline of the car. This would tell you if a taillight was burnt out or if you’d left a door ajar. It even had warning lights hooked into the odometer that would tell you when your oil, oil filter and tire rotation services were due. They’d go orange in the lead up to the service interval, and red if you missed it. To reset them, you inserted the ignition key into a slot beneath the speedometer.

Other nice touches include an interior release for the rear hatch, a rear wiper and window washer, and defogging vents built into the doors. Common features today, but a big deal back in 1976. Options included air conditioning, a clock, a roof rack, or tonneau covers. Really, though, the vast majority of equipment was included as standard—including the AM/FM radio! Wow.

The 1976 Accord had a pretty advanced dash for the era. Warnings for service intervals and everything!
Images Honda Accord 1976 3
The five-speed was the transmission to have. It was cheaper and got better fuel economy than the early auto boxes from Honda. This is a JDM model—note the road safety flare in the passenger footwell.

The original Accord also got a luxury upgrade later in its run. In 1981, the four-door SE trim could be optioned with leather seats and power windows. That was pretty sweet gear for what was otherwise a regular commuter car from the 1970s.

23.1 2023 Honda Accord Tourning
The new Accord is all digital, baby.
25 2023 Honda Accord Touring
“Analog gauges? Where we’re goin’, we don’t need analog gauges.”

Naturally, the latest Accord is equipped with all the modern niceties, typical for a car in its class. Air conditioning is standard like with virtually all modern cars. Same with the 7-inch infotainment screen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto built-in. Upgrade to the higher trims, though, and you get a 12.3-inch touchscreen that also comes with wireless CarPlay and Android Auto instead of the tethered version.

Naturally, you get the full suite of Honda Sensing driver assists, including lane departure warnings and Honda’s Traffic Jam Assist. There’s also an automatic grille shutter that helps improve aero for better fuel economy. You get more or less USB ports depending on how much money you spend, along with a wireless Qi-compatible phone charger in higher trims. Power windows, cruise control, and push-button start are standard across the range. Other options include heated seats, with top trims even heating the outboard rear positions. You can also get a power moonroof if you enjoy the ventilation.

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27 2023 Honda Accord Touring
Big screens are all the rage in 2024.

True To Self

The Accord saw the biggest shift to its original positioning just a few years after launch. Where it started as a three-door hatch, its first generation ended up adding the sedan bodystyle in short order. Since then, we’ve come to know the Accord best in this format.

The automotive market has moved a lot over the years, and today, Honda is seen as a trusted middle-market offering. But in many ways, the Accord hasn’t changed that much. Sure, it has more equipment today than it did in 1976, but even back then, it was remarkably well-equipped versus its contemporaries. It came standard with a lot of features that were special options on many of its rivals.

2023 Honda Accord.

In relative terms, you’ll pay more for an Accord today than you would back in the day. But that’s more a factor of the changing car market than any intentional moves by Honda. The Japanese automaker didn’t try and turn the Accord into a luxury model, nor did it reposition it drastically at any point. Instead, the Accord has moved a little bit upmarket—but never so far that it couldn’t look back to see where it came from.

Image credits: Honda

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Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
13 days ago

The one thing that the old Accord has over the current one is the hatch option. A sport-back Accord would be a big hit.

John Metcalf
John Metcalf
14 days ago

My Honda was a 1980 Civic, but that red interior and dash looks soooo familiar. In hindsight clouded by nostalgia, I can say I really loved that car.

EXL500
EXL500
14 days ago

I think it would be interesting to do a similar comparison of the original Accord to today’s Civic, which is bigger than the OG Accord and less expensive than today’s Accord, yet loaded with the same amenities as the modern Accord.

I believe this would highlight the value of the current offering even more, especially with a Civic hybrid on the horizon.

Last edited 14 days ago by EXL500
ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
14 days ago

In addition to all of the above, the modern Accord is far more reliable than the original, puts out fewer emissions, and is lightyears safer. Considering everything, the new Accord is a bargain compared to the original.

Beer-light Guidance
Beer-light Guidance
14 days ago

The Accord is the best looking sedan on sale right now. The back end is brilliant and the rest holds too.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
14 days ago

Completely agree! Every time I see one now I think of how attractive it is from all angles.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
14 days ago

Counterpoint: the Alfa Romeo Giulia is still on sale. It’s a bit dated, but still quite a looker. Same applies to the Jaaaaaaguar XF (which I didn’t realize is still on sale), and – to a lesser degree, and more on the ‘handsome’ than ‘pretty’ front – Volvo S60 and S90.

Non-luxury counterpoint: Mazda3 sedan. Also the new Camry is legitimately sharp.

The accord’s front looks like they took the current Ford Explorer, squashed it, and carved away some excess away while preserving the shape of the grille and headlights – including the DRL shape and location! They then slapped that on the body of some generic and staid German-looking (probably VW) sedan, with a dash of the Crosstour’s hunchback roofline (carried over from the old model). It’s so boring while also being awkward. I don’t get how and why they signed off on that. They got rid of the Schick/Gillette front of the old car with its Swingline staplah taillights and dove right into anonymity. You could remove the Honda badges and I’d believe it was a Chinese knock-off of other brands. Or even an updated chevy malibu – though they’d probably stick the headlamps in the bumper per their current trend.

The civic even looks better than the accord, if you’re keeping it in the family. Heck, the Acura….. tlx (had to look it up) even looks better, even if it does resemble a low-resolution “pinched loaf” on wheels.

Kia K5; Nissan Maxima – actually throw the Altima and Sentra in there, too; Lexus ES, IS, and LS; Mercedes C, E, & S-classes; Genesis G80 & G90…. The list of better-looking sedans is quite lengthy. I’d even throw the two remaining Cadillac CTs in there, even though I think they’re too fussy; overall they’re still better-looking than the accord.

So I would posit that it looks new, but not good.

AceRimmer
AceRimmer
9 days ago

Gawd no! Box Rocket is right; any of the cars mentioned are better than current Accord. It looks like what a Ford Fusion would if it was still made- really cheap!

ProfessorOfUselessFacts
ProfessorOfUselessFacts
14 days ago

My dad’s Accord history is ’86,’92, ’02, ’18. I got the ’92 when I was in high school, and it lived until just short of 300k miles.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
14 days ago

When the Accord was introduced, the most popular car in the US was the Oldsmobile Cutlass.

Today, the Accord is the size of a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

Ben Chia
Ben Chia
14 days ago

My dad had a first gen Accord, followed by a second gen. I always thought the warning indicators in the dash were really cool, and wondered why other cars didn’t have them.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
15 days ago

I’ve always liked those early Accords, perfect car for getting from Point A to Point B, and, on weekends, Point C

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
15 days ago

I think the biggest increase in the value of cars has been corrosion resistance.

My girlfriend in 1992 had a silver 1982 Accord sedan. At only 10 years old, it had over 300,000 miles on it, still running like new but wearing out tires, handling corners and bumps funny. It was done when the floorboards, rockers and frame got so rusty that the doors wouldn’t open or close normally. I’m not sure the strut tower mounts were any better.

For fun, while waiting for the wrecker to haul it to the junkyard, we opened the doors and jumped up and down on the sills until the poor thing sagged so low the center touched the ground with every jump.

It had been garage kept, but used for pizza delivery almost every night. No car, no matter how neglected, should ever rust that much in 10 years. I’m 100% sure it should’ve been junked for safety at least a couple years prior.

Other than the absurd susceptibility to rust, it was a spectacular car in almost every way.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
15 days ago

Addressing this issue only from the context of each car in its era, the original Accord was revolutionary for the compact class, whereas the latest Accord is more of an evolutionary development, which stands to reason. In this one respect, I would say the original was a much more significant vehicle (not better, except with regard to its competitors) than the contemporary model and heavily influenced how both car buyers and manufacturers not only came to view small cars in the U.S., but raised expectations. That the latest Accord continues to meet these expectations is a tribute to both its history and evolution, but, in my view, it’s not the trendsetter it once was. That isn’t a negative, more the result of the competition catching up, although these days, much of the competition has withdrawn from the field. Good to have it still around, though.

V10omous
V10omous
15 days ago

I am once again begging for reliability/expected usable life to be considered in this series.

The 5 digit odometer is clearly visible in the picture of the ‘76. That alone speaks volumes compared to the quarter million mile life you could reasonably expect out of todays model.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
15 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

I’ve wondered about this too. Accord-ing (lol) to the Bureau of Transportation and DOT statistics, the average car in 1976 was 6.2 years old, compared to 13.6 years old in 2023. So, a 119% increase in lifespan, roughly.

This bears out with a recent Forbes article, which says that a car in the 1970s “would likely be scrapped at 100,000 miles,” compared to today’s cars that “will likely be on the road for upwards of 250,000 miles.” So, a 150% increase in longevity by that measure. I think 250k miles might be aggressive for some new cars today, though. 200k might be more reasonable.

Either way, lifespans have about doubled – which is seriously impressive!

Sources:
https://www.bts.gov/content/average-age-automobiles-and-trucks-operation-united-states
https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/onh00/line3.htm
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelharley/2023/06/11/why-do-todays-cars-last-longer-than-they-used-to/?sh=1f4ec65276ed

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
15 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

I still see Gen1 Cvvcs and Accords on my local CL looking minty so as long as you took care of them they could last just fine.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
15 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

You must be in a salt-free area. The only thing that rusted as fast was an Italian car. Early models were engineering genius, but didn’t come with much corrosion resistance.

Autopizen
Autopizen
14 days ago

In NH back then, Subarus were worse than Honda, better than Italy’s cars.

V10omous
V10omous
15 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Besides the rust issue already mentioned, I expect those cars are very low mileage, cared for by obsessive owners, or both.

It’s not uncommon to see a ratty 00s Accord cockroaching along, driven by someone who clearly doesn’t take care of it well. To me, that’s real durability. Anything can last if you care for it.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
14 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Couple of points:

Location matters for more than just rust. I’m in California where the stigma of owning Japanese cars basically didn’t exist in the 1970s and early 80’s so lots of folks here bought these. IIRC it was a different story for the midwest, especially anywhere near domestic auto manufacturing. Maybe you don’t see them where you live so often because there were that many fewer to see from the beginning. I see them more often because they were so common to begin with.
On my end I almost never see a Chevette, K-car and other disposable domestics from that time.
Another point: A lot of cars were lost to collisions or emissions failings. Longevity can’t do much about that.

It’s not uncommon to see a ratty 00s Accord cockroaching along, driven by someone who clearly doesn’t take care of it well.* To me, that’s real durability. Anything can last if you care for it.

You’re comparing 15-24 YO cars to 40-50 YO cars. It wasn’t uncommon to see ratty 70’s Datsuns/Toyotas/Hondas “cockroaching along, driven by someone who clearly doesn’t take care of it well” round about Y2K either. Lets see where those ratty 00s Accords are in 2045.

*Guilty as charged. 2006 Accord here still going strong with little more than fluids/filters/tires.

Last edited 14 days ago by Cheap Bastard
V10omous
V10omous
14 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

 It wasn’t uncommon to see ratty 70’s Datsuns/Toyotas/Hondas “cockroaching along, driven by someone who clearly doesn’t take care of it well” round about Y2K either.

Not anywhere I’ve ever lived.

I have no doubt California has more survivors than other places, but I still don’t think a select few CL gems prove much about the overall durability of those cars. Wherever you lived, many or most of them were gone around 100,000 miles, just like every car made in the 70s. They were well made for their time, but objectively crap compared to modern vehicles.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
14 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Plenty out here. In the early naughts I used to see them out and about even in beach communities owned by no fucks given college students who took “cockroaching along” to an extreme.

Autopizen
Autopizen
14 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Agreed. You can see it in a comment above: purchases in ‘86, ‘92, ‘02, ‘18.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
13 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

I wouldn’t expect that much from the current model.

-EarthDreams engines aren’t known for durability nor longevity

-CVT likewise

-Fewer models are being sold in lieu of crossovers, so the parts availability – new and used – is less than that of, say, a CR-V (though I wouldn’t trust that to go that long, either).

-GDI engines in general don’t seem to have the expected lifespan of non-DI engines. That said, those with both port and direct injection might last longer due to less carbon build-up and fuel dilution in the engine oil, though there’s also the added complexity of the multi-point injection systems.

-Older cars could be viable survivors for longer before infotainment technology encroached its way into the cabin. I have customers who seek out newer vehicles because their phones no longer work with their older cars (which are still newer than my DD, ha!), but don’t/can’t switch to an aftermarket head unit to satisfy their desired functionality. Yeah, there are those of us who still see a CD player – especially an in-dash one! – as a relative luxury, and still rely on AM/FM radio for our in-car entertainment, but that seems to be the increasing minority.

As for the 5-digit odometer, well, 6-digit barrels/displays didn’t come into vogue until, what, the early ’90s or so? Volvo and Mercedes had them in the late 1960s or early 1970s if memory serves, but we’ve even seen numerous relatively-modern vehicles on the Shitbox Showdown with 5-barrel odometer, and some with the rollover count noted to the left of the barrel. Plus Japan isn’t that large, so I imagine a 5-barrel odometer would have worked just fine for them at that time, especially since they use kilometers rather than miles.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
15 days ago

Have to love the Accord. I drove a 2.0t 10th gen with the auto box recently and it was absolutely brilliant considering it’s designed and built as just a regular family car. Craziest thing about these retrospectives is how median family income is slightly less today…google the productivity gap if you aren’t a billionaire and feel like getting more informed/depressed.

Last edited 15 days ago by Shooting Brake
NebraskaStig
NebraskaStig
15 days ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

Regarding income and Hondas, or rather “imports” regardless of where they were made, in the 80s and 90s Midwest they were typically priced higher and had a smaller overall body and engine size compared to domestic competition. In my mind, that thought still holds true except they all got “right-sized” and powered for their respective classes, even if their actual reliability has been caught up to by other manufacturers. Sure, red State equals protectionism so buy ‘Merican notwithstanding for all of my experiences.

Gee See
Gee See
15 days ago

My parents had one in the early 80s. I bet the current one won’t have rusted out floor boards after 5+ years. Also it seems Accords worldwide have more regional variances than in the past.

Last edited 15 days ago by Gee See
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