The Vigor started out in Japan only in the early 1980s as upper trim level Accord, with later generations of the Vigor moved upmarket and received a shared platform with the luxury oriented Honda Inspire, and the engine sat longitudinally like the second generation Acura Legend. In Japan during the early 1990s, there were four sedans between the Civic and the Legend: the Honda Accord and Honda Ascot with 4-cylinder engines mounted transversely, and the Vigor and Inspire with 5-cylinder engines mounted longitudinally. The Vigor was sold at Honda Verno dealerships in Japan, and the Honda Inspire was sold at Honda Clio dealerships.
First generation series SZ/AD (1981-1985)
|Assembly||Sayama, Saitama, Japan|
|Body style(s)||3-door hatchback|
|Engine(s)||1.8 L ES3 I4|
Beginning September 25, 1981, Honda produced a variant of the Honda Accord badged as the Honda Vigor for Japan only. The first generation Vigor was a higher grade 4 door sedan and 3 door hatchback, with the 1.8 L engine as the only engine available. The Vigor was a sportier, faster, "vigorous" Accord with a higher level of equipment over the more sedate Accord. The Vigor competed with the Toyota Corona Mark II and the Nissan Laurel in Japan. This engine debuted the SOHC 3 valve per cylinder mated to a 4 speed automatic transmission with a lock up torque converter. Items that were optional on the Accord, such as cruise control, power windows, and power steering were standard on the Vigor. A trip computer that displayed mileage, driving time, and fuel economy was also standard on the Vigor.
Trim levels that were offered were the VT-i, VTL-i, VXR, VX, VL. PGM-FI fuel injection was standard on the VT-i and VTL-i. The hatchback was available on the TT-i.
Second generation CA1-CA2-CA3 (1985-1989)
|Body style(s)||4-door sedan|
|Engine(s)||1.8L B18A I4|
2.0L B20ATemplate:Convert/hp I4
|Wheelbase||102.4 in (2601 mm)|
|Length||179.7 in (4564 mm)|
|Width||67.4 in (1712 mm)|
|Height||53.4 in (1356 mm)|
June 4, 1985 saw the introduction of the redesigned Vigor as a 4 door sedan only. As before, the Vigor was an uplevel Accord. The 1.8 L B18A engine was now offered with dual carburetors and a larger 2.0 L B20A engine was offered Honda's PGM-FI, with the 1.8 L A18A engine as the basic offering. The Vigor had minor cosmetic differences from the Accord, using a different front grille and rear tail lights. May 1987 saw the introduction of the 2.0 Si Exclusive, adding electric retractable side view mirrors as standard. A automatic shift-lock system was added September 1988 on the "MXL Super Stage" trim level.
Third generation series CB5/CC2 & CC3 (1989-1995)
|Also called||Honda Vigor |
1989 Honda Inspire
|Class||Mid-size luxury car|
|Body style(s)||4-door "B" Pillar hardtop|
|Engine(s)||G25A 2.5L Template:Convert/hp I5|
|Wheelbase||110.4 in (2804 mm)|
|Length||190.4 in (4836 mm)|
|Width||70.1 in (1781 mm)|
|Height||1992-93: 53.9 in (1369 mm)|
1994: 52.0 in (1321 mm)
|Fuel capacity||17.2 US gal.|
At the launch of the fourth generation Accord, the Vigor was no longer based on the Accord chassis. The third generation Vigor was based on the new, longer Honda Inspire and the new Honda Legend. The Vigor was sold in the United States and was badged as the first generation Acura Vigor in 1992. The Honda Inspire was not yet introduced to the USA until the next generation was introduced in 1995, and sold as the Acura 3.2 TL, with the Vigor sold as the Acura 2.5 TL.
Honda, Acura's parent company, anticipated that the market would move toward small, well-equipped sports sedans akin to the BMW 3-Series and that a less expensive but well equipped alternative to the BMW would be a strong seller; the Vigor was the result of that thinking. They were wrong, and early reviews of the Vigor were not favorable. Comparisons to the Lexus ES 300, which was roomier and softer in ride, generally favored the Lexus as the more appealing buy for the average luxury car buyer, whereas the Vigor was stiff and small.
Despite this, the model did receive points for its handling prowess, which was very good for a front-wheel-drive sedan.
In response to the reviews, Acura made several changes to the Vigor for the 1994 model year, increasing rear seat room, softening the suspension and re-engineering the steering rack to help isolate the driver from road imperfections in an attempt to make the model more like the ES. The tactics were unsuccessful; buyers favored the more powerful Legend as a sports sedan and still seemed to prefer the ES as an entry-level luxury model.
Acura, a division of Honda — road car timeline, 1986–present