Acura Vigor

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Honda Vigor
Acura Vigor
Manufacturer Honda
Production 1981-1995
Class Compact car (1981-1989)
Mid-size (1989-1995)
Related Honda Accord
Honda Inspire

The Honda Vigor is a compact sedan sold in Japan from 1981 to 1995. It was sold in North America from 1992 to 1994 as the Acura Vigor, a mid-size luxury car. It was replaced in North America with the Acura TL and in Japan with the Honda Saber. The Vigor started out in Japan only in the early 1980s as an luxury level Accord, and as such was Honda's flagship sedan until the arrival of the Honda Legend. With later generations the Vigor stayed upmarket and received a shared platform with the luxury sedan Honda Inspire with its engine installed longitudinally as in the second generation Honda Legend.

The Vigor was sold only in Japan at Honda Verno dealerships as a hatchback and sedan companion to the Honda Prelude, and alongside the Honda Civic based Honda Quint four door hatchback, and the Ballade. The Vigor was also the top level sedan at Honda Verno, as the Legend was only offered at Honda Clio dealerships. It was later exported to North America as the mid-level sedan to accompany the Acura Legend and entry-level Integra. The Vigor was developed during what was known in Japan as the Japanese asset price bubble or "bubble economy".


First generation (SZ (hatchback)/AD (sedan))

Honda Vigor
1981-1983 Honda Vigor (Accord image used)
Also called Honda Accord 2nd gen
Production 1981–1985
Assembly Sayama, Saitama, Japan
Class Compact
Body style 3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
Engine 1.8 L EK1 I4 CVCC-II carburetor
1.8 L ES3 I4 PGM-FI
Transmission 4-speed Hondamatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,450 mm (96 in) sedan
Length 4,410 mm (174 in) sedan
Width 1,650 mm (65 in) sedan
Height 1,375 mm (54 in) sedan

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, using Honda's CVCC-II system. The Vigor was a sportier, faster, "vigorous" Accord with a higher level of equipment over the more sedate Accord. Due to the higher level of luxury oriented equipment, the Vigor help "set the stage" for the market to accept a luxury equipped car from Honda, which appeared in 1985 with the Honda Legend. The Vigor competed with the Toyota Chaser and the Nissan Laurel in Japan. The rear lighting implementation consisted of the license plate installed in the bumper, with a black trim piece between the rear tail lights and the word "Vigor" inscribed. The Accord installed the rear license plate between the rear tail lights.

This engine used the SOHC 3 valve per cylinder CVCC-II setup, mated to a 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic transmission with a lock up torque converter. Vehicles with a manual transmission and the CVCC carburetor earned 13.6 km/L (38 mpg-imp; 32 mpg-US) based on Japanese Government emissions tests using 10 different modes of scenario standards, and 110 PS (80.9 kW; 108.5 bhp), and 23 km/L (65 mpg-imp; 54 mpg-US) at consistently maintained speeds at 60 km/h (37.3 mph). Vehicles with PGM-FI earned 13.2 km/L (37 mpg-imp; 31 mpg-US) based on Japanese Government emissions tests using 10 different modes of scenario standards, with 130 PS (95.6 kW; 128.2 bhp), and 22 km/L (62 mpg-imp; 52 mpg-US) consistently maintained speeds at 60 km/h (37.3 mph).

Items that were optional on the Accord, such as cruise control, air conditioning with automatic fan speed control and thermostatically monitored temperature, power windows with driver's one touch express down, and power steering were standard on the Vigor. A trip computer that displayed mileage, driving time, and fuel economy that Honda called in sales brochure literature as "Electronic Navigator" was also standard on the Vigor. All Vigors were also equipped with ELR (Emergency Locking Retractor) seatbelts. One of the optional items on the Vigor was an Electro Gyrocator, the world's first automatic in-car navigation system.[1] Other items included digital instrumentation, four wheel Anti-lock brakes, a choice of stereo systems from Alpine, Clarion, and Pioneer, alloy wheels (13 inch), and adjustable thigh support on the front passenger seat.

As of 1985, trim levels that were offered were the MG, ME, and ME-R for the sedan. Earlier trim packages were the VXR, VX, and VL, all using the CVCC-II induction setup. Honda's fuel injection system was offered on the VTL-i, and VT-i. As the hatchback continued to be manufactured as an Accord only, the Vigor hatchback was available with the trim packages MX-T, and the ME-T until it was replaced by the Honda Integra 2-door hatchback in 1984. Earlier trim packages for the Vigor hatchback were the TXL, TX, and TU using the carburetor, and the TT-i with fuel injection. Vehicles that were installed with fuel injection no longer used the CVCC system.[2] Some of the standard equipment on the MX-T hatchback and the MG and ME sedans included cruise control, 2 position 4 Wheel auto leveling suspension, fuel usage computer, AM/FM cassette stereo and two Coaxial loudspeakers, flow through ventilation, velour interior with split folding rear seats, and a rear cargo cover for the hatchbacks. The higher trim level ME-T hatchback and the ME-R also included delayed interior illumination (called "theater lighting"), four coaxial speakers with the stereo system, power windows and locks, disc brakes front and rear, and speed sensitive power steering.

With some differences in the equipment available between the Accord and the Vigor, the vehicle was essentially the same. Producing a vehicle with two different names allowed Honda to sell the car at different sales channels in Japan; the Vigor was sold at Honda Verno dealerships, and the Accord was sold at Honda Clio dealerships. The fully equipped Vigor 2 door hatchback offered cargo carrying flexibility over the first generation Nissan Leopard coupe, which was not a hatchback, an approach shared with the first and second generation Toyota Supra. Here is a Japanese television commercial for the Vigor

Second generation (CA1-CA2-CA3)

Honda Vigor
JDM Honda Vigor MX-L
Also called Honda Accord 3rd gen
Production 1986–1989
Assembly Sayama, Saitama, Japan
Class Compact
Body style 4-door sedan
Engine 1.8L A18A I4
1.8L B18A I4
2.0L B20A I4 120 hp (89 kW)
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 102.4 in (2,601 mm)
Length 179.7 in (4,564 mm)
Width 67.4 in (1,712 mm)
Height 53.4 in (1,356 mm)

June 4, 1985 saw the introduction of the redesigned Vigor as a four-door sedan only. As before, the Vigor was a luxury 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, as well as a higher specification. The adoption of concealed headlights reflected the popularity of the Honda Prelude, as the Vigor continued to be a companion at Honda Verno dealerships. The Vigor installed the rear license plate in the rear bumper, whereas the Accord installed the license plate indented on the trunklid. The trim level designations were 2.0 Si, MXL-S, MX, MXL, and MF. May 1987 saw the introduction of the 2.0 Si Exclusive, adding electric retractable side view mirrors as standard. An automatic shift-lock system was added in September 1988 on the "MXL Super Stage" trim level.

The second generation Vigor also benefited from Honda deciding to employ double-wishbones at both the front and rear ends—a layout that spread to other Honda products in subsequent years. While more expensive than competitors' MacPherson strut systems, this setup provided better stability and sharper handling for the vehicle. All had front sway bars and upper models had rear sway bars as well. Brakes were either small 4-wheel discs with twin-piston calipers (only available on the JDM 2.0-Si model ), larger 4-wheel discs with single piston calipers, or a front disc/rear drum system. ABS was available as an option on the 4-wheel disc brake models. Base model Vigors rode on 13-inch steel wheels with hubcaps with more expensive models having the option of 14-inch alloy wheels. As established with the first generation car, the luxury content was also extensive in comparison to luxury equipment available from competitors at the time. Some of the items on the top level 2.0Si included a power tinted glass moonroof, optional four-wheel antilock brakes, optional coloured LCD digital instruments (speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge and engine temperature), tilt steering with speed sensitive power steering, cruise control, power windows, power door locks, electronic AM/FM stereo radio with cassette and 4 speakers (high power) with subwoofer and amplifier, intermittent front wipers (variable), 4-Wheel disc brakes (front: 2 piston calipers with ventilated front discs), and optional leather interior.

Third generation (CB5/CC2 & CC3)

Honda Vigor (3rd generation)
Honda Vigor
Manufacturer Honda
Also called Acura Vigor
Honda Inspire
Production 1992–1994 (USA)
1989–1995 (Japan)
Assembly Sayama, Saitama, Japan
Successor Acura TL
Honda Saber
Class Mid-size luxury car
Body style 4-door "B" Pillar hardtop
Layout MF layout
Engine 2.5 L G25A1 Straight-5
2.0 L G20A1 Straight-5
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 110.4 in (2,804 mm)
Length 190.4 in (4,836 mm)
Width 70.1 in (1,781 mm)
Height 1992-93: 53.9 in (1,369 mm)
1994: 52.0 in (1,321 mm)
Related Honda Rafaga
Honda Inspire
Honda Ascot

At the launch of the fourth generation Accord, the Vigor was no longer based on the Accord chassis. The third generation Vigor, fulfilling as the top level sedan at Honda Verno dealerships in Japan, was shared with the all new Honda Inspire and the new second generation Honda Legend, sold at Honda Clio dealerships. The Vigor was sold in the United States and was badged as the first generation Acura Vigor in 1992.[3] In Japan, the Vigor competed against the Toyota Chaser and the Nissan Laurel. The Vigor in Japan was available in four trim packages, starting with the Type N, Type E, Type W, and Type X. In May 1991, the Type N package was no longer offered, and the top trim package was the Type S-Limited. Starting January 1992, the trim packages were 2.5XS, 2.5S, 2.5X, 2.5W, 2.0G, and the Type W.

Production began in 1991[4] and the vehicle went on sale as a 1992 model in June of that year, slotting between the Integra and the Acura Legend in North America, with the platform shared as the Honda Inspire between the Honda Concerto and the Honda Legend in Japan at Honda Clio. Due to its exterior dimensions, it was not considered a "compact" based on Japanese vehicle size requirements, and as such, was very similar in dimensions to the Legend, with the only difference being that the Vigor had a 5 cylinder engine. Because this generation Vigor no longer met Japanese dimension regulations, buyers were now liable for additional taxes, and increased yearly costs that had a pronounced affect on sales, as the car was now considered an expensive luxury sedan.

Honda's longitudinally mounted 5-cylinder petrol was the only engine available. The transmission is attached to the bottom of the engine, which allowed the powertrain to remain slightly behind the front wheels. This also gave the car a near perfect 50/50 front to rear weight distribution. Japanese commercial mentioning mid-front powertrain

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.

Poor sales and no improvement in market response led Honda to drop the model, and production ended on May 13, 1994. The Vigor was replaced by the 1996 Acura TL/Honda Saber.[5]


First generation equipment decalarations transcribed from Japanese language brochures for each year it was manufactured.

External links

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