This page is about this vehicle's Japanese model. See Honda Accord for information on the North American model.
The Honda Inspire (Japanese: ホンダ・インスパイア) is a luxury sedan introduced by Honda in 1990 and based on the Honda Accord chassis. The first Inspire debuted in 1990 as the Accord Inspire, a sister nameplate to the Honda Vigor, then the Honda Vigor was exported to the US as the Acura Vigor. They were the same car sold at different retail channels in Japan.
In 1995 the Inspire was updated by the second generation model, on a platform it shared with the Honda Legend, and exported to the US as the Acura 3.2 TL, while the Vigor nameplate was dropped. The longitudinal 2.5 L straight-5 engine layout and platform remained and was sold as the Acura 2.5 TL.
In 1999 these cars were replaced by the third generation TL that was based on the USA-spec Accord platform, and largely designed and engineered in the US by Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in Raymond, Ohio. Manufactured in the US, these were imported into Japan as the new Inspire and Saber.
In June 2003, the fourth generation Inspire was introduced in Japan. It was the redesigned American-spec Accord. This Inspire marks the first time Honda introduced their Variable Cylinder Management technology.
In October 2005, a fourth generation Inspire received a mild restyle, with new headlights, new taillights, revised interior and new colors. The Inspire targeted the Nissan Teana, the Toyota Mark X and numerous other entry level luxury cars from Japan.
In October 2007, the fifth generation of the Inspire was previewed at the Tokyo Auto Show. It is essentially a rebadged 2008 North American-market Accord with minor exterior and interior modifications.
On October 12, 1989, the "inspired Accord" was introduced. The Honda Inspire was shared with the Honda Vigor which was an upper trim level, previous generation JDM Honda Accord, and was sold in the USA as the Acura Vigor. The Honda Inspire shared its platform with the flagship Honda Legend, which was co-developed with British Leyland and used for the Rover 800. The Inspire was introduced before the recession developed in Japan in the early 1990s, and Honda wanted a car that would compete with the Toyota Mark II and Nissan Laurel, with the unique inline 5 cylinder Honda G engine, in a front wheel drive configuration. The Inspire was very successful for Honda. This 5 cylinder engine was also used in the JDM Honda Rafaga, which was a sedan.
The bodystyle was a 4-door hardtop, but it wasn't a true hardtop, using a "B" pillar between the front and rear passenger compartments, but used frameless side doors.
The Inspire was offered before the recession took hold of Japan's economy during the early 1990s, and offered a luxurious approach to the interior. Interior appearance was provided by the Japanese furniture company, Tendo Mokko, offering unique leather interior and genuine wood inserts for the dashboard and center console. A choice of wood inserts were offered.
The SOHC 4 valve per cylinder G20A Straight-5 cylinder was all new, with a choice of 2.0 L or 2.5 L engine displacement. The five cylinder was a compromise between the smaller, frugal but weaker 4 cylinder engine, and the larger, less fuel efficient V6 engine, as Honda wanted the engine to be a good match for the Inspire's luxury aspirations. The harshness typical of a 5 cylinder engine was minimized by adding a counter rotating balance shaft and improved engine motor mounts. The engine produced adequate torque, which helped its fuel efficiency.
The vehicles offered by competitors were front engine and rear drive, which put the Inspire at a disadvantage with the weight of the powertrain being entirely over the front axle. The turning radius of the Inspire also wasn't as tight as its competitors, but the Inspire did have an advantage in adverse traction conditions.
This version of the Inspire has a loyal fan club in Japan.
The second generation Inspire was almost identical in its dimensions to the first generation Honda Legend, with that vehicle having been updated and enlarged to better fit the role of flagship for the Honda and Acura brands. The second generation Inspire was available with the Type I 3.2 L V6 offered in the Legend on July 6 1995, while still offering the Straight 5 in both 2.0 L and 2.5 L versions. The profile of this vehicle was reduced somewhat to 1,405mm (55.3in). The luxury approach was enhanced.
November 8, 1996 saw the introduction of dual airbags for front seat passengers and anti-lock brakes as standard.
As the recession in Japan began to take hold, cost cutting measures began to appear in the reduction in the quality of the interior. The interior approach began to take on a more family sedan friendly appearance, with influences from the Honda Odyssey.
This version of the Inspire competed with the Toyota Camry Gracia, Mark II, Cresta and Chaser, the Nissan Cefiro and Skyline, the Mazda Millenia and the Mitsubishi Diamante.
The third generation Honda Inspire was introduced October 15, 1998, and was the first Honda designed and built in the USA and imported to Japan. It was based on the CG series, USA-spec Honda Accord sedan, and closely related to the new Honda Torneo. Sales of the popular USA-spec Honda Accord began to be affected by the SUV growing in popularity, and Honda decided to send some of the Accords being produced in the USA to Japan.
The Inspire no longer offered the Straight-5 engine, and instead offered the 3.2 L J32A V6 and 2.5 L J25A V6 with VTEC, and a choice of a 4- or 5-speed automatic transmission. The bodystyle was changed from hardtop to sedan as a result of the USA-spec Accord having been upgraded to meet USA requirements for improved side impact protection.
The fourth generation was introduced June 18, 2003 and was a continuation of the USA-spec Honda Accord being imported to Japan. This vehicle was built at the Saitama Prefecture facility in Sayama, Japan.
Honda's "VCM" technology was offered on the only engine choice offered, which was the 3.0 L J30A V6 with i-VTEC technology, and only one transmission was offered, which was the 5 speed automatic transmission. "HiDS" also made the options list. Honda also made available its "IHCC", the collision avoidance "CMBS", "C-MOS", which utilized a front mounted camera to assist in unwanted lane drifting.
A styling update appeared on November 4, 2005, changing both the front grille and rear tail lights. LED was introduced for the rear tail lights.
In September 2002, a straight-4 DOHC i-VTEC 2.4 L K24A engine was made available on the USA-spec vehicle only.
This model is sold in Southeast Asia market in the name Honda Accord. The engine available are 2.0L, 2.4L and 3.0L all in I-vtec engine.
The fifth generation Honda Inspire was made available on December 21, 2006, with a further increased enhancement to the vehicles dimensions, which are on par with the second generation Honda Legend. The Inspire is now one level below the fourth generation Honda Legend, with an comparable level of luxury and refinement of the Legend. The AWD system, called "SH-AWD" is not available on this iteration of the Inspire, however. Honda technologies such as "CMBS", Adaptive Cruise Control, called IHCC and HDD navigation equipment are included.
The Inspire now uses the base model V6 from the Legend.The power steering is now electric power assisted for better handling and response.
This vehicle is now being made available in Thailand and Southeast Asia market, using the 2.0L, 2.4 L DOHC K24A and 3.5L with i-VTEC. In the name Honda Accord. There are few exterior and interior differences between this Inspire and the USA-spec Honda Accord.