Rent, Lease, Sell or Keep: 1994 Acura Legend L

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
rent lease sell or keep 1994 acura legend l

It came at the prime of Honda’s dominance. The Accord was the best -selling car in America. The Prelude, Civic and Integra? All market leaders par excellence. Del Sol’s and Vigors? Well, nothing’s quite perfect in the eyes of the marketplace. But the last of the Legends was pretty close for that time.

You wanted a highway cruiser? It competed with the best of Detroit’s V8’s and offered better fuel economy as well. Comfort? Nice thick leather seats that were built to satisfy posteriors aplenty. To be frank I’m trying to figure out if there was anything bad about this vehicle circa 1994.

If I remember correctly the Legends were quite pricey. It was about $55,000 in today’s dollars new. About the same as an E-Class in this day and age. But a used one with 169,000 miles as of yesterday afternoon at a Carmax sale? It was only $1515 ($1400 plus $115 auction fee).

Best deal I had in a while. Should I….


There are certain tendencies in the rental car business. Rear wheel drive cars ‘tend’ to take abuse better than front wheel drive cars. ‘Toyonda’ cars tend to hold up exceptionally well; but have higher parts and maintenance costs. One other thing. Nobody except Jack Baruth wants to rent a large sedan these days.

I would expect the Legend to get some action during the winter time. But once gas prices start hovering around the $4 a gallon level, the Legend will be sitting. Small cars command the attention once gas prices climb. I think the Acura insignia will help this car out a bit. In the end though, the small cars will be chosen first.

At $175 per week the Legend would indeed be a good fit… that would sometimes sit.


$500 down and $50 a week would make this Legend move out of the lot for good. Older cars tend to attract older customers, and I like attracting a more mature demographic. Older folks ‘tend’ to keep their jobs longer than the under 30 crowd. They don’t rev and abuse their cars as much… and they’re usually far better at spotting small issues before they become big ones.

Also there’ s the appreciation factor. A lot of folks couldn’t afford something as pricey as the Legend back in the day. Given the Legend’s cachet, and the fact that everything Honda and Toyota is sought after in the used car market (regardless of what the prior owner did to the vehicle), I wouldn’t lose much sleep over financing this car.


$2995. A well kept Japanese luxury car with leather and all parts in good working order will usually command that price. The only thing working against this car is the color. This is a brown car. Not a bronze car… or a pewter car… but brown. I remember a lot of Mercedes W126’s were brown in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It matched the malaise of the time.

Since then brown cars have struggled to find mainstream acceptance. Then again yesterday’s brown may indeed be today’s pewter, bronze or dark tan. I’m sure there’s a way to work around that angle. Hmmmm… How about calling it autumn mist?


17 city and 24 highway? A minivan can do better than that. I don’t need a minivan. But I also don’t need a 17 year old car. I already drive a 2001 Honda Insight that fits my everyday needs. The Legend may be nice to take out for nostalgia’s sake. So maybe I’ll drive it around a couple of times and then toss someone else the keys.

I already know my answer. What’s yours?

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  • Slowtege Slowtege on Dec 20, 2011

    Echo the head gasket concern. From what I've read it seems to be a EGR-to-lower intake plenum blockage from built up oil/gunk residue collecting and building up against a baffle in the plenum that's very close to the EGR's outlet into the plenum. There is no baffle on the later 3.5s (C35 engine). Simple cleaning of the EGR will not suffice (clean the whole EGR system/plenum every 60k). Other than that these cars are bulletproof. Hard shifting autos are an old Honda auto trait. The manuals are rare birds, as are cloth seat and no-sunroof equipped cars, but I like those, too. I've wanted these 2nd generation Legends ever since I could drive (11 years ago). They are beautiful and timeless in design, and feel solid. Very tight turning radius (like the later RLs up until 2004), agile/maneuverable while at the same time you knew you are driving a 3500 lb car. I ended up working as a lot attendant at an Acura dealership while in college so I got to drive every Acura made. Drove a coupe one time with 345,000 and it still pulled strongly. If I could find a sedan (I'm too tall for a coupe) with a manual in good condition with the power tilt/telescope wheel ('93-95) I'd buy it in a heart beat.

  • Waterylove Waterylove on Dec 21, 2011

    I lucked out and picked up a 92 Legend with 50k miles from my geriatric boss to use as my winter car. Only $3k and it had never seen a winter (I'm in MN- he is a snowbird so he only drove it when he was here in the summer) I love that car. Low slung, no obnoxious swoopy lines, headlights don't go 1/2 way up to the hood, big & bright canopy, and reliability from when Honda was at its peak. The thing is 20 years old and I wouldn't trade it for 95% of the late model crap on the roads. I actually wonder if cars have really improved from this model other than the newer safety features. Keep it if you have any need for extra wheels.

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