Ace of Base Redux: 1990 Honda Accord DX Coupe

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base redux 1990 honda accord dx coupe

In 1990, the Nintendo Game Boy was flying off store shelves, neon clothes was very much in vogue, and President Bush was busy denouncing broccoli. And — oh, yeah — Honda rolled out a new Accord for the 1990 model year.

With a strong visual presence giving it a refined and contemporary look, the Accord Coupe made the best of its expansive greenhouse and flush-fitting glass. Before you protest, I know the above Accord is not a DX … but the one after the jump is. I think it’s fabulous and I know you do, too.

The 1990 Accord’s profile is defined by a superb but subtle character line which curves smoothly along the upper body, uniting the rounded front with the squared-off rear. The side windows, set just 3mm (just over a tenth of an inch) from the metal, were 17 percent bigger than the previous Accord, while the windshield was a full 20 percent larger. Its hood dives to the pavement while the rear deck lid stands tall.

This was a very good looking car.

Three trims were on offer in America for the 1990 Accord Coupe: base DX, mid-level LX, and high-zoot EX. The Ace of Base choice was available in five different colors, ranging from Frost White paired with a red (!) interior, to the Phoenix Red example shown above.

Under that low hood was a 2.2-liter inline-four making 125 horsepower in the DX, mated to a manual transmission. Diminutive 14-inch wheels inhabit each corner wrapped in 185/70 rubber, laughable today but par for the course back then. No matter; four-wheel double wishbone suspension gave the ’90 Accord handling characteristics that allowed it to outperform the vast majority of its competition.

Base model Accord Coupes were no stripper models but eagle-eyed fans could pick out the DX trim from a mile away thanks to its flat-black bumpers. Standard equipment included such items as tilt steering, a tachometer, a full length centre console, and heater vents for rear passengers. Sure, these items seem mundane today, but in 1990, they were features often skimped on by most manufacturers.

If I was donning my Hammer pants and heading to the Honda store for a $12,145 Accord Coupe in 1990, the sole option I would spec would be air conditioning. Making the $4,000 walk up to the LX would have been a non-starter. In today’s funds, I would have been signing a note for just a hair over $24,000.

A very-sharp looking manual-shift coupe with a trick suspension for just over twenty-four large? That’s definitely an Ace of Base shoo-in.

Older metal from years past which looked good in base form? They help make automotive history a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate this selection.

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2 of 65 comments
  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Dec 14, 2017

    In case anyone wants a rust-free fixer-upper example on the cheap:

  • Tele Vision Tele Vision on Dec 14, 2017

    My friend's Dad was a big Honda guy. He had an '84 MT Accord sedan and his wife had an '89 auto sedan. He could afford Bentleys but he loved his '84. He went to the local Acura dealership to get his wife a new, fancier sedan so that the kids could have her '89 ( no way they were getting his '84 ) and instead came home with a piece of paper that said he now owned a car that hadn't actually been built yet. It was Western Canada's first NSX. He later got his wife the excellent '92 Accord; the kids got the awesome '89; and he still drove his '84 to his senior VP job downtown. The NSX was just for weekends - and for occasional rides for his kid's friends.

  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.
  • Cardave5150 I've had 2 different 300's - an '08 300SRT and an '18 300C. Loved them both a LOT, although, by the time I had the second one, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the image of 300's out on the street, as projected by the 3rd or 4th buyers of the cars.I always thought that the car looked a little stubby behind the rear wheels - something that an extra 3-4" in the trunk area would have greatly helped.When the 300 was first launched, there were invitation-only meet-and-greets at the dealerships, reminding me of the old days when new model-year launches were HUGE. At my local dealer, they were all in formalwear (tuxes and elegant dresses) with a nice spread of food. They gave out crystal medallions of the 300 in a sweet little velvet box (I've got mine around the house somewhere). I talked to a sales guy for about 5 minutes before I asked if we could take one of the cars out (a 300C with the 5.7 Hemi). He acted like he'd been waiting all evening for someone to ask that - we jumped in the car and went out - that thing, for the time, seemed to fly.Corey - when it comes time for it, don't forget to mention the slightly-stretched wheelbase 300 (I think it was the 300L??). I've never found one for sale (not that I've looked THAT hard), as they only built them for a couple of years.
  • Jkross22 "I’m doing more for the planet by continuing to drive my vehicle than buying a new one for strictly frivolous reasons."It's not possible to repeat this too much.
  • Jeff S Got to give credit to Chrysler for putting the 300 as a rear wheel drive back on the market. This will be a future classic.
  • Lou_BC How to Fix Auto Media? Stop fixating on soft touch plastics and infotainment systems. I did quite a bit of research on my ZR2. There was no mention of the complexity of putting the transfer case into neutral. (9 step process). They didn't talk about how the exhaust brake works with tow/haul mode. No mention that the exhaust brake does not work with off-road mode. Nannies only stay turned off with the lockers engaged. Only one review mentioned the tail pipe as a vulnerability.