Curbside Classic: 1996 Honda Accord Wagon – You Might Think It Was the Last of the Breed


Living in the United States gives one a mighty myopic view of cars the world’s automakers produce. Such is the case with Honda’s Accord. Other places in the world got versions of this car that we didn’t here, and since 1992 in Europe and 1998 in Japan, the US Accord isn’t remotely the same car as what the rest of the world gets. One version of the Accord we did get for a while was the wagon, but it should not surprise you to learn that other wagons bearing the Accord name both pre- and post-date the ones we saw around here.


Bar none, the coolest of them is the AeroDeck, which was available in Japan and Europe and probably other places, but not Stateside. A variant of the third-generation Accord, it appears to be the hatchback body from the B pillar forward, adding a flat roof and Kammback-style tail. Its wicked cool liftgate extends partway into the roof. The average American might hedge on calling this a wagon given that it has but two side doors, but that’s because most Americans either have forgotten or, more likely, weren’t alive to remember how US automakers offered two-door wagons for a couple decades, wrapping up in the 1960s. Read about it here.


The Japanese kept getting Accord wagons after they went out of production here in 1997. This one is from the late 1990s.


The JDM importers site from which I, um, appropriated this photo claims that this Accord wagon is from 2006. Maybe one of our readers in a country that got this car can fact-check me here.


Of course, Accord wagons are currently available in the United States. They just carry an Acura badge–and the Acura sticker-price premium. But as Paul Niedermeyer learned (read about it here), the wagon’s general unpopularity here in the land of the free and the home of the brave means you can strike a mighty nice bargain on one.


But in Europe and Japan, this wagon is available today with a grille that features a giant H. I can’t spot a single other external difference.


Back in the United States, we settled for just the fourth- and fifth-generation Accords in big-booty form. I don’t know what your experience was with these (and please, do tell in the comments), but to a person, every Accord wagon I personally encountered was driven by someone with alternative automotive tastes. An unconventional driver. A driver who wanted to drop out.

IMG_1949Chris Green photo

An old friend of mine drove an Accord wagon of the previous generation for a while. It was even this color, but it wasn’t this particular car as I lifted this photo from the Cohort. This friend was working just enough fund his life’s purpose, which was to follow musician Mike Keneally around on tour. His automotive history was a litany of oddment, beginning with the blue Plymouth Sapporo he drove when I met him. (Side note: I borrowed it a lot and it was a very pleasant car to drive. And its ding-dong door chime amused me.) Later he owned a forward-control Toyota van. That car jazzed him the most, in part because he could fit his entire drum kit into it, but mostly because his was the only one on the road in the small city where we lived then. When the van crapped out, he showed up in one of these Accord wagons. He actually apologized to me the first time I saw him in it, because it wasn’t weird enough for him. But if he had to drive an Accord, this was the one to have, as they were few and far between.


Maybe his Accord wagon bothered him because the cockpit was such a conventional place to be. His previous-gen wagon had the previous-gen dashboard, of course, not this one from the subject ’96. But both dashboards were models of conventionality in their time, even though they were very well executed and downright pleasant places to be.


The days of Accord wagons being any kind of counterculture statement are long over. If you drive a US Accord wagon today, it’s because you need cheap wheels – body style matters far less than whether the car always starts. I feel sure that’s the position this Accord wagon fills for this driver.