The Honda Legend is an executive car powered by a V6 engine that has been in production since 1985. This car, which is the basis for the Accura RL, RLX, and Accura Legend, has since survived five generations with the most recent model, the 2017 facelift of the 2014 model. It is available as both a sedan and coupe.
First Generation (1985-1990) KA1-KA6
The first-generation Legend was a pioneer in its own right. It was the first-ever production Honda to be fitted with a SOHC V6 engine. It was also the first Honda equipped with driver-side airbags, speed-sensitive power assist rack, and pinion steering, anti-lock brakes, seat belt pre-tensioners with ELR.
The Legend was Honda’s way of expanding its model range above the Accord. They wanted to appeal to the wealthy middle-aged consumers who had been avid buyers of the Nissan Cedric/Gloria, Toyota Crown, and Mazda Luce. Honda initially thought that the Vigour, a luxury version of the Accord, would do the trick. They realised, however, that they needed to take their cars up a notch and soon opted for a more exclusive sedan with dimensions similar to their rivals.
So they made a front-wheel-drive luxury car with a low, aerodynamic hood, spacious interior, and a nearly-flat floor. They installed a 2,493cc 2.5L C25A V6 engine that reached peak power of 121 kW at 6,000 rpm with a subsequent torque of 211 N.m at 4,500 rpm in the V6Xi. The V6Zi and V6Gi sported the less powerful 1,996cc 2.0L C2OA V6 engine that achieved a peak power of 107kW at 6300 rpm and a torque of 172 N.m at 5,000 rpm. These engines produced minimum torque steer due to the half shafts with equalised angles of the joint at the ends. It featured a double wishbone suspension for the front wheel, and an RF (Reduced Friction) strut rear suspension.
The V6Xi and V6Gi had the same level of equipment, with the VGZi having reduced content and cheaper price. The engines delivered power to the wheels through either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic transmission. Later on, the 2.5L C25A received an update. The engine capacity went from 2.5L to 2.7L. Engine capacity increased to 2,675 cc (132 kW, 226 N.m), which powered the Legend Coupe released in 1987. The following year, Honda introduced the Coupe’s Executive trim level, featuring remote keyless entry, chrome-plated folding windows, and rear-passenger climate control, among others.
Second Generation (1990-1995) KA7/KA8
The second-generation Legend was released in 1990, fitted with a larger 3.2 C32A engine that was available in two configurations. Type I was rated 158 kW, and Type II was rated 172 kW. This generation had improved collision performance and safety and was available in two trim levels.
The top-level Alpha was distinguishable from the lower-grade Beta by its projector beam headlights, dual-zone air conditioning, and ABS. The Alpha had a 1992 upgrade, the Touring series. This new trim now came fitted with Honda’s progressive damper suspension system and 16-inch wheels.
Third Generation (1995-2004) KA9
The third generation was unveiled in 1995, available only as a sedan. The engine displacement was increased to 3.5L, but the horsepower remained at 158 kW. There was increasing pressure from the market to fit the Legend with a V8 engine so that it would be considered an international premium luxury car. Honda instead made adjustments to the body and interior features but still maintained the V6 engine. Its style resembled the Mercedes Benz E-Class, with the interior of the upscale Executive featuring high-quality wood trim. The instruments used in this generation were more straightforward than the ones in the second generation.
A minor restyling in 1998 had the front grille cut into the front bumper. The luxurious styling enhanced both the interior and exterior design, and side-impact airbags were now part of the equipment. In 2003, the Legend received an interior update, which used maple wood trim and high-grade leather upholstery and added electro-luminescent instruments as well.
Fourth Generation (KB1 2004-2008/KB2 2009-2012)
The fourth generation, which was named Japan's Car of the Year in 2004-2005, was introduced in October 2004. The car now had reduced dimensions and was shorter than its predecessor. Honda introduced the “Super Handling All-Wheel Drive” SH-AWD technology that made the car a four-wheel drive. They added a select shift on the five-speed automatic transmission mated to the J35A 3.5L V6 engine (221 kW).
It received an upgrade in 2009, adding safety features like the Lane Keeping Assistance System, which could make small steering adjustments to keep the car in the lane. They also fitted it with Intelligent Night Vision with the first-ever pedestrian detection feature.
Fifth Generation (2012-present) KC1/KC2
The fifth generation was unveiled in 2014 and went on sale in February 2015 with the Sport Hybrid as the only available offering. Honda launched a facelift model at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. The new Legend is stylish and elegant, exhibiting Honda’s up-to-the-minute technology.
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