The first generation Honda Accord was launched in 1976 as a two-door hatchback with 68 horsepower (51 kW), a 93.7-inch (2,380.0 mm) wheelbase, and a weight of about 2,000 pounds. It was larger than the tiny Civic at 162 inches (4,115 mm) long. The Accord sold well, due to its moderate size and great fuel economy. In 1978 an LX version of the coupe was added which came with air conditioning, digital clock, and power steering. In 1979 a four-door sedan was added to the lineup, and power went to 72 hp (54 kW) with the introduction of the 1751 cc EK-1 engine. In 1980 the optional two-speed automatic of previous years became a three-speed automatic. Slightly redesigned bumper trim, new grilles and taillamps, and remote mirrors on the 4-door (chrome) and the LX (black plastic) models. The CVCC badges were deleted. In 1981 an SE model was added for the first time, with novio-leather seats and power windows. Base model hatchbacks received the same smaller black plastic remote mirror that the 4-door, LX, and SE 4-door received at the same time. Instrument cluster revised with mostly pictograms, instead of the worded warning lights and gauge markings. Nivorno Beige (code #Y-39) replaced with Oslo Beige (#YR-43). Dark brown was discontinued, as was the bronze metallic. Shifter redesigned to have a stronger spring to prevent unintentional engagement of reverse, instead of the spring-loaded shift knob of the 1976 through 1980 model cars.
The first few generations of Hondas suffered from rustproofing issues in areas where salt is used to melt road ice. Under these conditions, it was not uncommon for the strut towers to rust out and fail, turning the car into a parts car.