E-CF4 Japanese Domestic Market Honda Accord SiR

The Accord with the Civic has always been Honda's bread and butter models. The Accord also represents the most popular choice for upgrading Civic sedan owners. Compared to the Civic, it offers a larger body with bigger cabin-space, bigger and more comfortable seats, and more importantly a higher capacity engine. The bigger engine offers much better low-end and mid-range power compared to the corresponding Civic model while the larger body and chasis makes for a more stable and compliant ride.

Over the years, both Accord and Civic have won many, many awards in many countries, so Honda has always been generous with their specifications. As a result, there has always been similarly spec'ed hot range-toppers for both models. In the 1980-early 1990, there were both an Accord as well as a Civic Si. The Civic used the ZC 1.6l DOHC 130ps engine while the Accord was labelled as 2.0Si, equipped with a 2.0l DOHC generating 150ps. When the Civic upgraded to the EG generation, the now famous EG9 Civic SiR top'ed the 4door range with the B16A engine. When its turn came, the Accord too gained the CD6 Accord SiR, also with a DOHC VTEC engine, the 2.2l H22A. When the EK-generation Civic arrived in 1995, the 4-door EK4 Civic Si continued with the B16A. This currently delivers 170ps in manual or 155ps in automatic form. The corresponding CF4 Accord SiR gained a newly designed engine, the F20B, 2.0l DOHC VTEC in configuration. The manual CF4 Accord SiR-T now enjoys 200ps while auto SiR has a 180ps version tuned for better midrange. This new engine came with an unusual blue valve cover and features many new unique technologies.

While the Civic SiR has became some sort of a legend in its own time, I have always felt that the Accord has been suffering from lack of coverage. The Accord SiR is easily as sporty a 4-door as the Civic SiR and to be honest, Accords have also often enjoyed special or unique technologies that Honda sometimes do not fit to the Civic (for eg I have seen Accords with 4WS). The current generation E-CF4 Accord SiR certainly possesses a number of new and unique technologies and when my friend showed up in his brand 'new' (circa 1998) used-import CF4 recently it offered me the perfect opportunity to highlight this great model.

I wrote this short article to focus some attention on the new CF4 Accord SiR. It is designed as a 'pictorial article', using the many photos I took to highlight the many new and unique technologies that Honda employed in this car. I hope TOVA readers will enjoy discovering these new unique technologies, and consequently understand why I think the Accord SiR is a unique car.

The CF4 Accord SiR

My friend's E-CF4 Accord SiR, light grey in color. The JDM Accord has a quite different design compared to the US-based design that Honda markets for the rest of Asia. While the top of the range for the 'rest of Asia' uses the F20B SOHC-VTEC with 150ps (this engine is also available in the JDM line-up), the top domestic models uses the DOHC F20B, 180ps for auto and a very high 200ps for the manual.

The F20B Engine

The pride & joy of any Honda model is always the engine. The F20B uses a unique blue valve cover. Like all the larger displacement Honda engines, the F20B is mounted with a tilt towards the driver. Interestingly this method tilts the block upwards, and as the photo on the right shows, quite nicely positions the F20B engine code clearly for all to see!

The manual CF4 is coded as Accord SiR-T and uses a 200ps F20B while the auto CF4 is coded as Accord SiR and uses a re-tuned F20B giving a lower 180ps but with better midrange characteristics. Amazingly, while the delivering specific outputs of 90 to 100ps per litre, the F20B is also LEV (Low Emissions) ! Both the 180ps and 200ps versions uses the blue valve cover.

The S-Matic Transmission

While the EK3 Civic enjoys the amazing MULTIMATIC gearless transmission, the limitation of MULTIMATIC to 130ps or less means the Accord do not have the same good fortune. Nevertheless, Honda decided to fit the CF4 with the S-Matic transmission. Moving the gear-stick over to the right allows manual selection of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th gear using up and down shift actions just like the sequential gearboxes used on the JGTC NSX.

When a particular gear is selected, that gear stays at all rpm. When pushed against the rev-limiter, the engine will happily bounce against it just like a manual. However the gear ratios for each gear are the same as the normal mode and the transmission still works like a normal automatic transmission in all other operating characteristics.

The Dashboard

The CF4 red-lines at a high-ish 7400rpm although the tacho goes right up to 9000rpm - this is an automatic car in the first place. Probably the manual will have a higher red-line though most CF4 would probably be purchased in automatic form since the Accord is after all considered a luxury sedan in most Asian countries. On the standard automatic drive-selection indicator on the tachometer (ie where we find the column of indicators for P, R, N, D4, D3, 2, and 1), notice the extra LCD display beside them on the right. This LCD will show the gear manually selected when engaged in 'S-Matic' mode.

Speedometer ends at 180kph just like all JDM cars. According to my friend, the speed-limiter is enforced in 'hard' form, ie keep the throttle at WOT and the engine will readily 'bounce' against the 180+kph in-built artificial limiter on the ECU. The odometer is digital, thus preventing any form of tempering (eg clocking).

AntiLock Braking and Traction Control

The CF4 is equipped with a 4-channel ALBS system. This same module also implements traction-control for the car. The ABS modulator (what most people call the ABS 'pump') is located on the left hand side of the car, just in front of the left headlight (seen from inside the car). The pump at the top of the picture seems to be the alternator. But where is the power steering pump ? Read-on...

Electrically Assisted Power Steering

The CF4 does not use a hydraulic pump for power steering. It uses the state-of-the-art electrically driven servo for power steering assist. The servo is located near the brake master cylinder and is the biege coloured box in the photo on the left. Thus the engine will not have any power steering pumps attached to it. The driver is given an extra knob, labelled 'EPS', to customize the degree of power steering assist desired.


The Accord uses 195/65 15-inch wheels. Brakes are based on those found on the first generation NSX (also similar to that on the Integra Type-R). The stock tyres supplied at V-rated - up to 240kph.

Semi-Bucket Seats on the Accord

As befits a DOHC-VTEC engined Honda, the CF4 uses semi-bucket seats that are based on Recaros. All of the SiRs uses these type of seats. They offer a very good balance between comfort and holding the body nice and stable during hard driving. Comfort is essential in the CF4 Accord since it's considered luxury in many Asian countries. Also the Accord has a very stable and pliant ride so the seats cannot be too hard.

HID Headlights

Like the newer models, the CF4 Accord uses HID headlights. HID headlights are very much sought after for their extra brightness. They also produces an extra white light unlike the slight yellowish color of a normal headlight. Unfortunately it is not an easy task to convert over to use HID lights since we need an extra module (plus wiring) to mount the bulbs in.

As can be seen, the new E-CF4 Honda Accord SiR is a very interesting car indeed. What is unique is that this level of sportiness is offered in an essentially family oriented sedan, just like the 4-door EK4 Civic SiR and the 4-door DB8 Integra SiR, with very little compromise to the overall comfort of the car.

August 2000
© Temple of VTEC Asia