Over the years, Honda has offered several different body styles and versions of the Accord, and often vehicles marketed under the Accord nameplate concurrently in different regions differ quite substantially. It debuted in 1976 as a compact hatchback, though this style was dropped in the 1980s, as the lineup was expanded to include a sedan, coupe, and wagon. By the Accord's sixth generation in the 1990s, it evolved into a intermediate vehicle, with one basic platform but with different bodies and proportions increase its competitiveness against its rivals in different international markets. For the current generation of Accord released for the North American market in 2008, Honda again has chosen to move the model further upscale and increase in its size. This pushed the Accord sedan from the upper limit of what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines as a mid-size car to just above the lower limit of a full-size car, with the coupe still rated as a mid-size car.
Honda chose the name Accord, reflecting "Honda's desire for accord and harmony between people, society and the automobile." The initial design was changed to a fuel efficient, low emission vehicle since it was introduced during the fuel crises of the 1970s. In the United States and Japan, a version was produced using Honda's CVCC technology, meeting emission standards of the 1970s and early 1980s without a catalytic converter.