The Legend was initially a four-door sedan, with a two-door coupé added later. It was the model which launched Honda's upscale Acura brand in the United States. Honda was inspired by the word "legend" to create the first Honda vehicle with a V6.
The first and second-generation Honda Legend was known as the Acura Legend in North American markets from 1986-1995, and in 1996 the third-generation was renamed as the Acura RL, while the Legend name is still used in Japan and other markets.
Honda introduced the Legend as a flagship sedan to compete with the JDM Nissan Cedric and Nissan Gloria twins, the Toyota Crown, and later the Mazda Luce, and Mitsubishi Debonair. Unlike the Nissan twins and the Crown, the Legend is not used for taxi service. In the USA, the Legend competed with larger rear wheel drive V8 sedans Lexus LS and the Infiniti Q45, however, the Legend was marketed towards the slightly smaller Executive car vehicles that include the BMW 5 series, Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and the Jaguar S-type.