Honda Legend Third generation KA9
|Also called||Acura 3.5RL|
|Layout||front engine, front-wheel drive layout|
|Engine||3.5 L C35A V6|
|Transmission||4-speed automatic 6-speed manual|
|Wheelbase||114.6 in (2,911 mm)|
|Length||1996-1998:195.1 in (4,956 mm) 1999-2001:196.6 in (4,994 mm) 2002-2004:196.7 in (4,996 mm)|
|Width||1996-1998:71.3 in (1,811 mm) 1999-2001:71.4 in (1,814 mm) 2002-2004:71.7 in (1,821 mm)|
|Height||1996-1998:54.5 in (1,384 mm) 1999-2001:56.5 in (1,435 mm) 2002-2004:54.5 in (1,384 mm)|
|Related||Honda Accord (USA-spec) Honda Inspire Honda Saber|
The third generation Legend appeared February 14, 1996, continuing the Honda tradition of front wheel drive, and increasing the engine displacement to 3.5 L with the horsepower remaining at 215 PS (158.1 kW; 212.1 bhp). The actual Honda internal platform code for this vehicle is E-KA9. In an attempt by Honda to dispute the call for the Legend to be offered with a V8 to be considered an international premium level luxury car, this generation had a wheelbase that compared to the Infiniti Q45 at 2,830 mm (111.4 in) with a length at 5,056 mm (199.1 in), and the Lexus LS at 2,850 mm (112.2 in) wheelbase and 4,996 mm (196.7 in) length. The Legend also had very similar dimensions to the front wheel drive, V8 sedan Mitsubishi Proudia which was sold only in Japan. In Japan, the Legend continued to compete with the Toyota Crown, the Mitsubishi Debonair, the Mazda Luce, and the Nissan Cedric and Gloria at the executive sedan segment.
The trim level "Exclusive" returned as the upper level car, with the standard grade vehicle known as "Euro", with the more performance tuned suspension.The wood trim used was more upscale for the "Exclusive" vehicle with a lower grade wood used on the "Euro". Both vehicles were very well equipped. The instruments used were simplified from previous versions, but 100% wool moquette upholstery was still offered, along with optional leather. Honda's internet-based navigation system Internavi was introduced with this generation on Japanese domestic vehicles. The Luxman premium sound system was still available. The styling was said to more closely resemble the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and a transponder key security system was offered. Starting with this generation, cabin air filters (also known as pollen filters) were installed as standard equipment and are located behind the glove compartment internationally.
September 21, 1998 saw a minor styling change, with the front grille cutting into the front bumper, providing a more prominent front grille. Emphasis was increased on providing a luxurious sense of style, both inside and out. Side impact airbags now complemented the dual front airbags as standard equipment. The steering wheel can be automatically adjusted based on the position of the drivers seat, therreby optimizing a safe distance between the driver and the airbag installed in the steering wheel.
September 24, 1999 saw the engine meet emissions regulations to comply with California LEV requirements.
June 19, 2003 saw the interior updated, and maple wood was offered for interior decoration. Electro-luminescent instruments were offered, as well as a higher grade of leather interior.
The third-generation Legend was released in 1996, and the third-generation model was offered as a sedan only. A mid-term facelift came in 1999. The Legend went on sale in Australia starting with the 1997 model year.
In the USA market, when the Legend coupe was discontinued, they were offered the Acura CL 2 door coupe that was based on the American market Honda Accord coupe so as to continue offering a top level 2 door vehicle