Honda Ascot & Rafaga 5-Cylinder - Introduction

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Welcome.

I decided to create this website after purchasing a 1993 Honda Ascot and being unable to find any information on the vehicle printed in English. Most of the information I obtained from Japanese sites and translated to English using the Translate service at Altavista.com.

The Ascot/Rafaga is a mid-size luxury saloon based on the Accord platform. It was launched in Japan in October 1993 and discontinued in March 1997. It was a domestic-only model, but can now be bought in countries such as New Zealand, the UK and Russia, where second hand vehicles are imported from Japan. The differences between the Ascot and Rafaga are cosmetic only (refer to the table below).

  Ascot Rafaga
Grille and exterior trim Chrome Body colour
Indicator lenses Clear Orange
Fog lights Round Square
Wheels "Elegant" "Sporty"

High quality materials and the use of high gauge steel for the body panels contribute to give the Ascot & Rafaga a luxury feel. In addition, a highly rigid body enabled the Ascot/Rafaga to pass proposed Japanese crash test legislation two years before its introduction.

The in-line 5-cylinder engine is mounted longitudinally, but drives the front wheels. The transmission is located behind the engine as in a rear-wheel-drive car, but the drive shaft runs back through the oil sump to the differential at the front. The biggest drawback of this mechanical layout is that it encroaches on interior space. Although the Ascot/Rafaga is similar in length to an Accord, the interior space is comparible to that of the Civic. It was mainly for this reason that in 1997 Honda stopped producing any 5-cylinder engines and replaced them with more compact V6 designs.

In a 5-cylinder engine there will always be two pistons in the upward stroke and three in the downward stroke (or vice versa), so the engine is not harmonically balanced. Early incarnations of Honda's G20A and G25A engines included a balance shaft, but in the Ascot/Rafaga this was replaced with an electronically-controlled hydraulic engine mount.


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