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We love Honda vehicles of all shapes, sizes, and vintages. So much so that we thought we knew about every single Honda and Acura model. Apparently not. We recently just learned about the Honda Rafaga – a mid-size sedan that was only offered in the Japanese market. Chances are, you have never heard of it either.

The Honda Rafaga was powered by a familiar 5-cylinder engine

A front view of a 1994 Honda Rafaga
A front view of a 1994 Honda Rafaga | Wikimedia Commons

We heard about the Honda Rafaga while perusing the inventory at Japanese Classics – a JDM importer located in Richmond, VA. In the current inventory, amidst all of the mouth-watering right-hand-drive vehicles we would love to own, sits a pristine-looking 1994 Honda Rafaga. Its Sebring Silver paint job, 16-inch Devize alloy wheels, and Mugen front lip caught our attention. But, of course, the tiny front grille and Acura Vigor-like proportions were dead giveaways that this is not your run-of-the-mill Honda either.

Speaking of the Vigor, the Rafaga is powered by the same 5-cylinder engine as Acura’s extinct red-headed stepchild. The 2.0-liter is longitudinally mounted and connected to a four-speed automatic transmission. However, a five-speed manual transmission was also available. According to Aut Talkz, the engine put out 160 hp. Those seeking more power could opt for a larger 180-hp, 2.5-liter engine instead.

The Rafaga’s suspension was tuned toward comfort and control

A rear view of the Honda Rafaga
A rear view of the Honda Rafaga | Wikimedia Commons

The Honda Rafaga was produced from 1993 to 1997, at a time when simple suspension setups and rear drum brakes were prevalent. However, the Rafaga was not a simple car. Instead, Honda fitted it with front and rear disc brakes in addition to an anti-lock braking system. Power steering was also standard, as was a double-wishbone suspension. It is clear that Honda was attempting to make a solid near-luxury sedan that was tuned for comfort by using these components.

The interior was spacious and comfortable as well. The cloth seats were made of velour, and a leather-wrapped steering was also available. Judging by the clean example for sale at Japanese Classics, it looks like a power moonroof, power windows, and a fake wood veneer were also present. All of which added to the near-luxury atmosphere of this rare sedan.

Is it a good idea to buy a Honda Rafaga?

A front view of the Acura Vigor
A front view of the Acura Vigor. | Wikimedia Commons

If you have a soft spot for rare Hondas and would like to add a Rafaga to your collection, then it could be a good idea to pick one up. The one for sale at Japanese Classics carries a price tag of $11,495, which sounds pretty fair for an imported JDM car of this vintage. Let alone a rare one.

Just keep in mind that the car is right-hand drive, so there’s a learning curve when driving it. Also, since there isn’t a U.S. market equivalent – aside from the five-cylinder engine – finding replacement parts for the body will likely be tough. For example, if a window breaks or something in the electrical system fails, it could be nearly impossible to replace them. If anything, you may need to source parts from Japan.

If you want something similar and almost as rare as a Honda Rafaga, then we suggest finding an old Acura Vigor. They’re relatively cheap now and will give you the same type of clout since it has the same engine configuration.


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