What’s important to note is that is an article written in the modern era, looking back. By the standards of today, of course a 1976 Accord is an econobox. A 1976 BMW is an econobox by today’s standards. By the standards of 1976, it absolutely was not. Of more relevance is this actual 1976 review:
in which R&T is extremely impressed, especially by the high-end features such as remote hatch release and 5-speed transmission, neither of which were generally found on “econoboxes” of the time.