JIMS: HONDA ACCORD

0
33

Better than ever before

Substantially updated only a few months ago, the latest Honda Accord range is another attraction on the Honda stand at the Johannesburg International Motor Show.

The highly regarded line-up of sedan and tourer models retains most of the key ingredients responsible for the Accord’s success in SA, but several new features and improvements have created an even more competitive package than before. These include updates to the exterior styling, the suspension, and the power output of the 2,2-litre i-DTEC engine.

Enhanced efficiency is a consistent theme applied throughout the upgrade package, which has benefited aspects such as fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions. But the new model also looks fresher, rides better and continues to build on an extensive active safety package.

Honda is particularly proud of the high output version of the 2,2-litre i-DTEC engine, which gets a substantial power boost, while retaining its trademark sophistication.

This engine is introduced on the six- speed manual transmission models, with the automatic transmission derivatives retaining a revised version of the 110 kW engine.

In addition, the standard features list has been augmented while a new derivative, the 2.4 Exclusive, featuring a package of advanced driver assistance systems has been added to the range. Honda has also adapted the nomenclature of the range.

SHARPER EXTERIOR STYLING

While the clean-cut silhouette and aerodynamic shape of the Honda Accord have been retained, both the sedan and tourer versions have benefited from small but noticeable changes to the headlights and bumpers.

The headlights feature cleaner aesthetics, including the use of clear-lensed indicators, instead of the previous amber versions. Top-spec models get bi-Xenon headlights with Active Cornering Lights and High Beam Support System to improve night time visibility.

The subtly enhanced rear of the Accord sedan features reversing light and indicators with the same red finish as the fog light for a more symmetrical look. The visual upgrade is rounded off with a light chrome finish above the rear licence plate.

Buyers also get to choose from three new colours – Alabaster Silver, Graphite Lustre metallic and Celestial Blue Pearl.

The exterior styling changes have been complemented by a number of subtle changes to the interior to enhance the ambience of the cabin. Updates include new dark silver interior panels, with the door handles and handbrake finished in bright silver. In addition, the stitching on the black leather seat trim has been changed from black to grey.

IMPROVED RIDE AND REFINEMENT

Improved levels comfort and refinement was a key objective of the upgraded Honda Accord, and engineers from Japan, the UK and Europe collaborated to determine the best possible damper settings. The result is a car that retains its poise and controllability when driven with gusto, yet manages to iron out road surface irregularities with greater conviction.

Higher density foam in the under bonnet and dashboard areas has improved NVH performance, while the underfloor noise insulation has also been revised and teamed with additional sound deadening shields on the DPF and exhaust manifold cover of the diesel engine, improving overall refinement.

The array of noise reductions measures is rounded off with a 29 percent increase in the thickness of the rear window glass to further enhance rear passenger comfort.

MORE EFFICIENT THAN EVER

Rising fuel costs and the introduction of CO2 emissions taxation has placed a greater emphasis on fuel efficiency and clean-burning engines than ever before. These aspects enjoyed close attention during the development of the latest Accord range.

Honda engineers have implemented a host of underbody aerodynamic aids, including a larger front airdam, expanded underfloor covers, and a rear subframe cover.

The frictional losses in the wheels and tyres were reduced by introducing low-friction wheel bearings, while Accords equipped with the automatic transmission have benefitted from minimised frictional losses in the gearbox and optimised ratios to further improve economy and emissions.

Honda’s refined 2.2 litre i-DTEC diesel has received some extra attention, with the reduction of internal frictional losses in both 110 kW and 132 kW versions.

Despite the increase in maximum power to 132 kW, and a new torque peak of 380 Nm, this highly advanced turbodiesel engine boasts a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of just 5,8 litres/100 km, and a CO2 emissions rating of 151 g/km.

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY

One of the most visible changes to the top-of-the-range Honda Accord models is the addition of Active Cornering Lights, which provide enhanced illumination when the vehicle is turning.

The light unit on the relevant side is illuminated when the driver activates the indicators in that direction or turns the steering wheel more than 90 degrees. When the vehicle is in reverse, both lights are activated to provide a good view to either side of the driver.

Another new lighting technology for Honda is the High Beam Support System, which is fitted on vehicles with the Bi-Xenon headlights. This system is controlled by a camera fitted to the windscreen behind the rear view mirror.

The camera detects oncoming headlights, or the taillights of a vehicle in front, and automatically dips the headlights to their normal setting if they are on high-beam.

ADAS – THREE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES

Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) – which is available on the new 2.4 Exclusive models, comprises three separate technologies: Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
One of the most common causes of accidents is the delay between the driver recognising an impending accident, and taking evasive action. This has prompted Honda to focus on pre-crash systems like CMBS, which improve the car’s response to critical situations.

CMBS employs a millimetre-wave radar sensor in the Accord’s front grille, and recognises when a collision is imminent. It then reacts in three steps.

Firstly, the driver receives an audio and a visual brake warning. If no action is taken, the alarm is sounded again, an E-pre-tensioner lightly tugs at the driver’s seatbelt, and light braking is applied.

If there’s still no response, and the system senses that a collision is unavoidable, the brakes are forcefully applied, while the seatbelts is retracted equally incisively.

CMBS will not bring the car to a complete stop, but it will aid the driver to avoid a collision, or lessen the severity of an accident if it does occur. As with all Honda driving aids, the driver remains in control at all times.

CMBS has also been officially recognised as one of the best safety innovations, offering proven benefits, by Euro NCAP and was presented with one of the first Euro NCAP Advanced awards at the Paris Motor Show in 2010.

Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
Fatigue and distraction are serious issues for drivers, particularly those pounding the motorways for extended periods, or over long distances. Which is why Honda originally developed the Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS).

LKAS operates within a speed range of between 70 km/h and 180 km/h, and uses images from a camera mounted inside the upper front windscreen to recognise which lane the car is travelling in.

If the car begins to cross the lane markings without driver input on the steering wheel or the indicators, it provides the optimum steering torque to keep the car in the centre of the lane.

A continuous warning beep is emitted when the car is about to cross the markings, and if there is no response, the system self-steers, using Electric Power Steering (EPS) to maintain the correct course.

The system can provide up to 80% of the required steering input torque – sufficient for frequent, minor steering corrections without compromising the driver’s control.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
Using the same millimetre-wave radar as CMBS, ACC measures the time (thus distance) to the vehicle ahead, while vehicle speed and yaw rate sensors detect the vehicle’s driving parameters.

ACC can maintain a set speed like conventional cruise control, but in addition it can also automatically control vehicle speed and distance relative to the car in front, travelling in the same lane.

When the distance to the car in front falls below a predetermined value (a choice of three following distances can be selected by the driver), the system instantly decelerates the car through throttle control, and if necessary by braking (with a force of up to 0,25g).

In instances where quicker deceleration is required, such as when the car in front brakes suddenly, the system will provide an audible and a visual warning, prompting the driver to apply the brakes.

If the car in front changes lane or increases speed again, then the system will increase the speed back to the predetermined value. ACC operates at speeds between 30 and 180 km/h.

MODEL RANGE

The revised Honda Accord range still consists of a choice of  four engines, combined with both sedan and tourer body shapes.

In the sedan, the engine choice comprises two four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engines with a capacity of 2,0 litres and 2,4 litres respectively, and available in a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.

The 110kW i-DTEC diesel engine is available with the five-speed automatic transmission only, while a six-speed manual gearbox is the sole choice in conjunction with the 132 kW high-output version.

The Accord Tourer is available with the 2,4-litre petrol engine, and both diesel powertrains.

The Accord 2.0 i-VTEC Elegance is powered by a 1 997 cc i-VTEC engine producing 115 kW of maximum power at 6 300 r/min, together with a 192 Nm torque peak, sustained between 4 100 and 5 000 r/min.

Linked to the six-speed manual gearbox, it sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 10,0 sec, and achieves a 215 km/h top speed. Combined cycle fuel consumption comes to 7,2 litres/100 km, while the CO2 emissions rating is 165 g/km.

Mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox, the same four-cylinder engine allows the Accord sedan to achieve a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 11,3 sec, and a 212 km/h top speed. In this guise, combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 7,4 litres/100 km, with a commensurate CO2 emissions rating of 171 g/km.

Next up is the Accord 2.4 i-VTEC, which has a 2 354 cc four-cylinder engine under the bonnet. The i-VTEC unit is credited with 148 kW of maximum power at 7 000 r/min, coupled to 234 Nm of torque at 4 300 r/min.

The six-speed manual model despatches the 0-100km/h sprint in 8,1 sec, and reaches a top speed of 227 km/h. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 8,8 litres/100 km, while the CO2 emissions figure comes to 203 g/km

Again, there’s also the option of a five-speed automatic gearbox, which still zips from 0-100 km /h in 9,8 sec, while the top speed remains at 227 km/h. Fuel consumption in the combined cycle comes to 8,6 litres/100 km, with a CO2 emissions figure of 199 g/km.

The new, uprated 2.2 i-DTEC turbodiesel engine’s impressive maximum power output is 132 kW at 4 000 r/min, together with 380 Nm of torque, already on tap at 2 000 r/min.

Linked to its six-speed manual gearbox, the Accord accelerates from rest to 100 km/h in 8,7 sec, and manages a top speed of 220 km/h. Combined cycle fuel consumption is a frugal 5,8 litres/100 km, with an associated CO2 emissions figure of 151 g/km.

In 110kW form, the 2.2 i-DTEC, offered in automatic guise only, achieves the 0-100 km/h dash in 10,3 sec, while top speed comes to 207 km/h. The combined cycle consumption comes to 6,5 litres/100 km, while the CO2 emissions figure is 170 g/km.

SPECIFICATION LEVELS

The 2011 Honda Accord range is offered in three specification levels: Elegance, Executive and Exclusive.

Accord Elegance models feature a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission. In this configuration, standard feature highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights, dual-zone climate control, and heated front seats with leather trim.

Standard safety systems include dual front, side and curtain airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (BAS), a trailer stability assistance system (TSA), and electric power steering (EPS).

Tourer versions are fitted with roof racks and a power-operated tailgate.