Honda Strikes a New Accord
Long one of the mainstays of Honda’s range in Europe, the notably upscale Accord seems to get more desirable with each generation. For the less badge-conscious buyer, it’s provided a real alternative to the more obvious contenders from BMW, Mercedes and others for several years now. It’s important to note that the Accord is quite a different car in Europe compared to what’s seen on American roads.
Presented in both sedan and wagon forms, the production model closely matches the extremely well-received styling of the concept shown at last autumn’s Frankfurt show. It has a lower, wider stance, with a more solid and angular shape, and retains its predecessor’s dynamic, well-balanced appearance.
At the front, it’s distinguished by a deeper grille with V-shaped lower line, sharply drawn headlights and pronounced fenders. Inside is a plush and well-appointed cabin with a strong quality feel. The Tourer benefits from increased load capacity; features such as the optional power-operated tailgate and clever retractable multi-position luggage area cover are carried over.
The three-option engine range features a new 2.2-liter iDTEC diesel, equipped with multi-stage piezo fuel injection; power output is up more than 10 horsepower, with torque peaking at 258 lb-ft. There are also two gasoline units — a 162-horsepower 2.0-liter VTEC, and a 197-horsepower 2.3-liter VTEC. All three engines meet the stringent Euro 5 emissions standards that are still 18 months away from implementation. Transmission choices are a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic.
Double-wishbone front and rear multilink suspension promise agile handling, while a quicker electric power steering system is fitted. A comprehensive collection of electronic assistance systems include Collision Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control and Vehicle Stability Assist.
Honda FCX Clarity and CR-Z
Enjoying European debuts were two cars pointing the way to important future offerings from Honda: the FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle and CR-Z diesel hybrid concept.
The FCX Clarity fuel cell is the latest in a long series of vehicles Honda has produced to help develop zero-emission vehicles. Fuel cells use hydrogen to generate electricity and emit only water. Though performance continues to improve, there are still numerous technical challenges to overcome, including cost, start-up times, reliability and performance in varying climatic conditions.
The CR-Z suggests something more attainable: a diesel hybrid sports car. Honda’s Takeo Fukui said that a car based on this concept is currently in development and will be sold globally.
Programmed appropriately, the flexible power of hybrid systems potentially offers enhancements to performance and economy; given Honda’s enthusiasm for sportiness, a production car based on this great-looking coupe concept is an intriguing prospect.