New Honda Accord

Honda has developed a second-generation diesel engine – the i-DTEC – and it will be making its debut in the all-new Accord. Honda says it offers lower emissions, as well as being more powerful and smoother. It employs the latest piezoelectric multi-stage fuel injection technology, more efficient exhaust gas recirculation, and at last this Honda engine includes a particulate filter for significantly reduced emissions.

The Accord will also be available with a 2.0-litre petrol i-VTEC, with improved fuel economy, and the 2.4-litre i-VTEC engine, which is now more powerful.

All three engines in the new Accord will be Euro 5 emissions compliant. They are matched to a 6-speed manual transmission, with both petrol engines having the option of a 5-speed automatic. An automatic gearbox for the i-DTEC engine will be launched in early 2009.

Manual models feature a Shift Indicator Light which appears in the centre of the rev counter. ‘UP’ or ‘DOWN’ graphics are displayed to advise the driver of the optimum point (in terms of best fuel economy) at which to change gear; Honda tests have demonstrated fuel savings of as much as five per cent by following these prompts.

A particular feature of the new Accord is its design, which is bolder, wider and lower than the current model, and the Tourer version certainly looks much more striking than the outgoing car.

But it’s not just style over substance; Honda says it has benchmarked the handling of the new car against the BMW 3 Series to create a more involving, communicative drive.

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is standard across the range and is designed to assist the driver in maintaining control during cornering, acceleration and sudden manoeuvres by applying braking to the right or left hand wheels as necessary and adjusting the engine torque output as required.

The new Accord also features a system that utilises both VSA and the car’s Electric Power Steering. Called Motion Adaptive EPS, it detects instability in slippery conditions both during cornering and under braking and automatically initiates steering inputs aimed to prompt the driver to steer in the correct direction.

The Accord even has a Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS). This is a feature of yet another abbreviation – ADAS (Advanced Driving Assist System). CMBS monitors the distance and closing rate between the Accord and the car directly in front of it, warning the driver of a likely collision with alarms and seatbelt ‘tugs’. If the system detects that a collision is unavoidable, it automatically applies braking to reduce the effects of an impact.

ADAS also includes Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) which uses a camera to detect the car deviating from a traffic lane and provides steering torque when necessary. As if that wasn’t enough, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses radar to maintain a consistent distance to a vehicle directly in front.

Therefore it should be impossible to crash the new Accord, and perhaps special prizes should be awarded for anyone who succeeds in overpowering the car’s myriad of safety control systems.