Feature: 2015 Honda Accord

Feature: 2015 Honda Accord
 

The Honda Accord has always been a popular model in SA and worldwide.

Reflecting all the values of Honda, it boasted attractive styling, a generous level of equipment, strong and reliable engines and great value for money. The latest generation continues to reflect those attributes in a modern executive package that is sourced from the US and which starts from R389, 000.

Under the watchful eye of lead project manager Shoji Matsui, who served as an engineer on the Accord platform from 1985 to 1996, all major elements such as the Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, sheet metal, glass and aerodynamics, interior features and electronic systems, engines and transmissions, chassis components and safety systems were re-examined, redesigned and refined.

The new Accord’s design and engineering are the most sophisticated in its 38-year history. More high-strength steel is used than in any other Accord in history — giving it high structural strength for improved ride quality and more precise cornering. Bending rigidity is claimed to be up by 34% and torsional rigidity by 42% compared to the previous generation. In dynamic tests, front lateral rigidity was better by 16%, while rear vertical rigidity was up by 39%.

Three models are available with Elegance, Executive and Exclusive trim levels and a choice of 2.0l and 2.4l four-cylinder engines and, for the first time in SA, a muscular 3.5l V6 engine. The 3.5 V6 i-VTec engine with Earth Dreams technology and variable cylinder management (VCM) produces 207kW with peak torque of 339Nm, making it the most powerful Accord yet available locally. Claimed figures include acceleration from 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds and fuel consumption of 9.2l/100km in the combined cycle.

It is also one of the smartest engines from the brand, with the VCM using a more powerful new-generation 28V Active Control Engine Mount (ACM) system to minimise the effects of engine vibration as the VCM system switches cylinders on and off. Sensors alert the electronic control unit to direct the ACM actuators at the front and rear of the engine to move to cancel engine vibration. This more powerful ACM is a key factor in the VCM’s operation in the new V6 Exclusive.

The flagship model employs an Active Sound Control (ASC) system, using microphones and a signal processor relating to the function of the enhanced VCM system to further suppress engine noise. All the models also use an Active Noise Cancellation system utilising microphones and a signal processor and the audio speakers to counteract unwanted exterior sounds such as wind, road and tyre noise.

The Accord’s drive-by-wire throttle system uses smart electronics instead of a conventional cable system to connect the throttle pedal to the throttle butterfly in the intake tract. The system is said to offer better drive ability and optimises engine response to suit driving conditions by monitoring throttle pedal and throttle butterfly position, road speed, engine speed and engine vacuum to define the throttle control sensitivity. According to Graham Eagle, director of sales and marketing at Honda Motor Southern Africa, the new Accord range has all the hallmarks of greatness.

“It elevates the Accord nameplate into even loftier territory than before, while providing its occupants with a premium grade motoring experience. “The addition of the V-6 model means Accord can now compete at the top end of the mid-size executive segment, something not possible before. We expect that discerning South Africans will recognise the excellence of this truly sophisticated, elegant sedan.”

The company’s latest Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) in the flagship model includes elements such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and a collision mitigation braking system. The collision mitigation braking system uses radar to constantly monitor the distance and speed difference between the car and vehicles ahead of it. Should the distance become unsafe the system will alert the driver via audible and visual warnings on the multi-information display.

Should an accident become more likely not only will the system continue with audible and visual warnings, it will also tug and release the driver’s seat belt, while at the same time applying light braking. When a collision seems unavoidable, the audible and visible warnings will continue while both the driver and front passenger’s seat belts will be retracted and hard braking applied in preparation for impact. Should the accident be avoided the system will disengage allowing the driver to again take full control.

There is also a Lane-watch Blind-spot Display, which uses a camera below the passenger side exterior mirror to display a wide-angle view of the passenger side roadway on the multi-information display. The Image appears when the turn indicator is activated or when a button on the end of the indicator stalk is pressed. While the typical field of view for a passenger-side mirror is about 18 to 22°, the Lane-watch field-of-view is about four times greater, about 80°.

It helps the driver to see traffic, as well as pedestrians or objects in the vehicle’s blind spot. The full colour multi-information display serves as the control centre for the Accord’s electronic functions while also housing the display for the rear view camera available in all three models. A new audio system with touch screen display and Bluetooth hands-free calling convenience, as well as a USB and auxiliary connection, is standard. Other standard Features include electric windows, heated leather seats for driver and passengers, as well as eight-way electrical adjustment for the driver’s seat with memory function.

Also standard is a multi-function leather steering wheel, outside temperature display, front and rear armrests, and a rear air-conditioning vent. Honda has taken the Accord into a new league with the latest generation, one in which it aims to compete with some of the stalwarts of the medium executive market.

*This Article first appeared on Business Day Motor News.

-Motor News Reporter