Honda has announced that it will use the world stage of the Geneva Motor Show to pull the covers off its latest Accord sedan and wagon for Europe. Just to be clear, this car is very different from the Accord offered in the United States. In fact, the European Accord is very similar to the Acura TSX that's available Stateside. 'Course, we do wish we could get the European Accord's fascia on our TSX, but we digress...
So what's new? Naturally, the exterior styling has been revised ever so slightly, mostly to the front fascia and headlights. Honda has also added what it calls Active Cornering Lights that illuminate when the steering wheel is turned more than 90 degrees and a High-Beam Support System that uses a CMOS camera embedded in the windscreen that senses when to turn the brights on and off.
There are also three new colors: Alabaster Silver, Graphite Lustre and Celestial Blue Pearl, while inside you'll find a few detail updates to the finishes, including red interior lighting for the Type S models and blue interior lighting for all other trims.
Perhaps more important are subtle changes to the car's 2.2-liter i-DTEC diesel engine (mostly the rather nebulous "reduced internal frictional losses") that, coupled with a "host of underbody aerodynamic aids," increase fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions, if even just a small amount.
As for the stuff you can't see on the surface, Honda says it has quited the cabin and revised the dual-mode dampers for greater high-speed stability and "a significant improvement in ride quality, even on poor road surfaces." If you like what you've read so far, you're bound to love the entire press release, which can be found after the break.
The revised Honda Accord sedan and Tourer models will make their debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Both cars receive a host of changes with the styling, emissions, ride and handling all enhanced for 2011.
Summary of Changes:
• Revised exterior styling
• Detail changes to interior finishes
• Improvements to emissions and economy on all engines
• 138 g/km 2.2 i-DTEC introduced
• Ride and handling improvements for all models
• Auto High-Beam Support System and Active Cornering Lights debut on Accord
• 180 PS Type S model now available across Europe with bespoke interior and exterior styling
Both the sedan and Tourer have benefitted from small but noticeable changes to the head lights and bumpers to complement the changes under the skin. The head lights have been given a cleaner, crisper appearance with the previously amber indicators now in a clear finish. On top grade cars the lights are now bi-xenon and feature Active Cornering Lights to improve night time visibility. The grille has been subtly remodelled with the two central spars finished in the same chrome material as the outer grille, for a sportier look. The cooling duct and fog light recesses on all models have been re-profiled with the taper of these areas given a more aggressive line, giving the car a more planted appearance.
The rear of the sedan model has been subtly enhanced with the rear lights having a light red finish for the reversing light and indicators to match that of the fog light, giving a balance to the rear styling. The exclusive styling of the sedan is rounded off with a light chrome garnish above the rear licence plate on most models and a dark chrome finish on Type S grade cars. The new exterior design cues are finished off with three new colours consisting of Alabaster Silver, Graphite Lustre and Celestial Blue Pearl added to the line up.
The exterior styling changes have been complemented by a number of subtle changes to the interior with most grades having new seat materials and door linings, changing the ambience of the cabin. Type S models have exclusive half leather, seats in a dark grey finish and a black head lining to further distinguish the top grade. The metal-look finish interior trim that covers the hand brake, gear lever surround, steering wheel garnish, door inlays, with a red background and sweeps up across the centre of the dash is now in a darker hue, to complement the new interior fabrics. The footwells of the majority of models are now illuminated blue if the headlights are on and red on Type S models.
Fuel Economy and Emission Improvements
The refined 2.2 litre 150 PS i-DTEC diesel engine has had internal frictional losses reduced to improve fuel economy and emissions. The result of these changes is an 9 g/km drop in CO2 emissions for the sedan with the 6-speed manual transmission and an 11 g/km reduction for the automatic variant. These internal changes have been combined with a host of underbody aerodynamic aids, including a larger front air dam, underfloor and a rear subframe cover Honda's engineers have also put effort into reducing the frictional losses in the wheels and tyres with low friction wheel bearings and reduced rolling resistance tyres. Accords equipped with Automatic transmission have also benefitted from minimised frictional losses in the gearbox and optimised ratios to improve economy and emissions.
The already impressive NVH performance of the current Accord has been further improved with the adoption of higher density foam in the under bonnet and dashboard areas. 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. The suite of noise reductions techniques is completed with a small 0.9 mm increase in the thickness of the rear window glass, improving the rear passenger experience.
Engineers from Japan worked with their counterparts in Germany and the UK to further refine the dampers of the Accord Tourer and sedan for the vast range of road conditions found in Europe. Detailed refinement of the dual mode dampers has given improvement in both high speed stability for highway driving and a significant improvement in ride quality, even over poor road surfaces.
Active Cornering Lights
One of the most visible changes to the top of the range Accords is the addition of Active Cornering Lights, which provide enhanced illumination when the vehicle is turning. Additional lights units have been subtly integrated into the existing lights units, casting all of their light to the side of the vehicle to help the driver in low visibility conditions. The light unit on the relevant side will be 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 will be activated to give a good view to either side of the driver.
High-Beam Support System
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 CMOS camera fitted to the windscreen in the area of the driver rear view mirror. The camera detects oncoming headlights or the taillights of a vehicle in front and automatically dips the headlights onto their normal setting if they are on high-beam. This allows the driver to fully concentrate on the road conditions, without having to manually control the high-beam setting.
The new Accord goes on sale across Europe from April this year.