Honda re-engineers Accord/TSX

  • 11-Jul-2008 03:16 EDT
Accord_002.jpg

The latest Honda Accord has undergone a number of mechanical and design changes. Euro-5-compliant engines will be available from launch.

At this year's Geneva Motor Show, Honda unveiled the latest European version of the Accord featuring a Euro-5-compliant engine range and revised design for both the sedan and Tourer station wagon models. At the New York Motor Show, Honda’s upscale Acura channel debuted a second-generation TSX sports sedan based on the European Accord architecture.

The greatest mechanical change to the European Accord is to the 2.2-L common-rail diesel engine. When launched with the current Accord model, it was the first diesel passenger car engine designed and built by Honda and manufactured both in Japan and at Honda’s Swindon plant in the U.K.

The latest diesel is named i-DTEC in line with Honda’s gasoline i-VTEC labeling. It is derived from the current i-CTDi 2.2-L four-cylinder common-rail engine and is now equipped with piezoelectric fuel injectors to deliver the multiple injection pulses required for Euro 5 compliance. The engine has revised exhaust gas recirculation to meet the forthcoming limits and is equipped with an exhaust particulate filter.

Power is raised from the current 140 bhp (104 kW) at 4000 rpm to 150 bhp (112 kW), while torque has been increased by 2.8% to 350 N·m (258 lb·ft) at 2000 rpm. In the pipeline is a higher-powered variant offering 180 bhp (134 kW) and 434 N·m (320 lb·ft) at 2000 rpm.

Power output for the 2.0-L gasoline i-VTEC engine remains the same at 156 bhp (116 kW), produced at the same 6300 rpm, but Honda claims improved fuel economy. The engine gains larger-diameter intake valves, revised valve lift and timing parameters, as well as increased gas flow for both intake and exhaust streams.

The 2.4-L i-VTEC engine also gains a 5% power increase, raising output from 190 to 200 bhp (142 to 149 kW) at 7000 rpm, while generating peak torque of 233 N·m (172 lb·ft) at 4500 rpm. Other technical changes include a raised compression ratio (from 10.5:1 to 11.0:1), larger-diameter valves, revised valve timing, and lower pressure in the exhaust system.

A six-speed manual transmission will be the regular offering for all three engines, with a five-speed automatic available for gasoline engines. Diesels are scheduled for an automatic option in early 2009.

Manual models are equipped with a gearshift indicator in the rev-counter to assist fuel-efficient driving. The indicator lights up with either “Up” or “Down” to indicate a more fuel-efficient gear. Honda claims improvements in fuel economy of up to 5% by following the indicator.

Chassis changes include a lower center of gravity, wider track, and a new suspension arrangement front and rear, with front double wishbones and rear multi-links. In hand with a more rigid body shell, Honda claims more responsive handling. Steering revisions will also have an effect, with speed-sensitive electric power steering as standard, while the steering ratio has been raised.

Standard equipment will include Honda’s VSA (vehicle stability assist) electronic stability program. The system incorporates trailer stability assist, which will activate the VSA system if a trailer starts to snake when towing.

Motion Adaptive EPS is another Accord feature. If the VSA system detects potential loss of control, it will feed in corrective steering torque to encourage the driver to apply the appropriate steering correction. Honda says control remains with the driver under all circumstances.

Honda will also offer an updated version of its Advanced Driving Assist System (ADAS), which will now be available for the first time with a collision-avoidance system. The Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) can monitor the distance between the Accord and vehicle in front as well as the closing speed. If the system calculates that a collision is likely, it will set off alarms and tug at the driver’s seatbelt. If these warnings pass unheeded, the system will apply the brakes to lessen the impact. ADAS also includes lane-departure warning.

The new Accord was to go on sale in Europe in June.

Honda says the upscale version of the new Accord for its U.S. Acura channel, the second-generation TSX sports sedan, is larger than its predecessor. Its 72.5-in (1840-mm) overall width is up 3 in (76 mm). Overall length of 186.2 in (4729 mm) and wheelbase of 106.6 in (2707 mm) are longer by 2.2 and 1.4 in (55.8 and 35.5 mm), respectively. The new TSX’s larger exterior dimensions help make the car more comfortable for tall AEI editors.

The car’s all-steel body structure also gains the ACE moniker. It’s claimed to be stiffer, with a stronger rear bulkhead, roof crossmembers, and additional welds throughout. Curb mass increases by about 160 lb (73 kg) on base models.

The sole engine for the U.S. TSX, the 2.4-L four-cylinder engine with i-VTEC, has maximum output of 201 hp (150 kW) at 7000 rpm and 172 lb·ft (233 N·m) at 4400 rpm and is certified to CARB LEV II (ULEV) emissions standards. It is coupled with the six-speed manual transmission (a five-speed automatic is optional).

The 2009 TSX’s Technology Package infotainment suite features satellite navigation with voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free link, and a USB port.

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