The new Honda Accord - Cleaner engines, sharper looks and a smoother drive

The Honda Accord range has been given improvements to fuel economy, refinement and exterior design to boost its competitiveness in the corporate market.

Both the Accord Saloon and Tourer models continue to offer impressive quality and high specification, and aim to combine class-leading reliability with lower running costs.

Fuel economy and emissions of Honda's refined 2.2 litre i-DTEC diesel engine have been improved by reducing internal frictional losses. The result of this update is a 9 g/km drop in CO2 emissions for the saloon to achieve a sub-140 g/km CO2 figure (6-speed manual) and an 11 g/km reduction for the automatic variant. Power remains at 150 PS with torque at 350Nm/2000rpm.

Crucially for the corporate market, the improvements to the 2.2 i-DTEC and a host of aerodynamic revisions to the car mean the diesel engine in automatic guise along with the 2.0 i-VTEC manual now fit in neatly below the all-important 160g/km Write Down Allowance threshold for the first time.

Comfort levels are high on the priority list for those drivers who spend time on the road, and Honda engineers from Japan worked closely with their counterparts in Germany and the UK to refine the dampers of the Accord to suit the vast range of road conditions found in Europe. The introduction of higher density foam in the under bonnet and dashboard areas improve the NVH performance, improving overall refinement.

Design updates

Both the Saloon and Tourer have benefited from small but noticeable changes to the headlights and bumpers. The head lights have been given a cleaner 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.

To give a sportier look the grille has also been subtly remodelled, with the two central spars finished in the same chrome material as the outer grille. 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. To further boost the sporty look, Honda is also offering 17-inch alloy wheels as a complimentary upgrade on ES and ES-GT models.

The rear of the saloon model has been subtly enhanced with the back lights having a light red finish for the reversing light and indicators to match the fog light, giving a balance to the styling. The styling of the saloon is rounded off with a light chrome finish above the rear licence plate on most models and dark chrome on Type S grade cars. The new exterior design cues are finished off with three new colours - Alabaster Silver, Graphite Lustre metallic and Celestial Blue Pearl.

The exterior styling changes have been complemented by a number of subtle changes to the interior to enhance the ambience of the cabin. Updates include new dark silver interior panels and bright silver door handles and handbrake, while ES grades now benefit from new seat materials and door linings. The foot wells of the ES and EX are now illuminated blue (red on ES-GT and Type S models) if the headlights are on.

New technology

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. 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.

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 camera fitted to the windscreen in the area of the driver rear view mirror. The camera detects oncoming headlights or the tail lights of a vehicle in front and automatically dips the headlights onto their normal setting if they are on high-beam.

The new Accord Saloon and Tourer will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011 and will go on sale in the UK in July 2011. Further information on prices, equipment levels and technical information will be announced at a later date.