11 March 2008

Prompt service

New Honda Accord will steer for you. And brake. And accelerate. Be afraid

Honda Accord

This is the new Honda Accord. While it may look pleasantly modern and understated, don't be fooled: this is a car that raises important philosophical issues.

See, the Accord features something called Motion Adaptive EPS - a stability control system that reacts to slippery conditions and 'initiates steering inputs aimed to prompt the driver to steer in the correct direction'.

We know what you're thinking. But, says Honda, the input is 'barely noticeable', and merely 'enough to prompt the driver to act intuitively'.

Hangonasec.

Is it even possible to be prompted to act intuitively? Doesn't the prompting negate the intuitiveness? These are weighty matters.

Anyhow, the Motion Adaptive EPS is just one of a whole raft of safety measures on the Accord which will also keep you in the correct motorway lane, maintain a safe distance from the car in front and tug your seatbelt if it reckons a crash is on the way.

When it lets you, the Accord should be decent to drive, too - the Honda engineers used the 3-Series as a handling benchmark and gave the Accord double wishbone front suspension with a multilink setup at the rear. Wider and with a lower centre of gravity than the outgoing model, the new Accord looks set to match the Mondeo on the road.

The big news in the engine department is the first appearance of Honda's second-gen diesel engine - a two-litre -DTEC which develops 148bhp and 258lb ft of torque while returning low emissions. We'll also see a pair of petrol engines: 2.0- and 2.4-litre VTEC four-pots available with either a five-speed auto 'box or a six-speed manual.

The new Accord will be formally unveiled at the Geneva show next month. We'll be bringing you our intuitive reaction from the show floor. With no prompting.

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