Tuesday, 21 August 2007

New Car: 2008 Honda Accord Sedan & Coupé

Here are the first official images of the new 2008 Accord. Unlike the previous model, there will be no hybrid but the petrol and diesel engines will stay and on the new Accord they will consist of;
268-hp 3.5-litre V6 capable of running on 6, 4 or 3 cylinders, 190-hp 2.4-litre inline four and 177-hp 2.4-litre inline four on the sedan and on the coupé; 273-hp 3.5-liter V6 and a 200-hp 2.4-litre inline-4 mated with a six-speed manual transmission.

Space isn't too short in the sedan either with 120 cubic feet of interior space. Pricing hasn't been officially revealed but Honda says some models will see no price increase while others will cost only between $200 and $500 more than the equivalent '07s. So figure that an LX will start around $21,000 and an EX V6 will begin at just a smidge over $30,000 for the sedan and coupé should start from $22,000 for the LX grade and an EX-L V6 with the six-speed and navigation system will start around $30,500. The 2008 Accord goes on sale September 12.

The VCM system can run the optional new 3.5-litre V6 on six, four or three cylinders, depending on driving conditions. Six is for uphill climbs and accelerating. Four-cylinder operation is for expressway driving. And the Accord becomes a three-banger for relaxed city cruising/coasting. To quell the inevitable vibrations while the engine was running on three or four cylinders, Honda uses active engine mounts and active noise control system. It's a similar system the company used for the ill-fated Accord Hybrid, a model for which there will be no replacement going forward. That we never heard or felt any additional raucousness when the engine was running on fewer than six cylinders is as high praise as we can offer. It also brings a 4 mpg increase in highway fuel economy. Tested by the EPA's new, stricter standard, the V6 with the five-speed automatic (the only transmission available in V6-powered sedans) should get 19 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The new V6 is a half-litre larger than the motor it replaces to fortify it in the midsize-sedan horsepower war. At 268 hp at 6,200 rpm and 248 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, the new Honda V6 is essentially the equal of the V6s of its two main rivals, the Toyota Camry (268 hp) and Nissan Altima (270 hp) and it's smoother than either. Still, the updated 190 bhp 2.4-litre four in the EX trimline is more than enough engine to get the job done, particularly when bolted to the five-speed manual transmission. It delivers better fuel economy than the V6 (22/31) and, allied with the new Accord's bigger 18.5-gallon fuel tank, could provide more than 500 miles of driving between fill-ups which is more than the Toyota Camry Hybrid. The LX model Accord comes with a 177-hp version of the same four-cylinder but without the EX power train's high-flow muffler and more aggressive power train control module tuning.

Honda is eager to mention that the 2008 Accord is now one of the few midsize sedans that's actually a large car and by "large" Honda is referring to the EPA's classification, which is judged by adding the cubic volume of the interior and the cubic volume of the trunk. If the resulting number is 120 cubic feet or more, then the car in question is a "large" car. Assuming you don't order the moonroof, which Honda says steals 5 cubic feet from the interior, the Accord squeaks in with exactly 120 cubes. Does this really matter? Well, yes. If the fascination with big SUVs and full-size pickups proved anything, it is that bigger is still better in the minds of many consumers and surely the folks who get stuck in the backseat will appreciate the extra legroom the enlarged Accord brings. The 2008 Accord's 2.3-inch longer wheelbase (to 110.2 inches) and 1-inch-taller body yield noticeable, if not dramatic improvements in all measures of interior roominess. Overall the car is 3.2 inches longer. It's still no Chrysler 300, but neither will your head be brushing the headliner and Honda notes that it added more space between the driver and passenger and widened the center console to give a more expansive feeling to the interior.

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