Honda steers toward Silicon Valley with new R&D center

25 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2016 Honda Accord gets a new look, loads more tech.

Honda gave an unusual nod to Silicon Valley this week, revealing its latest Accord model in the company’s Mountain View research center instead of at a traditional Detroit auto industry show. A new Accord isn’t normally reason for excitement but the latest 2016 model is certainly worth a close look at, even for those buyers considering a near-premium sedan or perhaps even a model from Honda’s upmarket division Acura. The 2016 model Accord is Honda’s first to incorporate competing connected-car platforms from Apple and Google, both headquartered within a 7-mile radius of the Honda facility. The 2016 Accord is an updated version of the model on sale since the 2013 model year, and key among the changes are the sharp new look and expanded tech. So it was only fitting that Honda unveiled its mid-cycle refresh for the Accord Thursday at its newly expanded Silicon Valley research and development facility.

Last year, “it was outright the best-selling car in California and also the No. 1 selling car to customers under 35, so it’s important to attract the car to millennials.” What better place to start than at the millennial mecca? The front and rear fascia is new, the hood has been redesigned, and the Accord now features 19-inch wheels, all working together to give it a more aggressive look. Mix in new LED headlights, LED taillights and LED fog lights along with a new, “more expressive” grille and presto! — “Honda’s signature look,” as Marie called it, is ready to roll. During a press tour, Honda showed off technology that is not yet ready for public consumption — like the Uni-Cub, a self-balancing, one-person, one-wheeled chair that can move as fast as 10 mph. It also demonstrated a system connected to mobile devices that would give the driver an audio and visual warning if an unsuspecting pedestrian is about to cross the path of the vehicle.

It works together with the existing center stack display and includes compatibility with the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems. If you can’t wait for manufacturers to make good on their promises to support CarPlay, because they seem to be moving at a snail’s pace, there are aftermarket solutions for putting iOS in your dashboard. We spent some time with Pioneer’s high-end AVIC–8000NEX and Alpine’s iLX–007 stereo, and while there were a few bugs, dropping $1400 or $800 on an aftermarket solution is a more affordable and more immediate option for folks who just can’t wait to get their hands on CarPlay and don’t want to buy a new vehicle. Honda Sensing includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

There’s been no changes made to the powertrain offerings, which means the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine still outputs 185 horsepower, and the available 3.5-liter V-6 is still delivering 278 hp. Honda officials said changes here would be minimal and, as such, the Accord will still feature a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine mated to either a six-speed manual or a CVT transmission and a 3.5-litre V-6 paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.

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