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Honda suits up Accord concept

2012-01-11 11:51

COMING SOON: The slightly outrageous Honda Accord Concept is shown at the Detroit auto show.

DETROIT, Michigan - Honda on Tuesday at the Detroit auto show offered a peek at what the US-spec Accord mid-size sedan will look like when it goes on sale there later this year.

The automaker unveiled the Accord Coupe Concept, a two-door version of a car that John Mendel, executive vice-president of sales for American Honda, said would help the company bounce back from a difficult 2011 when earthquakes in Japan and flooding in Thailand disrupted production.

FUSION OUT TOO

The Ford Fusion (or Mondeo) topped the Accord and competitors including the Hyundai Sonata last year in the US, though Toyota's Camry remained the best-seller among mid-size sedans. Ford a day earlier at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit unveiled its redesigned Fusion, which also goes on sale later in 2012.

"They temporarily picked up a lap or two while we were in the pits," Mendel said.

The production Accord will be offered with new safety features such as Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot display, which uses a camera mounted on the passenger-side mirror.

The car will go on sale around the time Honda marks 30 years of Accord production in the US. The first Accord sedan to roll off the line in Marysville, Ohio, on November 1, 1982 - on loan from the Henry Ford Museum near Detroit - was displayed Tuesday at the show alongside the Coupe Concept.

WHAT'S NEW:

Power: The Accord will have three new power trains: a 2.4 engine promising 135kW, a plug-in hybrid and a six-cylinder version of the car will be the first Honda sedan to feature a new six-speed auto transmission.

Fuel consumption: Details weren't released but Honda says the Accord sedan and coupe are expected to get class-leading fuel economy. The plug-in hybrid version will allow drivers to run for about 20km in the city on battery power.

Looks: The concept version on display is sleeker than the current version. The front bumper is highlighted by a revised honeycomb grille and deep-set headlights. The concept version is displayed with 20", five-spoked wheels, a boot-lid spoiler and large exhausts exiting through the bumper.

Cheers: Despite the exterior changes, cabin space is expected to remain about the same. The Accord is known for safety and drivers can expect feature updates such as warning systems to detect a potential collision and notify that the car is drifting out of lane.

Jeers: The new Accord will face tough scrutiny among buyers of mid-size cars, especially with the updated Fusion going on sale as well as Toyota's mainstay Camry.
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