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Geneva show: Honda Accord Euro gets mild makeover

Honda Accord Euro: A subtle update is on the way, but the wagon remains a Europe-only proposition.

European tweaks set to flow through to 2011 Honda Accord Euro for Australia

Honda logo28 Jan 2011

By RON HAMMERTON

HONDA’S highly-rated Accord Euro is set to get more refinement, improved ride and handling and high-tech lights in a package of subtle tweaks to be revealed at next month’s Geneva motor show ahead of the mid-sized car’s roll-out in Australia in the second half of this year.

Although the updated Accord range to be unveiled at Geneva is destined for European markets, the Australian version - made at the same Japanese factory - is expected to reflect most of the same design changes.

However, the 2.2-litre diesel engine that has been re-engineered for reduced frictional losses and improved fuel efficiency remains off the agenda for Australia, as do the stylish Europe-only wagon and sporty Type S models.

Honda Australia public relations manager Mark Higgins told GoAuto that the diesel engine was under consideration for Australia, but demand for the engine in Europe was such that there were no immediate plans to launch it here.

Exterior styling changes for the Accord Euro have been focused on the lights and bumpers fore and aft, with the headlights being given what Honda describes as a “cleaner appearance”, while the front indicators have been switched from amber to clear lenses.

The front fascia gets a new grille with two central chrome bars butting into what appears to be a bigger Honda badge. As well, the front fascia has been re-shaped around the cooling ducts and fog lights.

Top-grade models in Europe now get bi-xenon headlights which are accompanied by a camera that detects the lights of oncoming vehicles and automatically dips the headlights to low beam to prevent them from dazzling other drivers.

15 center imageTop: Honda Accord Euro. Bottom: The Thai-built Accord.

As well, the top-shelf Accord Euros get active cornering lights that switch on when the indicators are activated or if the driver turns the steering wheel more than 90 degrees, to improve night vision. Both cornering lights are also activated when reversing.

At the back of the freshened Accord, the designers have added a chrome strip above the number plate and coloured more of the rear light clusters red.

Inside, changes include dark-silver interior panels and “bright-silver” door and handbrake handles. Footwells are now illuminated with coloured lights – red or blue depending on the model.

Engine changes in the pipeline for Europe are unlikely to translate to the Australia model with its 2.4-litre 148kW/234Nm four-cylinder petrol engine.

The media release accompanying the Geneva preview pictures refers only to the 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel and 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol four-cylinder engines, saying both get fuel efficiency gains.

But the Accord Euro’s tweaked suspension might well make it Down Under. Honda says its engineers from Japan, Germany and the UK worked jointly to refine the dampers to cope better with the vast range of road conditions found in Europe.

In Europe, where diesel makes up a high proportion of Accord sales, noise insulation levels under the bonnet and along the firewall are also in for an upgrade, with higher density foam padding.

Time will tell if this feature also makes it to Australia, where the Accord Euro will remain a vital part of Honda Australia’s two-pronged Accord approach alongside the bigger, American-designed and Thai built Accord.

Both Accords lost ground in the market last year, with the Thai Accord slipping 31.2 per cent and the Euro down 16 per cent.

Between them, however, the Accord range is Honda’s second-best-selling line-up after the Civic.

Honda dealers are currently offering driveaway deals on 2010-plated Accord Euro manual ($33,990) and Euro Luxury ($41,690), and 2.99 per cent finance on 2010 Accord models.

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