The 10th generation Honda Accord debuted one month ago in Detroit. It presented two engines – a 1.5-liter turbocharged four that generates 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque and a more potent 2.0-liter I4 unit good for 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Now, the Honda Accord brings new technology to the table, and these are the features meant to impress people in the showroom.
A color head-up display, a customizable digital screen in the instrument panel, climate control knobs which glow red or blue, an instant near-field communications link with a smartphone are all included. However, one would expect to see these types of features on the top-shelf models – in the case of Honda it would be expected for Acura to receive them – but the Japanese company introduced them on a family car, the new redesigned 2018 Accord.
There are few reasons for doing this. Some of these are related to competition in the sedan segment, the timing of the model’s release and the halo effect over the rest of the Honda brand. Whatever the reason may be, the Accord is the one that commands respect whereas the top-range Acura earned itself a second-fiddle role.
“When you look holistically at Honda and Acura in the marketplace you clearly see that Honda is the brand that’s paying the bills and driving success and profitability,” Eric Lyman, vice president for industry insights at TrueCar, told Automotive News.
The Accord is one of the most important cars ever produced by Honda because it has been the company’s best-seller for years, even decades and it has been responsible for establishing Honda’s role, identity, and credibility in the US market. Since 1976, more than 13 million Accord vehicles have been sold, but only last year the Accord came up behind the redesigned Civic and the CR-V. With this redesign, the automaker wanted to improve it as much as possible by adding new and useful features.
Jeff Conrad, the senior vice president of the auto division at American Honda, said: “The heritage of Accord is tightly wrapped with the history and success of the Honda brand. And as we’re looking at technology that we can mature and bring online in time for a product’s introduction, Accord is the perfect candidate for it because it’s such an important car for us.”
“Technology doesn’t slow down for you,” Conrad added, as Honda didn’t want to wait for the next redesigned Acura model which would debut next year. “So while we try to plan for it and we try to use our latest and greatest technologies on Acura, certain ones, when we’ve perfected them, if it’s going to go on a Honda, it’s going to go on a Honda.”
Acura cars are known as the vehicles with fabulous technology. Sport Hybrid AWD system can be found in the NSX supercar, MDX crossover and RLX large sedan, whereas the TLX and RLX models have all wheel steering. Most of the premium brand vehicles are equipped with a dual-clutch transmission, which you cannot find in a single Honda. The next-gen RDX has to be a difference maker for the popular brand. Jon Ikeda took over as the general manager in 2015, and this will be the first refresh ever since that happened. Acura’s best-seller at the moment is the RDX with about 60,000 sales per year.
“We have some really strong innovative ideas that are going to be RDX-first and Acura-first,” Ikeda told Automotive News. “Sometimes the cadence of things has worked out the way it does, but you’ll see that plenty of things are coming through in the RDX.”
Exterior changes aside, the Acura RDX will be the first model of the brand to receive an element of the Precision Cockpit interior concept displayed at the 2016 LA Auto Show, according to Ikeda. In the meantime, the Accord stays on top. Lyman concluded: “It might rob Peter to pay Paul a little. But the success they can leverage at Honda is going to pay dividends down the road.”