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Honda reveals redesigned Accord, moves hybrid production from Japan to Ohio

Published:Thursday | July 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Honda showed off a redesigned version of the Accord last week, emphasising the vehicle's additional space and longer wheelbase at a time when consumers are ditching cars for roomier crossovers.

The 10th generation of 2016's ninth best-selling US vehicle will hit global markets at an abysmal time for cars but could inspire Honda's loyal following to give the sedan another look.

The Japanese automaker also announced that it would move production of the hybrid version of the Accord from Japan to Ohio.

The redesigned 2018 Honda Accord will square off against contemporary sedans such as the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, and Chevrolet Malibu. But its fiercest competition is coming in the form of small crossovers, including Honda's own CR-V crossover.

Like other mid-size cars, the Accord is ailing. Sales fell 5.5 per cent through June to 160,091 units, compared to a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp.

The Accord is making its debut in a media event in the Motor City of Detroit. It wasn't the best timing, coming after the company hours earlier announced a recall of 1.5 million Accords from the 2013 through 2016 model years to prevent engine fires.

But the new model is sure to generate interest among the family demographic the automaker is targeting. The vehicle was completely redesigned from scratch, though it's not a significant departure from the ninth-generation Accord, whose buyers prize reliability, sensibility, and quality.

"Even as we advance core values like great driving dynamics, safety, and efficiency, the distinctive design of this all-new 2018 Honda Accord will help it appeal to both head and heart in equal measure," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice-president of American Honda Motor Co's automobile division, in a statement.

Honda said its new Accord's improvements include:

- A lighter and more rigid body structure.

- A new chassis design.

- Two new direct-injected and turbocharged four-cylinder engines and a new generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid technology.

- The first 10-speed automatic transmission for a front-drive car.

- More space inside with a larger trunk and a longer wheelbase for more rear leg room.

- More comfortable seats, including a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat.

- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility

- Standard driver-assist safety technologies, including adaptive cruise control.

The Accord will offer a number of trim levels six for the 1.5-liter version, four for the two-liter version and five for the hybrid.

The company ditched the six-cylinder engine option available on its earlier Accord. The most powerful option is now a four-cylinder, two-litre, turbocharged engine based on the Civic Type R powertrain with 252 horsepower, compared to the six-cylinder, 3.5-litre's 278 horsepower.

The Accord, which Cars.com called one of the most made-in-America vehicles in 2016, will be built at the automaker's plant in Marysville, Ohio, with engines and transmissions from plants in either Ohio or Georgia.

- Bloomberg News