2016 Honda Accord: Evolution of a mainstream classic (CNET On Cars, Episode 75)
Cooley On Cars
The refreshed Honda Accord.
Why it's so good.
What about you your seats want to [UNKNOWN], and the VW scandal.
The king of them all, empowered by tech.
It's time to check the tech.
We see cars differently.
We love them on the road And under the hood.
But also check the [UNKNOWN] and are known for telling it like it is.
Ugly is included at no extra cost.
The good, the bad, the bottom line.
This is CNET On Cars.
Welcome to CNET On Cars, the show all about high tech cars.
Cars and modern driving.
I'm Brian Cooley.
We've spent quite a bit of time lately roaring around in Mustang Shelby GT350s and Corvette ZO6s But I never like to stray too far from the real world where cars like the Honda Accord live.
Just as happy to see one of these come into the CNET garage, especially since they've rather heavily revised the 16's sheet metal and electronics, Let's get in the '16 Accord sedan and check the tech.
The Honda Accord is one of those cars that doesn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
But I'll tell you what, I could drive one of these things all day long, as so many millions do.
The 2016 Accord is not a completely new car.
It's on the same platform as the one we've had since 2013.
So, the basic volumes and dimensions are all still the same.
But they've really revised the front and rear in particular on the outside.
Look at the face.
It's much more sculpted and scowly.
People like angry The scowling car faces for some reason.
Out back there's a lot more Acura DNA to my eye and again more finely sculpted and muscular.
You've got LED tail lights on all the 16 Accords and up front you've got LED headlights available now on the top line called the Touring.
When I got in this 16 Accord.
In a couple ways, I wasn't sure I was in a Honda.
First of all, they've done some really smart stuff with cabin tech, which to be honest, they don't normally do.
In this case it's Android Auto and Car Play side by side.
No excuses, no extra cost.
I've got my phone cable down here to a convenient USB data and charge port and that's that.
And check this out, you've actually got a live web browser, now not while you're driving obviously, but this is normally really high end car stuff.
You could pull over and watch CNET on cars.
I still have my gripes about the interface though, first of all there's no volume knob.
You gotta use that rocker on the wheel or this touch thing to the left of the screen.
No thank you.
And you can get too many weirdnesses on these dual screens, like having audio on one On one, and the same thing on the other one.
That's a waste.
The overall interface though has been revised to be more elegant, yet still featuring some of the cleanest, largest touch buttons in the biz.
I like that.
This Accord EXL stays pretty close to the play book under the hood.
A 2.4 liter direct injected inline 4 doing 185 horse.
And almost the exact same number on the foot pound.
CVT's the only gear box on this trim.
Lower Accords can get a six speed manual, upper Accords get a traditional automatic.
Overall you can get pretty close to 40 on the highway.
And, of course, all Accords are still front Wheel drive.
Okay, first thing I want you to do if you go test drive this new 16 Accord is come to a stop like this.
Hang onto the wheel and feel the pedals.
I find that idles, there's kind of a vibration coming through that I don't expect in a modern car that isn't exactly cheap.
So you gotta check that out for yourself, maybe I'm nuts, I don't know.
Now, once you get going, all that harshness kind of blows away and I'm left with a surprisingly perky 4-cylinder.
But I thought we might have had the 6 when we first drove this.
I was impressed.
CBT Gearbox, you can hear it going through its machinations there.
That's the only choice on this EXL trim.
It's a good one, I've got to give you that.
You know I'm not a huge CBT buff.
Now it's not too hard to plumb this engine and find it's breathless spots, so it's not a real super powerful engine, but in everyday driving, you're not gonna notice them.
The big tech ticket on the road is Honda Sensing.
Their driver assist package Including collision mitigation braking, which can go to a full stop, forward collision warnings, lane departure that is active to keep you in your lane, road departure mitigation, which is different from lane departure.
It keeps you from going off the road, and adaptive cruise control.
First time in an Accord are amplitude reactive dampers, that means two valves in the shocks to read the road surface based on frequency of vibration.
And move between the two valve sets to be either firm or compliant.
Okay, if the Onion ever does a special on first world problems, there's a technology in this car that needs to be the cover story.
It's called straight road assist, or something.
I mean, just the name is Onion-esque.
What it does is it uses the electric power steering and the vehicles various sensors to help you steer straight when your going down one of those peaked crowned roads.
I never new that was fatiguing.
Maybe I was missing something, and I continue to love this lane watch camera.
It's one of the best cameras in the auto biz.
It's that one that looks down the right side.
[SOUND] A '16 Accord, 4-cylinder EXL, which is very high-trim, is a little over $29,000.
I'm going to load up some sensors and that wireless charging tech, but definitely move my trim up one more notch to get the navigation.
But more importantly, the Honda sensing adaptive drive tech.
That bundle for 2 grand?
You're stealing that all day long.
We're at about 32.2 CNET style.
Find our full review notes on that 16 Accord sedan over at cars.cnet.com, nice everyday driver.
Well, you probably know that cars sold in Europe and America, even the same make and model, do differ in some ways.
But a recent and rather obscure trade tariff negotiation has surfaced a substantial and little-known difference between cars sold on either side of the pond that is of great interest to smarter drivers in both markets.
I'll fill you in when CNET On Cars returns.
It's called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
It's being negotiated now between the U.S. and European Union and seeks to increase the ease of trade between the two regions.
By addressing tariffs, yes.
But more interestingly, by normalizing product standards between the two markets.
No product is subject to more standards than automobiles.
One of the big assumptions was, if we test US and European cars, and find that they are basically equivalent, if not equal, in terms of safety standards.
We can that a wash, and let them cross markets.
And that would avoid expensive re-engineering and re-certification of every car before it can be sold in the other market.
Now several differences between the two markets for a long time, I mean automotivally just look at the first Jaguar E Type.
The series one had these lovely glass-covered headlights By late 67, those were calling, thanks to US regulations.
And the car never looked quite the same again.
Same goes for those five mile per hour hideous US bumpers that luckily never got adopted in the EU.
But this is not some battle for the esthetic high ground.
In fact, it's a battle for the dollar high ground.
The Atlantic Council estimates that US carmakers could go from shipping about $13 billion in cars into the EU market to nearly $85 billion by 2027.
And by the way, automotive would be the biggest single industry to benefit from this normalizing process.
So for now auto makers are saying this study needs more study.
While the European transport safety council says maybe we should leave cars out of the negotiation.
One things for sure, regulators can now agree that it pays to double check if cars that seem equivalent in very similar markets
Welcome back to CNet on cars, coming to you from our home at the Mount Tam Motor Club, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Well, as fitness bands and smart watches duke it out to see who's gonna be the platform of choice on our wrists.
Car makers have gotten this inkling that their seats.
Should be the biometric platform under our butts.
Makes for an interesting Car Tech 101.
What if your next fitness wearable weighs about, oh, 3500 pounds?
It's not entirely unlikely, as more and more technology companies are deciding the inside of a car Car can be a wellness monitoring tool.
Faurecia here is a good example.
They call this their active wellness seat technology.
I am right now sitting on a sensor.
It looks like a seat, but in the bottom cushion is a sensor.
You call it a **** sensor because it's using my rump to figure out my heart rate and my respiration.
And then, the tricky part is doing a very complicated signals and noise process, to take out all the vehicle's vibration and thumping.
It all gets reported up somewhere in the dash, like on this mockup, there's my heart rate, there's my respiration rate right there, below that, they're able to use another algorithm to figure out if I'm stressed right now, or if I'm sleepy.
In the middle's fine.
But either of those extremes, it can then do some kind of seat therapy on me, a combination of massage, heat and cooling could be used to wake me up, if it's a really rigorous massage with cooling or calm me down maybe, if it's a more calm massage.
Some other factors that you can deal with once you have this data You can send that off to a medical professional.
You can also [UNKNOWN] that data together with what's coming off of the FitBit for example to get more accurate data over all.
Interesting wrinkle on crash detection, what if when a collision is detected, they just don't send the severity of the crash and the location, but they can also send my heart rate and respiration to emergency responders.
They know a little bit more about what they're going to get into when they arrive here than if they don't have that data.
And then from this, of course, auto makers can decide to extend that more.
They can tap into a sensing seat like this to do their own sort of response systems for different moods.
Also make it part of a holistic, almost intuitive Sport mode or comfort mode for the overall drive train, depending on what mood you bring to the car.
That would be on the OEM's plate to do that.
By the way, the medical grade sensors behind this technology are already in use.
In hospital beds, to measure certain patient perimeters.
Jaguar sees using them as part of a platform called Mind Sense.
In addition to reading brainwaves, it also envisions a biometric seat, to read heart rate and respiration rate, particularly to better know how to alert the driver of a future autonomous Jaguar when they need to take control again.
The advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo was several years ago working on a Seat techs that reads the contours of your rump to identify you.
Basically a **** print to get access to the car.
And a few years ago Ferrari applied for a patent on seat technology that would go beyond measuring heart and respiration by adding brain waves measured by headrest sensors in the aim of better tailoring the car's drive mode to the driver's mental Clearly, the day is coming where car seats will do a lot more than just keep you off the floor.
In a moment, your email.
All about the VW emissions scandal and why it's like no other, when CNET On Cars continues.
It's time for the 991 to get a midlife refresh.
Except rather than Car gor bit more power.
This time it's got a whole new heart, and it's turbocharged.
The turbo is when you get more power, more torque, more MPG, more everything, really.
But is also means Porsche can keep up with its increasingly turbocharged rivals.
Find more from the XCAR team of CNET UK at cnet.com/xcar.
Welcome back to CNET On Cars.
I'm Brian Cooley this is the part of the show I really enjoy.
Answering some of your e-mails, and they kind all kinda go one direction the last couple of weeks.
It's a torrent of questions about this emerging VW Emissionsgate story.
Some of our questions come in from Chris C in Chicago, who says, you know, in the US we kinda just seem to hate diesels for some reason.
Do you think the media is just zooming in on the problem especially hard?
Kelvin C says, I know you like diesel engines.
He's referring to me, and I do I'd love to hear your perspective on why VW would do this and what a repair would look like for VW diesel owners.
And Peter T says, how about a discussion of old versus new diesel technology that helped enable this scandal to happen in the first place.
This is an unprecedented issue in the auto industry.
Sure, we've had some big debacles before.
I mean look back at what's happened with Toyota Gate.
That was the unintended acceleration.
Hyundai and Ford had some issues with stated versus observed MPG that were pretty stark.
General Motors still working through an enormous recall on badly designed ignition switches.
Jeep had some unprotected rear fuel tanks that were a big problem and of course Takata's massive recall of airbags that explode.
But all of those are in a different category than what Volkswagen has done.
The revelation that some 11 million Volkswagen and Audi turbo diesel powered cars
[SOUND] Have technology to willfully and repeatedly skirt emission standards is truly unprecedented.
Specifically, VW engineered the software in their engine ECU on these cars.
That's the engine electronic control unit, to sense when it's hooked up to an emissions testing program.
And then to modify its own software parameters to meet low emissions standards.
Got it, then when the car sensed it was disconnected from an emissions test it went to a different profile entirely that allowed it to get better performance but at vastly higher emissions, 10 to 40 times the legal allowed rate.
And to do it actively when not connected to an emission test is what is so evil about this.
Not that many years ago, the engine control unit weren't that sophisticated, it would've been almost impossible for VW to engineer this kind of deceitful behavior.
I bet a lot of folks there wish it were those days right now, they wouldn't have been able to step in it like they did.
Instead, they've taken a huge hit on many fronts.
It's cost them who knows how much in market value.
It's measured in billions of euros.
They lost their CEO.
They've yet to even see likely billions in penalties from U.S. regulators, and they've got to figure out what to do with all those cars on the road.
Somewhere from an expensive re-engineering recall to possibly the largest Buy back in automotive history and they've given diesel cars a black eye on the US market, a market that was already kinda sketchy on them in the first place.
Thanks for watching, really hope you enjoyed this episode.
We appreciate you viewing CNET on Cars.
Follow me on Twitter, it's briancooley and you'll see regular snap shots from the field and know what we're shooting next.
For our on the road segments.
I'll see you next time we check the tech.
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