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Where is Honda taking Acura?

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  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I think it is about time Acura got a new FR platform for its cars, TL and above, to offer a reincarnated CL as well. SH-AWD is impressive, but its advantages get overwhelmed by the added weight (hurts straight line performance, and fuel economy, two of the things many shoppers evaluate via spec sheet) and cost (another “concern” that shows up on base price on the sticker). It works in vehicles like MDX where one almost expects AWD system and not so much about 0-60 or quarter mile runs, or even fuel economy.

    IMO, 2008 provides a great opportunity for Acura to adopt that route since TL is due for a redesign, and RL could also afford one instead of going thru a mid-model cycle refresh. And Acura will be set for a global stage.

    FF platform on Acura limits Honda’s possibilities (much like the Civic Si versus RSX issue). And if Acura were to offer a CL, IMO, it should start fresh with a new platform. TL and RL can eventually join (or be there with it right from the beginning). I don’t mind TSX continuing to share platform with Accord, but it should have an SH-AWD option to go with a more powerful engine and sport tuned chassis.

    As for the old CL, the primary issue was that the TL looked sleeker than the coupe which looked like an ordinary sedan. Coupe buyers generally go for more style, something CL lacked. Styling works as an incentive worth giving up the practicality of a sedan. For that reason, I doubt the 2008 Accord sedan will be as aggressively styled as the Coupe Concept we just saw at NAIAS. Although I hope it isn’t too “run of the mill” since it is about time Honda stopped worrying about stepping on its own toes and in the process allow others to join the party.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    For buyers who shop on spec sheet, the want easily overrides needs. 17 cu ft trunk looks much better than 14 cu ft. And when automotive reviewers go about assigning points, they remember to take away points for smallish trunk. It doesn’t seem to matter why a car has less trunk (or cabin) space. What does matter is that it doesn’t.

    IMO, Accord is just the right size for its class. And more importantly, for me, it drives like a smaller car. But in the land of excesses, people are buying H2’s where the cabin feels like an expanse of football field.

    To market something successfully, Honda has to do what it takes, and that, unfortunately, could also mean larger dimensions. In John Mendel’s words
    “It's therefore our intention to bring the next generation Accord to market as the boldest ... roomiest ... most refined ... and most exhilarating car in the segment. Indeed, a new benchmark.”

    “Boldest” would be very subjective. “Most refined” throws another dimension. I don’t expect Accord to be as isolating and soft as Camry, but refinement can come in other forms too (better feedback and handling qualities without being harsh as virtually all sportier cars tend to be). “Roomiest”, however, is an interesting statement to make. Accord already is about as roomy as others, if not better. Perhaps he implies adding an inch or half here and there to keep up. I doubt Accord will grow much if at all (it could actually shrink a little on the outside, if not noticeably) because eventhough the sedan is designed in the USA and primarily for this market, it is also offered in several other markets including Japan (sold as Inspire) where exterior size can be an issue.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    To me, the 94-97 Accord has about the perfect exterior size.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Oh, lots of issues brought up with that one, Robert.

    "I think it is about time Acura got a new FR platform for its cars, TL and above, to offer a reincarnated CL as well."

    Your suggestion for an FR platform for both the TL and RL makes sense on the showroom floor, but I doubt it's workable on the factory floor.

    The TL is highly profitable because it can be built in the same plant as the Accord. Both are high volume vehicles being build in NA where they are sold. You muck with that platform sharing; you muck with everything.

    I think pulling the RL onto an FR platform is more workable. Yes, it will require retooling, but it would be on a much smaller scale. The platform and assembly line might also be used for a Honda competitor to the Avalon and eventually a large coupe for Acura. (Maybe one of those 4-door coupes like MB has created.)

    "SH-AWD is impressive, but its advantages get overwhelmed by the added weight... and cost. It works in vehicles like MDX where one almost expects AWD system..."

    Ditto. I think SH-AWD is both more effective and easily accepted by consumers with the CUVs in Acura's fleet.

    That said, I do think Acura can continue with the TL as a FF vehicle in base trim and add an AWD trim for sporting enthusiasts. You mention the added weight of SH-AWD and I agree that is a concern. However, Acura is steadily growing larger V6s along with a V10 and potential V8.

    Realistically, all that's required is a DOHC 3.5 with VCM to power the current TL-S with SH-AWD. That would probably provide all the power and fuel economy needed. In the future, they might need something larger to keep competitive with the hp wars, but they already have the 3.7 on tap. By then, the RL and MDX may be ready for the V8 or V10.

    Furthermore, they can shave some weight by producing an AWD CL and advance the notion of AWD performance at the same time. With the "NSX replacement", Acura has another chance at promoting SH-AWD and making it more acceptable to the public.

    "As for the old CL, the primary issue was that the TL looked sleeker than the coupe which looked like an ordinary sedan."

    Correct. The CL had a sedan body with a stubby tail and a coupe greenhouse. The bottom was too chunky for the top. The TL had better proportions because the body, tail, and greenhouse all worked together to create a long body line.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    those '94-97 accords, they were nice cars. i liked the look and size. i like the look and dimensions of my '02 as well.

    that '07 accord concept has a front and back end that i don't think are particularly pretty. maybe it's just me. too much of other vehicles in the thing, and less and less honda pedigree cues for this guy. i wish it looked more like the civic in the front end myself. dimensionally, it all looks wrong to me. but what do i know?

    i also like the look of my 2nd gen ODY. the '05s and on just seem to have a heavy blunt nose and bloated love handles.

    it seemed to me as though the acuras were more honda-like than honda. maybe intentional?

    anyway, i personally don't think pulling cues from other non-honda vehicles: making them beefier, chunkier, squat, wide, challenging, etc makes sense for the bread and butter shoppers that are looking for reliability, utility and value. i guess it's a good thing i'm not a designer.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If there is something I find weak in current Civic, it is its front end.

    OTOH, Honda got almost everything right with the Accord concept IMO. Every piece seems to fit together, and even though you may see a lot of vehicles in its you would be hardpressed to not see a lot of any other vehicle (there is only so much you can change without coming up with something as drastic as Aztek or the ovaloid Taurus which actually looked like Infiniti J30).

    The only major deviation in the Accord Coupe concept is adoption of fastback style (the way the roofline meets the rear). The front seems to be an evolution of older Honda design elements. The rear is angular too, and designed to flow with the front. The tail lamp seems to be borrowed from 2002-2003 TL but revised to match the shape of the trunk lid on the inside and match the side of the headlamp on the side (and use the 2004+ TL-esque character line for it).

    The grill is something that surprised me. Honda has rarely used the hexagon (last time... 2003-2005 Pilot), although it is something I have wanted them to adopt since pentagrill is for Acura and having no-proper-grill makes the front look rather incomplete (an issue with 2003-2005 Accord and in fact, with Accord in the past too where the grill has always been "weak"). I was expecting more along the lines of Stream/Odyssey (Japanese market), or in the worst case (thankfully it didn't happen)... something like the current Accord/Civic.

    As for the small Accord, those 1994-1997 were TSX sized, and there is no way Honda could have continued to use that size and compete well, much less lead, in the family sedan segment. Even with the size that Accord has, if you take note, a lot of comparisons put Accord down for being on the smaller side (in terms of less legroom or trunk size or whatever). Good marketing requires addressing issues like that.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    you hate the civic front end. i think it is great. really great in fact. i'm not a fan of the back end though.

    thing is, for the '06, it matches the acura front end and the accord. they telegraph similar pedigree i think.

    the accord isn't a dodge charger or chrysler 300, and shouldn't look like one. oh and the doors and the fenders of the accord proto look like a mustang to me.

    it's all wrong.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I don't know about the doors (don't look closely enough to assign a brand to the design), but fenders on the new Accord Coupe concept resemble my 1998 Accord's, and are virtually identical to the fenders in Acura TSX.

    The rear of the coupe is simply a squarish iteration of the roundish theme in Civic Coupe (and both have a horizontal line that lines up with the bottom of the tail lamps).

    This concept has the right mix of square and round themes, unlike the last iteration that got over-rounded in some areas. The squarish shape to design elements also make it look very Honda to me. Down to the shape of the badge (most automakers use round badges or some form of curves), I have associated squarishness as a part of Accord DNA. I see that even in the lettering used for Accord.

    The grill's overall appearance reminds me of 1992-95 Legend, in that it also seems to lean forward a little (that may be considered a design element shared with likes of Charger, Mustang, and also BMWs from the early 90s). It is also very similar to 1992-93 Accord (again, a car that relied heavily on squarish design elements with some rounding offs). This Accord concept is as close it gets to those early 90s Hondas, and also to late 90s Hondas that we never saw (the European/Japanese Accord).

    Not sure where the Charger, 300 or Mustang similarities, as you said, factor in. The most "Charger" I see is limited to the shape of the tail lamp, but you see that in a lot of cars, including Lamborghini Gallardo and the newest iteration of Murcielago. Actually, in Accord, it looks like a revised version of the tail lamp from 2002-2003 TL.

    In the past, virtually all Honda grills have left a lot to be desired. The ones I have either liked or was ok with have not been seen beyond CR-V and Odyssey. Pilot was headed in the right direction with the 2003-2005 iteration when it used the hexagonal grill, but I don't like the current version. Civic's grill, as does current Accord's, leaves a lot to be desired as well. Perhaps, I am not a big fan of the chrome mustache.

    I also detest the grill on the CR-V, which appears to have been inspired by Lexus RX but Honda took it a step further an incorporated a styling element that might be the future (lower grill extending under the headlamps) but in case of CR-V it looks unfinished. If you want to see a better finished version of the same concept, look for 2008 Focus's grill.

    As far as the new Accord's grill is concerned, there is one thing I would have changed. The "cuts" at the corner would look better if they lined up with the lower line of the headlamp (i.e. if they had less angle to it to allow a better flow from headlamps to the grill). Or, perhaps, had Honda used "softer corners" instead like was done for Pilot (2003-2005).
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I think it will make greater economic sense to let TL and RL (and a CL) share FR platform. TL commands large enough sales that it should be economically feasible and beneficial from market perspective to move to FR platform. I don’t know about the “lines” in Marysville but perhaps some of them could be reserved for FR cars and the rest used as they already are. Well, thinking about it further, even RDX could use the same FR platform, and we might be talking a large volume of cars here, as many as 150K units and that might be about 40% of the capacity at Marysville.

    A dedicated or low volume FR platform will continue to hurt RL, in terms of cost.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    to respond to your question- the front of the recently shown accord accord coup concept, being sort of blunt seems more like a dodge charger or chrysler 300 to me than a honda. maybe there are other cars it's more like, but those i see on the roads and i don't care for them in the least but that's what flashed before my eye. :cry:

    IMHO, honda accords should have pointier front ends like the sporty acura brethern, not stubby blunt ones.

    who designs this stuff, comic book hero fans? :shades:

    the point about the mustang - do you not see the cues i see in the door and fender from the side? that deep cut and the three line... that is like trademark ford mustang.

    the roof line looks like i don't know - i don't have a good vehicle geometry vocabulary so i'll pick something, a nissan 350z perhaps, only not as nice.

    the small side glass? that's not functional. that's appearence - again more like the nissan 350z than accord. accords are FUNCTIONAL.

    onto acura...
    oh, let's see, i just took a look at the accura RDX and MDX. oh yuck (how do i think you are ugly, let me count the ways).

    now the csx/tsx... i like their look very very much. i may have to "buy up" if the accord line gets all messed up. :lemon: wait, maybe that's intentional - honda makes the civic more like the accord, phases the accord out, and pushes loyal buyers to the csx/tsx.

    look, i'll never be able to afford a lamborghini (sp?), lotus, ford gt.

    i hope they don't mess the accord up like this. one vote no.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    that '07 accord concept has a front and back end that i don't think are particularly pretty.

    Straight-on front view with shapes of fenders, hood and headlights look good. But, upper grille does not match lower grille, upper grille shape/texture not complementary to fender/hood/headlight lines. Also, cutouts for fog lights are fighting fender/hood/headlight lines. As experiment, print-out front view and wipe out upper and lower grilles and foglight cutouts and start over, just like you might have done in high school study room. Think that almost any body could have done a better job on that front end.

    I had a 98 Accord LX V6, and I think that straight ahead front view of it was very clean and lines were well integrated. Would be interesting to see that front end grafted onto the 07 concept. Think that it would flow very well with rest of car.

    Who the heck is doing front ends of Pilots, Odys, Ridgelines, 07 Accord concept to make them look so ungainly.

    i also like the look of my 2nd gen ODY. the '05s and on just seem to have a heavy blunt nose and bloated love handles.

    Would agree. Have a 2000 Ody EX and prefer exterior styling and interior over latest gen. Current ODY front looks like bug eyes.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,585
    keep in mind that there are new pedestrian safety regulation coming into effect that require mor blunt noses and higher hood lines. The days of low "cowcatcher" front ends are over.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    keep in mind that there are new pedestrian safety regulation coming into effect that require mor blunt noses and higher hood lines. The days of low "cowcatcher" front ends are over.

    Would seem that blunt noses and higher hood lines would be more likely to injure a pedestrian.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I don’t think the blunt nose has as much to do with pedestrian safety as it is with contemporary styling (we’re likely to see more of that nose in more vehicles shortly). If it were just about pedestrian safety, Civic would have it too. Honda’s approach to pedestrian safety involves a uniquely designed hood collapse system. Perhaps it is the upcoming regulation (not sure where and when) that is said to require more space between the engine and the hood. So, a straight up nose may not just be for contemporary styling.

    I had a 98 Accord LX V6, and I think that straight ahead front view of it was very clean and lines were well integrated.

    I have a 1998 Accord EX and if there was something I would change in the car from day 1, it was the grill which was merely an opening. It looks cheap while the rest of the styling is very nice and has aged exceptionally well.

    I liked the European/Japanese market Accord’s grill from the same generation (1998-2002) much more pleasing and unlike ours, it was "complete".
    image

    If you look closely, the new Accord’s front is similar to 1998-2002 Euro/Japanese Accord (with subtle changes, of course). And it appears to be an evolution of 1992-95 Legend's (stubby nose with top of the grill slightly leaning forward) and 1992-1993 Accord (also a straight up nose with squarish theme all over). The primary difference between the Honda/Acura of the early 90s and 2008 Accord is that now the nose is taller (thanks for crash tests needs etc, can’t have those low slung fronts anymore). The grill’s shape is reminiscent of 2003-2005 Pilot (a hexagon) but with sharp edging instead of soft nudges at the bottom sides.

    The hexagonal theme for the grill is something I have wanted to see Honda adopt for years (as opposed to not having a theme at all, a big issue with Honda) because they can’t (and shouldn’t) use pentagrill when Acura does. While hexagonal shape to the grill goes back to Honda’s first car (S500). Finally, it seems, the want has been fulfilled. But, Honda hasn’t stuck with a theme so won’t be surprised not to see it again, for a while.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    The front end doesn’t seem to be as blunt as it is in Charger and Mustang, and some cars on the way out. It is definitely not as “high”, nor does is it as square as it appears from the frontal shot (at an angle the front is slightly rounded off). The overall appearance is closer to that of 1992-95 Legend (imagine it with slightly larger hexagonal grill). But then, I am judging from pictures. And in fact, most people will try to relate the style to cars they see around from now than go back and look at older styling even if it were to come from Honda’s own cars.

    But this wouldn’t be the first time Honda has adopted some design elements going back 8-12 years. In fact, they seem to do it more often than not (the shape of tail lamp in 1998 Accord sedan seems to have come from 1987 Prelude’s, while 1998 Accord Coupe’s was clearly inspired by NSX that preceded it by 8-9 years, 1999 TL clearly derived its styling from 1992 Legend, 2001 CL and 2004 Accord Coupe seem to have used 1996-1998 Acura TL rear end styling and so on).

    the point about the mustang - do you not see the cues i see in the door and fender from the side? that deep cut and the three line... that is like trademark ford mustang.

    No I don’t. Here are pictures to make my point:
    image
    image
    image
    image
    Note that in TSX, current Accord and in 2008 Accord, the fenders transitions smoothly and over to the headlamps and has a flat edging designed to enhance the perception of a larger wheel (also seen in 1998-2002 Accord). Mustang has that flat edge too, but the fender doesn’t transition smoothly, instead has a defined line over it. Mustang’s actually resembles the fender that you might notice in a Mercedes.

    the roof line looks like i don't know - i don't have a good vehicle geometry vocabulary so i'll pick something, a nissan 350z perhaps, only not as nice.

    Just like "hatchback" styling that we usually talk about, "fastback" is another styling widely used design element. Before it was used in 350Z, you would have seen it in Audi TT, Tiburon, and umpteen dozen other cars already on the streets. It is also part of styling in likes of Ferrari 456GT. This would be the first time Accord Coupe is getting that style.

    "Fastback" styling isn't limited to coupes. Cars like MB's CLS are representative of the similar concept applied to sedans. The shape helps improve coefficient of drag, but would almost certainly compromise rear seat headroom. For practicality reasons, I am almost sure that we won't see it in Accord sedan.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    yes. you have artculated what i could not about the front end of the concept vehicle. thank you. gosh i think a survey of honda accord owners would find a good number like me thinking ugly too.

    i like your idea about sending the designers to study hall. please skip the dose of comic book mags though.

    honda has been known to show something and actually produce something else. maybe they want to demonstrate a willingness to tweak / freshen things but not let on as to exactly what'd they will do.

    oh, i hope so.

    as far as i'm concerned, that accord concept is every car BUT an accord in appearence. take the "H" badge off the front and what have you got?

    i dunno. THAT's the problem.

    the Ridgeline? i'm ok with the front end there, but design wise, when i see one... i think what a blatent borrowing of the avalanche concept, even if it's a better avalance than an avalance. ;)

    we are in agreement on the pilot and the ody front end. they are even using lenses that look like bug eyes. reminds me of toyota - i think even mazda is using lamps like that - bow wow. who designs these things

    no no no honda. i like the front end on my '02 accord and my '03 ODY much much much better. you can tell the vehicles share common pedigree.

    but back to the acuras, oh that RDX and MDX look really bad. are they trying to copy the porche cheyennes or VW touregs? :sick:

    i think pulling elements being tried by other manufacturers is ok and all, but they are moving style-wise in the wrong direction as far as this consumer is concerned.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "Would seem that blunt noses and higher hood lines would be more likely to injure a pedestrian."

    I'm not sure what's being done in the US, but the regulations in the UK are requiring things like: 2+ inches of space between the top of the engine and the hood. This is done so that the hood can compress and "cushion" the impact of a pedestrian's body and head.

    To create that cushion, designers often need to raise the hood and stylists have to work around it. Honda, and others, have worked no active hoods which actually push upward upon impact to increase the cushioning.

    Other concerns in frontal impacts include the direction where a body is thrown. Designers want the pedestrain tossed forward, not off to the side. If a person is hit by a car and tossed off to the side, they may impact something on the side of the road (pole, tree, etc). Or they get run over a second time by the car in the next lane. If thrown forward, they land on the road ahead of the original car which should already be braking.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,585
    it is actually safer to be hit flush and pushed forward, than to have a low nose essentially scoop you up at the ankles and roll up up the hood onto the windshield, since you then get rolled back when the car stops!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • Jag has a active hood/bonnet system on the new XK. Pyrotechnic charges pop the hood up to absorb energy when a pedestrian is hit.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I actually like the way Honda started with description of 2005 Odyssey's styling...

    "While a casual observer may consider a vehicle's body as the exterior styling and the metal pieces that create the overall shape, the importance of the body goes much further."

    So true. On Pedestrian safety in the Odyssey...
    "Honda's commitment to safety extends to pedestrians as well as vehicle occupants. To help reduce pedestrian injuries in the event of a collision, the Odyssey's hood and fender areas were designed to deform if contacted by the head of an adult or child pedestrian. Energy-absorbing collapsible hood supports, wiper arms and fender mounts allow substantial deformation in an impact, allowing the engineering team to meet its target for pedestrian safety."

    Honda has developed its own pop-up hood system too (link)
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