Honda fights back in saloon segment with new design Accord with 10-speed auto transmission and new two-motor hybrid tech

Honda fights back in saloon segment with new design Accord with 10-speed auto transmission and new two-motor hybrid tech

The 10th-generation Accord features two all-new engines, the world's first 10-speed automatic transmission for a front-drive car, and a new generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid technology.

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Dimensions and dynamics

The new Accord features a longer wheelbase (+2.16 inches), a lower overall height (-0.59 inch) and wider (+0.39 inch) body, wider wheel tracks (+0.20 in. front, +0.79 in. rear), a shortened overall length (-0.39 inch) and lower, sportier seating position (-1.0 inch front and -0.79 inch back).

Honda has used the Accord to introduce three new powerplants – two direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder engines and the third generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid powertrain technology. The car also features a new Honda-developed 10-speed automatic transmission (10AT) with the 2.0-litre turbo engine, the first of its kind for a front-wheel-drive car, and an optional 6-speed manual transmission for both turbocharged engines.

The new 1.5-litre, 16-valve DOHC direct-injected turbo with dual Variable Timing Control (dual VTC) produces a peak 192 horsepower (HP) at 5,500 rpm and 192 lb-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 5,000 rpm, up from 185 HP at 6,400 rpm and 181 lb.-ft. at 3,900 rpm on the existing, normally aspirated 2.4-litre model. The new 1.5-litre turbo is mated to a Honda continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) or, in Sport trim, to a CVT or a 6-speed manual transmission (6MT).

The Accord can also be equipped with a new 2.0-litre 16-valve DOHC direct-injected turbo with i-VTEC® valvetrain paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission or, in Sport trim, to the 10AT or an available 6MT. The new 2.0-litre turbo, sharing much of its design with the race-bred 2017 Civic Type R, produces 252 HP at 6,500 rpm and 273 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm, compared to 278 HP at 6,200 rpm and 252 lb.-ft. at 4,900 rpm for the 3.5-litre V-6 that it replaces.

The redesigned CVT has an 11% lower ratio compared to the current version while the new 10AT is 22 lbs. lighter, has a 68% wider overall ratio range with a 43% lower first gear, and a 17% taller top gear compared to the current Accord's six-speed automatic.

Hybrid powertrain will use Atkinson cycle engine

The new hybrid powertrain will utilise a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle engine with greater than 40% thermal efficiency, the highest for any mass-produced Honda engine, paired with Honda-developed electric motors that are the first drive motors in the world to use magnets containing no heavy rare-earth metals. As before, the Accord two-motor system operates without the need for a conventional automatic transmission.

New approach to body and chassis design

The 2018 Accord's new body structure is lighter and more rigid, utilising 29% ultra-high-strength steel, the most extensive application of this weight-saving material in any current mass-produced Honda car. Overall, the new Accord employs 54.2% high strength steel (above 440 MPa).

Accord manufacturing

All variants of the 2018 Accord will be produced at Honda's Marysville, Ohio auto plant, at which the company is investing with numerous enhancements to further advance quality and efficiency, including the introduction of additional technologies and processes. Accord was the first vehicle from a Japanese automaker to be made in America and has been in continuous production at the Marysville Auto Plant since November 1982, with cumulative US production exceeding 11 million units over 35 years.

The 2018 Accord's 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbo engines will be produced at Honda's Anna, Ohio engine plant, and its CVT transmission will be manufactured at the company's Russells Point, Ohio plant.

The new Accord Hybrid will be again built in Marysville, Ohio after a couple of years of production in Japan, and will be powered by the third-generation of Honda's innovative two-motor hybrid technology.

The all-new, Honda-designed 10-speed automatic transmission will be produced at the company's Tallapoosa, Georgia plant. Honda recently announced a combined $149 million investment in the Russells Point and Tallapoosa plants to facilitate production of the new 10AT. Additional details concerning new manufacturing technology and investments will be announced closer to launch.

Lightweight and connected – Jaguar E-PACE specs detailed

Lightweight and connected – Jaguar E-PACE specs detailed

Jaguar's most connected vehicle yet, the E-PACE, is the newest member of the OEM's SUV family, following Jaguar's first all-electric SUV, the I-PACE Concept, and the F-PACE performance SUV.

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Connected and intelligent

The OEM boasts that the E-PACE will be one of the most connected and intelligent vehicles in its class. It comes with a next-generation touchscreen infotainment system that connects customers to their favourite apps, such as Spotify through Jaguar Land Rover's InControl apps. Digital connectivity features include up to four 12-volt charging points and five USB connections as well as a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices.

Dimensions and dynamics

The SUV is 4,395mm long with short front and rear overhangs of 882mm and 832mm respectively and features a choice of Ingenium petrol and diesel engines. At the top end, the 300PS Ingenium petrol turbo engine powers E-PACE from 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds (6.4 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint) before reaching an electronically-limited top speed of 151mph. For customers who want ultimate efficiency, the front-wheel drive 150PS Ingenium diesel delivers CO2 emissions of 124g/km.

The E-PACE offers a choice of five powertrains, with three diesel and two petrol engines. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium diesel powerplant is available in 150PS, 180PS and 240PS outputs, while the pair of 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol turbo units deliver 249PS or 300PS.

The 2.0-litre Ingenium engines are designed in-house by Jaguar Land Rover and produced at the company's £500 million ($654 million) Engine Manufacturing Centre in the West Midlands, UK.

An entirely clean-sheet design, all Ingenium engines are based around a deep-skirt aluminium cylinder block featuring thin-wall, press-fit cast-iron liners for optimum weight, surface finish and robustness. Highly-efficient variable geometry turbochargers create a rapid build-up of torque from very low revs, with maximum torque spread over a wide rev range for instantaneous response and strong acceleration on demand.

A new aluminium-rich body architecture

Designed and developed for exceptional dynamics and passenger safety, the E-PACE uses an advanced combination of high-strength steels, aluminium and lightweight composites.

The body structure is exceptionally strong and stiff. Achieving torsional stiffness of 28.7kN/degree is key to this – the intensive use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels in critical load-bearing areas improves crash impact performance and minimises weight.

The E-PACE's bonnet is made from aluminium, saving up to 10kg over an equivalent steel part. The front fenders are made from the same weight-saving material, yielding a 3kg benefit. The roof panel is also made from aluminium, reducing weight by 6kg over an equivalent steel panel, lowering the vehicle's centre of gravity for improved handling and stability. A lightweight aluminium tailgate is 15kg lighter than a conventional steel assembly. Its advanced design uses a riveting/bonding process pioneered by Jaguar, along with laser welding on selected joints to further optimise weight and quality. Thin bodysides made from a high formability steel – just 0.7mm thick – help shed an additional 3.5kg over a conventional material.

The cross car beam structure, which supports the instrument panel, is a lightweight magnesium casting.

Production in China and contracted out to Magna Steyr

The E-PACE is a key vehicle in the expansion of Jaguar Land Rover's global manufacturing footprint and it will be made on two continents.

The Jaguar E-PACE will be produced exclusively for the Chinese market at Chery Jaguar Land Rover's state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Changshu. It will go on sale in China later in 2018.

Initially, with UK facilities close to capacity, Jaguar Land Rover has agreed a partnership with engineering and manufacturing specialist Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. The new E-PACE will be the first vehicle produced under the arrangement with the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE also commencing production there in 2018.

Magna confirms contract to manufacture new Jaguar E-PACE

Magna confirms contract to manufacture new Jaguar E-PACE

Strongly rumoured for several months, Magna have now confirmed that they will build the Jaguar E-PACE compact SUV at their Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria.

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E-PACE production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2017. It is the second model Magna will contract manufacture for Jaguar, following the announcement of the Jaguar I-PACE in December 2016. Production of the I-PACE is planned to start in the first quarter of 2018.

Speaking of the contract, Jaguar Land Rover said: "Contract manufacturing provides increased flexibility, agility and efficiency across global manufacturing operations and while the UK remains the epicentre of Jaguar Land Rover's manufacturing, engineering and design capabilities, Magna Steyr is one of the world's leading automotive suppliers, with extensive contract manufacturing experience."

Additionally, the Jaguar E-PACE will be produced exclusively for the Chinese market at Chery Jaguar Land Rover's state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Changshu. It will go on sale in China later in 2018.

"We are proud to expand our partnership with Jaguar Land Rover and contribute to their new E-PACE compact SUV," said Günther Apfalter, President of Magna Europe and Magna Steyr. "This second collaboration in just a short time emphasizes the agility and flexibility we provide automakers with our contract manufacturing capability."

Including the Jaguar E-PACE, Magna will be manufacturing five different models by the first quarter of 2018. The others are Jaguar I-PACE, BMW 5 Series, BMW 530e plug-in hybrid, and Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

As a contract manufacturer, Magna has produced more than 3 million vehicles across 23 different models.

Daimler and Chery jointly foster EQ/eQ brands

Daimler and Chery jointly foster EQ/eQ brands

Daimler and Chery mutually consent on the usage of the EQ/eQ brand name for their respective NEV products and brands.

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Chery will focus on using the designations eQ and eQ1, as well as further numerical continuations thereof, while Daimler will focus on use in their electric Mercedes-Benz products with the designations EQC and any other alphabetical supplements. Daimler will use the EQ Power designation for Plug-In Hybrids and meanwhile Chery will also use eQ TEC to nominate their car electrification system.

Chery has already been using the eQ and eQ1 brand names in China since year 2014 and Daimler has now also granted them the possibility to use this name family in countries outside of China. Daimler established the EQ brand family for electrically driven Mercedes-Benz vehicles almost simultaneously in countries outside of China and Chery has granted the company the possibility to also use this in China now.

Both companies underline the intrinsic value and opportunities which the EQ/eQ name offers for new energy vehicles and will continue to develop and expand the respective brand families in different directions in the future.

"Chery achieved great reputation in China with their eQ brand name and we highly respect that. I am happy that Daimler and Chery agreed on a collective use of the eQ/EQ acronyms in an open and partner-like atmosphere. With this mutual understanding, Chery and Daimler commit to fostering the electric future in the automotive industry – in China and all over the world," stated Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Greater China.

Anning Chen, CEO at Chery confirmed: "From the establishment of the Chery brand, we subscribe to the mission of automotive innovation and internationalization of the brand. We are proud of the achievements that Chery made in technological development and intellectual property. We applaud to the win-win agreement reached with Daimler of the coexistence of our brands worldwide. Chery is dedicated to provide the global market with superior product value, customer experience and unique brand value."

A set of regulations to this effect concerning the use of the name and its communication was signed on 06/07/2017 in Stuttgart.

VW adds petrol engines to Passat and Tiguan ranges

VW adds petrol engines to Passat and Tiguan ranges

As part of its reaction to the widespread antipathy towards diesel engines in passenger cars, Volkswagen are offering four new petrol engine options in Passat and Tiguan models.

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The comprehensive line-up of new petrol engines now being offered in Passat and Tiguan and includes petrol units for previously diesel- or hybrid-engined Passat models.

The Passat Saloon and Estate family enters this growing market sector with four petrol engine options, ranging from a 1.4-litre TSI 125 PS to a 2.0-litre TSI 220 PS, and also includes the 1.4-litre TSI 150 PS with Active Cylinder Technology.

The new petrol-powered Passat models – which exactly mirror the equipment specifications of their diesel siblings on a like-for-like trim basis – will sit alongside the existing diesel engines in the extensive Passat family, and will be introduced at a showroom price roughly £1,900 ($2,463) below their diesel equivalents.

Meanwhile, seven new petrol derivatives have also been added to the burgeoning Volkswagen Tiguan range. The 1.4-litre 125 PS TSI 2WD has been introduced on the SE and SE Nav trim lines, offering a lower entry price from just £25,000.

Hyundai Motor unveils new i30 Fastback for 2018

Hyundai Motor unveils new i30 Fastback for 2018

After introducing the Hyundai i30 in March 2017 and the i30 Tourer earlier in July, Hyundai Motor has unveiled the i30 Fastback – the latest addition to the i30 range, available by the beginning of next year.

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Driving dynamics and dimensions

The i30 Fastback reveals some significant differences compared with the other body types of the i30 range. By comparison to the i30 five-door version, the chassis of the i30 Fastback has been lowered by 5mm and the stiffness of the suspension has been increased by 15%. This provides a more dynamic and more agile driving experience while maintaining a high level of comfort.
Thanks to the lowered roof and chassis leading to an overall height of 1,425 mm, the i30 Fastback is 30 mm lower than the five-door body type and has an overall length of 4,455 mm – 115 mm longer than the five-door.

Standard safety features

The new car comes with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Driver Attention Alert, High Beam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist System.

The Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) fitted in the i30 operates in three stages using camera sensors.

With the Driver Attention Alert (DAA), the i30 features a driver protection system: this monitors driving patterns in order to detect reckless or fatigued driving and prevent potential accidents.

Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC) keeps a constant speed and distance from the vehicle in front by automatically accelerating and braking up to 180 km/h.

The rear corners are monitored by a Blind Spot Detector (BSD). If another vehicle is detected, a visual alert appears in the exterior mirrors.

The Rear-Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system reduces the risk of collision with approaching traffic when reversing out of narrow areas with low visibility by alerting the driver both visually and audibly.
The Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) senses the car's position and alerts the driver about unsafe movements at speeds over 60 km/h.

Road speed signs are immediately recognised by the Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF), which displays the speed limit in real time. The navigation system display and the TFT cluster both show the information.

A High Beam Assist (HBA) detects both oncoming vehicles and vehicles ahead in the same lane at night and changes to low-beam lights as appropriate. HBA automatically re-activates the high beams and therefore maximises the driver's range of vision as soon as no vehicles are detected.

Dynamic and efficient powertrains

The powertrain line-up of the i30 Fastback consists of two downsized turbocharged petrol engines, which were newly launched in the i30 range, a 1.4 T-GDI turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 140 PS or a 1.0 T-GDI turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 120 PS (targeted fuel consumption in l/100 km for the Hyundai i30 Fastback range: combined 5.5 – 5.0 l/100km, targeted CO2 emissions 125– 115 g/km). The 1.4-litre T-GDI petrol engine is offered with the six-speed manual transmission or the seven-speed dual clutch transmission, which gives a choice of fully automatic operation or manual gear changes. The 1.0 T-GDI is offered with the 6MT. All engines come standard with the Integrated Stop and Go (ISG) system for increased efficiency. The i30 Fastback's powertrain line-up will be further expanded with the addition of a newly developed, efficient 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine available with two power outputs: a version with 110 PS and a 'high power' version with 136 PS. Both versions will be available with the six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

New electric London taxi goes global with Dutch order for 225 units

New electric London taxi goes global with Dutch order for 225 units

London Taxi Company (LTC) has relaunched as LEVC and its first major international order from RMC in the Netherlands for an initial 225 vehicles to be delivered in 2018.

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Underpinned by an investment totalling £325 million, LEVC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Geely, has said it has a single-minded ambition: to be the urban commercial vehicle provider of choice for cities around the world.

Chris Gubbey, CEO, LEVC said: "The launch of LEVC marks Britain's leadership as a first mover in creating the world's only dedicated electric vehicle company for the urban commercial market."

Alongside the unveiling of the new name and brand logo, LEVC also revealed the final version of the new London Taxi – the TX – and its eCity technology comprising of an advanced battery electric powertrain with a small petrol generator. Applied to the all-new electric TX, the technology allows for a range of over 400 miles including well over 70 miles range with zero emissions.

Discussing the benefits that the TX will bring to drivers, Gubbey commented: "Drawing on the best of British design and engineering as well as technical expertise from our sister company Volvo, our products will help transform city living and provide taxi drivers with an average weekly fuel saving of £100 compared with our outgoing diesel model."

Due to launch in London later this year, LEVC is finalising its quality and testing regime for the TX which has taken it to the extreme heat of the Arizona desert and freezing temperatures in the Arctic Circle. LEVC expects strong demand from its launch market in London once the order book opens on August 1 2017.

A key consideration for the company's new name and brand positioning is its international strategy, which has been boosted by the news that LEVC has received its first major international order from RMC in the Netherlands for an initial 225 vehicles to be delivered in 2018. RMC, one of the Netherlands' largest taxi operators, has been appointed as the importer and operator.

Volvo's Polestar powertrain delivers up to 421 horsepower in the new XC60

Volvo's Polestar powertrain delivers up to 421 horsepower in the new XC60

Polestar, the performance brand of Volvo Cars, has introduced the latest-generation powertrain optimisation for the new Volvo XC60: the new T8 version delivers 421 hp, matching the optimised XC90 T8 as the most powerful Volvo.

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The Polestar optimisation improves five key areas of the powertrain while retaining the Volvo warranty, class-leading emission levels, fuel consumption of 2.1 l/100 km (134.5 mpg) and a pure electric range of up to 45 kilometres (28 miles) for the T8.

Experience from more than two decades on the track with Cyan Racing, the motorsport partner of Polestar, has transformed the engine performance, accelerator response, off-accelerator response, and gearshift speed and hold, taking the XC60 to a new level of driving pleasure.

"Our goal is to create useable performance in everyday driving situations for Volvo owners who want an enhanced driving experience," said Henrik Fries, Vice President, Research and Development at Polestar. "The new XC60 has provided us with an excellent base to work on with a dynamic chassis and a state-of-the-art powertrain. With the Polestar optimisation, it makes the new Volvo XC60 a true drivers' car."

Two key features of the optimisation are the improved engine performance and gearbox functionality. The enhancements for the engine are made to provide greater power and torque in the middle of the rev range, the area most often used in everyday driving, for example when joining a motorway or when overtaking or exiting a corner.

The gearbox shifts faster, gearshift points have been calibrated to utilise the optimised mid-range engine performance, and the gear-hold function maintains the same gear when cornering with high lateral g-force in order to avoid unsettling the balance of the car.

A total of four XC60 models are available for Polestar optimisation in the UK, including the T8, T5, D5 and D4. For the D5, the Polestar optimisation boosts peak power from 235 to 240 hp, and peak torque from 480 to 500 Nm. The 0-62 mph time is also cut from 7.2 to 7.1 seconds.

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