First pictures of the new Accord from the USA show a car that's got a punchier front end and surprising curves and sculpting on the sides.
The four-door sedan is a major departure from the boring looks of the previous car, which looked more suitable for Homer Simpson than Ralph Lauren. Honda has again readied the four-door family Accord alongside a wedgier coupe, although the two-door is not coming to Australia.
The new Accord is a definite for 2013 and will continue Honda Australia's two-car policy, running alongside the smaller and more driver-friendly Accord Euro. It will get updated engines, with more efficiency promised for both the four-cylinder and V6.
Details of the Accord plan are coming together, but Honda Australia is being deliberately evasive on the details - especially on prices and the model lineup - because the cars are still a fair way into the future. It is trying, unsuccessfully, to build some suspense despite the level of detail that's already available from the USA.
"We will launch the Accord in Australia in mid-2013 with the same engine line-up as we currently have," confirms Honda spokesperson, Melissa Cross. "Regards images of the U.S. model, there will be some styling similarities between this car and the car we launch here. There will be no Accord coupe in Australia, this car is designed specifically for the U.S market."
Although she will not reveal any timing for the next Accord Euro, she does confirm a continuation of the two-car attack. "We will be selling both the Accord and Accord Euro in Australia," Cross says. And what about the design, which is such a major departure from the Toyota Camry-style blandoid efforts of the past? "Design for the Accord is a collaboration between all the major markets that sell the vehicle. This is coordinated through and by Honda R&D at Tochigi," says Cross.
She is not discussing mechanical details, but the new Accord points - on the design front - to an even more adventurous Accord Euro and a boost for efficiency and comfort. The overall dimensions have shrunk slightly but the cabin dimensions are largely unchanged. In the USA, the 2.4-litre four gets direct fuel injection and a continuously-variable transmission, the V6 has also been tweaked, and the hybrid attack will become all-wheel drive with a 2-litre four.
Carsguide drove the hybrid prototype in Japan last year and it feeds conventional petrol power through the nose, with electric drive to the rear wheels. Honda says the production plug-in will run for 23k kilometres on its batteries alone. On the safety front, the new Accord gets lane-departure warning as well as a front-collision alert system that uses stereo cameras in the windscreen similar to the Eyesight system already available from Subaru in Australia.