Honda has set its sights on the BMW 3-series with its new Accord. The company says that "sporty styling, greater refinement, excellent driving dynamics and a sector-leading package of safety systems" separate the car from its predecessor.
A new diesel engine, the i-DTEC, replaces the old i-CDTi unit and develops 258lb ft of torque at 2,000rpm and 149bhp at 4,000rpm. There are also 2.0- and 2.4-litre petrol engines on offer; all are mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with a five-speed option for the petrol engines only and an automatic available for the diesel engine in 2009.
The new Accord has a lower centre of gravity, a wider track and new suspension settings to help it compete with the agile 3-series. It will be displayed at the Geneva motor show and goes on UK Sale
in the summer; prices are expected to start at about £18,000.