Honda will be loading up the 2016 Accord with an assortment of new high-tech features, the maker revealed during a preview staged, appropriately enough, in Silicon Valley.
Sure, Dodge has gotten plenty of attention by offering a 707-horsepower Hellcat package, but these days, automakers have learned that digital technology is really what sells – as was made abundantly clear in the results of the latest J.D. Power APEAL study which showed that owner satisfaction has been surging on products loaded up with the latest digital features.
Honda isn’t breaking ground with the 2016 Accord, but it’s not letting competitors like Chevrolet, Ford or Hyundai steal much of a march, either. And, considering Accord’s traditionally loyal following, that may be more than good enough.
Among other things, the 2016 Honda Accord will feature both the new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems. These allow users of a wide array of smartphones to operate many of their apps either from the Accord’s touchscreen, steering wheel controls or through voice commands.
For Apple users, that includes the Siri voice assistant, maps, text messaging, music and some additional third-party apps. For Google Android phones, users will have access to Google Maps, messaging, music and more.
CarPlay and Android Auto are expected to show up on a wide range of vehicles. Though only a handful of manufacturers are promising to offer voice – Chevrolet was the first – while others will opt for one version or the other, as Hyundai is doing on the 2016 Sonata.
(Chevy to offer CarPlay and Android Auto on 14 models in 2015. Click Here for more.)
Incidentally, to control either system, Honda is adding a new 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen for the 2016 model-year mounted below the current 7.7-inch LCD touch display. It’s a similar layout to that found on the up-market Acura brand.
According to the latest Power APEAL study – which is an acronym for Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout – owners tended to rate their vehicles higher if they included new digital technology. But there’s an asterisk to that. A number of brands also got dinged for infotainment systems that proved balky or confusing. So, it will be a test for Honda to ensure the new dual-screen approach and addition of CarPlay and Android Auto trigger raves or a revolt.
(Who has the most APEAL-ing products? Click Here to find out.)
The new APEAL study was more upbeat about high-tech safety systems. And Honda has scored well with its distinctive blind-spot monitoring system which uses a camera mounted in the right sideview mirror, the image popping up on the 7.7-inch display.
That optional system will carry over into 2016, and Honda will now add a broad package of safety features it collectively calls Honda Sensing. The package, the maker explains, “includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and is available as a standalone option on all trims with the exception of Touring, where Honda Sensing is included as standard equipment.”
Also for 2016, the Accord will feature a multi-angle rearview camera as standard gear on all trim levels, along with an expanded view driver’s mirror. Optional on most trim levels is a new lighting system that defaults to high beams, switching to the lows when oncoming traffic is detected.
As for styling, there are some minor tweaks coming for the 2016 Honda Accord, with a more sharply creased front bumper that houses new LED foglamps, among other things. The rear bumper, fascia and LED taillights also are updated. And, for the first time, Accord will be available with 19-inch wheels.
From a powertrain standpoint, Honda will stick with what it has, two carryover packages: a 2.4-liter i-VTEC inline-four and a 3.5-liter VTEC V-6.
No word on pricing, but with competitors like Toyota offering their own safety packages for $1,000 or less, that’s likely to give a guide to where Honda will come in. Expect to see the 2016 Accord reach showrooms late next month.
(Click Here for more on the new Toyota and Lexus safety packages.)