Your title says Honda Accord, but this looks like an accident between a car and a tent!
Yes, but under that heavy disguise this has been confirmed as the next Honda Accord. Prototypes have started lapping the Nurburgring ahead of the Accord’s production debut in March 2008 at the Geneva Motor Show. It will then go on sale in summer 2008. It’s a completely different car to the American Accord and Accord coupe, though.
But will there be a European Accord coupe this time round?
Very doubtful. Although Peugeot and Renault are making coupe versions of their latest D-segment saloons (and Ford and Vauxhall have shown concepts), an Accord coupe would be a flop over here, Honda officials fear. They still remember the slow-selling, but technically interesting, Prelude and other coupe efforts, then. Honda will instead focus upon growing sales of the Accord Tourer (nee estate). The concept car shown at Frankfurt was a thinly veiled version of the new estate, and the Japanese company sees quasi-premium estates as their prime opportunity for growth. The Accord Tourer will have some tough opposition though, with the likes of Mercedes’ C-class estate and Audi’s forthcoming A4 .
So how does Honda expect to take on the Germans?
By being more sporty. Even Lexus, which has ploughed its own route as a luxury and comfort brand, has felt the need to launch a performance model, the IS-F, but Honda arguably has a stronger sporting history with its Type-R brand and F1 racing pedigree. And despite hints of Ford Mondeo estate in the side profile, and hints of Hyundai Genesis at the front end, the Accord concept looked very smart at Frankfurt. Our spy pictures show these proportions should be carried over to production with only major changes - such as the addition of more realistic door handles, door mirrors and wipers.
What else should I know about the Honda Accord?
To start with the Accord will offer two petrol engines and a new version of its acclaimed 2.2-litre diesel. The oil burner gets Honda’s new NOx reduction technology for even cleaner running. The system uses ammonia in the catalytic converter which causes the NOx to change into harmless nitrogen, subtly different to Mercedes' Bluetec system. In the meantime, the Tokyo Motor Show next month will see the launch of the new Jazz, though that’ll be the Japanese spec Fit model. We won't see the new Jazz in the UK for at least 12 months. Also on the way is a new hybrid model - showcasing Honda's latest hybrid technology in a new package, rather than adapting an existing platform like today's Civic IMA.