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Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

New Honda Accord for release soon

New Honda Accord.

This new Honda is the ninth-generation Accord and is improved in many ways, but the price will reflect this. Honda claim better economy than the previous version, and a longer list of standard features.
Local pricing was not available when this article was written, but taking Australia as a comparison, the base VTi is up 90,000 baht and the top of the line V6 is up 140,000 baht.
The new Accord was apparently designed in the US and is now built in Thailand.
It is 75 mm shorter than the old one, but Honda claims more cabin space in the rear and more cargo volume in the boot, and better appointed cabin as well. The sound-cancelling Active Noise Control system premiered in the Honda Legend is also standard.
The smaller engine is a reworked version of the familiar 2.4 liter VTEC four cylinder producing 129 kW of power at 6200 rpm (actually 4 kW less than before) and 225 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm mated to a five-speed automatic as standard. Fuel consumption is down to 7.9 liters per 100 km.
The flagship single overhead cam V6 has now with 206 kW of power at 6200 rpm (up 4 kW) and 339 Nm of torque at 4900 rpm, mated to a six-speed auto. Fuel consumption is down seven percent to 9.2 L/100 km. The V6 version gets fuel-saving cylinder deactivation, but while the previous unit could run on three, four or six cylinders, the new model runs on either three or six. Honda claims it has beefed up the car’s responses under three-cylinder impetus, thus negating the need for an extra mode.
The base VTi model includes as standard, an eight-inch display with a reversing camera, daytime running lights, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and USB connections, steering wheel controls and 16 inch alloy wheels.
The VTi-S adds LaneWatch Blind Spot Monitoring which feeds footage from the passenger-side blind-spot through to the central screen, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing auto front wipers, LED headlights, front fog lights, a premium audio system with seven speakers and touchscreen, reverse-tilt door mirror and 17 inch alloy wheels.
Further options include a sunroof, active cornering headlights, satellite navigation, ‘intelligent’ climate control, leather trim with heated front seats, keyless entry/start, electric front seats with driver’s memory, leather-clad gearshift/steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and 18 inch alloys.


US Safety agency looking at coolant leaks in 2001-2007 Porsche 911’s

The probe, announced Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), affects about 10,000 models with the GT1 engine from the 2001 through 2007 model years.
In the worst case scenario the NHTSA claimed that a hose fitting can fail and cause rapid coolant leaks without warning. The coolant can cover the road and cause drivers to lose control of their cars.
The NHTSA says it has 10 complaints of coolant leaks. One driver said a leak caused a 911 to lose rear tire traction, sending the car into a spin and off the road. The driver wrote in a complaint to NHTSA that it was fortunate that the car didn’t hit anything, and that the coolant spill didn’t affect other drivers.
Investigators will determine if the problem has caused any injuries and if it is bad enough to cause a recall.


Distracted Driving legislation looming

The US Department of Transport has released a series of voluntary guidelines it hopes car-makers will adhere to so that social media integration, such as Facebook and Twitter, will not distract a driver, who needs full attention at all times.

Driver distractions.
The guidelines include recommendations to limit the time drivers take their eyes off the road to perform any task to two seconds at a time, and 12 seconds in total.
It also wants several functions disabled unless the car is stopped, including manual text entry, video phoning and videoconferencing, and the display of text, including text messages, web pages and content from social media.
“Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation’s roadways,” said US transportation secretary Ray LaHood while announcing the guidelines.
“These guidelines recognize that today’s drivers appreciate technology, while providing automakers with a way to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need. Combined with good laws, good enforcement and good education, these guidelines can save lives.” (With the requirements being “good laws, good enforcement and good education”, we will never see that here!)
GM has its MyLink entertainment system that piggybacks off a smartphone’s internet connection to provide a range of mobile phone-like applications inside the car.
This system can include streaming music, internet-based radio stations, and even navigation functions. While it does allow drivers to update their Facebook page on the run, it uses an Apple iPhone-based voice-to-text recognition system to update a driver’s status on the internet.
Voice control is a key feature of the MyLink system and it has been developed around ensuring that the drivers maintains their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.


Red Bull boss decries the loss of ‘Classic F1 racing’

Dietrich Mateschitz.

Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has hit out at Pirelli’s 2013 compounds claiming that they are ruining the racing.
“Formula one no longer has anything to do with ‘classic’ racing,” said Mateschitz, according to the Daily Mirror in the UK. “Today, it’s not the fastest driver in the fastest car who wins, but the one with the optimum tyre management. We have even had to scale down our car, because the tyres were not lasting,” he added. “If we really went as fast as we can, we would need ten to fifteen pit stops.”
At the same time his racing advisor Helmut Marko has been criticizing Pirelli as well. Marko argued that the current crop of Pirelli rubber isn’t even lasting for a full lap during qualifying and that this, combined with various other problems created by the new compounds, means we’re not seeing the best of certain drivers and their cars.
Pirelli has announced that it was making changes to its hard compound with immediate effect, and these were the tyres used in Barcelona.


What did we learn from the Spanish Grand Prix?

Well, we learned that Spaniards are passionate about bull fights, tennis, soccer and winning, and home hero Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) certainly gave the crowd something to cheer for. Another second place for Raikkonen (“Lotus”) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari) back in form to take third.
However, surpassing the efforts of the race drivers and their teams was the now totally ludicrous situation of Pirelli tyres that last 10 laps - if you’re lucky! These tyres are so finicky, that tyres that are two laps younger than those on another car, gives the driver with younger tyres the edge, and then some.
Even the less than loquacious Kimi Raikkonen commented on the fact that “…half way through, obviously, we were leading but when we were on old tyres and he (Alonso) had newer tyres, it’s too easy to overtake.” This was backed up by Alonso, who said, “…you know that if you push 100 percent maybe you kill the tyres, so it’s more or less normal driving, let’s say, in 2013 races.”
The two top contenders stating that the tyre situation is what governs the sport at present, should not be ignored. Neither should the FIA ignore the increasing clamor for the sport’s ruling body to stop meddling and allow 100 percent racing by the drivers. And Pirelli should not gloss over the fact that their tyres are falling to bits regularly and wear out in 10 laps. With the average number of pit stops for tyres being four, with some drivers taking up to six, this is ridiculous. I even received an email from one chap who wrote, “I wouldn’t buy Pirelli tyres for my car.” I am sure there are many others forming that opinion. Pirelli should think about their reputation.
So to the “race”. Alonso deserved his win. His passing both Raikkonen and Hamilton (Mercedes) round the outside on the first lap was both well executed and exceptionally brave. He was in charge by the time he hit the front and never looked like being headed.
Raikkonen also deserved his second place, though did say that coming second does not excite him - but with Kimi, what does excite him?
Massa drove well and at one stage towards the end it looked as if he might challenge Raikkonen, but the tyres would not allow it.
It was a welcome change not to put up with the gloating finger (Vettel - Red Bull), who was soundly beaten into fourth, with his team mate and good buddy, Mark Webber in fifth. Red Bull has some homework to do before Monaco.
However, it will be in Brackley, at the headquarters of Mercedes F1, where the most midnight oil will be burned. Ross Brawn has produced cars that are brilliant over one lap, with Rosberg and Hamilton 1-2 after Qualifying, and plummeting to sixth and twelfth at the end of the race. For Hamilton, this was a particularly galling result.
Another great performance by Di Resta (Force India), chasing Rosberg right to the flag, with the young Scot (despite the Italian name) again beating his team mate Sutil.
Eighth and ninth were the once top runners McLaren (Button and Perez), with the pit wall telling the feisty Mexican to hold station behind Button, still smarting from their last outing.
Last points went to young Australian Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) who is driving very well, and definitely having a good chance to get a Red Bull seat in the future.
The next meeting is Monaco, where pole position means everything. But you never know, Pirelli might produce some three lap tyres to keep the crews busy!


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

New Honda Accord for release soon

US Safety agency looking at coolant leaks in 2001-2007 Porsche 911’s

Distracted Driving legislation looming

Red Bull boss decries the loss of ‘Classic F1 racing’

What did we learn from the Spanish Grand Prix?