Racing with Toyota at Le Mans and other endurance races should give him better luck than he had this season with McLaren-Honda in F1 and at Indy. Though Toyota has never won Le Mans, it is known to be developing a new WEC car.
The same striking approach was also carry through to the interior, with sections of crisp black plastic, swathes of soft-touch materials, and splashes of blue and cream all helping lift the ambiance. Include the standard-fit fully loaded touchscreen infotainment system and the optional, yet clever, Bose stereo system, and the Micra is somewhere you won’t mind spending long periods of time in.
Grip levels are impressive, with the 1LE’s peak 0.98 g on the skidpad being significantly better than the 0.91 g we recorded in the standard V-6 coupe, if some way short of the huge 1.05 g that the V-8 SS 1LE managed on its fatter tires. It’s worth mentioning that our test car also showed evidence of a hard life during its 6500 miles, suffering noticeably more understeer when turning right than left; a factory-fresh car or brand-new rubber might have done even better. But the V-6 Camaro is 215 pounds lighter than the V-8 car, and although it can’t produce the same ultimate adhesion, it feels very agile when attacking a series of corners. In the dry, on-road traction is pretty much absolute, with only the hardest use causing the rear to squirm. In the wet, grip levels are much more limited on these summer-spec tires—the 1LE felt positively skittish, especially when asked to deal with standing water.
Daniel’s girlfriend, 21-year-old civil servant Liza Matvejera, was a fan of how you sit higher up in the Arona than you do in a supermini, such as the SEAT Ibiza.
Back to that Thrustmaster wheel: It has an insane amount of force feedback (or lack thereof, like when you’re flying through the air). It also jiggles at idle, which sort of feels like a motor rocking the car back and forth. Like all of these games, “Forza 7” included, the amount of feedback and environmental effects can be adjusted in the menu screen. The suede-covered wheel reacts to the track and the in-game car reacts almost perfectly to the wheel. I found the Scandanavian Flick to be a little harder than in real life. You can really use left-foot braking to load up the suspension and somewhat realistically swing the car around. Keep the gas pinned(-ish) and dab the brakes as needed.
The other oversteer situation happens on the exit of a corner, and usually happens when too much power has been applied. You'll see this situation in TV shows where presenters drive powerful rear-drive cars in tyre-smoking burnouts, and it's the basic principle behind the drift movement. Again, if this happens in the real world, you need to steer in the direction of the skid to mitigate the situation. Braking suddenly will only make the situation worse, so you need to try and be smooth and either maintain speed or scrub off speed gradually while adjusting the steering so that the nose of the car is pointing in the direction of travel. Again, look where you want to go, and the car should follow.
Honda is doing its best to singlehandedly prop up the dreams of the enthusiast driver by offering a six-speed manual transmission with two of the Accord’s engines. We continue to genuinely enjoy working that manual, so we’d choose an Accord Sport, which is the only trim to offer the stick shift. We prefer the more powerful, Civic Type R–derived turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, but if the $31,185 asking price of the Sport 2.0T is too rich for your blood, the 1.5-liter turbo four in the $26,655 Sport 1.5T model will still offer plenty in the way of driving enjoyment. An automatic transmission—a continuously variable automatic (CVT) on the 1.5T and a new 10-speed automatic on the 2.0T—is a no-cost option in both trims. Standard features on the Accord Sport 2.0T include:
• Coolers for the differential, engine oil, and transmission
With it time to bid our long-term Nissan Micra a fond farewell, let's conclude whether this fifth generation car is more than just style over substance.
Climbing the finance ladder