Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are a standard feature on most cars, courtesy of legislation that has made it compulsory to fit them to mass-produced cars. The system uses electronics to optimise the effectiveness of a car's braking system, and it's a major boost in vehicle safety when compared to cars that aren't equipped with ABS that rely on the driver to make the most of the braking power available.
So, “WRC 7” has all of the cars, all of the teams and ALL of the tracks from the current rally season. I started out with the big cars before quickly realizing that they had a little too much power for a rallying rookie; in-house rally driver Jimmy had a bit more luck early on. But with the hyperrealistic brand-spanking-new Thrustmaster Ts-Xw Racer Sparco P310 wheel controller setup -- thanks guys, we love it -- I could feel every errant rock at the edge of the road, every tree stump and every freewheeling jump the Ford Junior WRC car could throw at me. Front-wheel drive: It’s where the losers start.
• Blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert
Quality is also a little lacklustre. Start prodding around and you’ll be surprised at just how much hard, rather cheap-looking plastic is used for the centre console and the lower parts of the dash. The controls also feel a little low-rent; buttons squeak and the column-mounted stalks feel like parts-bin specials.
In certain circumstances, time is a healer. But after that glowing build-up, it seems time has wounded our once great champ. Climb inside the Mk3 Cavalier now and you’re met with a driving position that simply wouldn’t cut the mustard today. The non-adjustable steering wheel is offset so far to the left that you’re left wondering if your passenger should be the one steering, while the La-Z-Boy-esque seats lack any form of lateral support, sending you sliding sideways round the first hairpin bend.
The heart of the Accord line is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four backed by a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This is the powertrain that will be found in most of the Accords sold at retail, the ones dealers push out the door every day wearing $199 monthly leases or 72 months of $300-per-month financing. A million or more Accords equipped like this will make their way onto American roads over the next several years before Honda even thinks about revising this powertrain. If you don’t wind up driving a car like this yourself, it’s likely someone in your immediate family will. Maybe even someone with whom you’re on speaking terms.
In the cabin we expect the production QX50 to stick close to the finish and technology previewed in the concept, boasting a minimalist dashboard design and digital instrument display.
Braking performance was good, with the firm pedal offering plenty of feel and easy modulation. It’s well placed for heel-and-toe rev-matched shifting, too. The manual gearshift of the six-speed transmission has a nice weight and precise action.
As for such a car’s real-life implications, we don’t want to indulge in too much wishful thinking. But there has been plenty of talk of a new Honda-badged sports car in recent years. We first entertained the possibility of Honda’s mid-engined Porsche Cayman fighter in 2015, while more recent rumors have centered around a revived S2000 roadster, possibly with hybrid power. At this point, we can only live out our fantasies in the video-game world and hold out hope that this virtual Honda is more than just talk.