As for the car itself, it is expected to be a range-extended electric sedan. The country's Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology indicated last year that the debut model will be an electric car with a small gasoline engine as a range extender, likely with a 15-kWh battery and a pure-electric range of 60 miles before the range extender kicks in. The consortium of companies expects a working prototype by 2019 and the start of production by 2021.
Optional assistance features include a parking assistance, lane departure warning, a speed limit warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. The Driving Assistant Plus package includes adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assistance, meaning the car can accelerate, brake and steer itself within a lane at speeds of up to 87mph. The driver must have at least one hand on the steering wheel for it to work, though.
Power and torque from the Triton V10 were good for 0-60 in 22.4 on the first launch and 19.0 seconds on the second, both measured with the Racelogic timer. Not reassuring but about par for the category. I drove the rig up to about 6,000 feet in the Sierras; then, as the road got narrower and maybe the power got less, I pulled over and enjoyed the view from there.
Aside from the transmission, the Accord delivers an unsullied ribbon of wholesome automotive delight. The steering is informative but light enough that it can be operated with fingertips. The interior is roomy, the seats in the EX-L model out-comfort those in some hoity-toity pretenders, and the whole thing is quiet at speed thanks to excellent air management around the car’s skin.
Professional winter car checks
Thankfully, the rest of the interior is far more commendable. Soft-touch plastics cover the entirety of the dash and, despite the interior looking a tad bland in its monochrome colour scheme, this being a later top-of-the-range V6 CDX model, there's at least plenty of kit to keep you entertained: air conditioning, heated seats, an electric sunroof and a fancy Blaupunkt CD player.
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.
Still, he had joined a famous fraternity -- the long list of men such as Ernie Breech, Dykstra, Knudsen and later, Iacocca -- who rose to the president's post at Ford only to be pushed aside by a mercurial Henry Ford II.