UPDATE: Added photos from the launch event (10/21).
Car enthusiasts of a certain age will remember the Honda Legend from the 1990’s. Locally, it was Honda Cars Philippines (HCPI)’s first (and at the time, the only attempt) to crack the premium sedan segment. Although it didn’t really translate to strong numbers on the showroom floor, it did pave the way towards the realization that Honda wasn’t just about pocket rockets and screaming VTEC engines; they could build a car that can challenge the best that the world has to offer. Fast-forward to today and HCPI is once more challenging the norm by introducing the all-new 2015/16 Legend—the brand’s new crown jewel poised to deliver an unprecedented mix of driving pleasure, refinement, comfort, and environmental performance.
Technically the fifth-generation model, the all-new Legend features Honda’s Sport Hybrid SH-AWD or Super Handling All-Wheel Drive which comprises four engines: a regular gasoline engine and three electric motors—one in the front and two at the back. An advanced hybrid system connects everything and automatically combines front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive allowing it to responding continuously to driver inputs and driving conditions to ensure efficient performance. Interestingly, the twin rear 27-kilowatt motors provide drive and deceleration power to the rear wheels in any ratio. This equates to a revolutionary kind of electric-based torque vectoring technology that delivers stable handling.
Positioned at the front of the Legend is a newly-developed 3.5-liter SOHC direct-injection i-VTEC engine with Earth Dreams technology that, by itself, develops 312 horsepower and 369 Nm of torque. Aside from its low friction construction, it has VCM or Variable Cylinder Management that cuts down fuel consumption. Combine that with an integrated electric motor as well as a seven-speed dual clutch automatic, operable via an electronic gear selector, the Legend can theoretically achieve fuel efficiency figures up to 16.8 km/L—comparable to that of a four-cylinder engine while providing a maximum combined output of 380 horsepower and 462 Nm of torque—figures comparable to that of a V8 engine.
Supporting the Legend’s outstanding performance are the new lower double-joint front Double Wishbone and rear Multi-Link suspension. Both ends feature amplitude-sensitive dampers with optimized spring rates and damping force contributing to superb handling stability and ride comfort. Large 19x8 gunmetal alloy wheels shod with 245/40R19 tires provide traction at all four corners while a highly rigid body made of both steel and aluminum provides a solid foundation.
Outside, the Legend features a flowing and dynamic body with a wide and low form. Measuring in at almost five meters in length, the Legend is huge. The Jewel Eye LED headlights with their sparkling, gem-like lenses take center stage adding to the high-quality styling. LED illumination elsewhere from the daytime running lights to the rear lamp cluster provide an unmistakable presence even at night.
Inside, it fully utilizes its front-wheel drive layout making efficient use of space to provide outstanding interior comfort. The front occupants revel in the heated/cooled 12-way power seats with memory functions for the driver. The rear legroom is so generous that Honda reckons that occupants can cross their legs in comfort. Additionally, it comes standard with high-quality Milano leather on the seats with soft, leather surfaces on the instrument cluster, door linings, armrests, and other areas enveloping the occupants.
Amenities of the all-new Legend help create the ultimate space for the discerning individual. Front and center is Honda’s tie-up with US-based Krell Industries to produce the audiophile-centric sound system. It creates an incredible level of audio realism thanks to Krell’s technology and close coordination with Honda from the design stage onward. The power amplifier boasts of outstanding dynamic range while offering exceptional clarity. The audio system features 14 separate speakers including a carbon fiber subwoofer and magnesium twitters, optimally positioned to deliver an amazing audio experience for all occupants.
Meanwhile, the windshield features a convenient heads-up display that helps the driver maintain a consistent line of sight. In addition to displaying a digital speedometer, this display can even show navigation data and the Legend’s torque vectoring system in real time. At the back, rear occupants have the convenience of rear window and rear side window privacy glass with sunshades.
Finally, the Legend features Honda Sensing—the brand’s new safety system that envisions an accident-free society through the use of both active and passive safety features. This includes technologies that are already found in other Honda models such as a rear multi-view parking camera, Blind Spot Information (BSI), Cross Traffic Monitor (CTM), and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Hill Start Assist (HSA). This time, the safety alphabet sees the addition of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Low Speed Follow (LSF), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS).
Whether or not the 2015/16 Honda Legend will live up to its namesake remains to be seen. However, it must be remembered: it’s actually designed to compete in the premium sedan segment and this means, it comes at a price: P 4,380,000. However, Honda is sticking true to form, leveraging its advanced drivetrain technology to gain an advantage. And by mixing this with design, performance, luxury, and safety it takes an altogether different approach. It’s set to chart its own course—becoming a truly stellar sedan in its own right. Indeed, it could be a new legend in the making, a reason for HCPI to celebrate, just in time for their 25th anniversary in the Philippines.
The Honda Legend is available for viewing only at two Honda dealerships: Honda Global City and Honda Greenhills.