— Honda Motor Co. will make a collision-avoidance system standard in the 2006 Acura RL in fall. The company also plans to start leasing fuel cell vehicles to consumers, according to Automotive News
on January 10.The first stage of the RL's collision-avoidance system is a visual warning. Then the seat belts are tightened, and then the brakes are applied automatically if a collision cannot be avoided. The technology was introduced in Japan last fall. A redesigned version of Honda's entry-level vehicle, the Civic, will be introduced in the fall. Standard safety features not included on the current model include anti-lock brakes and side-curtain airbags. The Civic also gets Honda's more rigid body structure technology, meant to protect occupants in collisions with larger vehicles. Honda's variable cylinder-deactivation technology will be added to the Pilot SUV this fall. The system automatically deactivates three of the engine's six cylinders during certain driving conditions to reduce fuel consumption. The technology is currently offered on the 2005 Odyssey minivan and 2005 Accord hybrid.