In planning the new Legend interior, Honda R&D designers pursued the same strategy as for the exterior: to build upon the excellence of the existing Legend cabin while striving to improve every aspect of it. Specifically, they wanted to take advantage of the larger exterior dimensions by providing more interior space; heighten comfort and convenience through improved equipment; enhance occupant safety; achieve higher quality throughout and maximize driver-oriented ergonomics for a sporty feel.
SPACE AND DESIGN
The Legend interior design is clearly evolutionary yet richer, more personal and warmer in character. Increased body width allows driver and passenger to sit almost an inch farther apart; thanks to a thinner sunroof construction and slightly greater overall height, they also enjoy 1.4 in. greater head room. New instrument panel and console contours achieve a more integrated look and give passengers a pleasant sense of being "cradled" in their seats.
This cradled feeling is enhanced by seats with 0.6 in. more cushion length, 1.0 in. greater backrest height, side bolsters 1.6 in. taller for greater lateral support, and about a half-inch greater leg room. Improved springs and padding, the latter with specific degrees of firmness, offer better and more durable support. Rear passengers sit in slightly more upright, hence more comfortable positions.Thanks to a 2.8-inch-lower center floor tunnel, the feeling of rear seat room is increased.
A two-tone interior color scheme is both carefully color-coordinated and functionally significant. Its upper, darker-colored zone includes the upper instrument panel and the door-ledge trims and carries primary informational and functional elements: instruments, controls, climate system and most of the air distribution outlets. The lower zone, in a lighter color and softer materials, includes elements of richness and comfort that lend the interior warmth as well as certain luxury and convenience functions like the audio system and power windows.
MATERIALS AND FIT
In trimming the interior, Legend designers emphasized natural materials and careful matching. All thick molded plastic components - instrument panel, console edges, door ledges, steering wheel- are produced by the same manufacturing method (slush moulding); their PVC outer surfaces are uniform in color and texture.
In base and L models, the upholstery material is moquette. Optional in the L and standard in the LS version is discreetly gathered leather for seating surfaces and door-panel inserts. In leather-equipped models, leather also covers the center-console armrest/ compartment lid, steering wheel and shifter knob. After studying fine shoes and furniture, the designers specified a soft-finish leather sourced in North America.
The fine burled walnut on the LS model's center console and door armrests was chosen for its high quality and dependable supply. The walnut is the top layer of a complex veneer process designed to achieve a three dimensional look.
Throughout the interior, the designers aimed at precise fitting of all components. Most fixed elements join with no gap; movable elements, such as the glove-compartment door, fit with gaps reduced by as much as one-half.
INSTRUMENTS AND CONTROLS
A recent magazine report on the new Acura NSX sports car named "extraordinarily refined ergonomics" as a leading Honda/ Acura capability. Building on this strength, the Legend designers devoted considerable effort to providing excellent ergonomics for a driver who may be busy with heavy traffic, adverse weather conditions or - in Europe - cruising at 130mph.
The instrument cluster, for example, presents the driver with even larger analog dials for the speedometer, tachometer and temperature and fuel gauges. The speedometer and tachometer are cableless and electronically operated.
Primary steering-column-mounted controls for lighting, wipers and washers follow the existing Legend's logical arrangement. The wipers, whose interval setting is variable, offer two parking positions: normal (out of sight below the hood upsweep) and winter (raised, for ease of clearing snow and ice from them). As before, the cruise control is handily actuated from the steering wheel itself; the auxiliary audio system controls have been moved closer to the driver, from the instrument cluster's edge to the steering wheel opposite the cruise control.
The original Legend was among the first models to offer an automatic climate control system with full manual override. In the new LS model this concept continues in refined form, with even larger, easier-to-use control buttons. Improved cooling has been achieved with a 15-percent-thinner evaporator; twin blowers give quieter, yet more powerful air delivery in both air-conditioning and heating modes and a large-capacity air-mix chamber helps achieve highly sensitive temperature control. To develop this system's outstanding performance, Legend engineers conducted extensive tests in the extreme heat of California's Death Valley and the extreme cold of Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido. The manual heating/ air-conditioning system in base and L models also offers the benefits of twin blowers and improved heating and cooling.
As in the first generation Legend, all the power windows can be controlled from the logical/lplan view/ control panel on the driver's door; the driver's window can be lowered completely with a single touch, and all windows remain operable after the ignition is switched off for a specific time interval or until a door is opened. The mirror control, now in the driver's door, is ergonomically arranged for easy, logical power adjustment of both mirrors and for L and LS includes the mirror heating switch.
Seat controls, too, are ergonomically conceived with controls that simulate the shape of cushion and backrest. All Legend versions now have a power height control for the driver's seat; L and LS models have an 8-way power driver's seat with two-position memory and the LS also has a four way power passenger's seat.
The standard Legend audio system is a fully electronic AM/FM stereo/ cassette unit with FM diversity antenna system, two 6.3-in.(16-cm)t coaxial speakers in the front doors and two 6 x 9-in. speakers in the rear shelf. The L model adds a seven- band equalizer as standard equipment. In the 15 model, a second generation Acura/Bose~Music System offers performance that is improved over the excellent system of its predecessor. In this system, each speaker has its own built-in Bose switching amplifier module. L and LS systems incorporate a new anti-theft feature that provides the owner with an individual code that must be re-entered if the unit is ever disconnected from its power source.
The Legend has two optional (dealer-installed) CD players: a single-disc in-dash unit (base sedan only) or a trunk-mounted six-disc player / changer. Both display their various functions in the audio system's LCD readout. All audio systems are pre-wired for installation of the CD unit and feature larger, easy-to-use controls.
In particular, the LS model's illuminated entry system has been extensively refined. When a door is opened or the ignition key is withdrawn, the interior lights come on; when it is closed, they go to a reduced level for six seconds, then turn off. Courtesy lights in the rear doors can be switched on and dimmed separately to suit rear passengers. There are dual map lights in the front compartment and dual reading lights in the rear.
A small center visor over the inside rearview mirror helps driver and passenger block out glare. There is a roomy bin between the front seats, its padded lid serving as a center armrest, and rear passengers have a fold-down center armrest between them as well as handy magazine pockets in the backrests in front of them.
All Legend models (exceptbase sedan) are now pre-wired for a cellular telephone, and a custom designed telephone is available for dealer installation. Jointly developed by Motorola and Acura and made by Motorola, it is a handsfree unit whose handset mounts out of the way in the center console bin and offers 10-number memory and voice-aided functions. When the phone is installed, the steering-wheel-mounted audio controls become dual-purpose, serving both phone and audio functions. Anytime the telephone is in use, the audio system is automatically muted.
DUAL-AIRBAG SUPPLEMENTAL RESTRAINT SYSTEM (SRS)
A dual-airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS)is a new feature of the 1991 Legend LS. In all 1991 Legend models, the padded steering wheel incorporates an airbag of conventional volume (60 liters/ 2.1 cubic feet). The LS passenger airbag, however, is a new large volume concept.
Compared to conventional passenger-side airbags that inflate directly toward the passenger, the new Legend airbag system has some unique features. Mounted in the top of the instrument panel's right side and leaving space for a roomy glove compartment, it is made of the same new material as the compact driver's airbag in the Acura NSX and rests in multiple folds until deployment.
Though the passenger airbag's 60-millisecond inflation time is still but an eye's blink, it is twice as long as that for the driver's bag; this allows a programmed, relatively gradual inflation process that reflects the greater distance the passenger (without a steering wheel to arrest the motion) may move forward during an impact. The inflation proceeds first upward, then downward; once fully inflated, the bag has a volume of 150 liters/5.3 cu. ft. and is almost two feet tall, extending over part of the dashboard and windshield.
Each airbag has its own gas generator, but the two are connected in parallel and deploy simultaneously in response to the SRS sensor system at impact speeds the equivalent of a 10-mph frontal barrier crash or greater.
As the term Supplemental Restraint System implies, the airbags are intended as supplemental to the primary protection: the seatbelts. These incorporate a direct clamping mechanism for the front seatbelts. Each front belt reel has its own deceleration sensor working with an internal cam-and ratchet mechanism to clamp the belt near its exit from the reel, substantially limiting the "spool-out" that can occur as a loaded belt tightens on a locked reel. This means that the belts effectively remain tighter on their occupants, reducing their forward movement in the event of an impact.