There's some anticipation of the redesigned 2013 Honda Accord. It's as if it were some strange date in the Mayan calendar, and while not exactly end-of-the-Earth stuff, the new Accord does indeed shake things up more than past iterations.
For one, the 2013 Honda Accord is no longer bigger and heavier than the one it replaces. Perhaps in response to criticism that the previous Accord had become -- in Elvis-like fashion -- too large and too soft, the new, ninth-generation example is slightly smaller and slightly lighter. The tighter dimensions complement notable mechanical changes to make for a car that once again has not only segment-leading fuel economy but also a distinct feeling of nimbleness from behind the wheel.
After a long wait, Honda has finally added power- and efficiency-enhancing direct fuel injection to the Accord's standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. This power plant is now paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that becomes the automatic transmission for cars using the four-cylinder. With this combo, the Accord earns an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway, one of the best ratings for a midsize sedan and even better than those of the diminutive Honda Fit.
The 2013 Honda Accord's styling is a careful evolution from its predecessor, and while this may not please those seeking more adventurous lines, the new Accord design is visibly less bulky. Inside the cabin, the new car is noticeably improved, with a more coherent design and higher-quality materials. Also new is HondaLink, a connectivity system that integrates Internet audio streaming, social media applications and cloud-based content through iPhone and Android apps. Yet there's still plenty of get-it-done sedan functionality here, too, with a roomy rear seat and a big trunk.
As improved as it is, the Accord, just like the Toyota Camry isn't the no-brainer choice it once was. There are now many excellent choices for a family sedan, and each presents certain advantages. The new Ford Fusion is more stylish, while the new Nissan Altima is still sportier and more engaging. Equally appealing are the value-packed Kia Optima and the European-influenced VW Passat. Choosing one won't be easy, but we're pleased to say that Honda has restored an encouraging degree of the old magic to the new Accord. Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Honda Accord is available as a midsize sedan and coupe. Four-cylinder sedans come in five trims: LX, Sport (new for 2013), EX, EX-L and EX-L with Navi. Opt for the Accord's 3.5-liter V6 and three trims are offered: EX-L, EX-L with Navi and Touring.
The 2013 Accord coupe comes in LX-S, EX, EX-L and EX-L with Navi, while the V6-equipped coupe comes only in EX-L and EX-L with Navi trims.
The base four-cylinder LX comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, an 8-inch video display, Bluetooth (phone and audio), a rearview camera, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable manual driver seat, a folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB audio interface and Pandora functionality.
Opting for the new Sport trim brings a bit more horsepower, 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with shift paddles for the CVT. Compared to the LX, the Accord EX trim gets you 17-inch wheels, heated mirrors, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, the power driver seat, the leather-wrapped steering wheel, Honda's new LaneWatch blind-spot display and a six-speaker sound system.
The EX-L trim adds leather upholstery, driver-seat memory functions, a four-way power passenger seat, forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems, a more sophisticated rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a premium seven-speaker sound system with satellite radio and smartphone app integration (HondaLink). The EX-L with Navi adds, as you can likely guess, a navigation system with voice recognition.
The EX-based trim levels for the 2013 Honda Accord sedan with the V6 engine are pretty similar to those for the four-cylinder EX models. The V6-exclusive Touring sedan tops the range, combining LED headlights and adaptive cruise control with the equipment from the EX-L with Navi.
For the coupe version of the 2013 Honda Accord, the base LX-S trim is similar to the LX sedan. The coupe's EX trims are also comparable in terms of equipment, though the V6-powered EX-L has 18-inch wheels. Powertrains and Performance
Most of the front-wheel-drive examples in the Accord range are fitted with the 2.4-liter inline-4, whether sedan or coupe. For all coupes and sedans except the Sport trim, the engine generates 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, some 8 hp and 20 lb-ft better than the previous base-model Accord's four-cylinder. The Sport trim's less restrictive dual exhaust frees up the engine to the tune of 189 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque.
The standard transmission paired with the four-cylinder for the LX, Sport and EX sedans and LX-S and EX coupes is a six-speed manual. Optional for the four-cylinder sedans and coupes and standard for the four-cylinder EX-L sedan and coupe trim is Honda's newly developed CVT. With it, the EPA estimates the 2013 Accord will average 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined. The Accord Sport automatic, with its slightly more powerful engine, returns 26/35/29. The four-cylinder Accord with the six-speed manual gets 24/34/28.
The 2013 Accord's 3.5-liter V6 is upgraded this year and now develops 278 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. Backed by a conventional six-speed automatic, the V6's fuel economy numbers are still quite impressive at 21/34/25. With the V6 running through the six-speed manual transmission in the Accord EX-L coupe, fuel economy drops to 18/28/22.
With the four-cylinder, performance is markedly improved. In Edmunds testing, a four-cylinder Accord EX sedan with the CVT accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, a very good time for the class. The V6 is notably strong; an EX-L V6 sedan we tested sprinted to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds. Safety
Every 2013 Honda Accord comes with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems are available on upper trim levels.
Worthy of particular mention is the LaneWatch blind-spot system (EX trim and above), which instantly switches the 8-inch screen's display to a low and expansive view of the passenger side of the car when the right turn signal is engaged. A camera in the right-side mirror dedicated to this function provides a confidence-inspiring view, and acclimating to catching the view in the center-dash display is quick and natural.
In Edmunds testing, a 2013 Accord sedan braked from 60 mph to a standstill in 128 feet, a slightly longer-than-average distance for a midsize family sedan. Interior Design and Special Features
When the revised Civic debuted last year, we were disappointed in its interior quality. Matters are much improved for the 2013 Honda Accord. With a few exceptions, the materials have a high-quality look and feel, while the overall cockpit design is elegant and well-constructed enough for a luxury car.
The center stack embraces the spirit of legibility with an effective three-tier layout. At the top is the 8-inch display that offers varying levels of information depending on trim level and the presence of audio/navigation. Meanwhile, the main instrument binnacle contains the right amount of information and not too much.
Despite the Accord's slightly smaller exterior dimensions, its interior room remains impressive. There is plenty of leg and shoulder space for front occupants, and rear-seat passengers should be quite comfortable and happy. Road and tire noise -- often a Honda bugaboo -- are noticeably reduced in the 2013 Accord thanks in part to two active noise-cancellation systems plus improved aerodynamics. We're also fond of the visibility afforded by the Accord cabin, which offers a lower beltline, slimmer roof pillars and a generous amount of glass.
The 2013 Accord's trunk -- at 15.8 cubic feet -- is more than 1 cubic foot larger than before. The Accord coupe has a 13.4-cubic-foot trunk. Driving Impressions
The 2013 Honda Accord should be a front runner for those who like crisp driving characteristics in their family sedan. Although it's not significantly smaller, the new-generation Accord certainly drives smaller. The Accord's electric-assist power steering is pretty light in terms of effort, but it's precise and relays information well. Although we like the Accord's handling balance, the ride quality is noticeably firmer than some rivals such as the Camry, which could be a turnoff for some buyers.
The 2013 Accord's upgraded four-cylinder engine is a pleasant surprise. Many inline-4s that have direct injection are gruff and hard to love, but true to Honda's strong engineering reputation, the new four-cylinder revs willingly and its power is entirely appropriate and satisfying. The all-new CVT will be the transmission the majority of 2013 Accord buyers will experience, but only the fussiest will find much fault with it. CVTs don't have the best reputation for refinement, but Honda's new unit is the best of the breed, imparting more realistic aural and tactile sensations of acceleration and generally avoiding the "rubber band" histrionics of most CVTs.
Source: 2013 Honda Accord
More info on the vehicle and interiors: 2013 Honda Accord Sedan - Interior Features - Official Honda Site