2013 Accord New Car Test Drive
The 2013 Accord represents the ninth generation of the nameplate. The 2013 Honda Accord has a new platform, engine, transmissions, suspension, bodywork, interior, electronics and safety equipment. It is appropriate it to call it a new car.
Reversing a common trend, the 2013 Honda Accord is smaller on the outside and, by total volume, smaller on the inside. However, dimensionally the cabin is bigger in every measure except front-seat hiproom. More important, it feels just as roomy as last year's model, and the trunk is significantly larger than before.
The 2013 Accord is offered in four-door sedan and two-door coupe versions. New iterations for 2013 include a Sport version of the four-cylinder sedan. (A plug-in hybrid PHEV is expected in early 2013 as a 2014 model.) For 2013, there are six trim levels for sedans and four for the coupe. Both coupe and sedan offer a choice of two engines and three transmissions.
A new four-cylinder engine has more usable power and is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy ratings are very competitive. The V6 engine is mildly revised from 2012 and available with a new 6-speed automatic or, on Coupe only, a 6-speed manual. The 2013 Accord V6 sedan EPA 34 mpg Highway rating matches that of the 2012 Accord four-cylinder, an impressive achievement.
The new 2013 Accord interior is as functional as before but more user friendly, especially on top-line models. It has room for four adults, five in a pinch, a new suite of telematics and electronic applications, and a longer slate of standard equipment. We find the cabin more visually appealing than before and can't imagine anything a mid-size sedan buyer needs that the 2013 Accord doesn't offer at some level.
On the road the 2013 Accord is quiet and controlled, a blend of isolation from annoyances that some drivers prefer with road manners other drivers prefer. It isn't about being the fastest in a straight line or flattest around the corners but rather being well-rounded and doing everything better than average.
We find the new wrapper far more attractive than the last one. It's neither as dramatic as some nor as bland as others, Honda preferring proven middle ground to extreme. The 2013 Accord has advanced in crash safety and, given the performance of the sister-car Acura TL, is expected to get top safety scores.
This ninth-generation Accord will not dominate the market it and the Camry battled over for decades because there are now many more viable competitors. Accord offers a coupe that Camry no longer does. The Ford Fusion may take the design mantle away from the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, but Hyundai has a Genesis Coupe to compete with Accord. The Nissan Altima lineup includes a coupe, and the Altima sedan is new for 2013 and touts excellent EPA ratings, as does the roomy Volkswagen Passat TDI introduced for 2012. The Chevrolet Malibu is new for 2013, and a new Mazda 6 is expected for 2013. Drivers who want more space, performance or features might also look to a Nissan Maxima or Toyota Avalon. The choices in the family sedan segment are bigger and broader than ever and car buyers are the winners.
The 2013 Accord sedan comes standard with a 185-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard on Accord LX and EX; a CVT continuously variable transmission ($800) is available for LX, Sport and EX models and comes standard on EX-L. A 278-hp 3.5-liter V6 is available only at higher trim levels; the V6 comes exclusively with a 6-speed automatic. The 2013 Accord Coupe LX-S, EX and EX-L are 2.4-liter with 6-speed manual or CVT. Accord Coupe EX-L V6 comes with a choice of 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual.
Accord LX sedan ($21,680) comes with cloth upholstery, dual-temperature climate control, power mirrors/windows/locks, rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free, USB port, split-element driver-side mirror, 8-inch display, Pandora, SMS text messaging, automatic headlamps, cruise control, active noise cancellation, variable intermittent wipers, folding rear seat, AM/FM/CD/aux 160-watt stereo with speed-sensitive volume and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Accord Coupe LX-S is equipped similarly to the LX sedan but adds rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels, and shift paddles for CVT.
Accord Sport sedan ($23,390) upgrades to 18-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust outlets (horsepower increases from 185 to 189), fog lights, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 10-way power driver seat and shift paddles for the CVT.
Accord EX sedan ($24,605) builds on LX with moonroof, LaneWatch, power driver seat, keyless entry/pushbutton start, heated side mirrors with signal repeaters and 17-inch alloy wheels. Accord EX coupe adds touch-screen audio and fog lights to LX-S coupe.
Accord EX-L sedan ($27,995) is CVT only and adds to EX with leather upholstery, lane departure and forward collision warnings, driver memory system, touch-screen audio, HondaLink/Aha telematics, 360-watt 7-speaker stereo, XM radio, auto-dimming inside mirror, LED tail lights, multi-angle rearview camera and heated front seats. Navigation ($2,000) is optional. Accord EX-L coupe adds LaneWatch plus most EX-L sedan upgrades.
Accord EX-L V6 sedan ($30,070) adds the 278-hp V6 engine and 6-speed automatic and adds LED daytime running lights, power passenger seat, HomeLink, and dual exhaust. Navigation is optional ($2,000). Accord EX-L V6 coupe adds 18-inch alloy wheels, driver seat memory system, LED daytime running lights, HomeLink, and dual exhaust.
Accord Touring sedan ($33,430) adds LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and navigation.
(The 2014 Accord PHEV comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine, 124-kW two-motor hybrid system and 6.7-kWh lithium-ion battery pack; system power is rated at 196 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. It will be fully equipped like a Touring sedan, except the seats are environmentally friendly cloth rather than leather and come only in a gray interior.)
Safety equipment that comes standard on all models includes two-stage front airbags, dual-chamber front side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, electronic stability control, antilock brakes, rearview camera, tire pressure monitors, and daytime running lights. LaneWatch, forward collision warning and lane departure warning are optional.