Honda Motor Co. today unveiled an Accord Coupe Concept that foreshadows the styling of the production car set to arrive this year against stiffening competition.
The concept, shown at the Detroit auto show, sports a creased beltline, muscular rear fender and aggressive lower fog lights. Powertrain improvements will be a key selling point for the 2013 Accord, Honda says.
After the Accord's 17% drop in U.S. sales last year, Honda is counting on the next Accord to take on freshly redesigned mid-sized rivals, including the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu.
The coupe will be the same size as the current model. But the sedan will have a smaller footprint than today's version, with a shorter wheelbase and lower curb weight for better handling and enhanced fuel economy.
Interior space will stay the same, Honda pledges.
The timing of the sedan's U.S. launch hasn't been released.
The Accord's U.S. sales decline last year, to 235,625, stemmed largely from supply shortages following Japan's March 11 earthquake.
That dropped it to 4th place in the segment, behind the Camry, Fusion and Altima. The Camry held onto its No. 1 spot despite dropping 6 percent to 308,510 units, also because of supply shortages after the earthquake.
Honda needs a strong showing from the Accord after its redesigned Civic small car received a chilly reception last year for what critics said was a cheap-looking interior.
American Honda's total U.S. sales fell 7% in a market that increased 10 percent.
The Accord will feature three new drivetrains.
The first will feature the initial U.S. use of the next-generation, direct-injection engine that Honda unveiled in late November at the Tokyo Motor Show. The so-called Earth Dreams engine, a 2.4-liter, 16-valve, DOHC i-VTEC 4 banger, will be combined with a new continuously variable transmission.
The engine delivers 181 hp and better fuel economy than the Accord's current base powerplant, an inline four. Honda did not release fuel-economy figures but said the engine aims to achieve class-leading mileage.
The 2nd drivetrain will consist of a re-engineered 3.5-liter, 24-valve, SOHC i-VTEC V-6 engine paired with either a new 6-speed automatic transmission or an existing 6-speed manual. The automatic will achieve better fuel economy and horsepower than the outgoing model, Honda says.
The final variant is the 1st use of Honda's two-motor, plug-in hybrid system. In all-electric mode, the system's lithium ion battery and motor can power the car for up to 15 miles of city driving at speeds as high as 62 mph. The battery can be fully recharged in 4 hours using a 120-volt outlet or in 90 minutes with a 240-volt charger, Honda says.
For longer drives, the hybrid operates in gasoline-electric mode, drawing from a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle engine combined with a CVT. For high-speed cruising, the car can run in gasoline-only mode with the engine directly powering the front wheels.
The Accord Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale in the winter of 2012, Honda says.
Honda canceled the previous Accord hybrid at the end of its 2007 model year.
Honda says the next Accord also will sport several new safety features.
It will have Honda's first lane-departure warning system and 1st forward-crash warning technology. Both use cameras mounted behind the windshield to alert drivers of dangers.
It also will get Honda's 1st use of its LaneWatch blind spot display, which uses a camera mounted on the passenger mirror to keep tabs on that side of the car.
A multiangle rearview camera also will come standard.
Other new standard features in the next Accord:
• Bluetooth hands-free phone interface.
• Full color information display.
• An SMS texting function that reads messages aloud.
Date: May 25, 2012 09:46
Submitted by: Jeff
Source: KGP Photography
Credibility Rating: Not Specified
Here's the first known set of spy photos of the 2013 Honda Accord, snagged by Brian Williams for KGP Photography. Here are the photos along with KGP's commentary. Please enjoy.
We've snagged the first-ever shots of a 2013 Honda Accord prototype being put through its paces. Sources tell us that this new Accord is a major overhaul of the current platform, with significant changes throughout the entire car.
We have heard 2 differing reports regarding the dimensions of the 2013 Accord. 1 source suggests that this latest iteration will be the first in a long time that doesn't grow, perhaps even showing signs of downsizing. Another source has reported that the new Accord will actually continue gain some size compared to the current model. To our eyes, this Accord looks to have grown a bit, but we'll leave the individual analysis of that to you, the editor.
The styling of this 2013 Accord sedan looks to be more expressive than the rather dowdy outgoing model. The honeycomb mesh of the lower air-intake takes some cues from Honda's Accord Coupe Concept that bowed at the last North American International Auto Show in Detroit. However, while that mesh covers the low intake, the upper grille gets large horizontal slats, appearing broadly similar to the new grille-work applied to the facelifted Accord Crosstour. Perhaps this new grille treatment will evolve as a new corporate face for Honda.
The new Accord has been designed with optimum efficiency in mind, leading to the introduction of a new CVT replacing the current model's 5-speed, and the current port-injection replaced in favor of direct injection on both the 2.4-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4 and the 3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve V6. Honda promises that the CVT will still maintain a driver-focused demeanor, while improving fuel-efficiency by 10%.
The general sentiment is that Honda is losing its way a bit, while competitors like the 2013 Ford Fusion, the Hyundai Sonata Kia Optima grow more and more accomplished. Then there is a the improved 2013 Toyota Camry that has improved while its a perennial best-seller. The 2013 Accord is a hugely important car for Honda, a company whose luster has tarnished a bit over the passing years.
Last week we showed you spy photos of the next-generation 2013 Honda Accord, caught out in the wild, but heavily camouflaged from the windows down. That left us speculating as to what exactly Honda had in store for its new Accord sedan.
We may have caught a glimpse over the weekend near Honda’s Torrance, California, headquarters. Doing some late-night testing, this gold-painted and lightly camouflaged Honda sedan sports a couple of things we couldn’t see last week. 1st, the nose appears radically different here, and much more similar to the Honda Concept C shown earlier this year at the Beijing Auto Show. It also goes against our impression of last week’s photo, which didn’t appear to have any of the “jowls” of the Accord Coupe Concept or the Crosstour Concept, both of which were shown at U.S. auto shows earlier this year.
So what gives? 2 possible explanations. 1st, the car shown here is clearly a plug-in prototype, judging from the extra “fuel” door on the front left fender. So it’s possible that Honda will be giving its plug-in model more radical styling than the standard gasoline-powered models, similar to how competitor Hyundai saved its cooler styling for the Sonata Hybrid. The other explanation is that Honda simply had an older-style nose on the car from last week, in an effort to throw off spy photographers.
Either way, we’ll get a closer look at the 2013 Honda Accord in a few months when the car is officially revealed for the 1st time.
The redesigned 2013 Honda Accord will go on sale this fall with a shorter length, a new engine family and a continuously variable transmission -- huge engineering changes for a signature car that has slipped against mid-sized rivals.
Honda released the 1st images of the production version of the Accord sedan and coupe today but provided few additional details about the cars.
The 2013 sedan -- weighing less than the outgoing model, but with more passenger and cargo room -- features nearly flush windshield glass, flush-mounted windshield wipers and available LED daytime running lights, headlights and taillights.
Honda -- clearly aiming for U.S. buyers attracted to the current Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Toyota Camry and 2013 Ford Fusion -- calls it the "most sculpted and dynamic Accord ever."
The side flanking and rear-window kink at the C-pillar resemble the styling of BMW's 3 series. But the front and rear fascias clearly signal a Honda product.
In addition to sportier styling, the 2013 Accord is being used to introduce several key pieces of Honda technology.
The 1st generation of the automaker's "Earth Dreams" engines -- offering improved fuel economy and lower emissions -- debut featuring direct injection and double overhead cams.
A hallmark of the Accord since its 1976 U.S. debut as a hatchback -- leading fuel economy -- is under attack by rivals such as the Sonata and Camry.
The base engine will be a 2.4-liter inline-4 with more than 181 hp and 177 pound-feet of torque, Honda said in January. That would mean a slight horsepower increase but considerably more torque, with at least 10% better fuel economy, Honda engineers have said.
All 4-cylinder versions of the Accord equipped with an automatic transmission -- a huge percentage of the model's sales mix -- will be equipped with a continuously variable transmission. The decision could prove to be a gamble because CVTs have not been widely accepted by American buyers and have been plagued with reliability issues in some vehicles.
Honda has also re-engineered the Accord's 3.5-liter V-6 engine and paired it with a new 6-speed automatic transmission or an available 6-speed manual gearbox .
Honda has said the V-6 will produce more horsepower than the current model while targeting class-leading fuel economy and an overall gain in fuel efficiency over the 2012 model.
The 2013 Accord will also be offered with a 2 -motor plug-in hybrid system that features three modes – all-electric, gasoline-electric and direct-drive.
But perhaps the biggest question looming over Honda -- in an era of cost-cutting necessitated by the strong Japanese yen -- is what the latest Accord looks like inside. A repeat of the current Civic's overly plastic interior will not work well with U.S. customers.
Honda did not release images of the 2013 Accord's interior today, but Honda sources say the cabin is an upgrade from the current generation.
While the coupe will remain similarly sized, Honda says the sedan will feature a more compact exterior footprint. Both models will feature "increased passenger and cargo space," Honda said today in a statement.
The automaker said previously the 2013 Accord would be offered with lane departure warning, forward collision warning technology, blind spot detection, and a standard rearview back-up camera.
In January, John Mendel, head of sales for American Honda, vowed the 9th-generation Accord would "raise the bar again through a tour de force of new Honda powertrain and safety technologies, geared to ensure that Honda and the Accord continue to lead in fuel economy, safety and fun-to-drive performance."
Sales of the Accord -- America's top-selling car in 1989-91 and again in 2001 -- have rebounded 28% this year through July to 183,817.
That is just ahead of the Nissan Altima, with sales of 183,703, but behind the top-selling Toyota Camry, with year-to-date sales of 243,816 units.
Last year, Accord was passed by the surging Altima in U.S. sales volume, partly because of inventory shortages stemming from the March 2011 earthquake in Japan.
The Accord's share of the mid-sized segment has slipped markedly over the past several years, from 17% in 2007 to 11% this year, according to data from R.L. Polk.
However, those numbers include fleet sales. If only retail sales are counted, the Accord's segment share has slipped from 21% to 14%, but it still holds a solid 2nd place, according to Polk.
Both the Accord and the segment-leading Camry have ceded a few points of share apiece to the Sonata, Fusion and Chevy Malibu, which analysts say is a sign of growing parity in the segment.
The Altima's share of retail sales has actually slipped over the same period -- indicating big fleet sales for the Altima as Nissan sold down the old model before its redesign this summer.
George Peterson, president of the AutoPacific consultancy in Tustin, Calif., said Honda has more to worry about from the 2013 Altima than it does from the Camry that was redesigned last fall.
"With the weight Nissan has put behind Altima, can Honda keep Accord close to Camry?" Peterson asked. "The base Altima comes across as a credible car. There's a lot of stuff in that car."
Honda has said the 2013 Accord will offer more standard equipment compared to the current model, such as Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, a full-color intelligent multi-information display and SMS text messaging that reads received texts from compatible mobile devices aloud over the audio system.
Perhaps more worrying to Honda is that Accord residual values have slipped from 52% to 49% since 2007, according to Automotive Lease Guide.
Meanwhile, the overall residual values in the mid-sized segment have increased. As a result, the Accord's price premium over the segment average has slipped from 7 percentage points to 2 .
Honda also will have to get its dealers off the incentive juice. As part of its sell-down strategy, Honda spent $3,900 per unit in APR and lease incentives on the Accord in July, and $4,500 in April, according to TrueCar data.
Rival Toyota spent $2,180 apiece for APR and lease deals on the Camry in July.
After months of catching 2013 Honda Accord prototypes, the redesigned midsizer has finally been revealed. The 1st official 2013 Accord photos show more sophisticated styling that should work in the midsize Honda’s favor when the car rolls into showrooms this fall.
2013 Honda Accord Officially Uncovered! 2013 Accord Photo Gallery Inside imageJudging from the photos, the 2013 Honda Accord sedan appears to have evolved into a slightly more refined piece of machinery. The resculpted hood and revised lower front fascia give the sedan a more muscular look, while the previous model’s bulbous rear end has been smoothed out. Pictured is a new 2013 Honda Accord sedan in Touring trim, a top-of-the-line model we’ve seen on the Odyssey. A car like the 2013 Honda Accord Touring – with the available LED daytime running lights – could compete with higher-price offerings like the 2013 Ford Fusion Titanium and 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited.
The 2013 Honda Accord will be powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 with at least 181 hp, mated to a continuously variable transmission or 6-speed manual. An optional 3.5-liter V-6 will produce at least 271 hp, and can be coupled to a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission (the latter, likely only on the 2013 Accord coupe). As for the plug-in hybrid, that Accord will use a 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine with an electric CVT and have an all-electric mode that could have a 10-15 mile range.
As we’ve previously reported, the 2013 Accord will feature the automaker’s latest cloud-based infotainment system called HondaLink. The new setup brings a variety of apps such as Yelp and Slacker Radio, as well as audio books, and podcasts to the cockpit through the use of steering-wheel-mounted controls, in-dash controls, and voice commands. Even on the go, Accord drivers stay in the loop thanks to Facebook and Twitter feeds that can be read aloud.
Stay tuned for full details on the 2013 Honda Accord sedan and coupe as its launch date approaches.
Honda today announced the all-new 2013 Accord Sedan and Coupe, a storied nameplate that will once again redefine sophistication, efficiency and driving joy in the midsize class. Completely redesigned for 2013, the all-new Honda Accord provides a host of powertrain, engineering, electronic and safety firsts combined with Honda's trademark visibility and smart design.
Better, not bigger, the completely new Honda Accord lineup includes Sedan and Coupe models powered by 4-cylinder, V-6 and hybrid powertrains, teamed to manual, automatic and continuously variable transmission (CVT) options. The 2013 Honda Accord Sedan goes on sale September 19, 2012, with the Coupe to follow on October 15, 2012. An all-new, 2-motor 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) Sedan is scheduled to debut in early 2013, followed by a conventional hybrid based on the same powertrain architecture in the summer of 2013.
Using the most high-strength steel in the model's history, the 2013 Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe bodies combine sophisticated and athletic styling with remarkable aerodynamic streamlining. Revised Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structures improve frontal crash safety, making the all-new Accord 1 of few midsize offerings expected to excel in the upcoming small-overlap frontal barrier crash test.
All-new Earth Dreams™ powertrains include the first U.S. application of Honda's next-generation 2.4-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder engine. The 2013 Accord Sedan and Coupe will also offer a more powerful and efficient V-6, and in early 2013, an all-new 2-motor 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) Sedan will debut. 4 transmissions are available, including the first-ever application of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) on 2.4-liter 4-cylinder models, a 6-speed automatic on V-6 models, and unique 6-speed manual transmissions on 2.4-liter 4-cylinder models and the 3.5-liter V-6 Coupe. Fuel efficiency is the best ever for an Accord in the EPA Midsize class, with 4-cylinder models earning up to an EPA 36 mpg highway rating1 and V-6 models getting up to an EPA 34 mpg highway rating.1
Other new Accord technologies include the 1st application of the all-new cloud-based HondaLink™ system, which lets drivers put away their smartphones and still stay connected to the people, music and social media they love. Also debuting on the 2013 Accord is the exclusive available Honda LaneWatch™ blind-spot display, which uses a camera system mounted on the passenger mirror for an enhanced view of the passenger-side roadway. The all-new 2013 Honda Accord also receives a rearview camera and an Expanded View Driver's Mirror as standard equipment.
New Accord Technology
Honda's first use of direct injection (DI) in North America contributes to the 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine's excellent fuel efficiency and low emissions.
A new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), available with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, contributes to the Accord's improved fuel efficiency. Honda's unique G-Design Shift logic creates a connected feel and provides a more immediate acceleration response than conventional automatics or other CVT designs.
New MacPherson-strut front suspension improves ride and handling qualities, while also reducing interior noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The new lighter aluminum and steel front subframe also uses a proprietary Honda friction-stir welding process.
3 features highly coveted by consumers are now standard on every new Accord: Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, USB/iPod® integration and rearview camera. No other manufacturer provides this level of standard equipment. Honda's Expanded View Driver's Mirror is also now standard equipment on every Accord.
All Accord models feature standard Econ button with Eco Assist™
Included on Accord EX, EX-L and Touring Sedan models and EX-L Coupe, Honda LaneWatch™ Blind Spot Display provides an expanded rear view of the passenger side roadway through the intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID).
All-new Smart Entry & Push Button Start included on Accord EX, EX-L and Touring models.
Included on EX-L and Touring Sedan and EX-L Coupe models, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) alerts the driver when a potential collision with another vehicle ahead is detected.
Included on Accord EX-L and Touring models, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) alerts the driver when lane drift is detected without a turn signal in use.
New SmartVent™ side airbags mitigate the risk of excessive airbag deployment force while eliminating the need for the prior Accord's Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS). SmartVent also allows improved heating of the passenger seatback on EX-L and Touring models.
The Accord Touring Sedan offers Honda's first light emitting diode (LED) projector headlights for improved visibility. In addition, LED daytime running lights (DRLs) are found on V-6 powered models, while LED brake lights come on all EX-L and Touring models.
Exclusive to the Touring Sedan, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) allows the driver to set a desired speed and a distance interval behind the vehicle ahead.
The all-new available HondaLink™ connected-car system allows owners to put their smartphones away and still stay connected to their favorite digital content.
The 2013 Honda Accord Sedan will be available in 6 model choices, including an all-new top-spec Touring trim (LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EX-L V6, and Touring), with the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan arriving early in 2013. The striking 2013 Honda Accord Coupe will be available in 4 model choices (LX-S, EX, EX-L and EX-L V6).
The 2013 Accord Sedan is available in 9 exterior colors, including 4 metallic and 5 pearl colors. All-new colors include Champagne Frost Pearl, Hematite Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic and Obsidian Blue Pearl. The 2013 Accord Coupe is available in 7 exterior colors, including 2 metallic, 5 pearl and 1 solid color. All-new colors include Modern Steel Metallic, Still Night Pearl, Tiger Eye Pearl and White Orchid Pearl.
As in previous generations, 2 gasoline engines are available on the 2013 Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe. These include a new Earth Dreams™ 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with Honda's 1st use of direct injection in North America, and an Earth Dreams™ 3.5-liter V-6 with revised VTEC + VCM functions. The base 185-horsepower (hp) 4-cylinder engine is coupled to a choice of an efficient new continuously variable transmission (CVT), or a new fun-to-shift 6-speed manual transmission on selected models. The Accord Sport Sedan model provides a 189-horsepower version of the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. Meanwhile, Accord V-6 models feature a 278-horsepower 3.5-liter engine coupled to a 6-speed automatic or, in the V-6 Coupe, a 6-speed manual transmission.
In early 2013, the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid will debut Honda's new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 2-motor plug-in hybrid system. Available in the Sedan only, this system operates continuously through 3 modes – all-electric, gasoline-electric and direct-drive – to maximize fuel efficiency.
Crisply styled and aerodynamically efficient, the 2013 Accord Sedan and Coupe body designs are the most sophisticated in Accord history. The 2013 Accord unit-body uses 55.8-percent high-tensile steel, more than in any previous Accord. In addition, 17.2-percent of the steel is now grade 780, 980 and 1,500 – extremely high grades that have never before been used in any Accord. This contributes to higher body rigidity and reduced weight, which directly benefits ride and handling, interior quietness, performance and efficiency and long-term durability.
With its contoured body-sides, the Sedan's exterior design is sleek, bold and decisive, while the Coupe's design is rakish, taut and athletic. Extensive use of under-covers improve aerodynamics for increased fuel efficiency, while other advances include available LED headlights, DRLs and brake lights, mirror-mounted turn signals, and the standard Expanded View Driver's Mirror that increases the driver's field of vision by 4.2 degrees.
Literally every aspect of the Accord's chassis was reviewed or redesigned to create the best possible driving experience. Altogether, the highly rigid unit-body, refined suspension technology and advanced electronics define the 2013 Accord chassis as the most capable in model history. The new Accord is quieter and more responsive on city streets, smoother and more composed on the highway, and even more faithful to the driver's wishes on winding roads.
New features for Accord include a MacPherson strut front suspension, a steel and aluminum front subframe and electric power steering (EPS). Standard Active Noise Control (ANC) and Active Sound Control (ASC) on both 4-cylinder and V-6 models counteract engine noise, particularly at high rpm.
The lightweight MacPherson strut front suspension improves ride and handling qualities while also reducing interior noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The new aluminum and steel front subframe reduces weight and, in conjunction with the new independent multi-link rear suspension, further reduces NVH. Careful aerodynamic tailoring of the underbody and suspension systems provides additional noise reductions.
The new EPS setup uses an electric motor to assist the rack-and-pinion steering rather than the hydraulic assist of the previous Accord. The result is reduced steering effort and fuel consumption, with improved precision, feel and stability.
Alloy wheels are now standard across the Accord model range, and range in size from 16 to 18 inches. 4-wheel disc brakes are also standard, as is Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) with Brake Assist, a 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control, and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Hill start assist is also now standard on the Accord.
A completely new interior provides a level of luxury and craftsmanship never before seen in the Accord. Available in Black, Gray and Ivory cloth or leather, the interior combines welcoming comfort with an impressive range of available technologies. Standard features include redesigned seating, dual-zone automatic climate control and simplified controls and instrumentation.
Compared to the prior edition, both the 2013 Accord Sedan and Coupe offer spacious accommodations for 5 passengers, and a roomy trunk with a flatter load floor for greater utility. Although the Accord's length has decreased over 3 inches and the wheelbase is almost an inch shorter, key interior dimensions grow. Rear legroom increases over an inch, both front and rear shoulder room increase, and trunk space is up over a cubic foot. Altogether, the interior is remarkably quiet, stylish and upscale, with high-quality materials, exemplary fit and finish, and advanced seating comfort and ergonomics.
Contemporary onboard electronics help the Accord driver seamlessly interface with the latest generation of compatible personal mobile electronics. Standard features on all Accords include a bright, full-color 8-inch (diagonal) "intelligent" Multi-Information Display (i-MID), Bluetooth®2 HandsFreeLink® phone interface, Pandora® internet radio interface and an SMS text messaging feature. A new available Audio with touchscreen display and the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition and FM Traffic is also available.
The 2013 Accord is also the 1st Honda product to offer available HondaLink™ technology, which works with the owner's compatible smartphone to connect the Accord with music and media resources such as Aha™ by Harman, internet apps, roadside assistance and more. Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) are also available.
The 2013 Accord Sedan and Coupe offer the greatest range of active and passive safety features in Honda history. Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) is standard on all Accord models, and available new technologies include Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).
Collision safety engineering includes the updated Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, which improves occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions, and the most extensive use of high-strength steel in Accord history. The Accord's impact-absorbing front body design can even help attenuate energy in the event of a frontal collision with a pedestrian.
Passive-safety features include 6 airbags, including dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags. New SmartVent™ side airbags reduce the risk of excessive airbag deployment force and eliminate the need for the Accord's previous Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS).
Based on internal testing, both the 2013 Accord Sedan and Coupe are expected to earn a TOP SAFETY PICK rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) and 5-star ratings in federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests3.
Celebrating 30 years of Accord production in the United States, the all-new 2013 Honda represents the expanding capabilities of Honda in North America. Virtually every aspect of the Accord was developed, tested and finalized by Honda associates throughout California and Ohio. The Accord is produced4 in Ohio by Honda of America Mfg. Inc. using domestic and globally sourced parts.
Additional media information including detailed pricing, features and high-resolution photography of the 2013 Honda Accord is available at Honda Media Newsroom. Consumer information is available at automobiles.honda.com.
Americans really like Honda Accords. Even with a new model just weeks away from showrooms, more retail buyers took delivery of new Accords last month than any other car in the country.
So it's safe to say that expectations are pretty high for the redesigned Accord you see here, a more-than-meets-the-eye rethink that brings with it a degree of innovation we haven't seen out of Honda in a while.
For 1, value is finally part of the deal. Once-stingy Honda is now including alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth and a high-resolution 8-inch screen with a backup camera as standard on the entry-level $21,680 Accord LX. Clearly, change as afloat at an automaker that made buyers pay extra for air conditioning and a radio just a few short years ago.
This reinvigoration extends beyond just “on paper” changes. Although the 2013 Accord might have the same overall shape as its predecessor, the 2 are substantially different in person. A simpler, more elegant design permeates the Accord both inside and out, and even though the look isn't wholly original – we see lots of Hyundai Genesis, for example – it is far more cohesive than before.
Underneath, Accord now stretches more than 2 and a half inches shorter, a welcome change since the outgoing model was nearly a full-size sedan. In addition, the double wishbone front suspension setup has been shelved in favor of a more sophisticated MacPherson strut setup.
In the engine room, Accord ditches its outgoing motors in favor of 2 all-new units and 1 that has been thoroughly revised.
Most Accords will be motivated by a new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder developed under Honda's new “Earth Dreams” eco-friendly engine program. With direct injection and Honda's VTEC variable valve timing system, the 2.4 puts out 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque. A new Sport trim level adds dual exhaust for an extra 4 ponies.
Eschewing a trend away from manuals, a 6-speed stick shift is standard, while an all-new CVT (with paddle shifters on Sports) is optional.
The CVT/4-cylinder model is rated by the EPA at 27/36 mpg, which is impressive but still trails the 38 mpg Nissan Altima overall.
Upmarket Accords offer a revised 3.5-liter V6 that, with the new addition of VTEC and a carryover cylinder deactivation system, cranks out 278 horsepower and 252 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is mated only to a 6-speed automatic in sedans, but the coupe offers a 6-speed manual.That cylinder deactivation system reaps rewards on the highway, where the sedan is rated at 34 mpg. City consumption, at 21 mpg, is more V6-typical.
Exclusive to sedans is a new plug-in hybrid powertrain for the late-introduction Accord PHEV. Capable of motivating the Accord on solely electric power for around 10-15 miles, the hybrid is actually reasonably peppy at 196 horsepower and 226 lb-ft. from a combination of gas and electric motivation powering a CVT. EPA figures for the Accord PHEV are due out closer to its on-sale date early next year.
The Accord PHEV's battery takes up a good deal of its trunk space, though a quick charging system means the battery is full in less time than it takes to enjoy lunch as long as the sedan is plugged into a 240V outlet.
A bevvy of Accord trim levels are on offer, but we think the entry-level LX ($21,680) and step above Sport ($23,390) (which adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a dual exhaust and a few leather bits inside, but no chassis changes) represent the Accord's high-value sweet spot. On those models, selecting the CVT adds $800. Notably, navigation is not available until you step up to the $29,995 EX-L with navigation model.
This latest Accord might not set the standard for style in the segment the way the Kia Optima does, but its cabin is undeniably a comfortable place to whittle away the miles.
Accord's interior is fresh and upmarket, with the new screen mounted high on the dashboard commanding the most attention. That screen's presence clears up the button-heavy dashboard of the outgoing Accord. Further improving matters is a general upgrade in materials quality throughout. Our only kvetch is that we would like to see more than 2 interior shades on offer.
Higher-trim versions with a new HondaLink infotainment system have a second, smaller touchscreen mounted on the center of the dashboard (which is pictured in the photo gallery), where it is framed by a metallic gloss black panel. Generally, the system is intuitive, but we would have preferred traditional switches for commonly-used functions like radio presets. At least Bluetooth pairing was a cinch.
Accord's excellent packaging was retained, meaning the new car has more usable space than its predecessor despite the smaller overall dimensions.
On the road
Accords have long been notable for their slightly more enthusiast-oriented driving dynamics and this latest model appears to continue that tradition.
Firm but nonetheless compliant suspension tuning and higher-effort electric power steering impart a feeling of confidence on the road lacking in softer or less precise rivals like the Hyundai Sonata and Chevrolet Malibu. Though the steering is a little dead right on center, effort builds predictably and, ultimately, the Accord proved a delight to toss around the curvy roads we encountered outside of Santa Barbara, California.
The 6-speed manual will account for a low take rate, and that's a shame since it could set the standard for the segment. Luckily, the CVT isn't a bad companion either. Set to become Honda's highest volume CVT ever, this unit did its best to keep the Accord within its power band without the elastic feel that plagued some earlier units by other automakers. We're still not used to the concept of not feeling shifts, but this ranks up there with the Nissan Altima's unit as 1 of the best efforts in the industry.
Power comes on strong and buttery smooth with either engine, but we did notice a bit more thrum at idle than we expected with the 2.4-liter. The V6 remains robust and torquey, not to mention a bit more refined than before. Similarly, the extra cog in the V6's conventional transmission made this a stellar combination. Our time in a V6/6-speed manual coupe was limited, but we found it to be capable if considerably less sporty than the 2 door proportions might suggest.
We also didn't get much seat time in the Accord PHEV. What little driving experience we did have showed it to be a robust performer. Notably, the PHEV has a steering wheel-mounted button to allow drivers to decide just when they want to use only battery power. In other words, drivers can use EV mode around town, where they'll get more miles out of it, and stick in normal hybrid mode otherwise.
EX ($24,405) and above models – that's 1 step above Sport – include an all-new blind spot monitoring system dubbed LaneWatch that, instead of flashing orange lights to warn drivers, uses a camera integrated into the passenger-side outside mirror. When a driver signals that he wants to turn right, the camera fires up and displays a live image of the blind spot in the upper dashboard screen. The camera can also be kept on at all times, presumably for passenger amusement. While there's undoubtedly some value in this system to salespeople looking to close a deal, we think a radar-based system with flashing lights is far less distracting.
Still, it's that kind of outside-of-the-box thinking that catapulted Honda to the top years ago – and it's finally back all throughout the 2013 Accord.
Leftlane's bottom line
After the disappointingly redesigned Civic arrived last year, we were prepared for the worst with this latest Accord. Fortunately, Honda has done more than just assuage our concerns: It has built a genuinely good vehicle that very well might put Honda at the top of its class.
Substantially upgraded inside, outside and underneath, the 2013 Accord pushes all the right buttons, especially in its new high-value lower specification models.
2013 Honda Accord sedan base price, range, $21,680 to $33,430.
It's been a rough couple of years for Honda fans. Those of us who filed willingly behind the big H banner in days gone by have found ourselves making excuses for the death of the S2000, the inadequate mileage and compromised driving characteristics of the Insight hybrid, and the unworthy successor to the CRX throne, the CR-Z. But surely we could forgive Honda a few transgressions. After all, this is the manufacturer that my generation cut its driving teeth on. Hordes of us can recite engine, transmission and chassis codes at length and on command the way our fathers knew Chevrolet big-block VINs by heart because, after all, this is a manufacturer we love.
But with the addition of ungainly and uninteresting products like the Accord Crosstour, many of us couldn't help but take the company's missteps personally. When the 2012 Civic rolled out, even Consumer Reports, a publication that routinely hails Honda products as more crucial to living a fulfilled life than a quality washing machine, infamously didn't recommend the compact. Was our favorite automaker intentionally trying to piss us off? If so, it was working.
So when Honda announced the arrival of the 2013 Accord, we approached the reveal with measured skepticism. Like a dog suffering under the feigned throw-the-ball trick, we had no interest in going down the now familiar path of excitement and disappointment. This time around, Honda was going to have to prove it still knew how to build a competitive car.
Competitiveness starts with stylishness, which is something the Honda design department seems to have struggled with of late. Fortunately, the 2013 Accord is a remarkably good looking vehicle. Designers have managed to revitalize the exterior without making the sedan unrecognizable, which is important for a model that's sold 11 million units in the U.S. alone since Honda began manufacturing the Accord here some 30 years ago. Engineers shortened the new generation by 3.6 inches, which has done much to take the heft out of the design. With abbreviated overhangs front and rear, the new Accord doesn't look as portly as its predecessor, and that's a huge step in the right direction.
Up front, the 2013 model can't help but look attractively aggressive thanks to its swept headlamp arrays and inset fog lamps. Of course, the chicken-wire mesh lower grille of our Sport trim tester helps in that department, too. All in all, the front clip seems to have cribbed from the Acura design playbook of 2004, which is by no means meant as a slight. We dig it.
That aforementioned Sport trim is one of 2 new lines in the Accord stable. Higher up the chain, buyers will now find Touring models available on the order sheet. Snugged between the lowly LX and slightly nicer EX, the Sport trim delivers a range of aesthetic adjustments outside that include the 18-inch wheels you see here, as well as a deck lid spoiler and a whopping 4-horsepower nudge in grunt from the direct-injection 4-cylinder engine under the hood. Be still our beating hearts. The interior also gets a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle-shifters on CVT-equipped models. Honda says the new trim line is an effort to lower the age of the average Accord buyer.
Viewed broadside, it's easier to get a glimpse of the sedan's massive passenger cell and expansive greenhouse. Honda managed to maintain the Accord's cavernous cabin and actually expand trunk volume while clipping the vehicle's overall length thanks to some packaging cleverness, and the result is a bit of a bubble roof. Surprisingly enough, the 2013 Accord has managed to maintain its slim A and C pillars even in the face of harder-to-ace roof-crush safety tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Given how readily engineers have come to embrace chunky arches, the thin lines are a welcome sight.
Step to the vehicle's rear, however, and the design begins to look awfully familiar. The sedan's stern has more than a little Hyundai Genesis in the mix thanks to a set of sweeping tail lamp arrays that reach around the rear quarters. It's difficult to tell the 2 machines apart in a quick glance, especially when the Accord is wearing the dark silver paint of our tester. We aren't typically fans of faux chrome, but the bright strip along the trunk deck didn't hurt our feelings as it serves to tie the aft to the side sill treatment and front grille. The Sport trim serves up a set a dual exhaust outlets that deliver a nice burbly note on start up, which is a nice trick for the 4-cylinder.
I'll admit, I actually sighed with relief when I plopped myself into the driver's seat. After wincing my way through the schizophrenic Picasso dash of the ninth-generation Civic, I was prepared for all manner of cabin travesties inside the 2013 Accord. Instead, I was met with a mature and attractive instrument panel without an overabundance of buttons. Snappy faux brushed-metal accents separate control clusters for the climate controls and stereo, though higher trims get a new touch-screen interface for the media system. All models get a huge 8-inch LCD display to handle video from the standard rear-view camera, as well as a new optional blind spot camera system.
LaneWatch is a new piece of safety tech that uses a small camera in the passenger-side mirror to keep an eye on the vehicle's blind spot. Hit the right turn signal when changing lanes and the 8-inch display immediately switches to the side-view feed, complete with helpful distance markers to let you know if it's clear to get over. You can also leave the feed on all the time or turn it off completely if you find it too distracting. Make no mistake, this tech is going to show up on every car on the market very soon. LaneWatch is standard on EX models and above, and while our Sport tester did not come equipped with the gear, we shot a quick video of the tech in action on an EX model. Check it out below.
Otherwise, the 2013 Accord offers comfortable seats with plenty of adjustment as well as lots of head room and leg room for both front and rear passengers. The sedan gives front passengers 42.5 inches of leg room and rear occupants 38.5 inches. That's an extra inch in the way back compared to the 2012 model, and gives the Accord an extra 2.4 inches of leg room in back over the also-new 2013 Nissan Altima. The Altima makes up that gap up front, however, with an extra 2.5 inches of leg room for front occupants. Even so, buyers opting for either sedan would have to struggle to feel cramped inside. Even with full-grown adults up front, there's ample room in the rear for jolly-green passengers.
Honda has also stretched the rear cargo area 1.1 cubic feet by re-engineering the trunk floor. The flat load surface combines with a redesigned trunk spring mechanism that intrudes on the rear space by just 1.2 inches. The old hardware required 3.9 inches of travel to function properly.
In the engine department, Honda has finally stepped out of the last century by gracing its volume model with a direct-injection 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. The lump is good for 185 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 181 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm in standard trim. Our Sport model made 189 horsepower at the same revs while turning out 1 more pound-feet of torque at the same engine speed. The base numbers mark a jump of 7 horsepower and 20 lb-ft of torque over the 2012 model. More importantly, Honda managed to pull 27 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway from machines equipped with the new CVT gearbox.
For comparison's sake, the old 5-speed automatic delivered 4 mpg less in city driving and 2 mpg less on the highway. Models boasting the 6-speed manual of our tester, meanwhile, get along with 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway – a jump of one mpg in both categories. The Accord loses out to the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima in highway fuel economy by 1 and 2 mpg, respectively, but ties the Ford and falls one mpg behind the Nissan in combined driving.
Like Honda engines of old, the 4-cylinder loves a good caning with plenty of pull well into redline at just under 7,000 rpm. Likewise, the 6-speed manual feels fantastic, proving Honda hasn't forgotten how to make a gearbox that's both tactile and accurate without being too course. Clutch throw is a bit on the soft side, but appropriate for a family hauler with aggressive pretentions. As nice as the 6-speed manual is, we were more impressed by the CVT. Make no mistake, there are few acronyms in the automotive vernacular that can send us wincing quicker than that of the continuously variable transmission, but this band box isn't a curse on driving.
At mid to 3-quarter throttle, engineers have programmed simulated steps to make the CVT behave like a standard automatic transmission. The idea was to expunge any of the notorious "rubber band" sensation from the drivetrain. Smother the carpet with the throttle, however, and the CVT will put the engine where it makes the most power and hold it there in perpetuity. Not a bad compromise.
No matter which transmission buyers settle on, they'll be greeted with a car that feels incredibly quick for the segment – quicker than competition like the Toyota Camry. Jumping up to interstate speed takes no effort, and launches from a dead standstill are executed with just a little torque steer at very high rpm. We imagine most drivers will never get there. Brakes are crisp and linear with good initial bite, which help give the 2013 Accord a confident feel. At highway speeds, though, the Honda continues to struggle with road and wind noise. The company's engineers say they've done plenty of work to quiet the cabin down, but it falls well behind competitors like the Volkswagen Passat and Chevrolet Malibu.
But what the Accord lacks in cabin civility, it largely makes up for in driving dynamics. The new generation bows with a MacPherson strut design up front and an independent multi-link set up in the rear, giving the sedan enough compliance to comfortably overcome broken and uneven pavement without sacrificing handling. Unfortunately, engineers also saddled the new model with electronic power steering, and while the system is precise enough for our needs, it also feels incredibly synthetic. The driver gets very little in the way of feedback from the steering wheel, diluting an otherwise excellent driving sedan in the pursuit of better fuel economy.
Buyers looking to step into a 2013 Honda Accord will need to cough up $21,680 for an LX model with a 6-speed manual gearbox, though stepping up to the CVT will add an extra $800 to the bottom line. LX guise includes Bluetooth, a rear-view camera, USB connection and dual-zone climate control as standard equipment. Our Sport tester, meanwhile, carried a base price of $23,390, and all prices exclude a $790 destination fee. At $1,710 over the base LX, the Sport is a good value given the aesthetic adjustments inside and out. With the excellent manual gearbox, a little extra pep and a set of attractive wheels, this is likely the Accord we'd have for daily duty.
So where does all this put the 2013 Accord in the mid-sized fray? Coming into this model year, the Accord's place among the segment's top 3 sellers was Honda's to lose, but the next-generation sedan has the chops to ensure long-time Honda buyers will drive away from the dealer with a machine worthy of the badge on the hood. This is the Accord as we know it best. While there is no revolutionary engineering on hand, the model delivers plenty of power, solid fuel economy, lots of space and a compelling drive for accessible money.
The 9th-generation Honda Accord debuts just in time to take on an onslaught of new competition for the 2013 model year, including the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima. In addition, there's the Toyota Camry that was redone for 2012 and strong Korean entries in the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.
The Accord lineup again comprises sedan and coupe models. Significant highlights are a fresh powertrain lineup developed under the company's Earth Dreams banner that includes a new direct-injection 4-cylinder, updated V6; revised transmission portfolio, including a continuously variable transmission; and a couple of hybrid offerings.
The 2.4-liter engine is based on a new lightweight architecture. It gains direct injection to produce 185 hp and 189 lb-ft of torque, improvements of 8 hp and 28 lb-ft over the outgoing car's base 2.4-liter engine. Connected to the 4-cylinder is a standard 6-speed manual (compared with a 5-speed in the 2012 model) or a CVT that replaces the 5-speed automatic. Fuel economy ratings for the Accord sedan with the manual come in at 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, while the CVT helps return a 27-mpg city rating and 36 mpg on the highway.
It's worth noting that the four-cylinder and CVT combo, which will be the volume drivetrain, falls short of the non-hybrid fuel-economy title in the midsize sedan category. With the city fuel economy rating of 27 mpg and highway rating of 38 mpg for its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and CVT, the new Altima has bragging rights.
Unlike competitors such as the Sonata, Optima and the upcoming Malibu and Fusion, Honda sticks with a V6 as the upgrade engine option instead of moving to a force-induced 4-cylinder. The revised 3.5-liter V6 gains an expanded variable cylinder management range for improved fuel economy and sees a small horsepower bump from 271 to 278 hp. Together with a new 6-speed automatic gearbox, the sedan receives a 21-mpg city rating and 34-mpg highway rating.
For hybrid fans, Honda is working on 2 hybrid Accords -- a plug-in and a regular hybrid. Both are developed around a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder with a 13:1 compression ratio, a 2-motor hybrid system and lithium-ion battery pack. In the plug-in, the engine and electric motors are good for a combined 198 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. On a fully charged battery, Honda says electric-only range for the plug-in is between 10 to 15 miles. Complete details on the regular hybrid aren't available yet.
Another concession to fuel economy is the move to electric power steering in place of a hydraulic system. And packaging and weight reasons see the front suspension convert from a double wishbone setup to MacPherson struts.
Dimensionally, the new Accord sedan isn't as big as the car it replaces in most measurements, with a wheelbase that's 0.9 inches shorter and overall length down by 3.5 inches. However, cabin space grows slightly by 0.5 cubic feet, and trunk space is up by 0.8 cubic feet.
Inside the cabin for all models are standard automatic climate controls and a rearview camera. To quiet the cabin -- an area Honda admits it needed to work on -- active noise and sound controls are standard.
Other available features include a LaneWatch system that monitors two lanes of your right-side blind spot and displays an image on the central screen. There also are forward-collision and lane-departure warnings, adaptive cruise control and HondaLink, and an in-car interface that works with Android and iPhone devices.
In an attempt to give the Accord sedan a sportier flavor, a new Sport trim is added. It builds on the LX model and adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, slightly stiffer suspension tuning, fog lights, rear spoiler, paddle shifters for CVT-equipped models and a dual-exhaust system. With the freer-breathing exhaust, the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gets a 4-hp jump to 189 hp.
If you want the sportiest Accord, look to the coupe, offered with both the 4-cylinder and the V6. Like the sedan, the 4-cylinder in the coupe can be paired with a 6-speed manual or the CVT, while the V6 can be had with either a 6-speed automatic transmission or a coupe-exclusive 6-speed manual -- the hottest Accord ticket by far.
Sales of the Accord sedan begin officially on Sept. 19, with the coupe following on Oct. 15. The plug-in hybrid is expected to hit showrooms in early 2013, while the conventional hybrid will land sometime next summer.
What is it like to drive?
1st we sampled a sedan equipped with the base 4-cylinder engine and standard 6-speed manual transmission. This powertrain combination was fairly engaging for this class of midsize sedan. The manual shifter feels excellent with crisp shifts and an easy-to-work clutch. The direct-injected 4-cylinder provides adequate power and, like a typical Honda 4-cylinder, it's smooth and doesn't mind running up near the top of the rev range.
The electric power steering is light and has a dead spot on center, but once more angle is dialed in it gets weightier and more responsive. On curvy roads outside of Santa Barbara, Calif., the new Accord feels confidently planted, with some roll tuned into the suspension that takes the edge off of all but the nastiest of bumps. Brakes easily slow the Accord down with firm pedal feedback.
On the freeway, the cabin is quiet and well isolated from road and wind noise. The front bucket seats are supportive and kept us comfortable on our four-hour drive route. Outward visibility is good and all climate and entertainment controls are clearly labeled and easy to work.
1 fear many had about the new Accord was that it would fall short in the interior quality category following the disappointing makeover Honda gave the Civic for 2012, but thankfully it doesn't. Almost all major surfaces throughout the spacious cabin are soft-touch and appear to be built from quality materials. However, we could do without the chrome trim around the shifter area -- the sun reflection is distracting.
During our test drive, we found the optional LaneWatch system handy to easily check if there were any vehicles in our right blind spot or the possibility of moving over two lanes as we maneuvered through freeway traffic.
We also spent a good amount of time with the 4-cylinder and CVT combination and were pleasantly surprised. When driving, normally there are well-placed steps programmed into the CVT to simulate gear changes. The transmission is quick to change ratios for merging and passing, and it won't drive you insane with rubber band-like operation. Of course, under heavy throttle the transmission will keep it pegged at a certain rpm and buzz like mad, but in all other situations it does a fine job. The majority of Accord sedan buyers probably won't notice the difference from a traditional automatic gearbox.
We had a brief stint in the Accord Sport sedan and while we won't claim to notice the 4-hp bump in output from the four-cylinder, we will say that it does feel a smidge tighter when thrown into corners, with more grip before giving way to understeer thanks to the wider 18-inch tires and lightly altered suspension tuning. However, we will say the fog lights, rear spoiler and wheels make this basic 4-door sedan look a tiny bit more exciting.
A little time was also spent with the hottest V6 and 6-speed manual coupe. With 278 hp going to the front wheels, some torque steer is to be expected, though it's manageable, and the manual shifter again is exceptionally fluid and a joy to use. The power helps pull the coupe along to the speed limit and beyond in short order, and the engine is among the smoothest V6 powerplants available today. Understeer is again present in tight corners but the coupe handles gradual bends well with some roll, and ride quality is quite comfortable.
Our day ended with a brief stint behind the wheel of a prototype plug-in hybrid. On the roughly seven miles we covered, the brakes offered good modulation through the pedal, which is nice instead of the on/off switch performance of many other hybrids. Power is sufficient to get up to expressway speeds when you put your right foot into it, and overall operation was good for a prototype.
Do I want it?
Many people will want the 2013 Honda Accord, and the good news is there are many reasons for them to want it. Unlike with the Civic, Honda didn't disappoint with the new Accord and has delivered a fuel-efficient vehicle lineup that caters to a wide audience without compromising in key areas such as interior quality. The new direct-injected 4-cylinder is powerful enough and when paired with the new CVT should please the heart of the market, while the potent V6 remains at the top of the range for sedan shoppers willing to give up a bit of fuel economy for more power.
The coupe is there for customers looking for a sportier 2-door that has serviceable back-seat space for 2 adults and is offered with the hot V6 and 6-speed manual drivetrain combo.
And for the really green crowd, 2 hybrid options will be out by next summer. With all those options, the Accord lineup is stacked and more than ready to take on all the new competition emerging for the 2013 model year.
Honda built a reputation on economy cars that displayed a touch more quality than the competition. To this day, Honda's lineup consists of practical, well-built cars. However, the company has not had a new idea in years. The 2013 Honda Accord heralds the revivification of Honda's collective brain cells, bringing with it new technologies necessary for the company to face off against its already modernized competition.
At a press preview, I drove a few of the many variants of the 2013 Accord about to be unleashed on the American public. Honda's sales model has always been a bit different from other automakers'. Rather than adding options piecemeal, Honda buyers have to settle for whatever equipment comes with the trim levels they select. Even navigation is considered a different trim level within the Honda system.
However, this lack of optional equipment does not mean there is little choice. The body of the new Accord can be had in sedan or coupe styles. Honda makes 2 engines available, a direct-injection 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and a 3.5-liter V-6. For all but one body style and engine combination, buyers can choose an automatic or manual transmission, and that automatic comes in 2 flavors, continuously variable (CVT) and 6 fixed gears. Then there are the different trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L with Navi, Sport, and Touring. And coming soon will be a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid.
I drove 4 of these models on a sunny day in California, tackling freeways, back roads, and light-traffic suburban streets. Starting with the navigation-equipped top-trim EX-L V-6 sedan, the 1 engine body combo that can only be had with Honda's 6-speed automatic, I immediately noticed an area of improvement I had long awaited: Honda has finally implemented a truly integrated dashboard electronics suite.
Honda's current cars were designed in such a way that navigation was an add-on, which leads to duplication of buttons and displays. These cars generally have a voice-command Bluetooth system standard, with an additional, separate voice command system brought in as part of the navigation system. Likewise, the cars would keep a radio display, which would show similar information as on the navigation LCD.
LCDs for all
For the 2013 Accord, Honda puts an 8-inch LCD at the top of the dashboard, standard at all trims. Models without navigation use that display to show phone and stereo information. Only the EX-L and V-6 Touring trim get navigation, a hard-drive-based system on which I noticed maps much improved over Honda's current offering.
1 odd addition to the interface in the top-trim Accords is a monochrome touch screen just above the climate controls. A jog dial, similar to that used by Acura, operates the color LCD at the top of the dashboard. Honda could easily show all infotainment functions on the 8-inch LCD, so I don't understand the necessity of the smaller screen, except as a means of showing current audio information while the main LCD shows route guidance. The models without navigation get a slightly altered control interface, lacking the monochrome touch screen but keeping the big, color LCD and jog dial.
The navigation option adds a touch screen below the standard, color LCD.
(Credit: Wayne Cunningham/CNET)
Although Honda actually shortened the Accord sedan by 3.6 inches from the outgoing model, the cabin felt roomy enough that my co-driver and I never had to brush elbows. And in EX-L trim, which includes power-adjustable leather seats and a pleasant interior design, the Accord seems to threaten Acura's place as Honda's premium brand. To help reduce interior noise, Honda included a technology it has long used in its Acura models, active noise canceling. A microphone in the cabin picks up road noise, and the stereo emits frequencies that cancel it out. While driving the car, I could easily hear my co-driver as he related story after story from back in the day. Maybe that noise cancellation is not always a benefit.
The Accord uses a fixed suspension, but Honda revised it to deliver a better ride than the current car. The results were good, and I found it so smooth that it was often difficult to judge the car's speed without looking at the speedometer. A 3.5-liter V-6 may sound familiar from the current Honda lineup, but this engine now includes i-VTEC technology, which controls valve timing and lift to deliver better efficiency. However, the engine only makes 278 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque, plenty for the Accord, but only 7 horsepower over the previous engine. Honda estimates fuel economy with this engine-transmission combination at 21 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, a gain of up to 4 mpg over the current V-6 Accord.
I tried for a "VTEC kicked in, yo" moment but found that the 6-speed automatic transmission did not include manual gear selection, just a standard Drive and Sport mode, making it difficult to wind up the rpms. The engine offered easy power for hill climbing and passing other traffic, aided by a slight reduction in curb weight from the outgoing model.
Honda talked up how it refined the electric power-steering system for the new Accord. A noncontact torque sensor is supposed to make the steering feel linear. I have not found other electric power-steering systems to lack a linear feeling, so I did not quite get this improvement. In general, the steering wheel felt a bit overboosted, light and easy to turn. Handling was good, if typical for a modern midsize sedan. The front-wheel-drive Accord did not roll much in the turns, but it felt like the front end would wash out if really stressed.
Camera for a side mirror
1 really intriguing feature in the car was Honda's new blind-spot monitoring system, called LaneWatch. Unlike other automakers, Honda puts a camera in the right side mirror, and shows the view from that side of the car on the center LCD. I could see the lanes next to the Accord on the display without having to look across to the right side mirror, or turn my head around to look through the rear side windows. The left side does not get the same treatment, as Honda says it would be counterintuitive to look to the right when trying to make a left lane change. I found myself undecided about this type of blind-spot monitoring, and preferring that used by other automakers, which lights up a warning icon somewhere around the side mirror if a car is in the next lane over.
Honda is putting LaneWatch in lower-trim models as well. I took the wheel of a 4-cylinder model with 6-speed manual transmission, which lacked navigation. It also had the LaneWatch feature, along with a Bluetooth phone system and a USB port for iPod and USB drives. For app integration, the car had Pandora and the new HondaLink service, which comes standard in all EX-L and Touring trim sedans, and in the EX and EX-L Coupes. HondaLink uses the driver's own smartphone as its data connection.
Honda gives the driver a camera view out of the right side of the Accord.
HondaLink is based on the Aha service, and delivers a variety of Internet-based audio channels into the car. Beyond just music, the audio channels include podcasts and audiobooks. Even more innovative, Aha takes usually text-based Internet sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and translates them to audio. Drivers can listen to their own Facebook updates or Twitter feeds. HondaLink also has some Yelp functionality, narrowed down to searches for nearby restaurants or coffee shops. Again, the driver listens to the search results. The Yelp search is also smart, in the sense that it takes into account the direction and the road on which the car is traveling, only serving up results ahead of it.
What I was really looking forward to in driving the 4-cylinder Accord was trying out the new direct-injection engine. This 2.4-liter engine makes 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. That is only 8 more horsepower than the previous 2.4-liter, but 19 more pound-feet of torque. This Accord drove as easily as the V-6 version, and the 6-speed manual was enjoyable to shift, as the gate felt precise yet comfortable.
With the hood up, the clatter of the injectors was very audible, but that sound did not intrude into the cabin. The only spot where I noticed the lessened power was on an ascent. Forced to downshift to 3rd, I found the rising engine speed sounded off with an unholy whine that overcame the fancy noise cancellation in the cabin.
Honda reduced the number of buttons on its steering wheel and dashboard.
After the 4-cylinder with the manual, I took a shorter drive in 1 with the new CVT, the automatic transmission option for all the 4-cylinder Accords. As CVTs do, this 1 delivered linear acceleration, without any big rpm drops for big gear changes. When I put the gas pedal down, the CVT dutifully grabbed a lower ratio to give the car more speed. It did not eliminate the struggle I had felt with the other 4-cylinder when trying to get the power up.
Honda says the CVT-equipped 4-cylinder will do 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, very nice for a midsize sedan, while the manual transmission delivers a slightly lower 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. The real mileage leader among the new Accords will be the plug-in hybrid, which we'll take up in a separate article.
Honda needed the technology boost represented by this new generation of Accord. But rather than lap the midsize sedan competition, Honda seems to be merely keeping pace. Honda's style of blind-spot monitoring and app integration technology is certainly different than other automakers', and I am not sure buyers will take to the split. However, Honda has its reputation and the apparent quality of its interiors to use against the likes of the new Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion. The prices for the new Accord models, ranging all the way from $21,650 to $33,340, also keep Honda competitive in the midsize sedan segment.
2013 Honda Accord Review: Equal Parts Fun and Smart
September 10th, 2012 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Staff Writer
It’s been 29 years since Honda’s 1st American-built Accord rolled off of the assembly line. Since then the iconic vehicle has won the hearts of drivers across the country thanks to its exceptional driving capabilities, styling and affordability. For its 30th year, Honda is pulling out all of the stops, giving the Accord lineup an all-new look, a cavalcade of new powertrain options and a plug-in hybrid edition. But the real star of the revamped Accord (starting at $21,680, $29,995 as tested) is its impressive array of new tech.
From its new HondaLink hands-free connectivity system to the inventive LaneWatch Blind Spot Display, the 2013 Accord is the closest thing you can get to a supercomputer on wheels. We packed our bags and headed to beautiful Santa Barbara, C.A. to try out the new Accord, and see if its 30th is its best yet.
From a design standpoint, the 2013 Accord has a far more athletic look than the previous generation. You’ll definitely recognize it as an Accord when you first lay eyes on it, albeit 1 that’s seems to have been hitting the gym hard. Standard daytime running lights and a reworked grill give the 2013 Accord a more aggressive face, while a character line running upward from the front fender to the rear helps build on its muscular appearance.
The Honda Accord’s new smartphone integration system, HandsFreeLink, allows users to connect their smartphones to the vehicle’s infotainment system via Bluetooth or USB. Once connected, users can access any music stored on their phones, as well as listen to text messages and make hands free calls using a steering wheel-mounted call button.
The Accord’s infotainment system has 1 of the most unique layouts on the market. Instead of giving users 1 large display from which they can control their music and navigation systems, Honda gives you 2. The 1st, a beautiful 8-inch 800 x 480 VGA screen dubbed the “intelligent” Multi-Information Display (i-MID) sits at the top of the center stack and is used solely to display information such as track listings, directions, phone numbers and system settings. Below the 8-inch display is a smaller 6-inch touchscreen used to control the Accord’s audio system.
Underneath the touchscreen sits a large rotary knob that allows users to navigate the i-MID’s various menus. Additional physical Nav, Phone, Info and Audio buttons situated just above the knob allow you to quickly switch from listening to your favorite artist to entering an address in the navigation system with a single button press.
In addition to Bluetooth streaming audio, the Accord offers streaming music via Pandora, as well as XMSirius Satellite Radio. Don’t have your smartphone on you? An available USB port allows you to connect any USB-enabled device to the infotainment system, letting you stream music and even upload photos for use as a background for the i-MID display. The USB port also lets iPhone users control all aspects of Pandora via the Accord’s touchscreen, including skipping, liking and disliking tracks. If you connect via Bluetooth, you’ll only be able to control the volume of your Pandora station, which is pretty lame.
Having 2 displays and a series of knobs and buttons to for the infotainment system, not to mention the physical controls for the HVAC system, can seem overwhelming the first time you get behind the driver’s seat of the Accord. But in actuality, Honda has made the center stack both ergonomically pleasing — nothing was out of reach — and intuitive to use. We did find ourselves having to stretch a bit to reach the controls while in the passenger seat, but it wasn’t bad enough to be a knock on the setup.
HondaLink with Aha
While smartphone connectivity and a gorgeous navigation system are all well and good, you need to bring something extra to the tablet to wow car shoppers. In the Accord’s case, that something is Honda’s new cloud-based HondaLink connectivity system. Whereas HandsFreeLink lets you just listen to music stored natively on your device and make hands-free phone calls, HondaLink takes advantage of your smartphone’s data connection to bring apps stored on your phone into your car.
Custom user settings are uploaded from your HondaLink app to the automaker’s HondaLink Data Cloud servers, letting you store information such as points of interest, routes and preferences for the Navigation system, among other settings. This allows each driver to have a more personalized experience than they would if their settings were saved natively.
The 1st app to get the HondaLink treatment is Harman’s Aha Radio. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the app helps you curate on-demand radio stations, audio books, podcasts, news and even stream audible Facebook and Twitter updates. We got to use the Aha app for HondaLink and were impressed with both the presentation and simplicity of the controls. Users navigate Aha using the Accord’s touchscreen.
Want to listen to a radio station in L.A., but you live in New York? No problem, just find the station on Aha and start rocking out. Hungry? Navigate to the Hungry station and start looking for restaurants via Yelp Location Services. Honda reps told us that the Yelp feature calculates your car’s direction and will only provide restaurant options located ahead of you, so you won’t have to turn around to find a place to eat.
The coolest part of Aha is the ability to listen to your Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds. Before you listen to either service, you’ll have to add them to your Favorite stations list in the Aha smartphone app and connect to HondaLink. Select Aha as your audio source on the Accord’s touchscreen, and the display will switch over to show you your Favorite stations. Tap the Facebook station and Aha will begin reading your newsfeed.
A brief description of each post will also be displayed on the Accord’s i-MID display, including how long ago it was posted. If a post contains a link, Aha will skip over it and simply say, “A link was posted.” HondaLink also lets you “Like” posts via the touchscreen, although you can’t yet post to your own newsfeed.
Honda has outfitted the 2013 Accord with variety of new safety features. Forward Collision Warning uses sensors located at the front of the Accord to detect other vehicles and uses your speed to determine if a collision is possible. If the system thinks an accident is imminent, it will automatically provide you with visual and audio warnings alerting you to stop.
Honda’s new Land Departure Warning system uses cameras mounted in the Accord’s rearview mirror to read lane markers as you drive down the road. When you cross over a marker without using your turn signal, the system will alert you with audible and visual prompts. We found found this feature to be more sensitive than the 1 we tried on the 2012 Mercedes Benz E350, which will certainly be welcome for safety minded drivers.
Like many cars on the market, the 2013 Honda Accord features a backup camera that automatically streams video to the 8-inch i-MID display when you put the car in reverse. If the standard view isn’t to your liking, the Accord allows you to switch between 2 other available angles, an overhead view and a wide-angle view.
The Accord’s most ingenious safety feature is its LaneWatch Blind Spot Display. Using a camera mounted under the Accord’s right side view mirror,the system automatically streams video to the i-MID display whenever you flip on the right turn signal. Honda says LaneWatch helps reduce the driver’s blind spot by providing an unobstructed view of the 2 adjacent lanes. Pressing the LaneWatch button on the turn signal stalk causes the camera to continuously stream video to the i-MID display.
During our time in Santa Barbara, we drove both the automatic and manual versions of the Accord EX-L V6 Sedan and Accord EX-L V6 Coupe. As we drove past lush vineyards and picturesque mountain vistas, we were continually struck by how well the Accord handled both the sweeping curves of the Pacific Coast Highway and the sharp banked corners of the region’s back roads. Although the coupe was the clear leader, thanks to its sport-tuned suspension, the sedan proved it was no slouch.
The 278 hp V-6 packs a hefty 252 lb-ft of torque. Hit the accelerator and that power grips you tight and doesn’t let go until you slam into the red line. The 6-speed automatic transmission knew just when to hold shifts and when to kick down for a quick getaway. As we tooled around in the 6-speed manual coupe we cackled maniacally as we smashed the accelerator and dumped the clutch, blurring Santa Barbara’s undulating hillsides and sending rows of grapevines flying past the Accord’s windows.
Ride comfort in the sedan was top-notch. The driver’s seat hugged in all the right places. Wind noise, a problem in the previous generation Accord, was nearly undetectable. We did notice that the sedan tended roll over ruts and bumps in the road, though nowhere near enough to have you reaching for the Dramamine.
1 of the Accord’s biggest selling points is just how much you get for it’s relatively low $21,680 starting price. All models from the base LX to the top-of-the-line Touring edition receive Honda’s HandsFreeLink connectivity system, USB/ iPod integration, a single-angle rearview camera, 8-inch 480 x 320 information display, Pandora integration and auto-reply text messaging functionality.
Step up to the$24,605 EX model and you’ll get all of the aforementioned features, as well as the inventive LaneWatch Blind Spot display. The $24,604 EX-L model comes with all of the previous features and adds the slick HondaLink interface, XM Radio, a multi-angle rearview camera and the Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning systems.
Moving up to the the $29,995 EX-L V6, the same models we drove, will get you access to the sleek Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation system. The addition of the navigation system also gives the Accord’s 8-inch display a resolution bump from 480 x 320 pixels to 800 x 480 pixels.
Rounding out the lineup is the top dog, Accord Touring edition. Priced at $33,430, the Accord Touring gets you all of the tech and safety features available in the EX-L V6 and Honda’s Adaptive Cruise Control.
It’s been 29 years since Honda first began building the Accord in the U.S., and its 30th year is looking just as good as the first. With its improved styling, aggressive V-6 engine and competent body control, the 2013 Accord both looks and feels like a car that should cost twice as much. Add to that more tech than most competing mid-sized cars and a host of compelling safety features and you have an exceptional vehicle that’s equal parts fun and smart.
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