Despite recent adoption of 2.0-liter turbo-4rs as the top-spec engine for the Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, and Chevrolet Malibu—the idea being to combine maximum hustle and ostensibly improved economy—Honda’s venerable 3.5-liter V-6 remains as the upgrade engine in the new 2013 Accord. While the mid-size sedan’s official fuel-economy ratings do get a bump over last year’s figures, the modest updates to the V-6 combined with the tidier package of the new Accord also result in 1 of the quickest front-wheel-drive 4-doors we’ve ever tested.
As in the previous-gen Accord, the single-overhead-cam V-6 displaces 3471 cc and features port fuel injection, cylinder deactivation, and i-VTEC variable valve timing. Notable changes for 2013 include lighter components, revised heads, reduced friction internals, and updated electronic controls. Horsepower rises modestly from 271 to 278, and although torque drops 2 lb-ft to 252, the grunt is spread over a wider powerband, improving drivability.
Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system is standard on V-6 sedans and now also works over a wider range of engine loads to improve efficiency; when it’s active, it silences 3 cylinders. (The previous version could deactivate 2 or 3 cylinders.) EPA city/highway ratings increase from 20/30 mpg to 21/34; we only averaged 23 due to a heavier-than-usual helping of lead feet. In less-frenetic driving, the car may improve on the 27-mpg average of our most recent Accord V-6 test subject.
Honda’s 6-speed automatic transmission finally migrates from the Odyssey and various Acuras to V-6 Accords for 2013, replacing the old 5-speed, and now includes a Sport mode that holds gears longer and delivers responsive downshifts. (The V-6/6-speed-manual combo remains exclusive to the coupe.) With less weight to haul around—3552 pounds versus 3607 for the last V-6 sedan we tested—our Touring example sprinted to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and tripped the quarter-mile lights in 14.1 at 101 mph. Those figures put it solidly ahead of all of its competitors and into sports-sedan territory; the Accord ties our long-term, 6-speed-manual BMW 328i to 60 and trumps that car in the quarter by 0.2 second and 1 mph.
Comfort And Control
Despite wearing Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 all-season rubber on 17-inch wheels, the Accord V-6 was entertaining around our 10Best handling loop near C/D HQ. The steering is light and responsive, and the engine is willing to put up a fight with the traction control exiting a tight bend. Heavy throttle stabs in low gears initiate torque steer, but more weight up front helps keep the steering-wheel tug well below that exhibited by hot hatches such as the Mini Cooper S and Ford Focus ST. But the extra pounds over the front axle extract a price, however small, as this V-6 car feels slightly less agile and balanced than the lighter, 4-cylinder Accord. It nevertheless still feels highly composed, and with the 6-pot, has sufficient power to make on-ramp blasts a hoot. Compared to last year’s V-6 model, maximum skidpad grip increases from 0.79 g to 0.82, while a 178-foot stop from 70 mph is 12 feet shorter than before.
As with all new-gen Accords, the V-6 sedan delivers smooth shifts, an excellent balance of ride and body control, and good isolation from the road. The VCM system kicks in frequently when cruising, but active engine mounts and a noise-cancellation system make it nearly impossible to detect that 3 cylinders are snoozing.
The new Accord looks familiar, yes, but the styling is cleaner and less fussy than before. Inside, the materials are much nicer and the designers appear to have paid more attention to detail and usability. Bi-level displays in the center stack break up the audio and navigation data and take some getting used to, but there are approximately a billion less buttons than before. The front seats are more comfortable, thankfully eschewing the permanent lumbar support that made so many of us hate the previous car’s thrones. Rear-seat space is again vast; 6-footers have plenty of room. Outward visibility is great, and the LaneWatch blind-spot camera in the right exterior mirror is a clever and useful feature; it displays a live readout on the main screen when a button on the turn-signal stalk is depressed. It can also be set to come on automatically whenever the right blinker is activated.
Although the Accord 4-cylinder sedan and coupe made our 10Best list last year, the V-6 models weren’t included; we felt fresher competition, such as the 6-cylinder Volkswagen Passat, delivered a superior premium family-car experience. With this ninth-generation Accord, though, the V-6 serves up the kind of refinement and driving enjoyment we expect to see from the class benchmarks.
Quick But Not Wise
Although pricing begins at $22,470 for a base LX 4-cylinder model with the 6-speed manual, V-6 Accord sedans start with the leather-clad EX-L at $30,860 and go up to the $34,220 Touring model tested here. A new-for-2013 trim, the Touring adds LED headlights and adaptive cruise control to the $32,860 Accord EX-L with navigation, and its standard kit includes the LaneWatch camera, 17-inch wheels, a cocoon of airbags, lane-departure and forward-collision warnings, stability control, heated front seats, a rearview camera, and a power moonroof.
The well-appointed Accord V-6 Touring is quick, relatively luxurious, and delivers the well-sorted feel we expect from a Honda approaching Acura price levels. The throaty V-6 sounds great compared to the competition’s hissing turbo-4s, but practical types may better appreciate the comparably equipped EX-L 4-cylinder that is better balanced, less thirsty, and costs less. And we really like the 4-cylinder Sport model and its available 6-speed manual. But we—and those sensible folks—would be left in the V-6’s wake.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED: $34,220 (base price: $30,860)
ENGINE TYPE: SOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 212 cu in, 3471 cc
Power: 278 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 252 lb-ft @ 4900 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 109.13 in
Length: 191.4 in
Width: 72.8 in Height: 57.7 in
Curb weight: 3552 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 5.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.9 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 21.2 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 5.9 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.1 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.1 sec @ 101 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 125 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 178 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.82 g
For decades, the Honda Accord seemed to be the automotive embodiment of Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence. Every few years a new version would appear, win awards (including multiple appearances on our own 10Best Cars list), rank near or at the top of the sales charts, and take its familiar place in the fabric of American society. In this way, the Accord generally fulfilled the theory that the universe and its events have already occurred and will recur ad infinitum.
But around the time the 8th-generation model arrived for 2008, the cosmos apparently skipped a beat, and the Honda began to buckle slightly under the burden of success. Although the Civic took the lion’s share of the criticism, we noted a few small cracks in Honda’s mid-sizer in a family-sedan comparison test from earlier this year. The 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic transmission still operated with Honda’s trademark smoothness, but the former sounded coarse under full boot, while the latter was one cog short of the segment-standard 6-pack. At various times we also have noted the outgoing Accord’s undignified exterior styling and its overly busy cockpit erratically littered with buttons. That’s not to say the car wasn’t great—the previous model was a perennial 10Bester, after all—only that it was being reeled in by the competition, notably the winner of that comparo, the Volkswagen Passat.
Restoring the Natural Order of the Automotive Universe
We’re happy to say that the 2013 Accord tested here—a manual-transmission, 4-cylinder Sport model, which differs from other trims mostly through aesthetics—not only benefits from a lightened load metaphorically, but also physically. The car’s steering, braking, and shifting are all light to the touch yet operate with surgical precision. Even the slightest operator inputs produce tangible results. The electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steering is slack-free throughout its full 2.5-turn lock-to-lock travel, yet never twitchy or overeager. The clutch is equally as light, pedal pressure remaining consistent throughout its travel—its operation is intuitive from the very 1st press. And shifting the new 6-speed manual (a CVT is optional) recalls the familiar Honda manual-transmission exactitude that awed so many drivers way back when the brand was still making its bones in this country. Braking is also a paragon of temperate behavior. How deep you go into the pedal is directly correlated to clamping power, and it hides no secrets along its relatively short length of travel.
And as well as the components perform independently, they work even better in unison. Wearing 18-inch wheels shod with 235/45-18 rubber, this Accord managed a respectable 0.87 g on a 300-foot skidpad, but it was while cutting delicate arcs through the wooded environs of our 10Best test loop when the chassis and powertrain really began to communicate with us on a 1st-name basis. As we’ve previously noted, the Accord has swapped its front control arms for struts (Honda says they are lighter and deliver lower levels of NVH); the Accord Sport and all higher trims receive a front strut-tower brace. Our scales pegged the Accord’s weight at 3272 pounds with a front-heavy 59.6/40.4-percent weight distribution. Despite this, turn-in is crisp and neutral, the chassis eagerly following the directions given by the front wheels. Only under hard acceleration over broken pavement did we experience any directional drama, most of it in the form of front wheelspin and hop; the rear end stayed firmly planted on all but loose gravel.
Power in the Accord Sport comes from a 189-hp version of Honda’s new, direct-injected 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. (The LX, EX, and EX-L have just 185 horses; to get 6 cylinders, step up to the EX-L V-6 or Touring, please.) All 181 lb-ft of torque—20 more than the previous-gen EX’s 4-cylinder engine—appear by 3900 rpm, which makes it possible to inject some thrills into the daily commute without winding each gear to the 6800-rpm redline. Of course if you wish to play, the powertrain is ready and willing, as evidenced by our notes from the test track: “Plenty of low-end torque, so you’ll want to launch around 2500 rpm and spin the tires to redline. Very easy to approach the rev limiter and then shift at just the right time.” The 6.6-second scoot to 60 is mighty impressive—it’s 1.3 seconds quicker than the last-gen 4-cylinder/manual model—and the car covered the quarter in 15.3. Those in the mood to save fuel rather than time can select Eco Assist mode via an Econ button to the left of the steering wheel; it alters the operating characteristics of the climate control and remaps throttle response in the name of efficiency.
Standard content is the front-line battle in the family-sedan war, and the Sport we tested comes stocked with ammo: A rearview camera, a 10-way power driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, side-curtain airbags, and a suite of infotainment goodies including Bluetooth, Pandora, and USB, connectivity all are included in the $24,180 MSRP. Although navigation is not available on the Sport, it—like all new Accords—does have an eight-inch screen to display images from the backup camera and provide visuals for many of the infotainment functions.
With this redesigned Accord, Honda wisely streamlined the dash, making the controls both more intuitive and fewer in number. The upholstery in our car was among the nicest material choices we’ve recently seen, replacing Honda’s old mouse-fur material with something resembling high-quality broadcloth. The surfaces and overall fit and finish are good enough to give you that subtle feeling of satisfaction each time you climb in the car, and nicely address complaints about the dated and less-than-luxe cabin of the 8th-gen model. Rear-seat legroom is up by more than an inch to 38.5 inches; we didn’t measure it ourselves, but a pair of adults can spend the better part of a Sunday back there without needing to call the chiropractor the following day.
According to Honda, torsional rigidity on the new model is up 42% compared with the previous Accord, due largely to 56 percent of the structure being composed of high-strength steel. While that’s impossible to verify without a barrage of highly specialized equipment, we can say in human terms that the Accord conveys a feeling of solid, well-engineered substance that imparts an impression of bang for the buck. In other words, the Accord doesn’t make you feel like a schmuck for dropping 25 large on a sedan with all the structural integrity of a Flexible Flyer.
In addition to sleeker and less-busy styling, exterior enhancements include body-color folding side mirrors, an integrated rear-window antenna, and underbody aerodynamic covers. Overall, it looks much more coherent and dynamic than the previous model, but casual observers may not notice the difference unless the 2 cars are parked side by side.
It’s good to see that Honda has seemingly begun to work out its kinks, both product-wise and existentially. If you’ve been wandering in despair, searching for a well-rounded sedan that can justify its presence in your driveway, don’t hesitate to consider the 2013 Honda Accord. You might want to act with some haste—although the 9th-generation model is new, Nietzsche says the next one will be here before you know it.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED: $24,180 (base price: $22,470)
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 144 cu in, 2354 cc
Power: 189 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 182 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 109.3 in
Length: 191.4 in
Width: 72.8 in Height: 57.7 in
Curb weight: 3272 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 6.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 17.9 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 28.1 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.0 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 10.9 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 10.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.3 sec @ 93 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 126 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 180 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g
The release of the all-new 2013 Accord arguably marks the biggest launch in Honda’s history, and the automotive giant is not holding anything back. Coupled with a complete redesign and a whole slew of industry-leading standard features, the ninth generation Accord is living up to the hype of the media buzz surrounding its launch.
“The latest incarnation of the Accord represents the best value-per-dollar of any vehicle on the market,” said Chris Kelly, who road tested the all-new Accord for VehicleTests.com. “After seeing all the high-tech standard features that come with the Accord, I got reverse sticker shock because the car was so inexpensive with more technology and safety features than a lot of luxury cars that are twice its price,” which is why VehicleTests.com awarded the 2013 Honda Accord with its vaunted 5-Star rating.
The 2013 Accord comes at starting price of $21,680 with an array of hi-tech standard features, including a rearview camera and Expanded View Driver’s Mirror. Other standard technologies include Bluetooth HandsFreeLink phone interface, Multi-Information Display (i-MID), SMS text messaging function and Pandora Internet Radio interface. These are just some of the reasons for the high praise from VehicleTests.com, which produces independent test-drive videos for consumers.
“After I spent the whole day driving the new Accord, I found myself missing the great features it has once I got back into my own car,” adds Kelly. “You get used to those features really fast.”
Citing "reverse sticker-shock" based on the vehicle's high-tech features compared to its affordable price, VehicleTests.com awarded the 2013 Honda Accord a 5-Star rating.
One of the features to which Kelly refers is the new Honda LaneWatch blind-spot display, which enhances visibility of the passenger-side roadway thanks to a camera that displays what is in your blind spot on the i-MID screen. The Lane Departure Warning system uses cameras to make sure the vehicle is aligned within the lines on the roadway and alerts the driver if he or she is drifting. There is also Forward Collision Warning, which alerts the driver if he or she is closing in too fast on the car ahead.
This new technology, coupled with the 2013 Accord’s standard safety features, also contributed to its 5-Star rating from VehicleTests.com. The vehicle comes with 4-wheel anti-lock braking system, a total of 6 airbags, including front and rear head airbags and dual front side-mounted airbags. In addition, the Accord has emergency braking assist, electronic brake force distribution, both a driver and passenger head restraint whiplash protection system, stability and traction control and tire pressure monitoring. Additionally, the Bluetooth HandsFreeLink phone interface and SMS text messaging function allows for hands-free phone usage, which means less distracted driving.
Go faster for less
The 2013 Accord comes in eight different trim levels, from the standard LX to the EXL, including the all-new Sport and top-of-the-line Touring models. Engine options include the 2.4L four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and the six-cylinder with 278 horsepower, which is more horsepower than the Lexus ES, BMW 328i or Mercedes Benz C Class. However, more power doesn’t mean less fuel economy. Due to its new Earth Dreams technology, the 2013 Accord offers better gas mileage than previous Accords that had less horsepower.
While the all-new Accord has a lot more horsepower, the cabin was extremely quiet during the road test. “Normal conversation volume measures in at 65 decibels,” says Kelly. “The new Accord measures in at an exceptional 56 decibels. It was amazing to see the amount of soundproofing that Honda put into the vehicle.” Under the hood of the 2013 Accord, you’ll find a thick soundproofing mat, which helps keeps most engine noise away from the cabin. However, Kelly says that the Accord also features additional rubber gaskets around the edges, which provides even more soundproofing.
As part of its road-test, VehicleTests.com drove the vehicle for 50 miles on the highway at 60 miles per hour with cruise-control, in order to test the fuel economy — listed at 35 miles per gallon. Kelly and his team found that the Accord they tested actually exceeded the listed miles per gallon by a good amount. However, he could not disclose the actual figures for legal reasons.
The American-made Honda Accord has been 1 of the best selling cars in history, which is 1 of the reasons why it has boasted the highest resell value of any car in its class and has won many resell value awards from Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com. In fact, New York Honda dealers are already celebrating its sales success - it is selling faster than any Honda in history.
Based on early reception, this vehicle is receiving — including the high rating from VehicleTests.com — it looks like Honda’s problem is not going to be market share because customers know a deal when they see one. With industry-leading standard features, a shockingly low MSRP and more technology and safety features than many more expensive luxury vehicles, Honda may have a challenge keeping up with the demand in the market place.
The totally new 2013 Honda Accord has just now started trickling into dealerships across the country, but here at SEMA, we're already getting our 1st look at what the future has in store for Honda's midsize offering. Arriving in Honda showrooms next spring is this limited-edition HFP performance edition of the 2013 Accord Coupe, and although no power upgrades are on tap, there's some extra kit that will indeed make things more interesting out on the road.
Honda's HFP upgrades start with visual add-ons like 19-inch alloy wheels and a rear decklid spoiler, and further changes are found underneath that sheetmetal with the addition of a unique sport suspension that lowers the car by 15 millimeters and enhances overall handling. Of course, no sporty Accord would be complete without the necessary body enhancements to the front fascia, side sills and rear bumper, and don't worry, there will be plenty of HFP badges on both the exterior and interior.
Speaking of interior, the Accord HFP will have red illumination found throughout the cabin as well as – wait for it – specially branded floor mats.
A Honda spokesperson confirmed to Autoblog that the HFP package will be available with both the 4- and 6-cylinder engine. We've already had a chance to drive a 2-door Accord with the V6 engine, and it's seriously good. The HFP add-ons should make this a truly sweet package.
Only 500 of the Accord Coupe HFP models will be produced, and the whole package will be offered as a $4,650 option package, not including the cost of installation. Scroll down for the full details in Honda's press release.
American Honda Highlights Performance and Personalization at 2012 SEMA Show
2013 Honda Accord HFP makes world debut; Acura brand returns to SEMA Show with 2013 ILX; HPD displays championship race cars
10/30/2012 - LAS VEGAS
The Honda Factory Performance® (HFP®) package for the 2013 Accord Coupe makes its world debut today as part of the American Honda display at the 2012 SEMA Show. The all-new 2013 Accord Coupe and Sedan set a new standard for midsize car styling, efficiency and performance, and 3 modified Accords on display further highlight the personalized appearance and performance potential of the model.
Adjacent to the Honda display, Acura returns to the SEMA Show after a 6-year absence on the strength of the all-new 2013 ILX luxury compact sedan, displaying 2 modified ILX vehicles and the striking Acura Supercar Concept vehicle featured in the blockbuster movie "The Avengers."
Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD) merits its own section of the display with championship vehicles including a replica of Dario Franchitti's 2012 Indianapolis 500-winning Indy car, the Muscle Milk® Racing 2012 American Le Mans Series P1 champion car and a B-spec Honda Fit race car that recently won its class at the 2012 SCCA Runoffs.
"Honda, Acura and HPD are on a roll this year, and the SEMA Show gives us a great opportunity to show off a bit," said Mike Accavitti, vice president of National Marketing Operations for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "With the new Honda Accord clearly excelling in all areas, the ILX opening new doors for Acura, and HPD building championship race cars left and right, it's clear that the magic is back."
The limited-edition HFP package for the 2013 Accord Coupe is set to go on sale in the spring of 2013 and includes: 19-inch HFP alloy wheels; decklid spoiler; HFP sport suspension (lowers height by 15mm and enhances handling); HFP front, side and rear underbody spoilers; red interior illumination; HFP floor mats and HFP badges for each side and the trunk. The HFP package, like all Honda Genuine Accessories, carries a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty when installed at the time of new vehicle purchase, and is engineered to be fully compatible with the vehicle. Enhancing its exclusive appeal, only 500 examples of this limited-edition HFP package will be sold for the 2013 Accord. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the package, not including installation, will be $4,650.
Also on display, a 2013 Accord Sedan featuring the X-Package and additional available Honda Genuine Accessories is designed to turn heads and accentuate the sedan's aerodynamic styling. The X-Package for the Accord Sedan is currently available for purchase nationwide at Honda dealers. The package includes front, side and rear underbody spoilers; a sport grille and a rear-wing spoiler with a MSRP of $2,171, excluding installation.
Reaching out to the enthusiast community, Honda invited 2 independent vehicle tuners to build and display their Accord concepts at the SEMA Show. Tuners were asked to push the limits of performance and style with their builds, and the vehicles on display demonstrate the personalized potential of the Accord Coupe and Sedan. After previously building amazing versions of the 2011 CR-Z and the 2012 Civic Si, Bisimoto Engineering returns with a 401 hp version of the Accord V6 Coupe in "Grand Touring" style. With 3 prior Honda project builds under their belts, including a 2007 Element, a 2009 Pilot and a 2011 CR-Z, DSO Eyewear / MAD Industries shows off their all-new Accord Sedan with upscale customization inside and out.
The HPD Supercharged CR-Z Concept rounds out the Honda section of the display with a further exploration of the performance potential of the CR-Z Sport Hybrid. Expanding on the CR-Z supercharged engine displayed at the 2011 SEMA Show, HPD made enhancements to improve acceleration, handling and stopping by adding a sport exhaust, developing a sport suspension, designing wheels with high performance tires and adding sport brakes.
The all-new 2013 Acura ILX luxury compact sedan offers a great chassis, dynamic engine choices, and sophisticated styling, perfect for the car enthusiast seeking compact fun and performance, with luxury and technology matching much larger vehicles. Honda R&D's Team Honda Research-West chose to highlight the performance potential of the car by building the 2013 Acura ILX Endurance Racer, on display, which will compete in NASA's grueling 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race later this year. Additionally on display, Evasive Motorsports created the 2013 Acura ILX Street Build project car, featuring an Acura Genuine Accessories aero kit and aftermarket supercharger among many modifications designed to provide a fun, daily drivable car that is tastefully done.
Vehicles on Display at the American Honda Booth
2013 Accord Coupe HFP®
2013 Accord Sedan – with Honda Genuine Accessory X-Package
HPD Supercharged CR-Z Concept
HPD CR-Z engine concept with supercharger (engine only)
Bisimoto 2013 Honda Accord Coupe "Grand Touring"*
2013 Honda Accord Sedan by DSO Eyewear/MAD Industries*
Team Honda Research-West (THR-W) 2013 Acura ILX Endurance Racer
Evasive Motorsports 2013 Acura ILX Street Build*
Acura Supercar Concept movie vehicle featured in "The Avengers"
Honda Performance Development, Inc. Display
Honda Powered DW12 Indianapolis 500 Winning Indy car Replica
HPD ARX-03a ALMS P1 Championship Race Car
HPD B-Spec Fit Race Car
After 37 years in production, the Honda Accord is unquestionably 1 of the most recognizable and popular vehicles on the road today. So how does an automaker improve on such a proven winner without mucking up a tried-and-true formula for success?
Honda's answer: nothing out of the ordinary.
While it might not look like it, Honda has completely revamped this midsize category heavyweight for the 2013 model year. Seriously, every inch of the car has been reworked. The new Accord has a sharper look that combines more interior space and some much-needed aesthetic tweaks.
However, did Honda do enough to maintain the Accord's top-dog status in a marketplace flooded with more competition than the Japanese automaker has seen in years? Or, are the changes too subtle for anyone or notice or care?
The layout of the Accord lineup doesn't really change for the new generation. The existing trim designations will carry over, and the vehicle will continue to be offered in both sedan and coupe form. Both variants will be available with either a 4-cylinder engine or a V6, with additional hybrid options to follow.
The new body design is both unmistakably recognizable as an Accord and entirely new at the same time. Overall length, as well as wheelbase, is slightly shorter than the 2012 version, while interior space has actually increased. A focus on materials has also resulted in greater rigidity and lower vehicle weight across the model lineup.
The new Accord sedan lineup starts with the LX as the entry-level trim. Next comes a new trim for 2013, the Sport, which primarily just adds a few aerodynamic and faux-performance bits. Adding a roster of equipment to the LX are the EX and EX-L versions, the latter of which is available with the V6 engine. Topping the range is the new-for-2013 Touring trim, which includes features such as LED headlights and adaptive cruise control. The Accord Coupe trims basically follow the same scheme, although without the Sport and Touring variants.
A plug-in hybrid variant, the Accord PHEV, will arrive in early 2013 as a 2014 model, and will be based on the Touring trim in terms of equipment. It will then be followed by a traditional (non-plug-in) hybrid.
Under the hood
The engines powering the latest Accord models have received modest bumps in power and efficiency, as well as some noteworthy new technology. Obviously, they both continue to feature all of Honda's expected technologies, including the ubiquitous i-VTEC system controlling the engines' four valves per cylinder.
The standard 4-cylinder engine remains 2.4 liters in displacement, but gains a significant feature — direct injection. Thanks to this, as well as numerous other tweaks, the new unit now produces 185 horsepower (up 8 horsepower from last year) and 181 lb-ft of torque (up 20 lb-ft). Despite the increase in power, the new engine sips less fuel than its predecessor, rated at 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway.
For the V6, changes are less noteworthy, but welcome nonetheless. Despite lacking direct injection like the 4-cylinder, the 3.5-liter V6 engine receives a modest boost of seven horsepower to a new total of 278, although in return, torque drops by a hair, to 252 lb-ft.
The cylinder-deactivation system remains in place, but it has been redesigned to no longer need the middle 4-cylinder stage, now simply switching between 3 and 6 cylinders. The V6 engine continues to be offered with a 6-speed manual transmission, and its automatic option has been updated to a new 6-speed unit as well.
The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant will feature a powertrain consisting of a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a 124-kilowatt electric motor, producing a combined output of 196 horsepower. Featuring several different drive modes, the PHEV will be able to run all-electric for 10 to 15 miles and achieve a total tank range of over 500 miles, as well as an expected 100 MPGe fuel-economy rating.
The rear of the new Accord sedan is certainly attractive enough, but in our opinion it looks more than a little like a Hyundai Genesis.
Interior build quality, fit and finish have for years been strong suits with Honda, and the newest Accord is no exception. Opinion of the design itself, however, can be a bit subjective, and we're disappointed to see the continued presence of Honda's now-trademark "proboscis" of a primary control dial jutting out from the dash. Luckily, that's about our only grievance with the interior; however, if we're asked to pick nits, the navigation software feels dated and could stand for a refreshing.
In terms of equipment and gadgets, the new Accord is chock-full of features. All Accords will come standard with an 8-inch screen to display and control various car functions (audio, climate, etc.). All the usual modern features are present and standard, such as Bluetooth, USB audio and even a rearview camera. There's also an available display system designed to assist with blind-spot detection, as well as forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems. All Accords have the ability to work with your phone's SMS texting system, reading incoming texts aloud and replying with one of 6 default responses. (Worth noting: Apple's iPhone doesn't appear to support this system at this time.)
Also introduced on the 2013 Accord is the new HondaLink technology, a system that uses your smartphone to connect the Accord to various entertainment, safety and information programs and apps.
On the road
We recently sampled some of the new Accord offerings and came away mostly impressed. But it's no sports car, and given Honda's history of engineering impeccably crisp, lively manners into even the lowliest of its automobiles, that can be a bit of a bitter pill to swallow.
Gone for 2013 is the sporty double-wishbone front suspension design, now replaced with a more typical MacPherson strut layout. Honda says this improves comfort, and we figure it most likely costs less, too. Considering that the Accord's steering has gone the electric route, the change in suspension design doesn't result in an overly dramatic change in steering feel. The new electric power-steering system does effectively remove steering-wheel "slop," but it doesn't help improve steering feel itself, which is nearly nonexistent. The steering ratio, however, is intuitive and makes for easy, correction-free cornering. The suspension's damping is quite well sorted, and the Accord handles itself well. So that's the downside, basically. Honda is continuing to slide away from its once-brilliant handling feel.
On the plus side, the new Accord has a lot going for it behind the wheel. The brakes are wonderful — strong and full of feel. The V6 engine, while not the most powerful on the market, feels potent enough and delivers a fantastic, healthy engine tone. Amazingly, even the 4-cylinder's continuously variable transmission is quite good - something we're surprised we'd ever write. Still, we're sworn to always prefer a traditional stick shift, and have to give kudos to Honda here for keeping it real and continuing to offer a manual-transmission Accord. Particularly when paired with the 4-cylinder engine, the new 6-speed unit is a delight.
It's worth mentioning that visibility is great out of all windows, something that, along with the wonderful blind-spot camera system (yes, it sounds gimmicky, but trust us, it's excellent), helps to make for a very reassuring drive.
Right for you?
The Accord is still a great family car, and truly has no noteworthy faults. The problem is, enthusiast loyalty to Honda has been slowly waning for years now, and competition has never been stiffer. The new Nissan Altima has arrived, and the next Mazda6 is right around the corner. Many car lovers may feel that Honda just hasn't done enough to capture their attention.
Still, the Accord won't lose its stride any time soon. If you're shopping for a great all-around midsize car, then you're already familiar with the reputation of the Accord and we can safely say it'll fit the bill as well as it always has. While we mentioned that the handling feel isn't representative of what Honda once was, the average Accord buyer won't care one bit.
Pricing starts at $21,680 for the LX ($23,350 for the Coupe) and topping out at $33,430 for the Touring trim.
When it comes to automobiles, the only thing that's certain is that nobody stays on top forever. The Ford Taurus was the king of the 80s, but sales and what Ford considered "brand fatigue" put the mighty model on hold for several years. Toyota was unstoppable up until the point when many of their cars failed to stop, causing recall turmoils that the company is still fighting today. The Mustang was amazing in the 60s, fell for the gas trap changes in the late 70s, returned to muscle in a compact form in the 80s, went weird in the 90s, and finally turned itself back towards its roots in the modern versions.
The Honda Accord seems to be the only model that refuses to fail. For 3 decades, Honda has held consistently high sales, ratings, and standards for the vehicle. It's the epitome of steady, yet is able to maintain a spot at the top of the family sedan segment.
Businesses can learn a lot about longevity from the way the Accord has operated as a product over the years. Here are 5 things to keep in mind with just about any product you're launching or considering changing:
Spread Changes Out Over Time
From any given year to the next, the changes that are made to the next model of the Honda Accord are often subtle. Some would call it - "if it ain't broke..." mentality. Still, the automotive industry is one that is constantly changing, so improvements must always be flowing.
Honda has been masterful at letting the changes and improvement roll out at a steady pace. Even body style changes from generation to generation are rarely dramatic with a couple of exceptions. They don't shake people up the way that Ford did when they unveiled "the egg" variation of the Taurus.
Follow the Trends Cautiously
Honda doesn't jump on the latest and greatest fad. They meticulously research it and have never adopted an attitude of "done is better than perfect". On the contrary, they would rather perfect a new technology or confirm that a trend will stick before releasing it. Some have viewed this as a weakness such as when they fell behind on rolling out a hybrid, but now that it's available it's as popular as any of its competitors.
Time the Major Changes Properly
In 30 years they've had nine generations of Accords. That's approximately once every 4th year. People like change, but they don't like to be overwhelmed by it. Every generation since the 1st has been successful, but they don't wait around for people to get tired of a body style before rolling out the next.
Think of it like Goldilocks. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right.
Market with Class
You will never find a loud add for the Accord. They have built a reputation for smart style and even smarter function and their marketing has never been designed to shock or attack. They might throw out the occasional statistic that highlights their product over others. They might push out information about the awards they won. They never go for the short term gains that many of their competitors see through obnoxious advertising or marketing.
They know their buyers. People who buy a Honda Accord rarely do so because it's the best looking or fastest vehicle in its class. They do so because they've built a reputation for quality. You should never say never, but it's hard to imagine a Honda Accord that gets poor quality ratings. They top out on reliability, safety, and overall feel.
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Let's take a look back at the 1st 3 decades of the Honda Accord. This infographic which comes to us via a San Jose Honda Dealer breaks down the history of this proud model of cars.
Consumer Reports and Honda seem to have patched things up thanks to the 2013 Accord. The publication says the 4-cylinder sedan now sits at the top of its class after testing, beating out the Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry, while the V6 Accord is giving the Camry and Camry Hybrid serious competition in CR ratings. The Accord managed to improve its position thanks to its fuel economy, smooth CVT and driving characteristics, though testers also said the Accord boasts "1 of the best driving positions available in its class."
That's not to say there weren't a few sore spots. Consumer Reports found the sedan's optional Lane Watch system to be gimmicky given the tech doesn't cover the driver's side blind spot. While the full test results are currently available on the CR web site, the report will also show up in the February issue of the magazine. Expect to see it hit news stand on December 27. Until then, you can check out the full press release below.
CONSUMER REPORTS TESTS FIND REDESIGNED HONDA ACCORD RETURNS TO THE FRONT OF THE PACK
Impressive Accord Redesign Alters Mid-sized Sedan Landscape
YONKERS, NY - With a roomy interior, frugal fuel economy, a fun-to-drive character, and an attractive combination of features and price, the Honda Accord has given Consumer Reports testers convincing evidence that Honda may be back on track.
The new 4-cylinder Accord now tops its class, edging out the Hyundai Sonata and Camry, while the V6 model is challenging the Camry Hybrid and V6 Camry for the top spot in Consumer Reports ratings.
"Honda missed the mark with other redesigned models in recent years, but it nailed this 1," said Jake Fisher, director, Consumer Reports Auto Test Center.
Consumer Reports tests found the new Accord to be a very fuel efficient and well-rounded sedan. Its 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, matched with a smoothly operating continuously variable transmission, squeezes out an excellent 30 mpg overall and 40 mpg on the highway. The 3.5-liter V6 is super smooth and quite powerful, snapping off a 6.3-second 0-to-60 mph time that beats some sports cars. And its 26 mpg overall is better than many 4-cylinders.
Inside the cabin, the Accord offers 1 of the best driving positions available in its class, with excellent visibility and comfortable seats. Upper-level versions have Honda's LaneWatch system which uses a camera to display what lurks in the car's passenger side blind zone. CR found this gimmicky and distracting, especially since there is no warning for cars on the driver's side.
The full report and road test results are available at ConsumerReports.org on December 18th and in the February issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands December 27. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Check out CR's ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars.
While Consumer Reports previously tested the revamped Chevrolet Malibu's mild-hybrid Eco version, this group included a conventionally powered Malibu with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. Consumer Reports engineers found it to have a plush ride, quiet cabin, and reasonable 26 mpg. With better handling and acceleration, this Malibu scored notably higher than the Malibu Eco. But its $26,030 sticker is high for the class and the rear seat is snug for a family sedan.
Subaru updated the 2013 Legacy, tweaking its suspension and giving it a new engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT). Consumer Reports found the Legacy to be spacious and nicely equipped, with good fuel economy given the standard all-wheel-drive. But while the handling of this new version is a little crisper, it comes at the expense of the previously cushy ride. The unrefined CVT accentuates engine noise, which also cost the car points in Consumer Reports testing. Overall, Consumer Reports found the new Legacy isn't notably better, only different.
The Accord and Legacy are Recommended by Consumer Reports; the Legacy has had above-average reliability and we expect the same for the Accord, based on its good track record. While the Malibu scored well, it's too new for Consumer Reports to have sufficient reliability data
The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Subaru XV Crosstrek SUVs were also recently tested by Consumer Reports. The stylish, midsized Santa Fe Sport was notably upgraded for 2013. Tests found it offers good fuel efficiency, a composed ride, a spacious cabin, and an impressive array of features for the money. But a few shortcomings, notably vague steering and limited visibility, keep it mid-pack in Consumer Reports' Ratings.
Consumer Reports found the Crosstrek, which is based on the Subaru Impreza hatchback, poses convincingly as a miniature SUV. Its raised ride height provides 8 inches of ground clearance, on par with "real" SUVs. While no rugged off-roader, it's more than a match for deeply rutted muddy roads. Fuel economy is impressive at 26 mpg overall, but acceleration with the CVT feels a little sluggish when it 1st gets underway. The engine sounds raucous when revving, which it has to do a lot. Road noise adds more racket.
The jacked-up ground clearance and stiffened suspension take a toll on agility and ride comfort. "Most buyers should stick with the higher-scoring Impreza Sport that costs $2,000 less," Fisher said.
Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.
The full report and road test results are available at ConsumerReports.org on December 18th and in the January issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands December 27th.
It’s all too easy to dismiss coupes based on family sedans as conformity dressed up as rebellion. Simply putting 2 doors where once there were 4 does not create a sporty car. Starting with 1 of the most athletic and most powerful family sedans and then turning it into a coupe? Well, that just might work.
The 10Best-winning 2013 Accord coupe feels a lot like its 4-door sibling. That’s not a bad thing. All Accords share the same delicate wheel control and supple yet balanced ride. It’s a nimble and playful car that more than makes good on the promise of its rakish styling. Where the coupe differs from the sedan is in its size; this is not a family-style meal. Its overall length is 2.2 inches shorter than the sedan and 2 inches have been clipped out of the wheelbase.
Carting around less car is a good start on the road to sportiness. The Accord V-6 coupe we tested weighed in at 3,399 pounds. The manual gearbox isn’t available in the Accord V-6 sedan, but an automatic version we tested recently tipped the scales at 3,552 pounds.
What really makes the Accord feel light is the 278-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. Careful chassis tuning keeps the coupe on an even keel, but the powerful V-6 under the hood dominates the experience. Driven normally, excessive wheelspin and torque steer are kept in line. Revving the engine and dumping the clutch, however, will result in tire smoke and some steering-wheel tug. A hard launch will bring a 0–60 time of 5.6 seconds; a quarter-mile time of 14.0 seconds at 103 mph is possible. Foregoing the brutal launch, as we do with our 5–60-mph rolling start, only adds 0.4 second to the 60-mph sprint.
Manual fans will delight in the mechanical feel of the Accord’s shifter. Quick shifts and nicely placed pedals make the stick a purist’s delight. Buyers who prefer an automatic get a new 6-speed and better fuel economy than the manual version (21/32 versus 18/28). We’d gladly live with the fuel-economy penalty to enjoy the involvement and precision of the manual transmission.
As you’d expect, rear-seat space is not a priority here. The new coupe has actually lost a few cubic feet of rear-seat space to its predecessor. The front seats are just as comfortable as the sedan’s, though, especially when the V-6 is pressing you firmly into them. Rearward visibility is more restricted than on the sedan, a victim of styling, but our loaded V-6 model came with Honda’s new blind-spot camera that displays the right-side blind spot on the dashboard screen.
At the end of its life, the sedan outsold the previous Accord coupe by a factor of 10 to 1. And yet, Honda continues to offer the Accord coupe. It’s not a rational decision, but neither is the 278-hp V-6. We’re certainly glad that both the coupe and the optional V-6 exist. Sporty, mid-size coupes are getting harder and harder to find. Nissan’s pared back its Altima coupe offerings to just 1 4-cylinder with an efficiency-over-fun CVT. Hyundai offers the sporty-looking rear-drive Genesis coupe in both 4-cylinder turbo and V-6 form, but that car lacks Honda levels of refinement. There are several 6-pot mid-size coupes available from luxury brands—the Cadillac CTS, BMW 128i, Infiniti G37, and Mercedes C250 among them—but they routinely cost many thousands more.
So if you’re looking for a popularly priced mid-size coupe with 6-cylinder power, Honda levels of refinement and, rarer still, a slick-shifting manual gearbox, your shopping list is as short as it possibly can be.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 2-door coupe
PRICE AS TESTED: $33,140 (base price: $31,140)
ENGINE TYPE: SOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 212 cu in, 3471 cc
Power: 278 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 252 lb-ft @ 4900 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 107.3 in
Length: 189.2 in
Width: 72.8 in Height: 56.5 in
Curb weight: 3399 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 5.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.4 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 20.0 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.0 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 8.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 8.1 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.0 sec @ 103 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 132 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 186 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.85 g
The California Air Resources Board has approved Honda’s 1st plug-in hybrid as the 1st car that meets the state’s newest and most stringent smog-emission standard.
The 2014 Honda Plug-In Hybrid Accord is the 1st gasoline-powered car to meet California’s SULEV20 standard, the toughest in the nation and 1/3 cleaner than the previous lowest state standard.
This Honda model has lower greenhouse gas emissions than the fleet average standard required by all cars in 2025, the equivalent of a 50% reduction from current required levels.
“Honda has demonstrated that a dedicated commitment to the environment and advanced engineering at every level of the company can deliver the cleanest cars well ahead of schedule,” said Tom Cackette, the Board’s deputy executive officer and head of its mobile source program.
The Air Resources Board Executive Order allowing Honda to sell the newly certified ultra-clean cars in California was signed on December 21, following a detailed examination of emissions and performance test results. Honda began production of the car the same day.
The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid will be on sale in California and New York on January 15, 2013.
The 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid is powered by Honda’s 1st 2-motor hybrid system, and uses a new Earth Dreams 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine producing 137 horsepower, teamed with a 124-kilowatt electric motor. Electric driving is supported by a 6.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery.
The full-size sedan model achieves 124 MPGe city / 105 MPGe highway in hybrid mode, and 47 miles per gallon city / 46 miles per gallon highway in gas only mode.
In its default upon start-up, the Accord PHEV acts as a pure electric vehicle and will continue in full-electric mode until battery capacity requires the automatic switch to gas/electric hybrid operation. At higher speeds or under high demand for acceleration, the gasoline engine kicks in to provide additional power.
The 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid can run in all-electric mode for 10 to 15 miles and has a calculated total driving range over 500 miles. Honda qualifies these estimates, saying, “Your actual mileage and range will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.”
When the car’s low battery charge indicator comes on, drivers can plug into a 120-volt outlet and be fully charged in 3 hours. With a 240-volt outlet, a charge takes less than 1 hour, the company says.
The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In comes with safety features such as Honda LaneWatch™, forward collision warning and lane departure warning.
The low emissions standards that this Honda model meets are part of the state’s Advanced Clean Cars package of regulations, adopted in January 2012, that are intended to ensure increasingly cleaner cars for sale in the state, and provide for increased choices of zero-emission vehicles.
When fully in force in 2025, the new set of standards will reduce smog-causing pollutants from low-emission vehicles 75% from current levels, and greenhouse gases by 34%.
The new requirements will save California drivers $5 billion in operating costs in 2025, and $10 billion by2030 when more advanced cars are on the road
“Once again, Honda is the 1st to comply with ARB’s most stringent standard,” said Cackette.
Honda has a history of being the 1st manufacturer to comply with California’s strict emission standards.
In 1995, the 1996 Honda Civic was the 1st certified Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) gasoline vehicle.
In 1997, the 1998 Accord was the 1st ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) gasoline vehicle.
The following year, in 1999, the 2000 Accord was the 1st certified Super Ultra-low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) gasoline vehicle.
In 2001, the 2001 Civic GX, powered by compressed natural gas, was the 1st certified Advanced Technology Partial 0-Emission Vehicle (AT PZEV).
In 2002, the 2003 Civic Hybrid was the 1st certified Advanced Technology Partial 0-Emission Vehicle (AT PZEV) hybrid vehicle.
The 2013 Honda Accord is still ticking like cars do when they’ve been driven hard. The smell of singed brake pads wafts from the wheel wells. “What engine is in that?” asks a guy pulling up in a Nissan 370Z Roadster. “It’s a 6-cylinder, right?”
“It’s a 4-cylinder,” I say.
“No, it can’t be. Has to be a 6-cylinder,” he says.
We’ve both just taken a lap—me in the Honda, him right behind in the Nissan. I got the impression from our exchange that he expected to catch me on the track, despite my head start.
And why wouldn’t he? A low-slung sports car with a potent V6 should have no problem overtaking a heavier family sedan with half the power.
I’m familiar with this particular track and was driving all out. Still, a 4-cylinder Honda Accord leaving a sports car in the dust does say something: Despite being grossly out of its element on a racetrack—as shown by how much the car leaned when changing directions—this midsize sedan is so well engineered that it maintains poise even when being flung about.
More importantly to car buyers, all of the engineering upgrades that make the new Accord perform better than expected on a racetrack also give it a quieter, smoother and more responsive ride in everyday driving.
The outgoing Honda Accord is no slouch when it comes to driving dynamics. But its ride is a little busy, perhaps even too firm for some.
The 2013 model is so much improved that it’s in another league entirely. “For the new Accord, we went back to 0 and started from the beginning with everything,” says Shoji Matsui, chief engineer for the Accord.
A little over half of the steel used in the new Accord’s underlying body is high tensile, which makes the car markedly more rigid while cutting 57 pounds. The difference can be felt in the car’s agility. It reacts instantaneously to steering input, even with just a twitch of the wheel.
The suspension is also suppler than the previous model’s, thanks to new rebound springs and other tweaks. A bumpy road could make the previous Accord feel jittery and unsettled, but the new model absorbs all kinds of jostling much better. And less road noise makes its way into the cabin.
Redesigned front suspension and steering systems are lighter and more compact. Even small weight savings like these help the car feel more balanced and less nose heavy. All of the changes combine to make the 2013 Honda Accord feel fleet, yet stable and safe.
If you want to nitpick, the new electric power steering can feel a bit too light and lacks the tactile feedback of the previous model’s hydraulic system. But most drivers probably won’t care.
Excellent outward visibility only enhances the sense of safety. Many car manufacturers continue to favor style over practicality by designing flashy cars with small windows, higher belt lines and thicker roof pillars (read more about such design disasters here). Kudos to Honda engineers for keeping the windows tall, belt line relatively low and front roof pillars as thin as possible. Every new Honda Accord also gets larger side mirrors and a rearview camera to further aid visibility.
Besides those upgrades, there is an innovative new LaneWatch system that incorporates a camera into the bottom of the passenger-side mirror. Flick the right turn signal and an image of what’s in the blind spot appears on the eight-inch color screen in the middle of the dashboard.
Many of the latest safety systems in cars are intrusive and clunky, but Honda’s LaneWatch works extremely well. Part of that is because the large screen is set high in the dashboard at about the same distance as the rear view mirrors, so it’s easy to see at a glance. The feature is only offered on the Accord’s top 3 trim levels, EX, EX-L and Touring.
The styling of the new Accord has grown on me. It definitely looks better than the previous model, thanks largely to the redesigned front end that has been trimmed down to achieve a more athletic look and to give the driver a better view of the road ahead.
The clean, simple styling and slim headlights—which use LEDs on the top Touring model, a feature typically found only on luxury cars—recall Accords from the 1980s and ‘90s. Compared to more extroverted designs like those of the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, the new Accord might seem bland. But this is a family sedan, not a sports car, and its handsome, restrained appearance will continue to look good long after other designs become outdated.
The overall proportions and rear of the 2013 Honda Accord are so similar to those of the outgoing model that it can be hard to tell them apart, even when they’re right next to each other. Some might criticize Honda’s reluctance to make bold changes in design, but it’s just the way the company operates. Drastic changes come only once every decade or so.
New Engines, Better Fuel Economy
What lies beneath the new Accord’s conservative body is quite different from before. The base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is all new. It makes 185 horsepower and 181 foot-pounds of torque—up 4% and 12%, respectively. Yet the engine is 11% more fuel efficient when paired with a new continuously variable transmission.
As expected from Honda, the 4-cylinder engine feels responsive and refined. It sounds good too, unlike 4-cylinders from other automakers, which can sound course or anemic.
A 6-speed manual transmission is standard—great for driving enthusiasts—but most will opt for the continuously variable transmission, which replaces last year’s 5-speed automatic and does a lot to improve fuel efficiency. Honda worked hard to make the transmission responsive and eliminate the lag in power delivery that plagues these types of transmissions. It seems to have succeeded.
Dip into the throttle and the engine winds up quickly for brisk acceleration, thanks to the fast-acting transmission. It feels more responsive than the CVT in the similarly equipped 2013 Nissan Altima (read a review of the Altima here).
The Accord gets a new Sport model for 2013. It comes with a slightly more powerful engine that gains 4 horsepower from a less restrictive exhaust system. The Sport model also adds paddle shifters on the steering wheel that can simulate shifting gears—left for downshifts, right for upshifts.
The 4-cylinder Accord sedan gets an estimated 28 to 30 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, depending on the transmission chosen and whether you opt for the Sport model.
Buyers who want more performance can choose a 3.5-liter V6. This engine was significantly redesigned to be more powerful and efficient. Like before, it can shut down half of its cylinders when full power is not needed, but it is designed to run in this mode more often. There is no doubt that the new V6 will transform this family hauler into a speed demon. It comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission and gets an estimated 25 miles per gallon overall.
Interior Has Some Disappointments
Inside, the 2013 Honda Accord doesn’t look impressive, but it is comfortable and quiet. The design and quality of materials are only so-so, which is disappointing for a Honda.
The biggest downside is the baffling layout for the controls. The center console looks like a layer cake, with a large screen sitting atop several rows of buttons and knobs. Depending on the trim, a smaller touch-screen for audio functions joins the array, which only adds to the cacophony.
The climate-control buttons for setting temperature and fan speed aren’t as easy to use as conventional knobs seen on other cars, including older Accords.
Adding navigation brings yet another layer of complication. A large knob at the bottom of the center stack carries over from the previous Accord and controls menus for the navigation and other systems displayed on the 8-inch screen above.
Matsui says the intent of the new layout was to simplify things after customers complained about being confused by the excessive amount of buttons on the previous Accord. There are indeed fewer buttons around the main control knob for the nav system, but the overall layout does not feel like much of an improvement, despite being more organized than before.
Fortunately, other aspects of the interior are far more positive. The front seats are comfortable, and the speedometer and other gauges behind the steering wheel are stylish and clearly legible. The Accord has always gotten the fundamentals right, and that’s what has made it such a pleasure to drive year after year.
The trunk and rear seat are a little bigger than before. But the rear seat back isn’t split like it was on the outgoing Accord and can only be folded forward in 1 piece to expand cargo capacity. This makes the rear seat more comfortable, something Honda says midsize sedan buyers value more than a split-folding seat back.
The 2013 Accord’s interior stays very quiet, even on the highway, thanks to better aerodynamics, lots of insulation everywhere, a 1-piece dashboard design that cuts noise from the engine compartment, and a noise-cancellation system that neutralizes grating sound frequencies.
How it Stacks Up
Whether the new Honda Accord is better than the competition is hard to say. Midsize sedans have gotten so good across the board that none really has an overt advantage over the others. There are plenty of solid contenders—including the new Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima—with more on the way, such as the new Mazda 6. They all look, perform and cost about the same, so the choice often comes down to styling and brand preference.
Regardless, the 2013 Honda Accord is unquestionably better than the model it replaces, despite having a complicated and unattractive dashboard. When it comes to the most important stuff—engines, transmissions, fuel economy, driving dynamics, comfort, amenities, exterior styling—the new Accord is impressive. And it remains a good value, with a starting price of $21,680.
Compared with the outgoing Accord, the price of the LX and EX trims for the 2013 model only goes up by $200, after gaining $1,800 to $3,430 in added features, depending on the options chosen. The Accord is also sure to remain 1 of the most reliable cars on the planet.
The 2013 Honda Accord feels like an old friend, familiar in the way it quietly and competently inspires confidence, whether carting the kids to school, hauling a trunk full of groceries or, unexpectedly, racing around a track fast enough to relegate a high-powered sports car to a small reflection in its rear view mirror.
When Honda overhauled the mainstay Accord for 2013, it kept a coupe in the lineup.
You might wonder why.
That question is instantly answered by the Accord coupe — at least the high-end, V-6 model with 6-speed manual that Test Drive flung about.
Seductive, taut, responsive, satisfying. And the leather upholstery feels supreme.
We strongly suspect that reaction to the 4-cylinder version that most people buy would be less enthusiastic. We've tested the 4 in the Accord sedan, which weighs about the same as the coupe, and don't imagine it would provide the blood-stirring, nerve-twitching experience the V-6 manual did.
So, no long windup: The Accord coupe with the V-6 and manual is terrific, a gem that makes you wonder why more cars from mainstream automakers can't be a bit more interesting. You needn't drive it hard to appreciate it. But if you do get frisky, you're struck by how competent it is.
Same V-6 that's in the sedan, but the sound it makes in the coupe has nothing to do with a family car, and the chassis is just enough stiffer that you really do look for tight corners and sweeping turns.
Steering is firm in the right way. It's a result of enough road feel coming through and resistance from tires wide enough to require some effort to turn. No, it's not some kind of boy- or girl-racer machine unfit for daily use. Much the opposite. It's a daily driver, yet the car's many lovely sensations haven't been scrubbed out in a wrong-headed attempt to "civilize" the vehicle.
But the coupe with 4-cylinder — you're probably buying that 1 for its good looks and decent handling, and the same front-seat expansiveness you get in the V-6. Not bad reasons, but a coupe imposes such aggravation on you that you should consider going all out and getting the yee-hah model.
The coupe's wheelbase is only about 2 inches shorter than the sedan's, yet the back-seat legroom shrinks 5 inches.
Unpopular and impractical
Coupes based on mainstream sedans are unpopular, generally, as well as impractical. Smaller and tighter inside — don't count on long friendships with people squeezed into the back seat — than the sedans on which they are based. Coupes are, by definition, 2-door cars, and that limits access, handy storage and rear-seat usefulness in general.
A hatchback would solve some of that. But a hatch isn't a real coupe. It's, well, a 2-door hatchback.
Coupes' appeal seems not to last. Young hipsters age, have kids, make lots of friends and otherwise find 4-door cars or SUVs more appropriate.
Toyota tried a coupe version of Camry, called Solara, that was sold from 1998 into 2009, but it averaged only a modest 8% of Camry sales over those years, the automaker says. Nissan continues selling a coupe version of Altima, but it's a modest 5% to 7% of sales, and Nissan hasn't invested in redesigning it to include the massive updates of the 2013 Altima sedan.
Honda, though, has managed to do well with the Accord coupe, and expects the new 1 to be about 14% of all Accord sales, or roughly 50,000 a year. It shares drivetrains, major mechanical components and an assembly line in Marysville, Ohio, with the Accord sedan. That keeps incremental costs low so profits are made on relatively low volumes.
Coupe buyers, more so than sedan fans, favor higher-power, higher-price, higher-profit models, so it can be worthwhile to a company's bottom line to have a coupe.
In Accord's case, Honda says, 35% of coupe buyers choose the V-6 ($31,140 and up because the V-6 is available only on the top 2 trim levels). Among Accord sedan buyers, 20% choose V-6s.
Even allowing for a coupe's impositions, there are quibbles:
The trunk doesn't pop open when you hit the remote. Barely rises; no handy handhold for the hands-full user. Compare that with how, say, GM does it: Hit the button and that trunk lid snaps fully open. Very convenient.
Controls on the navigation-equipped test car were neither intuitive nor easy to operate. As seminal rocker Chuck Berry sang years ago: "Too much monkey business."
If the back seat's not very important, though, Accord coupe with a V-6 and stick shift could become a very intimate friend.
2013 Honda Accord coupe details
What? Front-drive, 5-passenger, compact sports coupe, available with 4-cylinder or V-6 engine, manual or automatic transmission.
When? On sale since Oct. 8.
Where? Made at Marysville, Ohio.
How much? More standard features than sedan, costs a bit more. Base coupe, LX-S, starts at $24,140 including shipping. Top model, EX-L V-6 with navigation, is $33,140 with manual or automatic. Test car: EX-L V-6 manual.
What makes it go? Same engines as sedan. Standard: 2.4-liter 4-cylinder rated 185 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, 181 pounds-feet of torque at 3,900, available with 6-speed manual or automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission). Optional on high-end EX-L model: 3.5-liter V-6 rated 278 hp at 6,200, 252 lbs.-ft. at 4,900; available with 6-speed manual or automatic.
How big? Interior and trunk space each about 7% less than sedan's. Coupe is 189.2 inches long, 72.8 in. wide, 56.5 in. tall on a 107.3-in. wheelbase. Weighs 3,186 to 3,536 lbs. Passenger space, 93.1 cubic ft. Trunk, 13.4 cu. ft. Turning circle diameter curb-to-curb: 37.6 ft (four-cylinder), 39 ft. (V-6).
How thirsty? 4-cylinder rated 24 mpg in the city, 34 on the highway, 28 in city/highway mix with manual, 26/35/29 with CVT. V-6 rated 18/28/22 with manual, 21/32/25 with automatic.
Trip computer in test car (V-6, manual) registered 16 mpg (6.25 gallons per 100 miles) in exuberant suburban driving.
The 2013 Honda Accord's redesign has proven to be popular with car shoppers. In December 2012's sales numbers, the Accord easily made the top 10 with 29,428 cars sold, placing it a No. 6. The Accord sedan is the recent winner of our $26,000 Midsize Sedan Showdown, but what about the Accord coupe? Does this 2-door Accord accommodate child-safety seats as well as the sedan?
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The 3 child seats are installed in the 2nd row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the convertible seat in the 2nd row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if 3 car seats will fit. If there's a 3rd row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here's how the 2013 Accord coupe did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: The Accord coupe has 2 sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. Although they're buried an inch into the seat bight, the seat cushions move easily out of the way for access.
3 tether anchors are located on the rear shelf and have hinged plastic covers. The anchors are set close to the head restraints, which didn't leave much room for connecting the anchor to the tether. Admittedly, it's a minor complaint.
Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat was too wide for the coupe's sculpted backseat. The side bolster pushed the booster over slightly and onto the seat belt buckle. We had to manhandle it into position. The buckle is difficult to use because it's floppy and the anchor strap is short, so it sits low against the booster seat.
Convertible seat: The forward-facing convertible fit in the Accord coupe's backseat without any problems. The rear-facing convertible also fit well, but we struggled to install it. We had a difficult time accessing the inboard Latch anchor — partly because of our child-safety seat's design, but also because the middle seat's seat belt was in the way.
Infant-safety seat: We had to move the front passenger seat forward quite a bit for this rear-facing safety seat to fit behind it. This left the front passenger without enough legroom. This car seat's hooklike connectors made accessing the Latch anchors a breeze.
How many car seats fit in the 2nd row? 2
Editor's note: For 3 car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
Date: February 2013
Months in Fleet: 3 months
Current Mileage: 3,457 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 29 mpg
Average Range: 499 miles
Normal Wear: $0
We’d like to tell you that considerable thought went into the selection of our long-term Honda Accord, that it was only after several high-level meetings and a sophisticated analysis of all possible build combinations that we arrived at the decision to park this particular car in our fleet for a 40,000-mile test. But that would be overstating the case a bit. Honda actually has made it simple to unravel the Gordian knot of the new, 9th-gen Accord order sheet with the appropriately named “Sport” trim level, available only on the 4-cylinder sedan. As to why we’re bothering with the Accord in the 1st place, well, if you’re asking that question then you haven’t been paying attention, have you?
With the requisite 6-speed manual (a continuously variable transmission is optional on all 4-cylinder Accords), an Accord Sport comes in just 2 colors: black and dark gray. Honda calls the hues “Crystal Black Pearl” and “Modern Steel Metallic,” but we see them more as “New Concert T-Shirt” and “Concert T-Shirt You’ve Been Wearing Since College.” We chose the latter, obviously. Beyond that, we saw no need for back-up sensors on a car with a standard reverse camera, especially when the Accord offers such good visibility in all directions. The interior is black cloth, full stop, and that’s it, no more choices to make.
Gloriously free of dealer-installed accessories, our Accord Sport stickered for $24,180, a mere $1710 more than a base Accord LX. That extra cash covers a modest power boost, 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, a tasteful spoiler, and chromed dual-exhaust tips.
While all 4-cylinder Accords now have direct-injected, 2.4-liter engines underhood, the dual exhaust on the Sport bumps horsepower from 185 to 189 and torque from 181 lb-ft to 182. That’s 1 pony fewer than in last year’s Accord EX, but an additional 20 lb-ft of torque, a trade-off that helped our Sport scoot 0–60 mph nearly a second quicker than the last manual EX we tested. At 6.6 seconds, our 4-cylinder Accord is still about a second slower than the 278-hp V-6 models, but it’s time we’ll gladly leave on the table, as the V-6 sedan can’t be had with a manual transmission.
Snick-Snick Like Wolverine
It’s the 6-speed gearbox that has most excited us through the 1st few thousand miles. Wielding our Accord’s shifter is like landing repeated deathblows with a fly swatter. The manual makes every bit of the 2.4-liter’s power satisfyingly tractable. And even though we think the Accord’s optional continuously variable transmission is the best of its kind, it’s still a CVT and not as engaging to drive as the stick.
While occasionally we find ourselves overpowering the Accord’s front tires—a Honda 4 that produces decent torque is a new thing, after all—for the most part this is an easy car to drive. The steering is quick and direct, the clutch is light, and the suspension is firm enough to handle aggressive driving.
We can imagine our Accord Sport dodging cones on an autocross course just as well as navigating traffic in the Costco parking lot, and initial testing indicates we might have fun proving out that theory. The car produced 0.87 g of grip on our 300-foot skidpad and turned in a 175-foot stop from 70 mph. Top speed is governed at 126 mph, which is plenty fast, as once the you pass the legal highway limit, say, while turning a 15.2-second quarter-mile at 93 mph, the Accord no longer feels as steadfast as it did a few seconds earlier.
Keep It Simple
Inside, Sport trim upgrades include only a leather-wrapped wheel and a 10-way power driver’s seat, but all Accords come with automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and steering-wheel-mounted phone and audio-system controls. An eight-inch LCD infotainment screen is also standard, although in this trim its capabilities are somewhat limited, meaning you can scroll through your iPod’s music selection but there’s no navigation system and the only smartphone app included is Pandora. Also, the large screen displays a relatively small amount of information and does so in a small font.
Choosing a Sport also means forgoing LED daytime running lamps, adaptive cruise control, collision- and lane-departure warning, satellite radio, and Honda’s new LaneWatch system, which shows a view of the passenger-side blind spot on the LCD screen when the right turn signal is on. While all that equipment is nice to have, it can add more than $10,000 to the price and none of it really has much to do with driving.
As some of these higher-spec Accords have cycled through our testing fleet, we’ve discovered further reason to be satisfied with our inexpensive model. The logical layout of its instrument panel—with audio and infotainment controls grouped high on the dash, above the climate controls and just below the LCD screen—gets all mucked up in navigation-equipped models. These high-end Accords get a second, smaller, touch-screen LCD that replaces the top array of buttons and knobs with a different set added below the climate controls. This bifurcated configuration has made us appreciate the relative simplicity of our car. 1 thing common to all Accords, however, is a steering wheel that often seems to be obscuring a clear view of the speedometer, although this quirk is, of course, dependent upon driver and seat adjustment.
Also dependent on the driver: fuel economy. Inexplicably, we are averaging 29 mpg during our 1st 3000 miles in the car, 1 mpg more than the EPA combined average. We’ll chalk that up to the winter weather and the snow tires that were fitted to the car a few days after it arrived. We promise that we haven’t started driving like your mother, no more than this Accord was designed for her. Like it says on the trunk, this is the Sport model. Unlike many vehicles that advertise themselves thusly, our Accord shows every indication of delivering on the name.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED: $24,180 (base price: $24,180)
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 144 cu in, 2356 cc
Power: 189 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 182 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 109.3 in
Length: 191.4 in
Width: 72.8 in Height: 57.7 in
Curb weight: 3276 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 6.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 17.7 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 28.6 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.9 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 11.1 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 11.2 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.2 sec @ 93 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 126 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 175 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g
EPA city/highway driving: 24/34 mpg
C/D observed: 29 mpg
Unscheduled oil additions: 0 qt
3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper;
5 years/60,000 miles powertrain;
5 years/unlimited miles corrosion protection;
Believe it or not, some midsize sedan buyers view these 4- doors as exciting signs of hope, evidence that the fun isn’t over just because kids and jobs now consume 23 hours of the day. Despite their prevalence—at least that of the Accord and Camry, which sold more than 300,000 and 400,000 units in 2012, respectively—the 3 family sedans here are injected with a shot of sport aimed at enlivening the daily doldrums of commuting, errand running, and passenger hauling. If you can zip from light to light a little quicker or take the freeway on-ramp a bit more aggressively—anything to brighten your day—why not, right?
With that in mind, we gathered the all-new Mazda6 and Honda Accord Sport, as well as the best-selling veteran, the Toyota Camry SE, to see which 1 delivered the most effective spoonful of sport medicine. Each boasts a stout 4-cylinder, a seamless automatic, an athletic body kit, and a sport-tuned chassis, designed to collectively stimulate the senses and soothe the soul. We tried to get a Fusion SE, but Ford claimed it couldn’t source 1.
And the top-dog VW Passat? With the new EA888 turbo I-4 poised for 2014 duty and a dedicated sport trim still a distinct possibility (see the Passat Performance Concept from this year’s Detroit auto show), the Chattanooga champ was relegated to Round 2 and a face-off with this test’s winner. But let’s focus on Round 1…
Toyota Camry SE
The SE accounts for about 40% of Camry sales, which equates to around 160,000 units annually. That’s nearly 5 times as many 6s as Mazda sold last year. SE drivers are treated to the same 2.5-liter, 178-hp, 170-lb-ft I-4 that powers most Camrys not wearing V-6 or Hybrid badging, but the 6-speed automatic (the only tranny offered) comes with paddle shifters and an S mode that delivers quicker shifts and downshift throttle blips. Nice. The chassis receives firmer springs and dampers, stiffer lower front-control arms, strut tower and trunk-mounted braces, and 17-inch alloys wearing 215/55 rubber. Outside, there are SE-specific side skirts, mesh upper grille, black headlamp bezels, and rear spoiler. Inside, a 3-spoke steering wheel and thicker bolstered sport seats round out the package. Problem is, the aesthetic parts are more appealing than the finished product. Styling, inside and out, was deemed dated, with the slab-sided exterior and ’80s-esque interior drawing criticism. And this Camry is only two years old.
At the track, the SE put down the slowest acceleration numbers of the group, despite being the lightest car at 3207 pounds. 0 to 60 mph came in 8.1 seconds, with another 8.1 required to reach the quarter mile (16.2 at 87.0 mph). At 0.81 g, lateral acceleration, was acceptable, certainly in light of the modest rubber, and the figure-8 run of 27.6 at 0.61 g was back of the pack, but solid nonetheless. The 1 objective performance test in which the Camry didn’t play the caboose was 60-to-0 braking—it stopped 1 foot shorter than the Mazda.
Over our evaluation loop in Tehachapi, California, the Camry revealed more faults than strengths, notably a stiff ride, numb steering, and a confidence-detracting chassis. Says associate editor Rory Jurnecka, “From the 1st dip coming out of the parking lot, the Camry makes its stiff ride known. Unfortunately, it’s all for naught—a stiff ride alone does not a sporty car make. It’s amazing that the Mazda rides better on 19s.” Associate editor Scott Evans: “The body rolls much more than the other 2, and the suspension doesn’t handle the inertia well. Even a moderately quick steering input gets you thrown around in your seat. Steering is a little too slow to be fun on the back roads and has little feel in it whatsoever.”
On the plus side, the Toyota offers a big back seat, an attractive price tag, excellent visibility, and the best observed fuel economy during our 270-mile trip by 0.1 mpg. The Camry SE has a lot going for it, no doubt, but sporty, engaging, and fun aren’t 3 of its attributes.
Honda Accord Sport
Now, I could just tell you the Accord Sport is a furlong ahead of the Camry and a nose behind the Mazda, but what fun is that? With a 2.4-liter “Earth Dreams” I-4 (Take that, Mazda “Skyactiv”) and the group’s only CVT automatic, the Honda entered the arena as the most powerful (189 hp), but also the heaviest (3324 pounds), the widest (72.8 inches), and the most cavernous (103.6 cubic feet of passenger volume and 15.8 cubic feet of cargo volume). Inside and out, the Accord is a sizable sedan, though it’s still a smidge shorter in length and height than the Mazda and Toyota, respectively. That’s surprising, given that the Honda feels the biggest. But that’s only when it’s standing still.
Floor the throttle, and the CVT quickly pushes the revs into the VTEC sweet spot, propelling the Sport from 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds and through the quarter mile in 15.9 at 89.8 mph. Unlike the Camry, which always feels its size, the Accord shrinks when the rolling gets brisk, a sense that holds especially true on a winding road, where the Honda’s 0.87 g of lateral grip and 117-foot 60-0 stopping power give it the at-the-limit edge. Evans: “Body is well-controlled, with no abrupt movements. Good grip and good control on rebound; keeps the movements in check.” Further, the electric power steering, while a tad artificial compared with the Mazda’s, serves up a linear helm, and the CVT’s S mode and standard paddle shifters make optimum use of the 2.4’s lively corral. And with an EPA combined rating of 29 mpg, the Accord trails the tops-in-test ’6 by 1 mpg.
Nits? Navigation and satellite radio aren’t on the Sport model’s options list. In D mode, the CVT can feel lethargic under moderate throttle. Wind and tire noise still aren’t as hushed as we’d like, though this is easly the quietest Accord to date. And the cabin could be a little snazzier. “The seat material looks cheap, and the layout is bland,” says Jurnecka. More than that, the Honda trails the Mazda’s class-leading virtues—the ride, steering, and handling all fall subjectively short. That said, if space is a priority— and for many families, it’s number 1 —the Accord and its “limo back seat,” per Evans, is tough to beat, as is its $24,980 as-tested price, which includes 18-inch alloys, rear decklid spoiler, Bluetooth, Pandora radio, backup camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 10-way power driver seat. Then there’s the Accord’s Top Safety Pick+ from IIHS, a badge of honor for passing the ominous small-offset test. (BTW, the ’6 also received “+” status. The Camry did not.) Evans said it best: “The Accord is really good, but the Mazda’s just a little better.”
OK, let’s address the elephant in the room: the Mazda6 GT's hefty $31,190 as-tested price. Had we had our druthers, we would have gotten a $25,290 Touring fitted with a $350 rear lip spoiler. Truth is, none of the GT’s exclusives—leather, bi-xenon headlamps, paddle shifters, et al.—gave it an advantage on the scorecard. And since the Touring and GT are dynamically identical, we were willing to overlook the GT’s hefty price tag.
The Mazda’s performance stats, however, were completely relevant. Outpacing the Accord’s acceleration numbers by a couple tenths (0-60 in 7.4, quarter mile in 15.7 at 88.6) and splitting the others’ handling figures (0.84 g lat accel, 27.1 at 0.63 figure eight), the Mazda’s objective results placed at or near the top. Subjectively? It quickly earned reserved parking on the pinnacle. Evans: “Engine’s got plenty of zip. Never had to floor it, and it never felt weak or made the car feel heavy. Everything about this car is smooth and fluid. The way the steering comes off center, the way the suspension eases the chassis into corners, the way the throttle picks up, the way the brakes engage, the way it handles transitions. It’s perfect.” Jurnecka: “The steering is sublime, especially for this class. Weighting is just spot-on, and there’s a great amount of feel and precision. ‘Little’ things like this really make a huge difference in how a car feels.” The Mazda imparts a sense of gracefulness and driver-connectedness that is deficient in the others.
Some of that uncanny sense can be attributed to the intimate feel from behind the wheel. The ’6 proved the most comfortable and ergonomically sound, providing the preferred command center whether sitting still and fiddling with the controls or weaving aggressively through a twisty road. The Mazda fits you, not vice versa. The dash layout and interior materials are straightforward and understated, and the 5.8-inch nav screen (standard on GT, optional on Touring) is small by modern standards, but it’s cleanly presented and easy to operate. The back seat, too, was judged tops in comfort and support, though there’s no denying it trails the Camry and Accord in overall roominess.
Nevertheless, the made-in-Japan Mazda6 is the best driver’s car here. To us, there’s no better dose of sport medicine.
3rd Place: Toyota Camry SE
Dated styling, numb steering, and a stiff ride undermine this best-seller’s attributes.
2nd Place: Honda Accord Sport
Dreamy engine, cavernous cabin, and composed chassis make this a close call.
1st Place: Mazda6 Grand Touring
Graceful and athletic, the ’6 is a dynamic doozy—a driver’s car that’s easy on the eyes.
2013 Honda Accord Sport 2014 Mazda6 (i Grand Touring) 2013 Toyota Camry SE
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front engine, FWD Front engine, FWD Front engine, FWD
ENGINE TYPE I-4, aluminum block/head I-4, aluminum block/head I-4, aluminum block/head
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 143.8 cu in/2356 cc 151.8 cu in/2488 cc 152.2 cu in/2494 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 11.1:1 13.0:1 10.4:1
POWER (SAE NET) 189 hp @ 6400 rpm 184 hp @ 5700 rpm 178 hp @ 6000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 182 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm 185 lb-ft @ 3250 rpm 170 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
REDLINE 6800 rpm 6500 rpm 6500 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 17.6 lb/hp 17.8 lb/hp 18.0 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.24:1/2.04:1 3.81:1/2.28:1 3.63:1/2.21:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 13.4:1 15.5:1 14.8:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.4 2.8 2.9
BRAKES, F;R 11.5-in vented disc; 11.1-in disc, ABS 11.7-in vented disc; 10.9-in disc, ABS 11.7-in vented disc; 11.1-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 8.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum 7.5 x 19-in, cast aluminum 7.0 x 17-in, cast aluminum
TIRES 235/45R18 94V M+S Michelin Primacy MXM4 225/45R19 92W M+S Dunlop SP Sport 5000 215/55R17 93V M+S Bridgestone Turanza EL400
WHEELBASE 109.3 in 111.4 in 109.3 in
TRACK, F/R 62.4/62.4 in 62.8/62.4 in 62.0/61.6 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 191.4 x 72.8 x 57.7 in 191.5 x 72.4 x 57.1 in 189.2 x 71.7 x 57.9 in
TURNING CIRCLE 39.6 ft 36.7 ft 36.7 ft
CURB WEIGHT 3324 lb 3275 lb 3207 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 60/40% 59/41% 61/39%
SEATING CAPACITY 5 5 5
HEADROOM, F/R 39.1/37.5 in 37.4/37.1 in 37.9/38.0 in
LEGROOM, F/R 42.5/38.5 in 42.2/38.7 in 41.6/38.9 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 58.6/56.5 in 57.1/55.5 in 58.0/56.6 in
CARGO VOLUME 15.8 cu-ft 14.8 cu-ft 15.4 cu-ft
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 2.9 sec 2.5 sec 2.8 sec
0-40 4.2 3.9 4.2
0-50 5.7 5.5 6.1
0-60 7.6 7.4 8.1
0-70 9.8 9.9 10.7
0-80 12.6 12.7 13.8
0-90 15.9 16.3 17.7
0-100 19.9 - —
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.7 3.9 4.2
QUARTER MILE 15.9 sec @ 89.8 mph 15.7 sec @ 88.6 mph 16.2 sec @ 87.0 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 117 ft 121 ft 120 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.87 g (avg) 0.84 g (avg) 0.81 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.9 sec @ 0.64 g (avg) 27.1 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) 27.6 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1700 rpm 1800 rpm 1750 rpm
BASE PRICE $24,180 $30,290 $24,195
PRICE AS TESTED $24,980 $31,190 $28,055
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/yes Yes/yes Yes/yes
AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, f/r curtain Dual front, front side, f/r curtain Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, front knee
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 mi 3 yrs/36,000 mi 3 yrs/36,000 mi
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 mi 5 yrs/60,000 mi 5 yrs/60,000 mi
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE N/A 3 yrs/36,000 mi 2 yrs/25,000 mi
FUEL CAPACITY 17.2 gal 16.4 gal 17.0 gal
EPA CITY/HWY ECON 26/35 mpg 26/38 mpg 25/35 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 130/96 kW-hrs/100 mi 130/89 kW-hrs/100 mi 135/96 kW-hrs/100 mi
CO2 EMISSIONS 0.66 lb/mi 0.64 lb/mi 0.68 lb/mi
MT FUEL ECONOMY 30.9 mpg 32.6 mpg 32.7 mpg
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded regular Unleaded regular
As part of the team responsible for evaluating the latest troupe of midsize sedans (see comparison story: “Battle of the Best-Sellers”), I had some experience with a nicely equipped $30,785 2013 Honda Accord EX-L.The truth about the car review game is that it’s flush with high-content test vehicles — after all, how does 1 test massaging seats, Bang & Olufsen sound systems, or Honda’s own LaneWatch blind spot display if they’re not physically there?
Occasionally, though, more restrained examples slip into the fleet, like the Accord Sport featured in our sport-oriented midsize sedan comparison. Our test car was exactly 1 trim higher than the base LX. It added a power driver’s seat, locking glovebox (gloves are important), steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the CVT, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Forget navigation, satellite radio, hands-free keyless entry, or a moonroof. There are also no more than 4 speakers for the sound system (6 to 7 are present for EX and up).
As we already know, the Accord Sport is excellent basic transportation. From a cabin materials and driving perspective, the refinement level is high. I’d need test equipment to qualify and quantify changes to the ride quality — the Sport’s 235/45-18 Michelin Primacy MXM4 loses nearly an inch of insulating sidewall height to our 1st EX-L tester’s 215/55-17 Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max — as the Accord Sport doesn’t feel noticeably harsher than its smaller-tire counterpart. Read the 2014 Mazda6 i GT, 2013 Toyota Camry SE, and 2013 Honda Accord Sport comparison test right here.
Nor does the undoubtedly heavier wheel and tire package seem to affect fuel economy much. After putting nearly 400 miles of easygoing, mixed city and highway driving on the clock, the car achieved 31.2 mpg. The Accord Sport with CVT’s EPA rating is 26/35/29 mpg city/highway/combined, whereas the non-Sport with CVT is 27/36/30 mpg. I was even more impressed when comparing the calculated mpg against the 31.8-mpg readout in the gauge cluster. While this is just one (and some would say statistically insignificant) data point, it’s generally a good sign if the 2 numbers are close. From observing other vehicles, the discrepancy can be several mpg and is rarely less than 1 (or 0.6 mpg in this case). The accuracy of onboard figures is often disputed. Ultimately, your personal mpg will be derived from the pumped gallons you pay for.
But back to basics. Since there won’t be any remarks about adaptive cruise control or multi-angle backup cameras, have a look at the storage cubby above the Sport center stack’s lower bin. What would you put in it? An iPhone? Air freshener? Aftermarket CD-changer control panel circa 1993? You can put anything in it because it exists. Stepping up to the Accord EX-L or Touring relocates the Intelligent Multi-Information Display control buttons and knob (to accommodate their new audio-control touch screen) to where the cubby would normally reside. Just don’t leave the cubby door open all the time, as its flipped-up position messes with the stack’s aesthetic and flow.
Even the most basic of features gets attention today. Check out the gauge cluster. It looks like any old cluster right? Well, my front passengers immediately picked up on the speedometer’s multi-level design. The outer halo with the big mph numbers appears to be floating above the center Multi-Information Display and the kph-marking ring. Sit in the passenger seat, look to your left, and the gauge’s depth becomes obvious thanks to the cluster’s backlighting.
My passengers and I may be easily amused, but it’s clear that even on the Accord Sport trim, Honda pays attention to the details.
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