A testament to just how good it is, the final nominee for the 2013 AutoGuide.com Car of the Year didn’t just beat out the rest of the new models to make our short list, it bested three other cars in its own class.
We are, of course, speaking of the 2013 Honda Accord, which makes our short list in a year that also saw the launch of an all-new Nissan Altima, Chevy Malibu and Ford Fusion; a car that could almost make the list on its looks alone.
And the Fusion put up a fight, with numerous engine options, plenty of tech and some of the best fuel economy numbers in its class. Two of the segment leaders, when compared head-to-head, the Honda came out on top, with a more polished interior, a more engaging (and more comfortable) ride, not to mention superior real world fuel economy in our tests. And while the simplicity of its tech features won’t wow you like the glossy MyFord Touch, they won’t enrage you either. Overall, the Honda just packs more value.
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While far from a revolution, the new Accord is different in a few key areas. First, it’s smaller, resulting in better proportions and a more enjoyable drive, while still retaining the same interior space as the previous generation. Second, it’s the first Honda to get the brand’s new Earth Dreams direct-injection engine technology.
The new 4-cylinder delivers 36 mpg on the highway, and with a modest 185 hp Honda claims it’ll out-accelerate any of its rivals. Helping achieve those figures is another new-to-Honda item, a CVT transmission. While a solid offering, it’s still not quite becoming of a brand built on the notion of connecting the driver to the road.
Still holding back on the switch to turbos, Honda’s more potent engine offering in the Accord continues to be a V6. There’s no direct injection here, and no CVT (a 6-speed automatic takes its place), though the 276 hp motor still manages to achieve 34 mpg on the highway. A bit conventional, it really is a superb setup.
Along with Honda qualities of durability and reliability, the new Accord brings with it another familiar trait: value. Even base models, which start at just $21,680 ($22,480 for the CVT), come equipped with dual-zone climate control, Honda’s i-MID system with an 8-inch touch screen and back up camera, as well as an Eco button to achieve even better fuel economy.
SEE MORE: 2013 Honda Accord Video Review
If something a bit more dramatic and fun is your style, there’s always a coupe model too. When fully equipped and sporting a V6 engine with a six-speed manual transmission, it’s a surprisingly enjoyable and sophisticated ride.
The sedan, however, is the popular choice and the smartest in the segment. Knowing as much, Honda aimed to include a bit more of its two-door model in the family sedan with an all-new Sport trim with paddle shifters, 18-inch wheels, an 8-way power driver’s seat and a slight bump in power to 189 thanks to a dual exhaust system. All for $23,390.
At that price, it’s just about perfect; and as mentioned in our video review, you don’t have to look for a reason to buy an Accord, you have to look for a reason not to. Likewise, when it comes to assembling a short list of the year’s best new cars, if there’s a new Accord, it’s a given.
Competing head-to-head with the luxurious and engaging Cadillac ATS, as well as the incredibly fun (and affordable) Scion FR-S, the Accord’s popularity and success as a mainstream, volume car are certainly in its favor. It’s likely the Accord will outsell the other two nominees combined, five times over. Certainly its importance in that regard can’t be overlooked. Then again, when looking at the big picture, both the ATS and FR-S are game-changing cars for their respective brands. Can the same be said of the Honda Accord?
So which new car will win the first every AutoGuide.com Car of the Year? Check back next week to find out.