2013 Honda Accord Review – Video

The new Accord is good, and it knows it

2013 Honda Accord Review – Video
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Looking more like a refresh than an all-new, next-generation model, the 2013 Honda Accord sits looking exactly as you should expect.

FAST FACTS

1. A new direct-injection 4-cylinder makes 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque with a fuel economy rating of 27/36 mpg.

2. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, an Econ button, plus an 8-inch screen with Honda’s i-MID system and a back-up camera.

3. A new Plug-in Hybrid Accord debuts Honda’s first two-mode hybrid system with 10-15 miles of on-demand electric range.

4. Starting at $21,680 or $22,480 for the CVT automatic, a well-equipped EX automatic is $25,405.

What’s that? You expected more. Why?

Sure, it’s OK to hope for the design equivalent of variable valve timing, but apart from reasons like branding and continuity, there’s a more important reason for the Accord’s minimalist aesthetic change, namely, that Honda always has and always will chart its own path, taking no advice or input from anyone, for better and for worse.

Perhaps you’ve always thought the best word to describe Honda is “reliable” or “sporty.” It’s not. The best word to describe Honda is “stubborn.”

And in a way, the new car looks it. More squared-off up front, it refuses to hit the gym to impress a few bimbos. The Accord knows it’s a catch. True, it might have dressed up for the occasion, sporting a more angular front end and a nice chrome splitter, but that’s just what’s expected.

Under the skin the Accord carries on generations of hallmark qualities, from fuel economy, to interior space, to value. And let’s not forget a reputation for reliability and longevity that has always made the Accord a smart purchase.

FUNCTIONAL STYLE

2013 Honda Accord EXL V6 driving 01

Its looks are defined by an all-new platform and a desire to maximize outward visibility. Better proportioned that the outgoing model it’s 3.6-inches shorter in length, while maintaining the same interior space and adding slightly more trunk room. Totaling 15.5 cu-ft, the trunk now also has a smooth floor to help maximize the useful space.

Less dramatic than some of the new rivals on the road, the Accord is less about being seen and more about being able to see out of. In place of a high beltline and tiny windows is plenty of glass and excellent visibility, while the view out the front is further improved by smaller A pillars. Plus, there’s a larger driver’s side mirror to further improve outward visibility at all angles.

Another design cue of almost all modern sedans, the sloping roofline, is absent here. As a result, the rear seats don’t just heave plenty of headroom, they’re easy to get into and out of.

Notable upgrades include standard 16-inch aluminum wheels (no hubcaps here) and chrome door handles, helping give the Accord a more established premium look.

HONDA ENGINE-TECH MOVES INTO 21ST CENTURY

2013 Honda Accord EXL V6 engine

All new in every way, the Accord is perhaps most reengineered under the hood where it gets three entirely new engines and new transmissions as part of Honda’s new (and oddly named) Earth Dreams lineup. The base 4-cylinder gains direct-injection to make 185-hp and 181 lb-ft of torque with a fuel economy rating of 27-mpg city and 36-mpg highway. Less than segment-leading, it’s just one unit off the Altima and during our drive we actually registered the claimed 30-mpg combined rating.

Speaking at the car’s launch, Honda marketing boss Mike Accaviti commented that while fuel economy is obviously hugely important, in the mid-size sedan segment it’s just one of many factors. Of course, you’d expect anyone but the fuel economy king to say as much, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

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A new six-speed manual is standard and optional is a Continuously Variable Transmission – a first for the Accord. CVTs are used specifically to achieve maximum fuel economy and generally compromise both driving performance and throttle response. That said, it’s a rather un-Honda-like technology, though thankfully Honda has managed to minimize the drawbacks.

2013 Honda Accord EXL V6 14

Light throttle application still delivers somewhat hesitant acceleration, while medium inputs are met with immediate response, the tach jumping suddenly to higher rpm, delivering a sensation similar to a conventional automatic downshifting, though far smoother. As a result, power is perfectly acceptable and Honda claims its 4-cylinder family sedan is the fastest on the market, aided by a 55 lb reduction in weight.

As for the V6 engine, it now makes 278-hp and 252 lb-ft of torque and is capable of 25 mpg combined (21-mpg city, 34-mpg highway), as good as other V6 models but not quite up to some of the new turbocharged 4-cylinders. Available exclusively with a 6-speed automatic in the sedan, coupe models also get a choice of that slick-shifting manual. Combined, it’s far more fun than any Accord should be.

PREMIUM RIDE

2013 Honda Accord EXL V6 interior 01

Cruising in the sedan, it’s luxury smooth and incredibly quiet. Pick up the pace and the Accord feels livelier than before, due mostly to its reduced size. Of note, the ninth-generation Accord does away with the trademark double-wishbone front suspension in favor of a MacPherson strut setup, but you’d never notice. Steering has also been changed over to a more modern electric unit and it’s excellent too. A bit loose, it does have a consistent steering feel – a rarity for electric units.

2013 Honda Accord EXL V6 interior 04Much like the exterior, there’s no big change inside the Accord, with a design that follows ergonomic function. A bit busy looking at first, it’s far less cluttered than before and all of the buttons are large. Mid-level EX trim levels come with keyless access and a push-button start standard, and while the red dot on the dash is a nice idea, on closer inspection it looks just cheap. As for the standard cloth seats, they just look dated – though not unattractive. Surprisingly, however, even middling trim levels with the cloth interior get faux-leather on the center armrest and doorsills – a smart move on Honda’s part to insure the materials your skin touches are higher grade. We’re also pleased to note that whatever it is Honda has used as trim pieces on the dash, at least it’s not Chevy Malibu-grade wood.

Looking straight ahead, the new gauge cluster now has a 3D design to it with a color-changing ring around the speedometer that’s connected to the Econ button. Like on the Civic and Honda’s hybrids, the Econ mode minimizes throttle inputs to further improve the car’s mileage.

SURPRISING STANDARD EQUIPMENT

2013 Honda Accord EXL V6 interior lanewatch

Always an incredible value, especially if you’re buying for the long term, the Accord LX  ($21,680) adds extra standard content for 2013 including dual-zone climate control, an 8-inch screen with Honda’s i-MID system for control of the audio features, as well as back-up camera and that Econ button. Pricing has increased for 2012, but only by $200 to $340 per trim level.

A new Sport trim ($23,390), adds 18-inch wheels, a 10-way power driver’s seat, leather steering wheel, paddle shifters, a rear spoiler and dual exhaust.

Along with some of the upgrades already mentioned, the EX model ($24,605) gains Honda’s segment-exclusive LaneWatch safety feature. Along with the available Land Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning systems (standard on the $27,995 EX-L), LaneWatch uses a camera to broadcast what is in our passenger side blindspot onto the 8-inch screen in the center of the dash. The idea seems like technology for technology’s sake and a bit counterintuitive, forcing you to look away from the road. In real world use, however, it’s actually quite handy, allowing you to spot a large car on the screen out of the corner of your eye and re-think your move. Honda even offers different settings, allowing you to have the video display constantly on, or only on once you use your turn signal.

Moving from safety technology, to the entertainment side, EX-L models will also gain a second in-dash screen with the HondaLink system that’s in many ways best for the technophiles. Along with access to apps like Yelp and the ability to stream audio books, it will even read Facebook and Twitter updates to you.

PLUG-IN HYBRID

2013 Honda Accord PHEV driving

In addition to the coupe and sedan, Honda will also offer a Plug-in Hybrid Accord, marking another technology upgrade for the company as it moves away from it’s archaic Integrated Motor Assist system to a genuine two-mode hybrid system similar to that in the Prius. Looking a step too flashy with a Honda badge up front that looks better suited for a transport truck’s grille, it’s a seriously impressive piece of machinery with none of the drawbacks of past Honda hybrids.

2013 Honda Accord PHEV grilleDesigned for fuel economy it pairs an electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder to deliver 196-hp and 226 lb-ft of torque, offering a perfectly acceptable performance. It transitions smoothly from electric to gasoline power and the regenerative brakes are incredibly consistent feeling – unlike even some of the best hybrids. With an electric-only range of 10 to 15 miles, you can choose when to use that EV power and when to let the system operate like a conventional hybrid.

With a claimed 100 MPGe, in full EV mode, it’s hard not to be impressed with the 199.9 mpg rating showing on the central gauge. Resetting the fuel economy gauge while switching over to regular hybrid mode via a button in front of the gearshift and after a 20-minute drive on city roads and highways we still managed a remarkable 55-mpg!

THE VERDICT

2013 Honda Accord EXL V6 10

On the surface the new Accord seems only moderately new, but closer inspection reveals impressive upgrades and new features that add to many already segment-leading qualities, helping put it, as always, in contention for top-of-the-pack status.

Now, the Accord knows it’s got a lot of competition out there right now, but it’s not worried. Sure you might run off with a sexy Sonata, a chiseled Optima, or the promise of a more fuel efficient Altima. But amongst all its other qualities, the Accord struts with confidence. It might not be the most enticingly styled sedan, but no one will ever accuse it of looking like it’s trying too hard. Sure its approach might come off as a little arrogant, but that’s because, in every way, the Accord has nothing to prove.

LOVE IT
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Premium ride quality
  • Excellent standard features
  • The full package
LEAVE IT
  • Not the fuel economy leader
  • Steering a tad loose
  • Won’t win you over with style

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  • Bob

    2013 Accord..passenger seat sits too low. Short passenger (adult) can not see over dash and has limited visibility. It needs to be adjustable.

    Have 6K on it and ready to get rid of it because of the seat. Family ops to sit in back seat rather than the passenger seat. The audio portion of this site, talking about the seats is BS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000650310178 Sarah Macabanti

    Uh, you had all the time in the world to sit in a car with whoever you choose and your getting rid of it because of the passenger seat height? Wow, that’s like chopping off your head to cure hairloss.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000650310178 Sarah Macabanti

    Calling a culture of people “Japs” is just as bad as using the “N” word. It’s not cool, just so you know. The war is over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000650310178 Sarah Macabanti

    Sounds like you need to adjust the seat. Doesn’t the top of the line model have all kinds of adjustments on it?

  • Scott in Houston

    Same here. I am constantly playing with the seat adjustments hoping to find the sweet spot. Not there yet! I’m not sure I could take a day-long trip in this car. Also, the leather seats are somewhat hard, although with use they may soften up.

  • Scott in Houston

    The dealer here puts Nitrogen in the tires at 29-30 psi, which is 3-4 psi lower than Honda recommendation. He said it improves the ride. If dealers are lowering tire pressure, they must be getting complaints about the ride comfort. Even so, you can feel all the imperfections and joints on concrete pavement.

  • Waz

    I have put myself in an extremely risky situation. Not only have I put myself at odds with the NRC, NASA, and NASCAR, but also the mighty Costco. And now my car might explode…..

    The news from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reactor is not good — to prevent a disastrous explosion, they’ve been pumping nitrogen into the containment vessel.

    And I’ve learned space shuttles use nitrogen in their tires to prevent combustion were a fire to start.

    And I have introduced reactive oxygen into my Honda…..

    I asked for wheel alignment, but the Honda dealer wouldn’t check the air pressure in the tires because Costco had put bright green caps on the valve stems of the new Michelin radials. Costco filled the tires with pure nitrogen, because that’s what’s used in race cars and space shuttles and nuclear containment structures, which presumably are also marked with bright green caps.

    “But why nitrogen?” I ask. “Isn’t air 78 percent nitrogen and only 21 percent oxygen? Can’t you mix it?”

    Here’s what they tell me:

    * Well, numero uno it turns out nitrogen “is less expansive”. -x- But since I don’t operate my Accord in a vacuum or at 180 mph (generally) or as a pressurized reactor vessel, this is not a factor for me. But I pump my P195/65R15’s up to three times atmospheric pressure, so maybe I should worry.

    * Numero two-o, taking out the oxygen “reduces the chance of a fire”. Oxygen is required for combustion, whereas nitrogen is an inert gas. -x- Well, what about the oxygen on the *outside* of the tire here on Earth? I mean, the chances of a tire fire starting on the outside of my tires is at least as great as one starting on the inside. I’m pretty sure.

    * Well, numero three-o, removing the oxygen reduces deterioration of the inside rubber through oxidation. -x- Again, the *outside* of the tire thing. And the oxygen inside the tire is finite (only so much oxidation can occur until the oxygen is used up), whereas the oxygen on the outside of the tire is, for all practical purposes, unlimited.

    * Well then, numero cuatro-o, the nitrogen “doesn’t leak out as fast.” -x- But if it’s that dangerous oxygen that’s leaking out so fast, what’s left behind? That’s correct: nitrogen. So topping off my tires with regular air will lead asymptotically to 100 percent nitrogen, given enough time.

    Well, call me a risk taker, because I’ve replaced the green valve stem caps with plain black ones from my bicycle tires. Which tricked the Honda dealership into inflating the tires with simple compressed air – containing 21 percent leaky, explosive, expansive, reactive oxygen.

    Don’t tailgate me.

  • peewee

    Get a nice seat pad to raise you up a bit.

  • peewee

    I have the accord 2013 EX-L and love it. Many are wondering about the compass not being displayed in clock mode, it only displays in your driving info., miles, gas amount, distance to empty, etc. the 2 modes, and it will stay on top right corner of your screen. Best car I have ever had and looks great. Honda made a big jump forward in 2013