2013 Honda Accord Sport Review – Video

Mainstream doesn’t have to be mundane

2013 Honda Accord Sport Review – Video
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The Honda Accord has been a dominant member of the midsize sedan segment for decades, satisfying drivers’ insatiable cravings for things like quality, fuel efficiency and interior spaciousness. But what about fun?

FAST FACTS

1. The Accord Sport is powered by a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine with 189 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque. Non-sport models make do with 185 hp.

2. Both a super slick six-speed manual transmission and a continuously variable automatic are available.

3. Fuel economy is rated at 24 MPG city, 34 MPG highway and 28 MPG combined. We achieved a 35 MPG average!

4. For $23,715 plus $790 destination, Sport models add 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, chrome exhaust finishers, fog lights, a leather steering wheel and a 10-way power driver’s seat.

Let’s face it; if you’re looking for automotive excitement you can pretty much ignore the midsize sedan segment. There are tons of great four door family cars on the market today but none of them will get true enthusiasts all hot and bothered. Trunk space and fuel economy matter, not acceleration and skid-pad performance.

But what if you’re an automobile fanatic and what if you’re tied down like a North Korean political prisoner, forced to drive one of these vehicles against your will? Well, all is not lost because you can always buy an Accord.

QUANTITY HAS A QUALITY ALL ITS OWN

Even though the company’s midsize sedan offering sells by the hundreds of thousands every year – typically coming second in the annual sales race to Toyota’s ever-popular Camry – it’s still a masterful piece of engineering. Quantity hasn’t watered down the Accord’s quality; you can see and feel that it’s built for long-term service.

Aside from its legendary reliability, the car also delivers a comfortable cabin, high fuel economy and a pleasant overall driving experience.

DEEP SIX

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But the four-door sport model’s defining feature is as plain as the shifter on its center console, because it actually is the shifter. This car can be had with an honest-to-goodness manual transmission, and a slick six-speed unit at that. This feature allows the Accord to distance itself from rivals like the Chevy Malibu, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata and, yes, the Camry too, none of which can be had with a stick.

About the only midsize sedans offered with a manual transmission are the Volkswagen Passat, Mazda6 and Ford Fusion… Not that many ‘Murican customers opt to row their own gears. That’s a rant for another day.

SEE ALSO: 2013-14 Mid-Size Sedan Shootout

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 07Back to the Accord, its shifter is light and easy through the gates, but it’s also super precise. The clutch works beautifully as well, with an appropriately weighted pedal and a broad engagement range. These attributes help make driving this car a real joy.

Of course if you must have an automatic Honda will happily sell you one with a fuel-saving continuously variable transmission. That CVT may sound like a death sentence to driving fun, but in reality it’s one of the best examples implemented by any automaker.

2 BY 4

 

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 02

The Sport version of Honda’s Accord sedan is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Trumping Mazda’s SkyActiv name in the ridiculousness department this powerplant is labeled “Earth Dreams.” Yep, the eco movement has officially lost its mind; common sense disappeared decades ago.

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 33Like many of the company’s other engines this one is smooth and frisky; it’s not afraid to spin freely and always maintains its docile composure. Thanks to direct fuel injection it puts out 189 horsepower with 182 lb-ft of torque. Non-Sport versions of the car make do with just 185 ponies, though you won’t notice a difference either way.

Unlike Honda engines of years past this unit doesn’t surge ahead at the upper rev range. Its power delivery is much more linear, which is just fine for a family car.

FILL ‘ER UP

 

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 10

When it comes to fuel efficiency the Accord Sport is a winner. With a manual gearbox it stickers at 24 city mpg and 34 on the interstate. Its combined score clocks in at 28 mpg, though after a week of testing we beat that estimate by a wide margin.


SEE ALSO: Top 10 Family Friendly Fuel Sippers

According to the car’s digital fuel-economy readout we managed to average 35 mpg. That’s HUGE for a sizeable non-hybrid sedan like this; in fact it’s almost unbelievable.

FUNCTIONALITY

 

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 19

When it comes to fulfilling the mission statement of a sedan the Accord performs very well. Its interior is comfortable and its back seat quite spacious. At 15.8 cubic feet the car’s trunk is also quite large – slightly more generous than a Nissan Altima or Toyota Camry – plus its opening is gigantic, like, large enough to fly an aircraft through.

Despite the boot’s enormous access portal the overall trunk is shaped somewhat like a funnel; it tapers significantly toward the front of the car. Upping its versatility the rear seatback folds flat, although the pass-through is laughably small. Still, it’s great for lengthy items like copper pipe or Pablo Escobar’s rap sheet.

SEE ALSO: Sedan Buyer’s Guide

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 18Inconveniently the backrest is not split. Most cars with this feature offer 60/40 divided backrests, meaning part or all of it can be lowered depending on the cargo you’re carrying. However, hauling long cargo in the cabin cripples its seat capacity.

As for the rest of the Accord’s cabin, the materials quality is good but not great. It’s appropriate for a family car but that’s all. Fit and finish is pretty nice and most of the controls are as simple to use as a light switch, though some of the infotainment system’s menus can be a bit obtuse until you learn them.

THE DRIVE

 

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 04

As with any car there’s always a spot for the driver, front and slightly left of center. On the road the Accord Sport handles reasonably well; this car doesn’t stand out in any particular way, which is a good thing because it goes about its business without distracting or otherwise irritating its passengers.

One standout feature though is the forward visibility. We live in an era of demanding roof-crush safety standards and many vehicles these days have pillars big enough to block out the sun and cause small children cower in fear. But the Accord’s A-posts are surprisingly wispy and unobtrusive. In this regard it’s almost like driving a car from the 1990s; the visibility is outstanding and much appreciated.

WON’T BREAK THE BANK

 

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 12

The base price for an entry-level 2013 Accord, the LX model, is $22,745, including $790 in destination and delivery fees. The sport model is slightly more expensive, kicking off at $24,505. Out the door, our test car stickered for $24,550 including shipping and handling charges.

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 21What do you get for that chunk of change? Well, it comes standard with nice features like dual-zone automatic climate control and a cabin air filter; it’s also equipped with a backup camera, hands-free Bluetooth connectivity and electrically controlled windows, mirrors and door locks. A tilt/telescoping steering wheel is also standard on all 2013 Accord models.

The Sport trim includes a 10-way power driver’s seat and wraps the steering wheel in leather. Outside, that trim adds 18-inch wheels, fog lights, chrome exhaust finishers and a rear spoiler.

Of course there’s more to the Accord than just the Sport model, which is admittedly pretty basic. If you want extra frills, bells and whistles you can opt for one of several other higher trim levels. As mentioned you can get CVT; a V6 engine is also offered. There’s even a coupe body style available if two doors are more appealing.

THE VERDICT

 

2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport 01

In the grand scheme of things Honda’s Accord four-door isn’t all that sporty nor is it terribly exciting. Compared to, say, an Aston Martin Vanquish you may as well walk. But coming back down to earth and focusing on what matters it fares much better.

Like a proper midsize sedan it’s got a roomy cabin, spacious trunk, smooth powertrain and stellar fuel economy. This is all-left-brain stuff, but the option of getting a six-speed manual gearbox transforms what would otherwise be another gray, boring family car into something more, and that’s the magic of this vehicle. If you have to get a midsize sedan this is one that won’t kill your soul.

LOVE IT
  • Available slick-shifting manual transmission
  • Real world fuel economy
  • Spacious rear seat
  • Solid equipment in an affordable package
LEAVE IT
  • Narrow trunk pass-through
  • Single-piece rear seatback
  • Silly “Earth Dreams” name

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  • William T.

    As automotive journalists, how can you possibly trust the digital MPG readout? The old gas tank fill trick may not be 100% accurate either but its surely better than that. Disappointed by that point, otherwise, solid review.

    …Pablo Escobar??? Haven’t heard a reference like that in awhile!

  • Phil

    actually today’s inboard computers, or at least the one in my honda, is dead on accurate. You can do the math yourself each time you fuel up and reset your trip meter, time after time. There’s people busy suing hyundai, kia, ford for false MPG claims, and there’s people who know what to trust and buy hondas

  • Honest Abe

    How can a “sport” model look so dull?

  • Grady Philpott

    I drive a 2013 Accord EX with 2.4L 6MT. I know it costs a bit more, but it should be the model that’s getting all the attention, rather than the Sport, which while a step up from the LX, really is not that much to crow about.

    The EX on the other hand offers features that are meaningful and offer true advantages and convenience.

    If you’re so inclined, there is at least one aftermarket cat-back dual exhaust available that boosts horsepower three times more than the Sport’s OEM exhaust adds and if larger tires are what you want, Honda has those, too. as does the aftermarket.

    Yes, all that will cost you more, but you also get more.

  • bd005

    Yeah, just like all the people who purchased the hybrid Civic.

    And in Motor Trend’s compact comparison test, the Civic didn’t come close to its EPA rating.

  • RC

    Is the Acura TL not considered a midsize sedan? It’s available with a manual.

  • RC

    Dull? I think it looks great. What do you consider not dull?

  • Phil

    well I have not only met but bested the EPA rating of my civic

  • Bill

    This guy is hand’s down the best car reviewer this side of Clarkson Hammond and May. If the US version of Top Gear were smart, they would get this guy to host the show. He would make the US version of Top Gear something more than a cheap rip-off of the Top Gear UK. He makes the reviews entertaining even if youre not interested in cars. One can seriously see him doing the same type of thing as Clarkson, May and Hammond (car reviews and challenges all over the world)

  • Matt M.

    Honda still has not proven they have resolved the defective transmission issue.
    Honda is still having major problems with 2008 transmissions.

  • Jeff

    Agreed on the point about the MPG from the readout. My 2010 Prius overstates its MPG on each and every tank by an average of about 6% compared to manual calculations.

  • EB

    The USB Flash Music UI is horrible. All it does is list your MP3 music by Album List. Very hard to find an Artist when you have some 500 albums to scroll through. The music info also does not scroll or wordwrap. I might add that it is very unsafe to use when you are driving on the road. Strange that the User Guide shows a Search function. Two persons I showed my Sport 6MT to said this issue was a nonstarter and they ended up buying a Fusion and Optima.

  • Waz

    I couldn’t disagree more on the statement “One standout feature though is the forward visibility.” Forward visibility on the 2013 Accord is terrible for six-footers.

    I own a 2002 Accord EX (with sunroof) and the 2013 Sport headroom seems about 1.5 inches lower. Moreover, the roof line dips into the driver’s vision. And even the thickly padded sun visors shave another half-inch from the visibility when stowed. Higher trim levels use a bulbous electronic rear view mirror and forward-looking cameras above the mirror that obstruct forward visibility even more. The forward visibility is so compromised — I daresay dangerously so when making right-hand turns — that I have removed the Accord from my short list.

  • Cbr1100xxrules

    This guy reviewing is good!