With 8 previous versions of the Honda Accord as the backdrop, Honda rolled out the all-new 2013 Accord. Certainly it was cool to see like-new examples of the first Honda Accord from the 1970s, the first Accord built in the US from the 80s, and a perfect 1991 Accord wagon, as well as several other slightly older sedans. But what really struck us was how many of those Honda Accords we've actually owned.
It's easy to think of Honda as a foreign automaker, but the Accord has been such an important part of our automotive culture that it almost seems American too. It doesn't hurt that the car is built in Ohio.
For 2013, the Honda Accord gets a complete redesign and the result is a better, slightly smaller car. But no matter how American the new Accord seems, it has a tough road ahead. It used to be that picking a great family sedan was essentially a dead heat between the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. That's no longer the case.
The 2013 Honda Accord has to be as good as or better than challengers like the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima and the slick-looking new Mazda6. Cars like the Mazda6, Ford Fusion, and Kia Optima now boast a radical new look - the Accord looks updated but certainly not radical. Still, if you're shopping for one of these cars, be prepared to spend a LOT of extra time taking test drives.
For the first time in a long time, the new Accord is not bigger than the previous version. Honda says customers were becoming concerned about the Accord's exterior dimensions, but most of them loved the car's spacious interior. For 2013, the Accord is a little smaller overall, but it retains the same interior space as the 2012 model
Lots of Variety
One thing Honda's new sedan has going for it is variety. No other midsize family sedan offers as many choices as the Accord. Buyers can opt for a coupe or sedan, automatic or manual transmission and either a 4- or 6-cylinder engine. The base transmission is a 6-speed manual, but a Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT) is offered on the 4-cylinder, and a conventional 6-speed automatic comes with V6 models. You can even get a manual transmission with a V6, but you have to get an Accord Coupe to make it happen.
The 4-cylinder engine is a fresh 2.4-liter, direct-injection engine that's rated at 185 hp - that's 8 extra horsepower versus last year's 4-cylinder engine. The 3.5-liter V6 gets more power too; it's up 7 hp for a total of 278.
One thing Honda didn't do is dumb down the interior to save a little money. The materials look and feel nice, and there's little evidence of cost cutting.
More Car for the Money
Depending on which version of the Accord you choose, the 2013 model can actually be more expensive than the 2012 Accord. However, you also get a lot more car for the money. A base 2013 Accord LX sedan is $21,680 or $200 more than a 2012, but it now includes Bluetooth, a USB port, dual-zone climate control, a trunk liner and 16-inch alloy wheels. If you're a big fan of those plastic wheel covers then the Accord might not be for you - even the base car has alloy wheels that are fairly attractive.
The 2013 Honda Accord Sedan is available in six model choices: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EX-L V6, and a new top-of-the-line Touring version. The Touring model includes a few cool touches like LED headlights and adaptive cruise control. V6 models include LED daytime running lights and EX-L and Touring models include LED taillights. The Honda Accord Coupe is available in four model choices LX-S, EX, EX-L and EX-L V6.
Honda also loaded the car up with tons of extra safety equipment. For example, LaneWatch is activated when you flip the right side turn signal. It displays a real-time video image in the dash of whatever is on the right side of the car. There's also a Lane Departure Warning system as well as a Forward Collision Warning system.
On the road, the Honda Accord feels a lot like you'd expect. Hondas typically have an edgier feel that makes them more fun to drive, and that's definitely in play here. Overall, the car is lighter, smaller and more nimble than before. The sedan reminds us why the Honda Accord is one of the most entertaining family sedans. In terms of ride and handling, the Accord feels a lot like the Nissan Altima, only the Accord has better steering feel.
Acceleration from the 2.4-liter direct-injection engine is more than adequate. When paired with the 6-speed manual transmission, the Accord feels somewhat sporty. Of course, the real fun is with the V6 coupe and a manual transmission. But the CVT in the Accord is good, too. It feels more precise than other CVTs, and Honda's engineers have done a great job eliminating that sort of slingshot feel many CVTs can have.
The Accord is also quieter than before. Even at freeway speeds, the interior remains quiet with only a little wind noise making its way to the driver.
HondaLink is the company's new information and entertainment interface. Just like Ford's SYNC and Toyota's Entune system, HondaLink helps keep you connected in the car. HondaLink is a cloud-based service that allows access to music, news, audio books and directions.
In some ways Honda knows it has a winner and moved only in those areas it felt would add value to the already popular car. There's no radical new look, but new features like LED lights, LaneWatch and the Touring model are fairly compelling on their own.
If you're shopping for a 2013 Honda Accord, we recommend the Touring model. At roughly $34,000 it represents an incredible bargain. If you're on a budget, check out the EX model with a manual transmission and the new 4-cylinder engine. That's priced at about $25,000.
In many ways, the Honda Accord has become about as American as Ford or Chevy. With the new 2013 model, it's easy to see why. The new Honda Accord gives you a lot of car for a decent price, plus tons of the one thing Americans really love - lots of choices.