Honda’s ninth generation Accord just got better. In fact, it’s probably the best Accord to date. Why? Well for one it’s a tad smaller in size (3.5 inches shorter in length, and 0.9-inch shorter wheelbase) and lighter (by 57 pounds) which inches back to Accord’s of yesteryear. These traits all allow for better fuel economy. Yet despite this downsizing, Honda engineers performed their engineering magic and added more front and rear headroom and rear legroom that increased by 1.3 inches. The trunk too increased by 0.8 cubic feet.
But that’s not all. Honda replaced its traditional double-wishbone front suspension with struts. They also switched to a continuously variable transmission (an $800 option) from a traditional automatic in their EX model with 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The latter also helped improve EPA mileage figures.
I tested Honda’s first ever direct injection 2.4L, 185-hp, up 8-hp from last year (181 lb/ft of torque), 4-cylinder engine that was coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission. The combination gave EPA mileage estimates of 24 city, 34-highway mpg, or 28-combined mpg. [Accord can also be ordered with a V6 and new 6-speed automatic transmission] This powertrain has been 0-60 tested at 7.8 seconds and the quarter-mile at 15.8 seconds. So there’s ample power on demand with two adults aboard. And for a four banger, the engine was surprisingly quiet. Ditto for interior quietness that is helped by Honda’s Active Noise Control system that uses the audio system speakers to cancel out road noise.
While the Accords’ exterior received some minor, but attractive surgery, the interior was also redone. Improved seating and dash/vertical stack redesign made for a pleasing cockpit. The dash is done in a carbon fiber look vinyl. Forward visibility has been significantly improved and HVAC controls are now easier to use and more efficient. An 8-inch LCD screen handles everything from GPS nav (which my test car did not have) to rearview camera to instant fuel economy read-outs.
Another new feature that will be appreciated by Accord EX owners is LaneWatch. The system displays the cars’ blind spot on the LCD screen when the right turn signal is pressed. It gives an 80-degree view when moving between lanes; a great safety feature.
Then there’s Hondalink that supports Internet access via a Smartphone from which Twitter info, restaurant locations and other information is given through Yelp. However, it’s only offered on EX-L and EX coupe models.
As said, trunk space has been increased so that two large roll-a-longs or two golf bags, with the long clubs stacked atop the bag, will fit. Or, pull a handle in the trunk and the one-piece seatback flips forward for added space.
Handling has been improved and the low-effort electric assisted steering gives decent feedback, but more importantly, makes parking in tight spots a bit easier. Tight turns taken at speed showed virtually little body roll and roadway flaws are dampened quite nicely. Accord is playful yet graceful on all type roadways. And its ride on 17-inch Michelin tires was smooth, quiet and comfy over the long haul.
All in all, the 2013 midsize Accord is full-size inside with seating for five in a pinch. It’s attractive and reasonably priced. My test car with a long list of safety items like tire pressure monitoring, brake assist, rollover sensor and Lane Watch, plus goodies like sun roof, Bluetooth, keyless/push-button start and maintenance minder to mention a few, carried at bottom line of $25,395 including delivery. There were no extra cost options.
While Accord sales were slipping due to a number of reasons including the tsunami, the new improved model is sure to regain any lost ground.
To test drive a 2013 Accord, stop by Lehigh Valley Honda on Emmaus Avenue in Allentown. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.