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2013 Honda Accord: Mainstream mainstay and perennial winner

2013 Honda AccordTo say that I’m a longtime Honda Accord fan is an understatement. I’ve been driving them since they first landed on American soil.

I attended the first domestic press introduction as a representative of HOT ROD Magazine. Why I was invited baffled me, but I figured the publisher was trolling for advertising revenue. Being the junior staffer (a mere child with still brown hair) the task landed on my assignment sheet. I expected a major snooze, but a couple days driving the great roads around Monterey, California, thoroughly impressed me. Nimble handling and excellent performance reminded me of my beloved first generation Mini Coopers, but without the quality/reliability issues.

I was so impressed that I bought one — traded in a ‘65 GTO. The Accord served as my wife’s daily driver until the coupe body style made accessing multiple child safety seats a chore. Over five years of ownership maintenance consisted of one water pump and a set of tires. I was sold on Honda build quality and resale value (we sold the Accord for only $500 less than its MSRP).

Dimensions and prices have changed dramatically since the late seventies, but the initial engineering and quality characteristics have endured. Honda built their American sales successes with these first generation Accords.

The redesigned 2013 Honda Accord 4-door sedan seems like a full-size luxury car compared to the diminutive early models, but a look back shows that same growth pattern for all pioneering Asian imports. The 2013 Honda is right in the thick of the highly competitive mid-size sedan market. The competition from both foreign and domestic manufacturers (the Accord plant is in Ohio) is fierce, but the Accord is a perennial podium participant in comparison tests.

Walkaround: We’ve driven most Accord models from the four-cylinder base sedans to the V-6/6-speed coupes and enjoyed them all. This review is based on the 2013 Accord V-6 Touring sedan with a 6-speed automatic.

As a mainstream family sedan the Accord expertly threads a conservative line between cutting edge and stodgy styling. The new styling is crisp and contemporary, but not flashy. It blends easily in a crowd, which suits most buyers very well. The front end in particular is more handsome than some previous Hondas. That should contribute to the vehicle’s legendary resale value.

Visibility is excellent, giving the interior an even more spacious feel. The interior is light and the enhanced visibility is a safety bonus.

Interior: The 2013 Honda Accord interior is a highlight. It’s spacious, comfortable, quiet, and fitted with quality materials. Front seat legroom is excellent, but not at the expense of rear seat passengers. Rear seat room is better than many so-called luxury sedans.

The already quiet cabin has been made even more refined thanks to active noise cancellation. The music/entertainment/navigation/information systems are all first rate and the car is well connected for modern electronic devices. A medium size sunroof lets in fresh air without a lot of turbulence.

The trunk is large with a flat floor and a modest lift-over height. The rear seat folds at a slightly uphill angle. Overall cargo capacity is very good, as is interior small items storage.

The seats are first class and our top-of-the-line model had power driver lumbar and heated front seats. Driving comfort was excellent regardless of a trip’s duration.

Under the Hood: High quality, precision engines are another key reason Honda/Acura products are so popular. The excellent 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT transmission are powerful enough for most buyers, but if you don’t mind paying a little more and getting slightly poorer fuel economy the 3.5-liter 278 horsepower V-6 is an outstanding engine. The V-6 is only available in the sedan with an equally great 6-speed automatic, but can be paired with a 6-speed manual in the Accord V-6 coupe.

In the interest of improved fuel economy all Accord models have a conspicuous green Econ button on the dashboard. Activation of the Econ system makes throttle response more conservative and reduces the use of some accessories. Our test car was EPA rated at 21-mpg city and 34-mpg highway with a combined rating of 25. In driving that was city-biased we averaged 25.6 miles per gallon. That’s respectable, especially for a sporty V-6 with close to 300 horsepower (a number that not too long ago was sports car territory).

Behind the Wheel: The Accord has electric power steering, but it’s very well engineered. It imparts a natural driving feel, so most drivers won’t notice any difference from traditional steering systems.

The brakes and suspension are excellent. The ride is softer than sporty, but not sloppy or mushy. The handling characteristics match the car’s demeanor.

Whines: We appreciated the right side lane watch feature that activates a right side blind spot camera when the right turn signal is activated. It’s great on the freeway, but a little annoying when making simple right turns from a stop. The trunk to back seat pass-through could be bigger and better shaped.

Bottom Line: It’s hard to fault any Honda Accord. Granted, they’re a little conservative, but for their target customers that’s more of a plus than a negative. The Honda Accord V-6 Touring sedan is a roomy, high quality, very comfortable family car that has been impressing customers for almost four decades.

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