Auto Review: A bold new Accord

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Jan. 17, 2013
Contributed
- Contributed Photo

An interesting thing is happening to the midsized family sedan class: they are adding performance to their list of attributes, making these practical cars more fun to drive.

The Honda Accord has certainly never been a slug or land barge, but it has lost a bit of ground to the sportier competition in recent years. This car has always been both desirable and a sales success, though, and for 2013 has undergone a complete redesign that has placed it at the head of the class once again.

To cement the “driver’s car” quotient, there is a two-door Coupe version that really underlines performance, as well as Honda’s ability to incorporate efficiency and refinement into every model it sells. The new Accord is the result of more than 37 years of Accord evolution (30 of which have included U.S. production of the car), and this may be the best version yet from a company that has always had a strong engineering pedigree.

Constructed using the latest in high-strength steel, the new Accord Coupe’s unit body is light and strong, and the wheelbase of this front-driver is a hair shorter than the 2012 version at 107.3 inches (but there’s still a very usable back seat). Every major component on the chassis is new or at least tweaked, and this very handsome two-door has a choice of two “Earth Dreams” engines: a 2.4-liter Inline Four with 185 horsepower and a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 ponies under the hood. A six-speed manual or CVT Automatic are the gearbox choices for the Four, and a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic for the V6. We got to experience the top-of-the-range EX-L V6 with the manual transmission, which proved entertaining on every level. First, the drivetrain has both power and smoothness in abundance, and the gearbox is crisp and precise. An added bonus is very commendable fuel economy for a car with this kind of performance. The ride is engineered to deliver both comfort and control; something that has always been a Honda strong point. Steering feedback is also excellent, rounding out what is an aggressive sport coupe experience in a low-key package.

The interior of the new Accord is likewise attractive and contemporary, without overdoing the concept of futuristic design. Instrumentation is large, attractive and familiar, with a Multi-Information Display in the gauge cluster. The radio/navigation interface (part of the Navigation package) includes the latest in hands-free interface technology. Even more interesting is the latest in electronic safety aids, such as Forward Collision Warning and LaneWatch Blind Spot Display, which uses a camera in the passenger side outside mirror to show the side of the car on the Navigation screen when you activate the right turn signal (or push a button).  This combines rearview camera and blind spot detection concepts into a new type of feature.

The 2013 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L V6 NAV is EPA rated 18 MPG city/28 highway and has a base price of $32,350. With options, our MSRP came to $33,140. www.automobiles.honda.com


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