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First Drive: 2013 Honda Accord

by Jeff Glucker
September 10, 2012
6 min. Reading Time

On November 1st of 1982, the very first U.S.-built Honda Accord rolled out of the Marysville, Ohio assembly plant. That car was the first second-generation Accord, and the first Japanese car manufactured here in the States. Now the calendar has spun forward thirty years and Honda is ready to roll out the latest iteration of one of America’s most popular mid-size sedans.

The 2013 Honda Accord is an all-new model, which represents the ninth generation of the Accord family tree. Over the course of the last thirty years, the Accord has always been a top seller, but the mid-size market has only gotten more crowded meaning competition for the car buyer’s bucks is tougher than ever. Honda believes it’s designed the latest Accord so that it excels in all areas of a customer’s needs.  

For those of you looking for either a mid-size sedan or coupe, that just might be true. Additionally, there’s something here for those considering purchasing a Toyota Prius or other such fuel sipper, because Honda is also going to build a plug-in hybrid version of the 2013 Accord.

2013 Honda Accord: Pricing and Trim Levels

The 2013 Honda Accord sedan is available in one of six trim levels. Starting at the most affordable level, the base LX model is offered up with a sticker price of $21,680 on manual-gearbox equipped examples. Step up a notch and you’ll arrive at the Sport trim, which costs $23,390. From there you can climb to the EX, EX-L, and EX-L V6, and those three are priced at $24,605, $27,995, and $30,070 respectively. Finally, the king of the Accord hill is the new Touring model, which stickers for $33,430.

Trim levels are simplified for those who desire two less doors. The 2013 Honda Accord Coupe is available in LX-S, EX, EX-L, or EX-L V6 guise.  For the eco-conscious amongst us, the Accord PHEV trim designations haven’t been shaken out just yet, and stay tuned down the road for information on pricing. The plug-in hybrid Accord will hit dealer lots sometime in the early part of 2013.


2013 Honda Accord: Competition

As we said earlier, the mid-size segment is constantly being updated with stronger offerings from a larger variety of automakers. Honda is taking its Accord and staring down the likes of the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, and the Ford Fusion. The Sonata and Camry were recently updated, while the Altima and Fusion are brand spanking new for 2013.

Honda isn’t throwing the Accord to the mid-size wolves though, because the all-new Accord is prepared to do battle with the best. Inside, it’s more comfortable than that Sonata, and it’s better looking on the outside than both the Altima and Camry. The real wild card is the Fusion, which we’re not-so-patiently waiting to jump in to for some serious seat time. Look for our review of the all-new Ford in the very near future. For now though, we know that the Fusion will have to be a top notch competitor because the Accord is set to run at the top of the pack.


2013 Honda Accord: Exterior

Honda hasn’t made an evolutionary leap in terms of the exterior styling of the 2013 Accord. That said, the Japanese automaker has eased up on the styling reigns and allowed the North American design team to give the car some seriously upgraded nip tucks compared to the last generation car. It’s clearly an Accord, but it’s a more mature and sophisticated version of the car we’ve all grown to know. The front of the car still hides the Honda “H” in its nose and fascia design, while the sharply cut shoulder line brings the look of this sedan in line with the rest of the most modern vehicles on the market today. Around back, the rear end isn’t as exciting as the front of the car but the subtle cut lines towards the bottom of the fenders help keep the eye entertained.

The real stand out in the style department, however, is the all-new 2013 Accord Coupe. Honda designers have injected the perfect amount of sporty aggression into this two door, and the result is one sharp looking machine. The blacked-out grille spreads the nose of the car out into the swept back headlamps, while the lower fascia pushes the foglights rearwards towards the fully filled-out wheel wheels. From there the body moves towards the rump of the Accord coupe where the expansive rear glass flows down into the trunk space and on into the integrated spoiler lip. The 2013 Accord Coupe has a strong visual presence that looks wonderful both standing still, and zipping down the highway.


2013 Honda Accord: Interior

While the outside of the 2013 Accord receives a much-needed shot of style, it’s the interior that was most in need of serious attention. The prior generation car managed to find itself cornered into the territory of boring yet functional. Engineers and designers worked hard to turn the cabin space into a zone they describe as luxurious and modern. How’d they do that? By upgrading the quality of the stitching and material for a better tactile sensation while also simplifying the touch points.

Staring at most center stack sections brings about a glut of buttons. This isn’t pleasing to the eye and it can often wind up turning a simple system into a complicated one. Honda reduced the amount of buttons in this section by relegating them into the large touch-screen section of the infotainment center. However, the automaker also kept oft used controls (such as those for the HVAC and audio system) out of the touch screen area to make them readily available.

Add this attention to detail in with the always high-level of comfort found in all Honda and Acura products, and you have a cabin space that driver and passengers alike will enjoy spending time in.


2013 Honda Accord: Powertrain and Fuel Economy

With the 2013 Honda Accord, the automaker is introducing its Earth Dreams series of engines. The name is… kind of lame, but the powerplants themselves are rather impressive. Serving base engine duty for the Accord is a 2.4-liter directly injected four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Pair that mill with the upgraded exhaust on the Sport trim Accord and power jumps up a little bit to 189 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. This engine can be paired up with either a brand-new six-speed manual gearbox or an also-new continuously variable transmission. With the CVT and 2.4-liter engine, you can expect to hit 36 miles per gallon on the highway.

If you desire more grunt, Honda has just what you’re looking for in the form of its 3.5-liter V6 engine. This unit is rated to produce 278 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. The V6 can be equipped with either a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual if you want to row your own gears. In its most efficient trim, the V6 Accord sedan is good for 34 miles per gallon on the highway.

Need a bit more in terms of fuel economy? Step up to the Accord PHEV with its 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine and two-mode hybrid system. You can run between 10 and 15 miles on pure electricity, and you can enjoy an estimated driving range of around 500 miles.


2013 Honda Accord: Driving Impressions

Pairing a CVT with a mid-size sedan and a four-cylinder engine usually results in one thing: mind-numbing boredom. That’s alright because we’re not looking at these cars for their ability to attack a canyon road. The 2013 Honda Accord has a surprise up its sleeve though, because this might be the best CVT unit available right now. It shifts smoothly like most CVT gearboxes but it also responds quickly and efficiently when the pedal is pressed. The result is acceleration exactly when it’s called upon.

Additionally, another surprise lurking under the skin of the Accord is its suspension setup. We expected a softly sprung cruiser, and we wound up with a heavily sprung vehicle with surprising levels of stiffness. This is great for the enthusiasts in the group, but it becomes a rather unwelcome trait when cruising down the highway. The ride is bouncier than we anticipated. While it’s nice to see the 2013 Accord step up a notch in terms of boasting a sport suspension, we wish the firmness could be dialed back a few notches.

All other aspects of the driving experience fell directly into line with our expectations. The brakes respond smoothly under easy applications, and are equally responsive under harder tugs. Steering is vague, but that is the curse that all modern cars equipped with electronic power steering systems will have to struggle with. It’s not a fault of the Accord, it’s inherent in nearly all vehicles utilizing such a system.

There is a very bright spot sitting in the lineup though, for those seeking an engaging ride. The 2013 Accord Coupe V6 with the six-speed manual gearbox is a blast to drive. The engine growl is excellent, and the shifter slots precisely into the home of each and every cog of the transmission. This is a front-wheel driver with attitude, and we hated to give back the keys.


2013 Honda Accord: Safety

There’s no question that we’re dealing with a safe vehicle. Honda has employed the next generation of its ACE body structure, which utilizes plenty of high strength steel to keep all occupants safe in the event of a crash. Furthermore, Honda is going a step further by introducing a plethora of safety systems including Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, a Rear View Camera, and a brand-new Lane Watch system that shows you what is in your blind spot when you put on your blinker to make a right turn.


2013 Honda Accord: Final Thoughts

Honda has always worked hard to make sure the Accord is a wonderful representative for the entire brand. Now in its ninth generation, the latest iteration is no exception and is a strong leap forward from the car is replaces. The styling is more mature and up to date, both inside and out, and the level of technological gadgets available for safety, comfort, and overall enjoyment are on par with the best of the industry.

Honda has a car for all sorts of buyers with the 2013 Accord. Family shoppers will have a proper cruiser with a variety of engine and gearbox options, while those only need a little bit of space have a sporty coupe that offers a grown up alternative to the world of boy-racer two doors. Finally, for families looking to get the most bang for their fuel-economy buck, the upcoming Accord PHEV is a more stylish alternative to the Toyota Prius.


  • Upgraded styling, inside and out.
  • Diverse engine and transmission pairings.
  • V6 Coupe with 6MT is a true enthusiast machine with a great growl.


  • Numb handling due to electronic power steering.
  • Overly harsh suspension.


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