Test Driving the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe and 4-Door Sport

2013 Honda Accord coupe rearBy Barbara & Bill Schaffer

For years, new Honda vehicles had been a pillar of the American automotive market with outstanding affordable cars. The last couple of years, there seems to have been some vacillation in that position with some new models not reflecting the same leadership as previous offerings. When that happened, as in the case of the recent new Civic, Honda quickly regrouped and redesigned fixing the perceived problems or complaints.

The 2013 Honda Accord Coupe and Sedan have been a winner and a leader right out of the gate. This was especially important for Honda, because the Accord sedan competes with the toughest group of new cars ever assembled ? 2013 midsize sedans. It includes car like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Volkswagen Passat, Ford Fusion, Mazda6, Subaru Legacy and several others.

2013 Honda Accord sedan rearFrom a styling standpoint, the 2013 Honda Accord sedans don?t elicit a ?wow!? but they are attractive. Certainly, it has some interesting new design elements with a great deal more body sculpting and character lines than previous models, but it?s not really a head turner. The coupe on the other hand is falls closer to the ?wow? category.

The 2013 Honda Accord?interior is all new with a bold instrument panel that includes two full color screens mounted at the top of the center stack. The eight-inch screen at the top of the stack is the ?intelligent? Multi-Information Display (i-MID). It serves as the screen for the navigation system, the backup camera and several other electronic functions.

2013 Honda Accord coupe dashHowever, we think the most innovative use for that screen is for the new LaneWatch? feature. When you turn on the right turn signal, the screen switches to a full color display of the right hand lane looking back from the side view mirror. It?s the coolest blind spot detection system we?ve ever seen, plus it?s great when you are sitting at an intersection about to turn right. Check that screen quickly and you can avoid hitting a bicyclist or another car sneaking into that space. You can also activate the camera without turning on the turn signal by pushing the button on the end of the turn-signal stalk. We found that helpful to check on the position of another vehicle ?parked? in your right side blind spot at freeway speeds. Barbara still thinks there should be a blind spot warning system for the driver?s side.

The smaller screen an inch or two lower is the touchscreen for the audio system, which includes standard features like a Pandora? Internet radio interface and a convenient SMS text messaging function that reads incoming texts aloud and allows the driver to respond with factory preset text messages. For example, you can select from answers like ?Talk to you later, I?m driving,? ?I?m on my way,? ?I?m running late,? or ?OK.?

2013 Honda Accord coupe interiorThe 2013 Honda Accord?also includes a Bluetooth? HandsFreeLink? phone interface and some models have the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System? with Voice Recognition and FM Traffic. In the past, we?ve considered the Honda navigation system to be the best in the business but, perhaps because it?s was new to us, this new version seemed a little less user-friendly than the original. If we had time to master the voice commands, we?re sure it would be easier, but like many people, we don?t do very well with voice commands.

Honda engineers always seem to have a new innovative way of doing things, and that trend continues for 2013 with Earth Dreams? technology. Honda describes it as ?an expression for a set of technologies which takes into account both our need to protect the environment and our desire to provide a joy of driving.? The Accord is the first American Honda to get the new technology.

2013 Honda Accord sedan sideThe 2013 Honda Accord continues to offer four-cylinder and V-6 engine choices, and there is a new plug-in hybrid planned for fall 2013. Both the gasoline engines have an improvement in fuel economy with the four-cylinder rated at 27 mpg city and 36 mpg for highway. The V-6 EPA rating is 24/34 mpg with the manual transmission. The 185-hp (189-hp in the Sport) 2.4-liter four-cylinder is the first Honda engine sold in North America to be equipped with direct injection.

We recently drove the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe with the 278-hp V-6 engine and a manual transmission. It?s fast (0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds), sporty, and a very good road car handling corners with accuracy and confidence. Plus, the manual transmission linkage is about as good as it gets ? smooth and precise.

We also drove the 2013 Honda Sedan Sport with the CVT (continuously variable transmission) with steering wheel mounted shift paddles. We really appreciate Honda using shift paddles instead of one of the Mickey Mouse toggle systems used by some manufacturers.

On the safety front, the upper level Accords have a new Forward Collision Warning system to warn the driver of impending crash possibilities. Other features we like are the Adaptive Cruise Control, the LaneWatch? blind spot monitor and the active noise and sound controls, which keep the cabin quieter. Honda has expanded technology in the Accord to keep it in a leadership role in the category.

2013 Honda Accord coupe frontThe 2013 Honda Accord sedan is available in six trim levels. Pricing ranges from $22,470 for the LX with manual transmission (the CVT is $800 more) to the Touring V-6 at $34,220. We like the way Honda prices its vehicles — with the exception of technology packages and color, there are virtually no options. They have added a selection of dealer installed accessories to customize your Accord.

We enjoyed the Accord; it drives like a Honda, which means it?s responsive, positive and agile. The ride is comfortable, the interior is one of the roomiest in the category and it rates high in fuel efficiency. The Accord is certainly still a category leader.

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