Oh Honda…how far you have slipped. Back in your heyday, you sold 2001 and 2002 Honda Accords at a record pace, giving it the title of best-selling car in the United States. But alas, after producing a 2003 model that wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea, and following it up with a bloated and uninspired 2008 model, the tables have turned. Maybe it was the tsunami, or maybe people really hated that daggum Accord, but in the entire year of 2011, you only sold 235,625 Accords in total. Sounds like a lot, but the Camry put the smackdown on you with 308,510 sales. Even the Altima and Fusion beat you, and the new Sonata almost caught you with 225,961 examples sold!
But this domination will carry on no longer. Someone at Honda decided it is time to rally back, and they’re pitching the newly released 2013 Accord as your saving grace. ”Wait, really?” you ask yourself as you glance at an exterior that looks much like last year’s model. Haven’t you ever been told that beauty is only skin deep? Read on to find out what’s so special about this mundane looking sedan.
Since we’re on the topic of the exterior, we might as well explore some of the innovations out there. Honda is calling the design “expressive, sophisticated and premium,” which seems like a stretch at first. Just hold back the vomit for a minute though and take a close look at the lights on the vehicle. If they look odd, that’s because the Accord will be available with LED’s in the headlights, taillights, and running lights – the segment’s first car to offer the trifecta. Honda also takes a note from the BMW playbook by introducing a sculpted body line, a sign that Honda is throwing some caution to the wind. Chrome accents and turn signal repeaters in the side view mirrors finish off the classy cues. We are not particular enamored with the cheesy, smallish wheels or the Hyundai Genesis rear end though. Who would have thought that Honda would copy a Hyundai design, when Ford is busy pasting Aston Martin grills onto its new vehicles? The 2013 Fusion vs. Accord design is like JFK vs. Clinton. One aimed high and had an affair with Marilyn Monroe, while the other chose to get it on with an office intern. Take guesses on who’s who in this one, and thanks Mr. Carlin (R.I.P.) for the joke.
Inside, Honda has promised that the Accord will be its most feature rich vehicle ever. Not many details were released with these pictures, all they had to say was that it would be shorter outside yet bigger inside. We expect that it will receive a version of HondaLink (as indicated by Autoblog), and spy shots revealed a more impressive gauge cluster than the fairly plain, flat-faced versions in the 2008-2012 models. Even though documents posted on VTEC.net indicate that the Accord would not be available as a 4-cylinder, manual transmission sedan outfitted with leather, spy shots show a sedan model with a manual and automatic climate control. This is probably a move on Honda’s part to make automatic climate standard across the EX range, and it may possibly be included in base models as a fuel efficiency booster.
The drivetrain is where you’ll really come to appreciate the hard work of Honda engineers across the globe. Their R&D department has produced all new “Earth Dreams” engines and transmissions for this Accord, the first major drivetrain changes for the nameplate in the last decade. The 4-cylinders will have ~181HP and ~177lb-ft of torque, and are connected to a 6-speed manual or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Although the power output is down from the previous generation, Honda promises that the Accord will have class-leading fuel economy. That is a huge task, considering that the 2013 Altima is posting numbers up to 38MPG on the highway. Nonetheless, the big news for enthusiasts is the V6 engine. Speculation has it that the new motor might make up to 310HP. We think that output will be reserved for the TL or RL replacements, but the Accord should receive a healthy 280HP and a fuel efficiency boost as well. Some of that improved fuel economy will come from the new 6-speed automatic transmission – the V6 probably can’t use the CVT due to the amount of torque it puts out.
All told, there isn’t much to complain about with the new 2013 Accord. If Honda manages to calm the interior’s road and wind noise a bit, and fixes the infamous rattles from Honda’s of late, this car could be a great seller. As for us, we’ll wait until we get to drive it to make final judgments.