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2013 Honda Accord Pros and Cons: Why (Not) This Car?

Honda Accord EX-L front quarter view
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Introduction

Toyota might sell more Camrys, but the Honda Accord has long been the midsize sedan in everyone else's crosshairs. Lately, though, Honda hasn't displayed many signs of leadership, with questionable styling, subpar interior materials, and less of the innovation that made the company great. With the redesigned 2013 Accord, has the old Honda returned?

Accord Reviews: Honda Accord EX-L front quarter view

Despite an all-new exterior, I'm still learning to distinguish the 2013 from the 2012. more Accord photos

Accord Reviews: Honda Accord EX-L interior

The Fusion and Malibu are nicer inside, but the Accord's cabin is much better than the 2012 Civic's.

Tested: 2013 Honda Accord

4dr Sedan 185-horsepower 2.4L I4 CVT FWD

Compared: 2013 Ford Fusion

4dr Sedan turbocharged 178hp 1.6L I4 6-speed shiftable automatic FWD

Why the 2013 Honda Accord?

  Compared to the Fusion
Powertrain performance
Powertrain performance: Better Better Worse

You can opt for a 278-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. But the new 185-horsepower "Earth Dreams" 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, Honda's first with direct injection, performs so well that few people will feel the need. The transmission deserves much of the credit. It's a CVT (continuously variable transmission), but avoids the odd "rubber banding" typical of the breed. Instead, the connection provided by the transmission not only feels direct compared to other CVTs, but compared to most conventional automatics as well. There's no slop, hesitation, or indecision, just a smooth stream of power that quickly responds to your right foot. The CVT will rev the engine to its power peak and hold it there when this is called for, but given the engine's midrange torque it rarely is in typical driving.


Fuel economy
Fuel economy: Better Better Worse

Along with providing excellent performance for a non-turbocharged four-cylinder in a midsize sedan, the new powertrain also achieves excellent fuel economy, 27 mpg city and 36 highway in the EPA's testing. The Nissan Altima does a little better (27/38), but everyone else lags.


Accord Reviews: Honda Accord EX-L rear quarter view

More than a little BMW from this angle.

Accord Reviews: Honda Accord EX-L instrument panel

Buttons on center stack are easier to use than in the previous Accord, and have a quality feel.

Feature availability
Feature availability: About the same Better Worse

The EX and up include a feature I haven't seen before: a camera that displays the view to the right rear quarter whenever the right blinker is on or a button on the end of the turn signal lever is pushed. This entirely eliminates the blind spot on the right side of the car. A wide-angle section of the left rearview mirror covers the blind spot on that side. Not as good as a camera, but better than nothing. All 2013 Accords have a standard rearview camera.


Rear seat room & comfort
Rear seat room & comfort: Better Better Worse

Alas, the key players in this segment do nearly everything pretty well. It's hard for any contender to carve out a clear advantage. Honda shrunk the Accord's exterior a little, but kept interior dimensions about the same. So it's a roomy car inside, but so are some competitors, especially the VW Passat.


Driving position & visibility
Driving position & visibility: Better Better Worse

Some midsize sedans have sacrificed outward visibility for sleeker styling. With the new Accord, Honda kept visibility as a top priority. The windshield isn't raked far back, the pillars aren't thick, and the windows remain far larger than you'll find in any bunker. Some competitors are about as good in this area, but none are better.


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Why Not the 2013 Honda Accord?

  Compared to the Fusion
Quietness
Quietness: Worse Better Worse

Hondas have a reputation for road noise, especially on concrete. This reputation won't end with the new Accord. Though it is quieter than the previous one, the Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu suppress wind and road noise better.


Handling
Handling: Worse Better Worse

The new Accord handles curves with precision and stability. But even the slightly firmer Sport isn't damped as tightly as a Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry SE. Light steering provides virtually no feedback. The same can be said of most competitors, which generally don't handle as well as the new Accord, but the new Ford Fusion's steering and chassis are more engaging and rewarding.


Accord Reviews: Honda Accord EX-L front quarter view high angle

Looks more dramatic from this angle, but so does just about any car.

Accord Reviews: Honda Accord EX-L rear seat

Among the roomiest in the segment.

Exterior styling
Exterior styling: Worse Better Worse

The new Accord isn't an ugly car, but it's not a striking one, either. Much of the exterior styling is clearly derivative, none of it is innovative. Most people simply won't notice the car. Then again, many buyers in this segment prefer conservative styling.


Conclusion

A four-cylinder powertrain worthy of Honda's reputation as an innovator impresses with its performance and fuel economy. A unique camera eliminates the right side blind spot. Those seeking a car that is exciting to look at and drive won't find it here, but (unlike in the new-for-2012 Civic) nothing disappoints. As such, the latest Accord could hardly be a safer bet for people seeking a "good car."

Accord Reviews: Honda Accord 2.4-liter engine

The new "Earth Dreams" powertrain is the most impressive part of the new Accord.

Accord Reviews: Honda Accord trunk

Rear seat folds in one piece. Competitors have a split rear seat.

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2013 Honda Accord pros and cons, according to Michael Karesh: the best reasons for buying (or not buying) the 2013 Honda Accord. Join TrueDelta to post your own impressions.

Response from windskisong

10:31 am May 16, 2016

Have to disagree with the feature comparison, and also add in my emphasis on reliability.

The Ford Fusion feature list is MUCH more flexible as others have commented. There are certain features, especially safety features, that Honda puts only at the very high end of their Accords, or bundles with leather (what?). This is baffling to the consumer, and very frustrating to those (like me) that want the car "my way". However, Honda's fixed feature set makes it a lot easier to comparison shop used cars.

The Fusion's reliability appears to be above average, which is more than can be said for my otherwise preferred vehicles when shopping (VW and Mazda). Obviously Honda still crushes Ford on reliability, but it's closer enough that I could consider Ford.

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Response from mkaresh

11:02 am May 16, 2016

This review compared 2013s, and you're correct about safety features that year. But for 2016 Honda's safety tech package is a $1,000 option on even the lowest Accord trim level.

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