Test Drive: 2013 Honda Accord Sedan Touring car test drives honda
2013 Honda Accord Sedan Touring. Click image to enlarge

So the CVT is good, now let’s move on to the engine. Aside from the hokey “Earth Dreams” appellation, Honda’s 2.4L direct-injection is as smooth a four-cylinder as any on the market. With a healthy dose of sound insulation and its natural refinement, the engine purrs along, turning as little as 1,750 rpm at 100 km/h, and just a hair over 2,000 at 120 km/h, though those rpms rise or fall if you are on an incline or climbing a hill—one of those nuances of CVTs. To go along with the quiet engine, cabin noise is hushed except for a touch of tire drone.

The combined efficiency of the 2.4L four-cylinder and CVT resulted in 9.3 L/100 km on my congestion-filled commute and during our testing. Unfortunately, this also included a period of idling and repeated parking adjustments that mean this is likely beyond the upper range of what you should realistically expect. The early part of our week showed a consistent 8.8, more in line with official Canadian estimates of 7.8 city and 5.5 highway (or 8.7/6.5 as per US EPA).

Test Drive: 2013 Honda Accord Sedan Touring car test drives honda
Test Drive: 2013 Honda Accord Sedan Touring car test drives honda
2013 Honda Accord Sedan Touring. Click image to enlarge

In Touring trim as tested, the 2.4L I4 makes 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque (I4 Sport models get a bump to 189 hp, 182 lb-ft), and it suits this 1,538-kg (3,390 lb.) sedan well, allowing easy acceleration to highway speeds. With power put down exclusively to the front wheels (measuring 235/45R18 on 18-inch alloys), getting up to speed is never quite brisk, but it is reasonable and won’t leave any but admitted speed demons wanting for more power. However, having sampled the more engaging character of the V6 at TestFest, I can vouch for its 278 hp and 252 lb-ft being more than enough for authoritative power, especially in a front-wheel-drive family car. We’ll cover the V6 in its own dedicated review at a later date.

Although the Accord is now as mainstream as reality dance shows, the most appealing reinvention of this generation is its handling. While not as outright sporty as the new Ford Fusion, the Accord still feels natural and planted yet light on its feet until pushed well beyond the limits of normal driving. The steering is light, but communicative, and it is simply a joy to drive. It’s not a sports car or a more aggressive premium sports sedan, but as family sedans go, there’s little more fun to be had out there, and the six-speed manual transmission is available on all I4 Sedan trims except EX-L, but as stated exhaustively, this CVT is up to the task of maintaining a positive driving experience even without a third pedal.

While driving dynamics are impressive and notable, that’s not really the focus of this segment. Somehow, the 2013 Accord manages to deliver a comfortable ride, excellent interior space, and simple yet useful technology to make it a class leader. Despite handling that allows it to keep pace with the Fusion, the ride is a touch firmer than but almost as comfortable as a Camry—the standard for easy riding sedans—quite the coup to match segment leaders at both ends of the spectrum.

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