2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Originally published January 8, 2013

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2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring

Last month, we drove the 2013 Honda Accord sedan Touring with the 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine and new-for-2013 continuously variable transmission, remarking that it set a new standard for “understated redesign” but that it offered “an essential goodness and balance of efficiency and performance, space and content, and the old Honda driving magic.”  In a separate comparison test, the same Accord sedan emerged as the clear winner against four other new mid-size four-cylinder sedans.

Now that we’ve got our hands on a V6-powered Accord sedan, we can confirm that it shares most of the four-banger’s positive qualities – the key difference, of course, is its smoother, quieter and more powerful 278-hp V6 engine mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission (replacing last year’s five-speed auto) and its proportionately higher fuel consumption – although it’s not as much as you might expect.  According to the EPA, the 2013 Accord V6 sedan consumes 11.2/6.9 L/100 km city/highway, an impressive 12.5 percent improvement over last year’s V6 – and that’s without a stop/start engine idle feature that many automakers are now using as a convenient tool to lower fuel consumption figures.

Our V6 test car’s fuel consumption display was showing an average of 9.0 L/100 km, very close to the EPA’s combined estimate, but considerably higher than NR Canada’s rather optimistic ratings of 9.7/5.7.   Just for the record, the EPA rates the Accord four-cylinder with a CVT at 8.7/6.5. Both the four-cylinder and V6 Accords use regular grade gasoline.

Accord buyers looking for maximum fuel economy won’t have long to wait for the 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid that arrives early this year, followed in the summer by a regular hybrid sedan.

Unlike the four-cylinder Accord, the V6 sedan is not available with a manual transmission; realistically, not many V6 sedan buyers would order it anyway.  A six-speed manual is available in the sporty V6 Coupe because that car appeals to buyers who put a higher priority on performance.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

Our test sedan was a top-of-the-line V6 Touring sedan model loaded with all the latest gadgets and luxury features. As is the trend nowadays, buyers don’t have to order the big engine to get all the toys –four-cylinder Accords are also available in the top Touring trim.  That makes us wonder why the $35,290 Accord V6 Touring commands a hefty $3,700 premium over the Accord I4 CVT Touring model when the only difference is the powertrain.  I guess that’s the price you pay for an extra 107 horsepower.

As we reported earlier, the new Accord is slightly smaller on the outside than the previous model but offers more rear legroom and slightly more headroom and shoulder room despite a significant 79 L (2.8 cu. ft.) reduction in passenger cabin volume.   We’re not really sure how this is possible – perhaps Houdini was consulted – but the cabin does seem roomier and there is a generous amount of rear legroom and adequate headroom and hiproom.  Still, the Accord’s published interior passenger volume of 2,922 L (103.2 cu. ft.) is less than many of its major mid-size competitors.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

Good news for golfers: the 2013 Accord sedan’s trunk has increased in size by 31 L (1.1 cu. ft.) to 447 L (15.8 cu. ft.) and the fully lined trunk with a flatter floor will accommodate four golf bags.   The news is not so good for skiers and hockey players: all Accord sedans come with a single folding seatback with a rather narrow, restricted opening with rounded corners.  Most other family sedans have split folding seatbacks which can accommodate long cargo items, like skis and hockey sticks, plus one or two rear passengers (read ‘kids’) at the same time – which seems important in a ‘family’ sedan.  So why doesn’t Honda offer split folding rear seatbacks?  This could be a deal breaker for some sedan buyers.

Before I get to the Accord’s new interior design, let’s talk about the V6 powertrain.  It’s the same silky-smooth 3.5L SOHC 24-valve i-VTEC V6 engine with an improved version of its “variable cylinder management” that automatically switches to three cylinders under light load to save fuel.  Horsepower and torque figures are up slightly and Honda has tweaked the engine to offer more torque and responsiveness.  Indeed, the V6 Accord is very quick off the line, rockets onto the freeway when prodded, and passes other cars with ease.  According to Consumer Reports, the 2013 Accord V6 sedan does 0 to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds – that compares to the four-cylinder Accord with a CVT at 7.7 seconds.  The V6 engine is smooth and quiet at idle and relaxed at highway speeds, turning over just 1,800 rpm in sixth gear.  But while the new 2.4L four-cylinder engine features direct fuel injection, the V6 continues with multi-point fuel injection – somewhat surprising given that Honda is usually at the forefront of engine technology.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

Accord buyers who choose the V6 engine are probably not too concerned with good fuel economy, but even V6 Accords are equipped with Honda’s new driver-selectable Econ driving mode that helps save gas.  By pushing the green leaf-icon button just to the left of the steering wheel, throttle response is muted and the automatic climate control operation is limited, thereby enhancing fuel economy.  For the driver, this has the effect of making the car feel slower when accelerating, but unlike some other cars with a similar feature, we didn’t find a huge difference in performance.  Accord drivers can tell if they’re achieving maximum fuel efficiency by observing the colour of the illuminated arcs around the speedometer – if it’s green, you’re driving efficiently; if it’s white, you can start feeling guilty about contributing to climate change.

The Accord’s new six-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the previous five-speed, is a real smoothy.  And with its wider range of gear ratios, it offers improved throttle responsiveness and better fuel economy.   If you want more performance, just drop the transmission lever from ‘D’ to ‘S’.  This elevates engine revs in any given gear in order to provide more immediate throttle response – increasing the fun but sucking back more fuel.  The new six-speed automatic also offers Honda’s ‘grade logic control’, which prevents gear hunting when climbing grades and provides engine braking when descending hills by gearing down automatically.  Unlike in the Accord V6 Coupe, this six-speed automatic doesn’t come with paddle shifters, probably because Honda believes sedan buyers just aren’t that interested in ‘paddling’.

The Accord’s handling has definitely improved.  With its shorter overall length, slightly shorter wheelbase and slightly wider track, and a reduction in curb weight thanks in part to a new, lighter MacPherson strut front suspension (replacing double wishbones) and a lighter aluminum and steel front subframe, the 2013 Accord feels more nimble and balanced.  It new electric variable assist power rack and pinion steering replaces the previous hydraulic steering and is among the best electric steering systems out there.  It’s nicely weighted – steering effort when parallel parking is easy but not effortless, and at highway speeds it feels responsive and tracks well in a straight line.   My only concern is the Accord’s rather wide turning diameter of 11.6 m (38.1 feet).

2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

Contributing to driving safety is the Accord’s new LaneWatch Blind Spot monitor, a feature we think will soon be copied by other automakers.  When the right turn signal is activated, a camera in the right outside mirror sends an image of the area beside and behind the car to the centre screen where the driver can observe other cars travelling in the car’s blind spot.  It’s even better than shoulder checking because cars you can’t see hidden behind the C-pillar are visible in the screen.  We think it would be nice to see a camera image for the driver’s side blind spot, too, but we noted there is a new “Expanded View Driver’s Mirror” that increases the driver’s field of vision by 4.2 degrees.

In addition, all Accords now feature a rear-view camera.  In addition to the normal view, EX-L and Touring models have a wide view that captures objects to the side, and a top-down view that helps judge the exact distance to the object behind the car.  This is really useful when you want to park as close as possible to a wall or barrier without hitting it.  My only reservation with vehicle cameras is that rain, ice, snow and grime can sometimes obscure the camera lens which can make the view murky.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

Another new feature in the 2013 Accord is Forward Collision Warning, which uses radar to detect a potential frontal collision and warn the driver with warning sounds.  As well, a new Lane Departure Warning System warns the driver if the car is moving out of its lane without using the turn signals.  Soon we’ll be able to drive blindfolded!

2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

The Accord sedan’s braking performance is very good – Consumer Reports’ braking tests show a braking distance of 42.4 m (139 feet) from 96 km/h (60 mph) in the dry.  P235/45R18-inch all-season tires, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, EBD, and brake assist, and vehicle stability control are all standard.

For night-time visibility, top-of-the-line Touring models feature new LED (light emitting diode) projector beam headlights, which provide better illumination than the standard halogen projector beam headlights on all other Accord trims.  In addition, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights are now standard on all Accords.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

Inside, the Accord’s new instrument panel makes use of better quality plastics and brighter trim to improve quality appearance.  The instrument panel does away with the previous confusing assortment of poorly arranged buttons in the centre stack and substitutes a touchscreen for the audio controls, and just below it, a simpler horizontal arrangement of buttons for the dual-zone climate control.  These are in addition to the large eight-inch screen at the top of the instrument panel.  As before, it’s not a touchscreen, its menu-driven system controlled by a large dial now positioned at the bottom of the centre stack.  The larger screen displays many functions: navigation, audio, telephone and trip information as well as the rear-view camera image and the LaneWatch feature.

An assortment of new information and entertainment features have been added for 2013:  in addition to hands-free Bluetooth phone and audio operation, the new Accord features a new SMS text messaging feature that allows incoming text messages to be read aloud and the driver to respond with short factory pre-set replies while driving.  As well, e-mail messages can be received and sent.  Perhaps the most advanced feature is Honda’s new HondaLink web audio service.  It requires owners to download apps into their iPhone or Android smartphones and use them to access web-based music, information and entertainment services.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

The first app available in Canada is the AHA web-based infotainment service where users can download any of its 30,000 channels of available news, music, and entertainment – and then play them through the Accord’s HondaLink audio system.  Once downloaded, the driver can control stations using the audio touchscreen, and drivers can even call out songs by their name to find them.  U.S. Accord owners can also use the Pandora internet radio service, but that’s not available in Canada.  The trend seems obvious: a car’s audio/video system is becoming an extension of the owner’s smartphone.  The tricky part will be to take advantage of the smartphone’s features without distracting the driver from his/her primary task.

We found engine and road noise are well suppressed in the V6 Accord, but that’s partly because our ears are being tricked.  2013 Accords feature Active Noise Control and Active Sound Control, which use two microphones, a processing unit and four speakers to analyze undesirable noises entering the cabin and counter them with out-of-phase audio signals.  More desirable noises, however, such as the sporty engine note, are actually enhanced.  So don’t believe everything you hear, or don’t hear, in the Accord.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring
2013 Honda Accord Sedan V6 Touring. Click image to enlarge

We found the Accord’s leather seats very comfortable and appreciated the driver’s power lumbar and height adjusters – unfortunately, the front passenger seat doesn’t have them.  Seat heaters are standard in both the front and rear outboard seats, and a new side airbag design allows the front seatbacks to be heated (previously only the seat cushion was heated).   Interior storage consists of an open bin at the bottom of the centre stack next to a 12-volt charger and USB/auxiliary port for iPods and smartphones, a small bin under the centre armrest with a 12-volt outlet, small door pockets and a glovebox – but we think the designers should have added more storage space.  We liked the two front cupholders with flexible cup grippers and the folding rear armrest with two cupholders.

The 2013 Accord V6 sedan’s closest competitor is probably the Toyota Camry XLE V6, which offers improved driving dynamics over previous Camrys.  The VW Passat V6 is also similar to the Accord in many ways. The Nissan Altima V6 is less exciting to drive, as is the Chevrolet Malibu 2.0T and the Dodge Avenger V6.  The Ford Fusion is more exciting to drive but its turbocharged four-cylinder engine is not as refined.  The same thing might be said about the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T, the Kia Optima SX, and the Buick Regal Turbo.

All in all, the 2013 Honda Accord V6 is an attractive and luxurious family sedan that offers a nice balance of power, comfort, handling, comfort and technology that won’t alienate mainstream buyers by being too boring or too trendy.  Downsizing it slightly was a bold move, but we think it was the right one for the times.

2013 Honda Accord V6 sedans start at $32,790 for the EX-L trim, and $35,290 for the Touring trim.  They’re built in Marysville, Ohio.

Pricing: 2013 Honda Accord sedan V6 Touring
Base price: $35,290
Options: none
Freight: $1,640
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $36,030

Buick Regal
Chevrolet Malibu
Dodge Avenger
Ford Fusion
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Optima
Nissan Altima
Subaru Legacy
Toyota Camry
Volkswagen Passat

Crash test results
National Highway Safety Administration
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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