First Drive: 2013 Honda Accord reviews honda first drives
2013 Accord sedan (right) with 1976 Accord hatchback. Click image to enlarge
Test Drive: 2012 Honda Accord EX-L
Used Vehicle Review: Honda Accord, 2008-2012

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Review and photos by Paul Williams

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2013 Honda Accord

Santa Barbara, California – There aren’t many cars with a stronger pedigree or a longer history than the Honda Accord. Introduced in 1976 as a then-mid-size hatchback that’s smaller than today’s compact Civic, the 2013 Honda Accord has evolved (and grown) over the years. The latest version represents the company’s ninth generation of this car.

It arrives at a time when the midsize segment is hotly contested, featuring a recently introduced new Toyota Camry, a fuel-efficient Nissan Altima, a new Chevrolet Malibu, two very successful entries from Korea in the form of the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata and an all-new and eagerly awaited Ford Fusion.

So the new Accord had better be good.

First Drive: 2013 Honda Accord reviews honda first drives
2013 Honda Accord sedan. Click image to enlarge

Fortunately for Honda, it is. The 2013 Accord is an all-new vehicle that builds on the outgoing model by, among other key improvements, offering less bulk but more interior space. Shorter in length by 90 millimetres compared with the 2012 model, and with smoother sheet metal, the new Accord looks trimmer and more athletic; its proportions and shape immediately appealing.

Motive power is also improved in the form of a new 2.4L inline four-cylinder (I4) direct-injected engine that makes 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque (a 20 percent increase in torque over its predecessor), and a refined 3.5L V6 (not direct injected) that makes 278 hp and 252 lb-ft torque. Regular fuel is specified for both engines and an uprated I4 engine making 189 hp and 182 lb-ft torque is supplied for the “Sport” models. They feature a freer-flowing exhaust system.

These “Earth Dreams” powerplants feature the first direct-injected I4 engines available in North America from Honda, which also has a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in the wings for introduction as a 2014 model with a full hybrid to follow. The Accord PHEV will use a 137-hp 2.0L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and a 6.7-kWh Li-ion battery powering a 124-kW electric motor to provide a total 196 hp, 226 lb-ft torque and approximately 20–28 km of electric-only (EV) range.

First Drive: 2013 Honda Accord reviews honda first drives
2013 Honda Accord coupe. Click image to enlarge

The upcoming four- and six-cylinder engines are mated to new transmissions in the form of a CVT automatic for the I4 and a six-speed automatic for the V6. A six-speed manual is standard across the range. An Eco Assist driving system may further reduce fuel consumption, depending on your driving style.

The Accord’s designers really haven’t hit a bad note with the new Accord. The sedan maintains excellent outward visibility by using thin a-pillars, tall side glass and a low rear deck, but still manages to appear low, sleek, and aerodynamic. It’s a nice shape all around, and it arrives wearing some rich new colours.

The Coupe continues, which is good news indeed. Coupe buyers—and about 25 percent of Accord owners drive the Coupe—have few alternatives these days without heading into the compact or luxury segments, and again Honda has come up with a head-turning design. Like the sedan, the Accord Coupe is trimmer, but the interior is more spacious, offering usable rear-seat room for two adults and  trunk capacity larger by 50 L.

The Accord Sedan arrives in LX, Sport, EX-L and a Canada-only Touring trim for the I4; and EX-L and Touring trim for the V6. Navigation is part of the Touring trim level for both I4 and V6 models.

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