Honda’s Accord has become a generic family sedan in America, a car that’s a good value, an excellent performer, but does not stand out.
You may never notice the 2013 model, but you may want to own one.
While Toyota has added a touch of styling flair to its formerly vanilla Camry and Ford has leapt forward with its new Fusion design, Honda stays with its safe, bland look, coupled with mechanical excellence.
For 2013 the revamped Accord sedan is 3 inches shorter, taking away some bulkiness that made the last version a full-size car.
It still rides on a 109.3-inch wheelbase, coupled with independent four-wheel suspension. The Accord now uses struts up front instead of a control-arm system, and delivers a smooth, controlled ride. Traction and stability control also are standard.
Perhaps most impressive was the incredibly quiet, luxury-style interior. Honda uses active noise cancellation in the Accord. That is helped by the strong, quiet operation of its 2.4-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine, tied to a six-speed manual transmission.
Honda’s engine delivers 185 horses, so zipping up to highway speeds is easy, especially with the 6-speed manual. The feel is smooth and capable, not unlike an Acura. A CVT (continuously variable transmission) is available.
A CVT generally helps gas mileage, and the Accord with CVT is rated 27 mpg city and 36 highway by the EPA, while the tested EX midlevel was rated 24 mpg city and 34 highway. I got 27.4 mpg in about 60% highway and 40% city driving. I used the car’s Eco mode much of the time and it didn’t seem to affect acceleration dramatically.
The “modern steel” dark gray EX model I tested featured black cloth interior with brushed black plastic trim on the doors and dash and pewter-look trim around the two larger center stack control clusters. The dash boasted a black textured finish and the steering wheel was textured plastic.
The dash is well laid out though and the interior is roomy, easily carrying four adults. A fifth passenger will fit in back. Accord’s trunk is an impressive 16.0 cubic feet.
Standard features also include a tilt/telescope steering wheel with radio, phone and cruise controls on its hub, automatic headlights and push-button start. There’s also a video screen mid-dash for radio, clock and trip computer readouts. There are big buttons below the screen to control the radio. Only the radio volume control knob is a little smaller than I’d like.
Below all that is the dual climate control system, again with large, easy-to-use buttons.
Seats are well shaped and supportive, especially on the sides, but tend toward the firm side. Moving up to leather seats may help that, but test drive both before you decide which works for you.
Accord’s EX model is one up from the base LX and adds a 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, while the passenger’s seat remains manual. EX also adds a sunroof, heated side mirrors with turn signals, speed-sensing radio volume control and a 160-watt audio system with six speakers, compared with four in the LX.
Another plus in the EX is Honda’s Lane Watch system that turns on a camera that shows the right side of the car and objects on that side. Flip on the right turn signal and the video screen shows what’s next to you on that side so you can avoid curbs, cars in your blind spot, etc. The screen also has a backup camera linked to it, a good safety feature.
A base LX with 6-speed manual starts at $21,680 plus a $790 delivery charge. A CVT-equipped model lists at $22,480, but should save you money at the pump.
The tested EX lists at $24,605, or $25,395 including the destination charge. You can go a lot higher with EX-L models and the top-level Touring that starts at $33,430. A 3.5-liter V6 that creates 278 horses, and a 6-speed automatic, runs $30,070.
The Sport model includes a 6-speed manual and the same 2.4-liter I4 as tested, but tuned to deliver 189 horses and a bit more torque. It starts at $23,390 and includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, more precise steering and 18-inch alloy wheels. Accord is available as a coupe too.