The redesigned 2013 Honda Accord will not dazzle you with its sheet metal, but it will impress you with its all-round competence, enhanced fuel economy and high-tech features, one of which is not even found on top luxury sedans.
By TOM STRONGMAN
One unique feature is Lane Watch, standard on all EX and above models. This system displays a view of the right blind spot on the eight-inch display in the center of the dash. A small camera mounted under the right side mirror shows the area alongside the vehicle when the turn signal is activated. The view can also be called up any time by pressing a button on the end of the turn signal stalk. I know of no other car with such a system and I found it invaluable in traffic.
Available safety features include forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. The forward collision warning flashes a light at the driver when it detects closing too quickly on the car in front.
Honda also just announced that Apple Siri Eyes Free, a dealer-installed option, connects Siri from your iPhone to the vehicle. It will be activated with a button on the steering wheel.
The Accord, now in its ninth generation, has been in continuous American production for 30 years. It is built in two locations in Ohio. Prices start at $21,680 for the LX and top out at $33,430 for the Touring V-6 that I drove.
The 2014 four-cylinder/two-motor plug-in hybrid model, available at select New York and California dealers, has been rated at 115 MPGe by the EPA. Honda says the “two-motor hybrid system will operate continuously through three modes – all-electric, gasoline-electric and direct-drive.” It will have a price of $39,780.
Styling is subjective and personal. The Accord lacks the sport-coupe profile of some of its competitors, but the new design is subtle, simple and understated like a well-tailored suit. Dimensionally, the car is slightly smaller outside than the previous model while the inside has more rear-seat legroom and a larger trunk.
There are two available engines: An all-new, direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 185 horsepower. It is Honda’s first use of direct injection in North America. Fuel economy is rated at 27 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway. The 3.5-liter V-6 now delivers 278 horsepower, but its fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway.
The four-cylinder’s automatic transmission is a continuously variable CVT, whereas the V-6 has a six-speed automatic. I have not driven the four-cylinder with the CVT.
On the road, the Accord goes about its business with quiet assurance. The V-6 has plenty of power, and it is smooth and quiet. Handling is not sports-car tight but the car feels light on its feet without being skittish.
The cabin is dominated by the new multi-information-display screen that shows audio functions, fuel economy, navigation (if so equipped), and the view from the back-up camera and Lane Watch.
The seats are good, as Honda’s typically are. They have excellent lumbar support and a wide range of adjustability. Back seat legroom is comfortable for adults.
Standard safety equipment includes vehicle stability control, anti-lock brakes, front, side and side-curtain airbags.
The base price of the Touring V-6 is $33,430. The sticker price is $34,220.
Three years or 36,000 miles with a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Tom Strongman’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.