2013 Honda Accord Review and Prices
The 2013 Honda Accord is the best car for you if you want the all-new edition of a midsize-class leader.
The 2013 Honda Accord doesn’t look much different than the 2012 model but it’s the first fully redesigned Accord since model-year 2008 -- and it breaks precedent by shrinking rather than growing in size. Honda’s best-selling car remains solidly in the midsize category. But its body loses a few inches of length and a bit of width as Honda refashions it as a more efficient package intended to be the class fuel-economy leader. The 2013 Accord also bucks the midsize-class trend toward all-four-cylinder lineups. It reprises a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines -- and will add two hybrid models, including a plug-in. Although you can spend more than $34,000 for a 2013 Accord, prices for the most popular versions stay in the $23,300-$26,200 range, an increase of less than $300 over their 2012 counterparts.
Should you buy a 2013 Honda Accord or wait for the 2014 Honda Accord? Buy a 2013 Accord if you’ve been primed for the all-new version of car that’s established a track record of excellence. The 2013 Accord is Honda’s counterpunch to the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, and Nissan Altima and the recently redesigned Toyota Camry. Wait for the 2014 Accord if you want the plug-in hybrid model, a sedan Honda estimates will be rated the equivalent of more than 100 mpg. A second hybrid sedan – this one a conventional gas-electric sedan -- will also debut for 2014.
2013 Honda Accord Changes back to top
Styling: The 2013 Honda Accord again offers a four-door-sedan body style and a two-door coupe. Neither looks strikingly different than its immediate predecessor, though differences are evident on the sedan with a bit more curvature in the body sides and hood. The front fascia is slightly more aggressive and the taillamps are larger.
The Accord Coupe has always been a lower-volume adjunct to the Accord sedan and the only direct rival to offer a coupe is the Nissan Altima. Honda allows the coupe more styling flair than the Accord sedan. The 2013 version showcases a series of gentle curves absent on the outgoing model. But its proportions are no sportier, despite a new, lower roofline.
Still, premium details like available LED daytime running lights, headlights and taillights show both 2013 Accord body styles can be accessorized with some sophistication. And low-drag exterior surfaces, including nearly flush windshield glass, combine with careful underbody tailoring to contribute to improved fuel economy.
Compared with the eighth-generation 2008-2012 Accord, the ninth-generation 2013 sedan shrinks a significant 3.5 inches in overall length and the coupe loses about an inch. The Accord Coupe is traditionally several inches shorter than the Accord sedan, and both are now in the heart of the midsize class rather than the largest cars in it.
Along with the reduction in overall length comes a cut in wheelbase. Wheelbase is the distance between a vehicle’s front and rear axles. It largely determines how much space can be allotted to the passenger compartment. The 2008-2012 Accord sedan’s 110.2-inch wheelbase was among the longest of any midsize car and contributed to near class-leading interior roominess.
The 2013 Accord sedan’s wheelbase is shorter by .09 inches and the coupe’s is reduced by .06 inches. Nonetheless, both 2013 Accord body styles have as much usable passenger room as their outgoing counterparts.
The 2013 Accord sedan in particular is a model of family car design. Its relatively flat roofline contributes to fine headroom, smart packaging creates generous rear-seat legroom, and large side windows let in lots of light.
Crucially, Honda preserved Accord’s high-grade passenger-compartment materials and workmanship. Every carmaker is struggling to control costs and cut weight, leading to a proliferation of thinner, hard plastic panels in place of more luxurious padded surfaces.
Toyota avoided such regression in its 2012 redesign of the Camry with interior materials that are in some areas better than those of the outgoing model. For its part, Honda’s redesigned 2012 Civic fell prey to the trend with markedly undistinguished cabin décor.
But the 2013 Accord evades the pitfall. Every surface an occupant is likely to contact is appropriate padded. Panels feel solid to the touch. And dashboard sophistication is up a notch thanks to a standard 8-inch-diagonal information screen mounted at its center.
Both body types have more cargo room, too. At 15.8 cubic feet for the sedan and 13.7 for the sedan, trunk space is up by about a cubic foot and both are again among the class leaders.
The 2013 Accord sedan lineup expands by one model with addition of the new flagship Touring version. Returning as the base model is the volume-selling LX trim. The line escalates in price and equipment through Sport, EX, and EX-L models to the Touring. LX, Sport, and EX sedans are available only with the four-cylinder engine. The V-6 is available in the EX-L and standard on the Touring.
The 2013 Accord Coupe reprises LX-S, EX, and EX-L designations. Only the EX-L is available with the V-6.
Mechanical: The 2013 Honda Accord’s mechanical updates are significant. All models remain front-wheel drive but get a new four-cylinder engine and a more powerful V-6.
In addition, Honda sets an Accord precedent by matching the four-cylinder engine with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) instead of a conventional automatic transmission. And on V-6-equipped 2013 Accords, a six-speed automatic transmission replaces the outdated five-speed automatic.
The 2013 Accords are the first Hondas in the U.S. with a new four-cylinder engine the automaker promotes under its “Earth Dreams” powertrain branding.
Like the four-cylinder in the eighth-generation Accord, the Earth Dreams four is a dual-overhead-cam 2.4-liter. But it adds direct fuel injection for a more precise combustion process. Output is 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque (think of torque as the force that creates acceleration, horsepower as the energy that sustains momentum).
The previous Accord’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder was available in two states of tune: 177 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque and a more expensive version with 190 and 162, respectively. It paired with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions, both with five speeds.
The 2013 Accord Earth Dreams four is available with a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT. A CVT replaces a finite set of gear ratios with a belt-and-pulley system designed for a more seamless and efficient delivery of power. Honda calls its CVT the G-Design Shift and engineers it to feel more responsive to the driver than CVTs used in competitors’ four-cylinder cars.
Indeed, 2013 four-cylinder Accords furnish acceleration that’s more than adequate. And Honda’s CVT is a no-compromise substitute for a conventional automatic.
The V-6 available in the 2013 Accord sedan and Coupe is again a single-overhead-cam 3.5-liter. But it’s re-engineered and generates more horsepower, 278 versus 271, but slightly less torque, 252 pound-feet versus 254.
When paired with automatic transmission, the V-6 again employs Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system, which saves gas by idling three cylinders in low-demand cruising.
That the 2013 Accord is again available with a V-6 is significant because midsize-car buyers in general are gravitating toward four-cylinder engines for higher fuel economy and lower purchase prices. Their decision is made easier by today’s crop of high-tech four-cylinder engines that produce enough power to render V-6s superfluous in most daily driving. And where V-6-like power is desired, carmakers have turned to turbocharged fours. Indeed, the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima are bellwethers for this approach. The redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion pick up the all-four-cylinder mantle, as well.
Although the V-6 will again account for a small percentage of Accord sales, continuing to offer it helps differentiate the redesigned 2013 from its all-four-cylinder competitors. And it helps Honda cater to upscale Accord buyers who prefer the smoothness and easy torque of a V-6.
In another notable change in transmissions, 2013 Accords with the V-6 are available with a six-speed automatic. Honda would have shocked industry observers if it did not exchange the outgoing Accord’s five-speed automatic transmission for the more efficient and modern six-speed automatic. The change makes the 2013 Accord more competitive with the majority of midsize rivals, which already employ six-speed automatics.
The 2013 V-6 Accord Coupe is also available with a six-speed manual transmission. This was true of their eighth-generation counterparts and is in keeping with the coupe’s sporty-performance mission.
All 2013 Accord models incorporate the Honda ECO Assist system. This provides a dashboard button to automatically recalibrate engine and transmission behavior and climate-system operation to reduce fuel consumption. The system also illuminates a dashboard icon that furnishes the driver with visual feedback to promote a more efficient driving style.
The vast majority of midsize cars have a front-wheel-drive layout and the 2013 Accord does too. Front-wheel drive concentrates the weight the engine and transmission over the tires that propel the car. That benefits traction in snow and, by massing mechanical components in the front of the car, leaves maximum space for passengers and cargo.
Honda does reverse Accord tradition by fitting a front suspension that employs vertical struts instead of more elaborate horizontal control arms. Honda says the strut design saves space and weight and improves ride quality. In practice, Accord remains wonderfully athletic midsize car, and enjoys a needed reduction of impact harshness over bumps. As per modern practice, Honda also replaces hydraulic power-steering assist with more efficient electric assist but manages to maintain a sharp, natural steering feel.
Finally, all Accords enlist the audio system to automatically emit sound waves that “cancel” unwanted engine noise.
Features: The 2013 Honda Accord makes available a range of convenience, comfort, and infotainment features to stay competitive in a class where the latest amenities and gizmos are important to manufacturer bragging rights -- if not prime motivators for a majority of buyers.
The 2013 Accord introduces several new features, including Honda's first application of its lane-departure and Forward Collision Warning technology. Both systems use a camera mounted behind the windshield to alert the driver if the car is unintentionally moving from its lane or to warn the driver of a potential frontal collision.
Additionally, the 2013 Accord is available with several new technologies designed to help improve the driver's visibility around the car. It’s the first Honda to get the carmaker’s LaneWatch blind-spot display, which uses a real-time video-camera system mounted on the passenger mirror to provide an enhanced view of the passenger-side roadway. Also standard on every 2013 Accord is a rearview back-up camera and Honda’s double-pane Expanded View Driver's Mirror.
Other newly standard features on all 2013 Accord models are Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone connectivity and an SMS text-messaging function that can read received texts from compatible cell phones aloud over the audio system.
Another standard feature, and a first for the Accord, is an iPhone-compatible Pandora Internet Radio interface. The 2013 Accord also adopts Honda’s i-MID (intelligent Multi-Information Display), a full-color dashboard screen that supplements monitoring and control of audio, climate, communications, and vehicle-information functions.
The 2013 Accord is also the first Honda product to offer available HondaLink technology. This works with the owner’s compatible smartphone to connect the Accord with music and media resources such as Aha by Harman, internet apps, roadside assistance and more.
2013 Honda Accord Prices back to top
Base-price range for the 2013 Honda Accord is $22,470-$34,220. That’s competitive as the all-new model fights a high-profile crop of redesigned rivals. And it’s evidence that Honda realizes it needed to hold the line on prices while catching up to rivals by providing a liberal range of infotainment features as standard equipment.
(All base-price estimates in this review include the manufacturer’s mandated destination fee; Honda’s fee for the 2013 Accord is $790.)
Honda does not offer options ala carte, favoring instead a rigid model hierarchy in which equipment multiplies as you ascend the price ladder. It’s traditionally reserved the best features for the more expensive models, a policy which has evidently not discouraged sales, which have historically been strong. But the breadth of features at each price point of the 2013 Accord has been broadened as buyers come to consider certain items essential and expect them even on less costly models.
Four-cylinder 2013 Accord sedans start at $22,470 for the LX model with manual transmission and at $23,270 for the LX with the CVT. LX Accords come with cloth upholstery, a fold-down rear seatback, cruise control, keyless entry, tilt/telescope steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The 2013 Accord Sport sedan is priced at $24,180 with manual transmission and at $24,980 with the CVT. Sports come with a power driver’s seat with power lumbar, 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, and a rear spoiler. They share with the LX a 160-watt, four-speaker audio system
Prices for the EX sedan are $25,395 with manual transmission and $26,195 with the CVT. EXs add to the LX such standard features as LaneWatch blind-spot display, a power moonroof, power front passenger seat, six speakers, and the convenience of keyless entry with pushbutton start.
The 2013 Accord EX-L sedan is priced at $28,785 with the four-cylinder engine and standard CVT and at $30,860 with the V-6 and standard six-speed automatic transmission.
EX-L models come with 17-inch alloy wheels and build on EX versions with standard leather upholstery, heated front seats, HondaLink, and a premium audio system with 360 watts and seven speakers, including a subwoofer. Also included are LED (light emitting diode) brake lights, automatic-dimming inside rearview mirror, and the Forward Collision and Lane Departure warning systems.
Adding the navigation system to an EX-L sedan increases the price to $30,785 for the four-cylinder version and to $32,860 for the V-6 model.
The 2013 Accord Touring comes only with the V-6 and is priced at $34,220. The Touring is a fully equipped Accord sedan with navigation and some exclusive standard features. These include a memory driver’s seat, adaptive cruise control to maintain a set distance from traffic ahead, and Honda’s first LED (light emitting diode) headlamps.
All 2013 Accords with the V-6 come with LED daytime running lights.
Standard equipment levels on the 2013 Accord Coupe models generally track their sedan counterparts. With the four-cylinder engine, prices start at $24,140 for the LX-S with manual transmission and at $24,990 for the LX-S with the CVT.
The 2013 Accord EX Coupe is priced at $25,815 with manual transmission and at $26,665 with automatic. The four-cylinder EX-L Coupe comes only with the CVT and is priced at $28,860 or, with navigation, at $30,860.
Accord Coupes with the V-6 are confined to EX-L trim and are priced at $31,140 with either the six-speed manual or the six-speed automatic transmission. EX-L with navigation versions are priced at $33,140 with either transmission.
2013 Honda Accord Fuel Economy back to top
Honda managed to make the 2008-2012 Accord one of the largest cars in the midsize category yet also one of the most fuel-efficient. That same shrewdness for resourceful design is being applied to the 2013 Accord, with an assist from the weight-savings and aero advantages of a more compact body.
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Accord with the four-cylinder engine are 28/34/28 mpg city/highway/combined with manual transmission and 27/36/30 mpg with the CVT. The 2013 Accord Sport sedan with the CVT is rated 26/35/29 mpg.
Among 2013 competitors, the Chevrolet Malibu four-cylinder that uses electric-motor assist rates 25/37/29 mpg and the four-cylinder Toyota Camry rates 25/35/28 mpg.
Also by comparison, the most popular 2012 Accord powertrain combination – the 177-horsepower four-cylinder with the five-speed automatic transmission – rated 23/34/27 mpg.
With the V-6 and the six-speed automatic transmission, the 2013 Accord sedan is rated at 21/34/25 mpg. This is an improvement over its 2012 counterpart, which used a five-speed automatic and was rated 20/30/24 mpg. Among 2013 rivals with V-6 engines, the Camry rates 21/30/25 mpg and the Altima 22/31/25.
The 2013 Accord V-6 coupe rates 18/28/22 mpg with manual transmission and 21/32/25 with automatic.
2013 Honda Accord Release Date back to top
Release dates are Sept. 19, 2012, for the 2013 Honda Accord sedan and Oct. 15, 2012 for the Accord Coupe.
As with recent Accords, more than 95 percent of ninth-generation models sold in the U.S. will be produced at the Japanese automaker’s assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio.
What's next for the 2013 Honda Accord back to top
The 2013 model kicks off Accord’s ninth design generation since its U.S. debut as a 1976 model. That original Accord retailed for $3,995 and, compared with the 2013 sedan, had a wheelbase more than a foot shorter and a body 2.5 feet shorter and 9 inches narrower. Every Accord since then – with exception of the 2013 model – has been larger than the one that came before.
Honda sells Accords in some 160 countries. Europe and Japan have traditionally gotten a version slightly smaller and a lot sportier-looking than the U.S. model. The TSX sedan and wagon from Honda’s upscale Acura division are based on overseas Accords.
As for additional Accord body styles, Honda already has introduced its idea of an Accord station wagon: the Accord Crosstour bowed for model-year 2010 as a sort of bulked-up Accord four-door hatchback available with all-wheel drive. Awkward looking and initially priced high, it has been a sales dud and a future version on the new platform is uncertain.
As with the eighth-generation Accord, the V-6 version of the 2013 model will account for a small percentage of sales. But the costs of engineering the Accord to accept the engine are relatively low because the car’s basic underskin design will also eventually be used for Honda crossover SUVs and for models from Acura, which compete in segments where V-6 engines are the norm.
Scheduled for release in early 2013 is the 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) Sedan. It’ll be followed in summer 2013 by a conventional hybrid based on the same powertrain architecture and also labeled a 2014 model.
The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid features the first application of the carmaker’s new gas-electric powertrain that enables a partial battery charge via connection to household or commercial electrical outlets rather than relying solely on onboard recharging. Using the EPA calculation, expect the Accord Plug-In Hybrid to rate at least 100 mpg-e (miles per gallon equivalent). By comparison, the Chevrolet Volt, a compact hatchback with similar plug-in technology, rates 98 mpg-e combined and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid rates 95 mpg-e.
Honda says its system is distinguished from competing designs because it enables the driver to choose when to run in pure-electric mode. It says this allows more flexibility than limiting pure-electric driving to the initial portion of a trip and then relying on a combination of gas and electric motivation once the plug-in charge is dissipated.
The 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid can be driven in three modes: all-electric; combined gasoline-electric, in which onboard computers determine the optimal mix; and in direct-drive, in which only the engine drives the front wheels to maximize fuel economy in high-speed cruising.
In all-electric mode, the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid uses a lithium-ion battery and electric-motor power to achieve a claimed all-electric range of approximately 10-15 miles in city-type driving and a top speed of 62 mph. Honda says that fully recharging the battery will take less than four hours using a 120-volt outlet and less than 1.5 hours using a 240-volt charger.
In the gasoline-electric hybrid mode, the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid relies on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that utilizes the Atkinson-cycle intake and combustion design to maximize efficiency. The Plug-In Hybrid’s sole transmission is a CVT.
The 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid counters hybrid versions of the Sonata, Camry, and Fusion and the electric-assist edition of the 2013 Chevy Malibu. It’s the first gas-electric version of Accord since the 2005-2007 Accord Hybrid. That model, however, achieved increased performance by teaming a V-6 engine with electric-motor assist; it made 255 horsepower and was the most powerful Accord of its day. Figure a base-price range of the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid of some $28,000-$35,000.
2013 Honda Accord Competition back to top
Toyota Camry: Accord’s perennial rival for sales supremacy returns for model-year 2013 on the heels of a model-2012 redesigned that brought fresh styling, new features, and lower pricing but no change in dimensions or basic engines. The 2013 Camry isn’t likely to evolve much as it faces the all-new Accord and will again play the role of the midsize-class benchmark for comfort and conservative road manners. It’ll return with four- and six-cylinder engines of 178 and 268 horsepower, respectively, plus a very impressive gas-electric hybrid rated at 200 horsepower. The four-cylinder starts around $23,000 and rates 25/35/28 mpg. The Carmy V-6 model is priced from around $27,900 and rates 21/30/25. Base price for the Hybrid is around $27,000 and fuel-economy ratings are an impressive 43/39/41 mpg city/highway/combined.
Nissan Altima: Redesigned for the first time since model-year 2007, the 2013 Altima is an evolutionary step forward for Nissan’s best-selling vehicle. Altima again aims to be the driving-enthusiast’s family sedan and indeed feels alert and composed, if not quite as finely balanced as the 2013 Accord. Passenger space and cargo room are slightly tighter, too. But Altima merits a place on any midsize-car shopping list. Four-cylinder versions have 182 horsepower, rate 27/38/31 mpg, and have a base-price range of $22,280-$28,830. V-6 models have 270 horsepower, rate 22/31/25 mpg, and base prices of $26,140-$30,860.
Ford Fusion: With its all-new 2013 midsize sedan, Ford continues the global design strategy that has served it well by bringing international versions of the Fiesta subcompact and Focus compact to the U.S. The 2013 Fusion shares its basic structure and engineering with newest Ford Mondeo sold overseas and both benefit from running gear designed to meet demanding European driving standards. Fusion’s completely new styling is a sleek departure from the outgoing model’s blocky look. And Ford is pushing the powertrain envelope by offering it with five engines, including two four-cylinder turbos from its EcoBoost engine family, plus a “conventional” gas-electric hybrid and the Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid that will challenge the 2014 Accord PIHV as the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world.