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Drives, Honda — November 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm

2013 Honda Accord EX Review


Honda’s venerable sedan enters its ninth generation with slightly smaller proportions and a new, more efficient engine and transmission.

After following the completely redesigned 2013 Honda Accord from its debut this summer to its arrival in Atlanta at our GAAMA September luncheon, I was unusually excited to get behind the wheel for a drive. Sure, it’s a midsize family sedan and not some outrageous sports car. But the Accord is special. It’s one of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. for good reason.

It’s not the most spacious or most luxurious, nor is it the most fuel-efficient or most affordable. But for decades the Accord has exhibited remarkable levels of all-around excellence. This latest, completely redesigned ninth-generation model has big shoes to fill. I was anxious to see how well it improves upon – or at least maintains – the Accord’s top-notch reputation.

Trim Choices

In a reversal of the usual trend toward bulkiness, the 2013 Accord is slightly smaller and lighter than its predecessor. A longer wheelbase provides the new model with nearly identical interior dimensions to the previous 2008-2012 model. The Accord continues to be offered in both coupe and sedan variants with a standard 4-cylinder and optional V6 engine choices.

Trim choices for the sedan start with the $21,680 base LX with a standard 6-speed manual. A new continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional on four-cylinder models for an extra $800. The newly offered Accord Sport slots between the LX and EX. Our 2013 Accord EX test vehicle – equipped with the optional CVT – is priced at $25,405 not including a $790 destination charge. The Accord EX-L is priced at $27,995 with a four-cylinder and standard CVT; choosing the more powerful V6 adds $2,075 and brings a 6-speed automatic transmission. Finally, the Accord Touring gets the V6/6-speed and standard navigation for $33,430.


The new Accord’s base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is all new, the first application of direct fuel injection for the model. The new motor yields more horsepower – now 189 horsepower in the Accord Sport and 185 horsepower in other 4-cylinder models – and returns better fuel economy, especially with the CVT. Our test car is EPA-rated at 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.

The optional V6 is both more powerful and more fuel efficient, too. It makes 278 horsepower and is rated at an impressive 34 mpg on the highway, thanks in part to Honda’s cylinder deactivation program that shuts down part of the engine when peak power is not necessary.

Among the Accord’s long-standing strengths are its sporty driving dynamics. Although CVTs are typically praised more for their positive effect on fuel economy than their ability to deliver impressive performance, the four-cylinder Accord remains relatively fun to drive with a two-pedal setup. Unlike some other CVT units, the Accord’s will allow the engine to maintain higher revs before hunting down a lower ratio. And because the car still exhibits the Accord’s agile, light-on-its-feet feel, it remains a fun vehicle to drive should you choose to exploit all 185 horses.

Features & Technology

The 2013 Honda Accord EX comes nicely equipped with a proximity key and push-button starter, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power driver’s seat, 6-speaker audio with USB/aux inputs, Bluetooth handsfree, a backup camera and a moonroof. The EX also gets Honda’s new LaneWatch system, which uses a camera built into the passenger-side exterior mirror to provide better visibility and eliminate blind spots.

This feature is mostly touted as a tool to check blind spots on multilane roads like highways. But here in the city, I found another circumstance in which LaneWatch proved useful. Some local streets have bike lanes on the right side, lanes that drivers can easily forget about when making a right turn, for instance into a driveway. Because bikes can often travel just as quickly as cars on city streets, LaneWatch kept me from committing the foul of cutting off a cyclist when turning right. Even with the Accord’s uncommonly big, upright glass and thin pillars, the narrow silhouette of a cyclist can easily get lost in the view from a mirror. The camera view from LaneWatch shows considerably greater definition.

My Take

The 2013 Accord builds upon the strengths of the last generation without straying too far from the core formula; simply put, this sedan is a centrist that deserves the wide appeal that it will likely garner. It’s no head-turner, but its lines are handsome, neither too flashy nor too dull. Fit and finish is top notch among non-luxury brands, with materials and styling that I expect will stand the test of time. The Accord’s broad model lineup that includes both sedan and coupe body styles offers practical and performance-oriented choices, and the plug-in hybrid model set to arrive early next year will add a green alternative, too.

Although the Accord’s new CVT is better than some, my choice from the 2013 Honda Accord lineup would be the EX with the base six-speed manual. Some drivers may prefer the thriftier fuel economy of the 4-cylinder/CVT combo, but at 24 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, the six-speed provides acceptable economy and more driver engagement. It’s the Accord’s ability to deliver both that suggests that this model will be just as successful as its predecessors.

Photography courtesy of Dave May. See the full gallery.