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2013 Honda Accord Sport Review & Test Drive

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‘A SPORTING GOOD IDEA’

The all-new, ninth-generation, 2013 Honda Accord is a vast improvement over the last generation model.  The new Sport trim package placed just above the price for the base LX trim saves you money but gives you in return a very good performance version of the Accord.  No matter which model you choose, each is more sophisticated, higher-performing, and with a longer list of standard equipment.  The new Sport model comes with a new 189 hp 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine, a new CVT transmission with seven gear ratios and paddle shifters, a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel with cruise control, audio control and Bluetooth buttons, a body color decklid spoiler, dual exhaust with chrome finishers, foglamps, and a 10-way powered driver’s seat with power lumbar control.  Filling the fenders are custom 18X8 in. machined aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 235/45R18 in. performance tires for excellent grip and a smooth, quiet ride.

The new Accord is shorter, lower and wider than before which gives it a lower co-efficient of drag while improving its handling capabilities.  Even though it is slightly small in length, 189.2 in. versus last year’s 191 in., rear legroom and trunk room has improved.

The newly styled Sport model that I tested features more chrome and cut angles beginning with the front end showing a more angular grille with chrome around its side, bottom and inside horizontal slats.  Just below is another air-intake with a chrome strip at the bottom, and at each side are new foglamps.  The ‘cat’s-eye’ headlamps are slimmer but put out more light with standard projector beam lights or optional HID lights.  The silhouette shows the steeply raked windshield A-pillars, aero-dynamic designed side mirrors, flared fenders, a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, deep side extensions, and pull out chrome door handles.  A nicely scallop at each door rises slightly giving it a look of motion when parked.  The tapered roof ends with a spoiler mounted onto the back of the trunk lid to enhance rear downforce.  Moving over to the rear are big, wraparound taillight/brake/backup lamp clusters tied together with a wide chrome strip.  A bold bumper with a chrome bar just above an air-diffuser underneath better manage airflow.  Under the bumper at each side are large, chrome exhaust finishers.  The new look is sleek, lower and aggressive, yet more luxurious than before.

Under the hood of the Accord Sport is a new 2.4 liter 4-cylinder aluminum alloy DOHC, i-VTEC engine with direct injection.  Because of the high-flow dual exhaust system this engine pumps out 189 hp at 6,400 rpm and 182 lb.ft. of torque at 3,900 rpm compared to the standard 2.4 liter’s 185 hp and 181 lb.ft. of torque with the single exhaust.  An ECO Assist button on the left side of the dashboard decreases rpm when lightly pushing on the throttle to increase mpg.

The Accord Sport’s new engine can be mated to either a smooth shifting six-speed manual or a new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).  With a wider ratio range than the 5-speed automatic that it replaces and combined with greater efficiency and less weight, the new CVT is a major contributor to the Accord’s improved fuel efficiency of 21 mpg/city and 34 mpg/highway.  I tested the new CVT with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and it was great fun changing gears when I wanted to hold to redline or downshift going into corners.  I saw 1-7 gears on the center readout plus the system wouldn’t let me advance the gears until I reached a certain speed, just like a real sequential shifting automatic.  Upshifting and downshifting was instant, great fun and sporty driving.

Most of the fun when behind the wheel is telegraphed through the new, more rigid fully independent suspension and the many electronic advancements that make the all-new Accord the most fun-to-drive and capable than ever.   The all-new chassis features a MacPherson strut setup that replaces the older, heavier double-wishbone setup.  The front includes a new steel and aluminum subframe that reduces noise, vibration and harshness, gas-charged shocks and a 17mm stabilizer bar.  The rear multi-link setup features new compliance bushings, coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a 14mm stabilizer bar.  Giving the front end more rigidity for enhanced response to your inputs is a strut tower brace.  The new electric power steering system uses an electric motor to assist to the rack & pinion steering thus reducing steering effort at slow speeds, improving precision, feel for the road and less power consumption.

When you put the gear selector in S (Sport) the engine mapping is quickened, the suspension tightens and the power steering is even more responsive giving a feeling and precision of driving a higher-priced, high-performance sport sedan.  When entering a highway on a cloverleaf I had the speedometer at 60 mph with no understeer or oversteer, partly thanks to the electronic vehicle assist and traction control that kept the wheels firmly planted as I sped around the circle.  Giving the new Accord a quieter ride than ever are standard Active Noise Control and Active Sound Control that counteract engine noise helping to create a more linear and sophisticated high-rpm engine note.

Slowing the new Accord Sport down from speed are larger, power-assisted, four-wheel steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.4 in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 11.1 in. solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Braking control is enhanced with standard ABS, EBD and BA.

The interior of the Accord Sport is all new with more comfortable front bucket seats, new more simple instrumentation, brushed aluminum trimmed, dual tiered center stack with separate audio and climate controls sections, a center console with dual cupholders, storage bin up front and a deep and wide storage box under the padded armrest.  The leather-wrapped stick shifter is found on-line with P through S surrounded by a  chrome bezel.  All of the controls are within easy rear to use.  Although the car’s length as decreased over 3 in. and the wheelbase is almost an inch shorter, key interior dimensions have grown.  While the Accord’s sleeker shape decreases already plentiful headroom slightly, rear legroom increases over an inch, bot front and rear shoulder room increase, and trunk space is up over a cubic foot.  The larger volume trunk now features a flatter floor and more space for greater utility.  The interior shows Accord’s advancement with higher grades of soft-to-the-touch materials and greater craftsmanship.  The Sport features black plastic with a dot pattern on the dashboard, center console and door trim.

A bright, full-color 8 in. ‘intelligent’ Multi-Information Display (i-MID) serves as the control center for the Accord’s many electronic functions.  The i-MID screen displays the image from the new standard backup camera, fuel economy information, audio functions, and an available LaneWatch feature, which can help you on busy multi-lane roads by displaying a wide-angle view of the passenger side roadway of the vehicle.  A new audio with touchscreen system is standard and features a Pandora internet radio interface, and a convenient SMS text messaging function that can read incoming texts aloud and allow you to respond with factory preset text message.  A Bluetooth HandsFreeLink phone interface adds intuitive hands-free calling convenience.  Honda satellite-linked navigation system with voice recognition and FM Traffic is optional.  The all-new Accord is the first Honda product to offer available HondaLink technology, which works with the owner’s compatible smartphone to connect the Accord with music and other media sources, internet apps, roadside assistance and more to help improve the driving experience.  Aha by Harman is the first HondaLink internet app resource and future apps will expand HondaLink functionality substantially.

Standard equipment inside my Accord Sport not mentioned above included AM-FM-CD/MP3 audio system with four speakers, USB audio interface, MP3 auxiliary input jack, dual-zone climate control with air filtration system, power windows/door locks with driver-side express up/down, illuminated dual vanity mirrors, dual map lights, map pockets behind the front seatbacks, sunglass holder, cruise control, variable-speed wipers/washers, remote fuel filler door/trunk release, cargo area light, lockable glove box, exterior temperature gauge, thick cut-pile carpeting, floor maps front/rear, maintenance minder system, grab handles above each door, 60/40 split folding rear seat, and a pull-down rear armrest with dual cupholders.

Standard safety features include driver/front passenger dual stage airbags, driver/front passenger side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, ACE body structure, tire pressure monitoring system, side impact door beams, 3-point safety belts for five with front pretensioners/load limiters, daytime running lamps and the LATCH system for child seats.

The all-new 2013 Honda Accord is a vast improvement over the last generation model with sleeker and more aerodynamic styling, more fuel efficient powertrains, a more refined and dynamic suspension system, a more spacious, refined, and comfortable interior with the latest in infotainment and safety systems.  The new Sport model that I tested gave me even greater pleasure and fun driving it around town and on the highways.  The price is surprisingly affordable at just $23,390.00 for this great looking and great performing new Accord Sport sedan.

COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Accord Sedan $21,680 / As-Tested Accord Sport $23,390
  • Engine: 2.4 liter DOHC 4-cylinder 185 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm / 181 ft-lbs. torque @ 3,900 rpm
  • Transmission: CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)
  • Wheelbase: 109.3 in.
  • Total length: 191.4 in.
  • Total width: 72.8 in.
  • Total height: 57.7 in.
  • Curb weight: 3,342 lbs.
  • Track: f/r-62.4/62.4 in.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.1/37.5 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.5/38.5 in.
  • Cargo volume: 15.8 cu.ft.
  • Turing circle: 39.6 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 17.2 gallons
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds

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