2013 Honda Accord Review

Tony O'Kane | 17 Comments

2013 HONDA ACCORD REVIEW

What's Hot: Creamy V6, premium cabin, safety tech
What's Not: The V6L carries premium pricing, four-cylinder struggles with 5-speed auto
X-Factor: Far from your grandpa’s Accord, the 2013 model takes affordable comfort, convenience and luxury to a new level.

  • Vehicle style: Medium sedan
  • Engine/trans: 129kW/225Nm 2.4 litre petrol inline-four/5-speed auto, 206kW/339Nm 3.5 litre petrol V6/6-speed auto
  • Price: $31,490 (Accord VTi) - $51,990 (Accord V6L) - plus on road costs and charges
  • Fuel consumption listed: 5.8 l/100km (four-cylinder), 6.4 l/100km (V6)

With buyer interest in large cars waning, Honda has purposefully distanced itself from Australia’s fastest-shrinking automotive segment.

While the outgoing Accord was pitched as a competitor to the Falcon, Commodore, Aurion and Maxima, Honda’s all-new 2013 Accord will likely slip into the medium category, joining the Accord Euro.

It’s a strange arrangement, but Honda Australia says having both the Accord and the Accord Euro sold side-by-side is workable.

Honda's view is that the new Accord’s emphasis on luxury and comfort will offer something very different to the sportier Accord Euro. (But Honda will no doubt hold a watching brief on that.)

The new car won’t go on sale locally until July, but Australian media were given a sneak peek at Honda's all-new Accord in New Zealand this week.

On our first taste, it impressed. Right now, we'd place it near the top of any mid/large sedan buyer’s shopping list - but it’s not without its faults.

THE INTERIOR

Honda’s recent efforts with interiors have been impressive. Civic hatch, CR-V, CR-Z, all have quality cabins with high-grade materials and impeccable build quality. The 2013 Accord is no exception.

The new Accord interior boasts improved textures, more soft-touch surfaces and greatly improved leather upholstery.

Cabin comfort has been enhanced through reshaped front seats, and although the on-road footprint has shrunk slightly, cabin space is equal to the outgoing model - and, in some dimensions, better.

Boot space is unchanged at 461 litres for the VTi and 457 litres for all other models, and alterations to the rear floorpan have resulted in a boot floor that is nearly flat. The floor is a little high, but the trade-off is a full-size alloy spare as standard.

The centre-stack layout has been thoroughly revised, with high-grade models gaining a double-decker screen layout with the primary infotainment display at the top and a touch-screen display in the middle.

Visibility of both screens is great, and the sensitivity and responsiveness of the touch-screen is excellent.

However, with Honda’s scroll wheel/joystick interface being used for some commands and the touch-screen for others, figuring out which method to use can take some head-scratching.

But on the whole, buttons are clearly labelled and well laid-out. Cabin ergonomics are good, and you never need to stretch too far to hit a button.

ON THE ROAD

We started our drive in the range-topping V6L. It might be on the wrong side of $50k, but that 3.5 litre V6 is a wonderful motor.

There’s 206kW and 339Nm on tap, and power delivery is nice and linear. It gets the Accord V6L off the line sharply and throttle response is good across the rev range.

It sounds great as well, with a throaty growl in the middle of the rev range. Settle down to a cruise though, and it’s whisper-quiet.

Speaking of which, it’s worth mentioning that all Accord variants get Active Noise Control (ANC) that pipes opposite-phase sound through the speakers to help cancel-out road and engine noise, and other ambient noise from outside the car.

Honda says ANC is good for a 10db reduction in in-cabin sound levels, and we found the new Accord to be blissfully quiet on the road.

The four-cylinder VTi-L (no lesser grades were available at the launch) is similarly refined.

The 129kW/225Nm 2.4 litre is smooth throughout its rev range, and although it’s not terribly strong when hauling the VTi-L’s 1572kg mass, it’s doesn’t feel overly weak.

Unfortunately, the four-cylinder’s five-speed automatic isn’t quite so impressive. It’s not as quick through the gears as the six-speed in the V6, and the wider gaps between ratios dulls performance.

Why Honda elected to equip four-cylinder models with a five-speed instead of a six-speed is a mystery.

The ultra-light steering is another issue. There’s no feel or feedback through the wheel, and it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on under the front wheels when in a corner.

But is that good or bad?

If you enjoy driving hard, then the Accord’s feather-light steering won't be to your liking. If you spend most of your time in congested traffic and navigating shopping centre carparks, it’s ideal.

But that’s not to say that the Accord isn’t a capable handler. On the twisting roads around Auckland the Accord surprised us with its grip in corners and the general composure and compliance of its chassis.

Honda has ditched the current Accord’s double-wishbone front suspension in favour for a simpler and cheaper MacPherson strut arrangement, but thankfully that’s not been to the detriment of handling.

Ultimately though, the Accord is a cruiser. It rides comfortably and quietly on the highway, and in V6L trim it effortlessly eats up the kilometres.

What really impressed us about the 2013 Accord, though, was the level of driver aids available.

Standard on every car from the VTi-S upward is Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot monitoring system which uses a camera mounted in the left wing-mirror to display what’s hiding next to the car.

It activates automatically when indicating left, and can be manually called up by pushing a button on the tip of the indicator stalk. It is, in a word, brilliant.

So too the Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS), which bundles active cruise control, lane-keep assist, auto-tensioning front seatbelts and an auto-braking collision mitigation system.

It’s available as an option on the VTi-L and standard on the V6L.

Unlike most lane-keep systems which intervene when you’re on top of the painted line, Honda’s actively steers the car to keep it roughly in the centre of the lane.

Even gentle corners can be navigated with the hands completely off the wheel. It all works very well, and for drivers who spend a lot of time on highways, ADAS is a godsend.

FIRST DRIVE VERDICT

Honda has upped the ante with its Accord, and delivered a car that’s substantially quieter, more luxurious, more comfortable and more refined than the current model.

It’s as spacious as ever and chock-full of technology, but it's getting pricey at the premium V6L end of the range.

At the other end, where the Accord 2.4 VTi sits, the Toyota Camry has a lower price of entry, and there’s little price advantage over the Ford Mondeo. Both of those cars though are older and don’t have the premium feel of the Accord.

Look further up the segment, and, if you're shopping on price, the new Accord packs more value than the Mazda6 and Volkswagen Passat.

Both cars were singled out by Honda as being key competitors. Certainly, the new Accord’s four-cylinder range presents an enticing alternative to either.

We’ll have more in-depth reviews of the 2013 Honda Accord soon. Stay tuned.

Pricing (excludes on-road costs)

  • 2013 Accord VTi - $31,490
  • 2013 Accord VTi-S - $33,990
  • 2013 Accord VTi-L - $41,490
  • 2013 Accord VTi-L with ADAS - $44,990
  • 2013 Accord V6L - 51,990

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Filed under: Featured, review, Honda, petrol, honda accord, automatic, fwd, family, large, Advice, special-featured, 6cyl, 4cyl, 4door, 6a, 5a, 5seat, available, 50-55k, 40-45k, 30-35k, 2013my

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  • glen says,
    1 year ago
    Those fuel consumption figures are remarkable... I don't see how they could be real though.. especially for the V6... 6.4l/100km? My Ford Focus averages 6.4... And it's engine and body and half the size!!
    • Smart us says,
      1 year ago
      yeah only listed fuel consumption - Honda and Mazda are known for no being remotely close to what they claim - Honda slightly worse than Mazda tho...
      • Chris says,
        1 year ago
        Could not disagree more with your comment about Honda's fuel claims. In fact my wife's CRV is utterly accurate to Honda's claim of 10L/100km combined. Since moving to the country 2 years ago and doing more highway cruising, that figure continues to drop and is a smidge over 9L/100km for total vehicle kilometrage (92,000) at the moment. Mazda on the other hand optimistically listed the CX7 at 11.5 combined and many owners complained of using about 18-20L/100km around town.
    • racrepus says,
      1 year ago
      They have to be lying. There is no way anyone would be able to get those figures.
      • Ateeq says,
        7 months ago
        The author incorrectly mentioned as VTI model doesn't use an automatic transmission, instead it uses CVT. google & you will know why the fuel consumption is do low.
        • Tony O'Kane says,
          7 months ago
          1 like
          Incorrect, Ateeq. Unless you live in the USA or China, the Accord 4cyl has a five-speed conventional automatic while the V6 gets a six-speed auto. The CVT is not available in Australia.
    • MotorMouth says,
      1 year ago
      2 likes
      Given that the car is not yet available here, it is possible those are not ADR figures. And for the record, car makers do not do their own ADR testing, it is done independently so no-one is fudging anything. It is a useful comparative guide but real world usage will always be higher, regardless of brand.
    • Ateeq says,
      7 months ago
      1 like
      V6 has a advance cylinder management technology which turns 3 cylinders off when not required.
      Honda's claim is absolutely right.
  • SON OF CAZZO says,
    1 year ago
    2 likes
    Not bad, still a dull car. The higher pricing will also ensures to is a sales flop.
  • Grumps
    Grumps says,
    1 year ago
    Not a bad looking car actually.

    50k for the V6 is ridiculous though.

    Wonder why the 5-spd auto is not up to scratch, assuming it's the same one they use in other models. The 5-spd in my Civic is a great unit.

    I also assume it is Thai made?
  • Cavallino Rampante says,
    1 year ago
    4 likes
    The article should have mentioned that the USA gets the 140kW Direct Injection four cylinder which, combined with an apparently un-CVT like CVT transmission, performs impressively for a four cylinder (0-60mph in 7.8 seconds) with outstanding fuel economy.

    It's not as if Honda Thailand doesn't have access to a 140kW four cylinder; which it installs in the Australian CRV.

    The article should also have mentioned that despite the Australian version of the Accord being made in low-cost zero-tariff Thailand, the range is greedily expensive: Our base model four cylinder costs more than a fully-loaded top-of-the-range V6 in the USA. Our V6 costs $23,000 more than a fully-loaded top-of-the-range V6 in the USA.

    Why rip us off Honda?
    • agb says,
      1 year ago
      2 likes
      Yes!

      Incidentally, I don't think the engine in the CRV has direct injection. It's not
      the engine in the US accord---which, as it happens, is in the Ward's list for 2013, but of course we don't get it here. Welcome to Australia, the unlucky country.

      Yes, the pricing is ridiculous. I am in the market, and I would buy the US accord (even with the cvt but preferably with manual transmission), but not the new Oz accord, not with old tech and not at that price.
      • k says,
        1 year ago
        Yes!
        The accord or even better the crv should get the US market 2.4 direct injection with manual transmission.
        Very efficient and powerful - 0-100 in mid 6s! That's the new technology I want Honda to bring in.
        Not the past generation old technology which we get from Thailand!
        Honda if you don't treat customers as if they are from yesterday you would not be losing sales.
    • Klaus says,
      1 year ago
      I agree we are ripped off. It cannot be justified. At the end of the day the market will decide by buying or not buying. Must be huge profits selling new cars into Australia.
  • Honda_NZ says,
    1 year ago
    I suspect none of those whining about the price have actually driven the new Accord, especially the V6. It is a very impressive car, and beats BMW and Audi hands down for value. Try it and see.
    • Cavallino Rampante says,
      1 year ago
      Yes, let's gloss over the Australian price and ignore the USA price.

      It probably is a nice car but at the price for which it is being sold in Australia and knowing (thank you internet) that it comes from low-cost Thailand with low-tech drivetrain, few will ever know it. I wish Honda OZ it's just deserts for its avarice and greed.
  • Gordon says,
    6 months ago
    I have the V6L and find the suspension rather hard on urban streets the have I uneven surfaces, when a wheel hits an unleavened spot the noise that is heard in the cabin is harsh and loud, my dealer has indicated to me that it is caused by the 18" wheels. Anyone else find this
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