2013 Honda Accord Review

Accordingly in accordance with accordant accord

By Shahzad Sheikh

2013 Honda Accord V6 saloon and coupe

[READ OUR PICTORIAL TWIN TEST: HONDA ACCORD VS VW PASSAT]

It’s bigger inside, but smaller on the outside; the cabin quality has improved markedly, but it’s reassuringly familiar; it feels the same to drive, but the suspension is different and the engines are revised; it looks the same, but is in fact completely new from bumper to bumper.

Honda’s saloon has been around since 1976 and this latest is the ninth generation edition – it seems that, somewhat fittingly for a car named ‘Accord’, this particular car hasn’t kicked off 2013 wanting to make any kind of radical statements. Rocking the boat is far from its agenda as it strives to maintain a harmonious relationship with Honda loyalists.

So straight away we can tell you that if you like Honda Accords, if you owned them in the past, you will be happy with the new one and utterly delighted to trade in your old Accord for this one. You’ll immediately feel you’ve got a car you know and love, but it’s been enhanced with better kit and tech more in-keeping with the Bluetooth-enabled, blind-spot monitoring times we drivers expect these days.

You suspect a ‘but’ coming though, don’t you? You wouldn’t entirely be mistaken – have some patience though.

2012 Honda Accord V6 Coupe

Styling revisions, or not

No new ground is broken, no saliva is drooled, no eyes are popped out of their sockets. There is nothing here that will excite the senses, snap you to attention or cause a head-turning moment. It doesn’t have the cuteness of the original 1970s Accord, nor the striking sleekness of the mid-80s Accord, nor even the sharp suit of the 7th gen European Accord.

On the other hand it just about manages to veer off blandness, particularly in top spec guise like the cars you see in these pictures, which employ the dark metallic colours and the visual effects of a decent bodykit to good effect.

It’s almost desirable and you might occasionally even look back at it. It does stand apart from the previous Accord, but I suspect that in time it will age rapidly and it will be harder to distinguish from the gen-eight car.

2012 Honda Accord V6 saloon

Tech-updates, or not

Well the big thing for Honda, and what they hope will replace the VTEC buzzword is Earth Dreams Technology. Hmm… somehow I don’t think ‘Earth Dreams kicked in yo’ has the same ring to it. Basically this denotes a new more efficient and cleaner generation of engines.

So the 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine now features direct injection and is mated to a CVT gearbox – err… except that it isn’t. At least not for you and me. Despite the misleading ‘Earth Dreams’ plaque on the engine cover, for the Middle East the previous engine is carried over and tuned up to produced 173bhp. Driving the front wheels is a regular old-skool five-speed automatic.

In more bad news, out goes the superior but more expensive Honda mainstay double wishbone suspension in favour of more common MacPherson struts.

2012 Honda Accord V6 saloon

On the other hand it does get a new 3.5-litre V6 putting out 278bhp – also labelled Earth Dreams – through a six-speed automatic. There’s new electronic power assist, refinement has been improved considerably, there’s noise cancellation to make the cabin quieter, the quality of steel used has been improved and there are LEDs front and rear.

Interior quality has been ramped up, so that existing Accord owners will definitely feel they’re getting a better car, and so has the gadgetry. A unique feature is a camera mounted in the right wing mirror facing rearward on higher spec cars. This activates the moment you touch indicator to go right or move lanes – and gives you a clear image of everything behind you in the central monitor. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s a great idea.

Why only one side? Because it would be counter-intuitive for a driver to expect to look at the screen on his right, when he is indicating and intending to go left.

2012 Honda Accord V6 Coupe

There’s not one but two interior screens now, the larger eight-inch offering features all the displays and the closer, smaller one serves up touch screen buttons to control them. Seeing as most of these features could also be operated from the knob and buttons below, this seems a little excessive and rather redundant. Still it’s a nice feature to show off to all your mates.

It’s got all the features you’d expect in higher spec guise, including sat nav, blueteeth, trippy computers and you can even choose your own wallpaper. The graphic design for the on-screen layout seems a bit dated though.
The comfort or… no actually it is very comfortable

There is more space in this car, despite the fact that external dimensions have actually been reduced – unusual considering most cars tend to get bigger with each generation. You certainly won’t want for space in the new Accord.

The driving position is great, everything is as it should be, all the controls make sense and will be immediately familiar to Honda owners. Even better news is that rear leg-room has improved and six-footers will have little cause to complain. Despite this the boot space has not been compromised either.

And that actually goes for the remarkably practical Coupe too – though access is easier from the passenger side than the drivers, as the front seat automatically slides fully forward.

It might seem like sacrilege to some that the suspension’s been changed and the double-wishbones dropped, but the ride has admittedly improved. There’s no wallow or float, but also very little harshness and good body control.

It’s got all the safety kit on board including cleverer airbags, plus there’s an undoubtedly strong aircon/climate control and a pretty decent stereo. Frankly it’s a great place to put yourself and your family when you want to get from A to B unflustered.

2012 Honda Accord V6 Coupe

The Drive

Ah, but will you remember getting from A to B? In the past Hondas were known to be keen steers with a generally higher satisfaction quotient than their peers. More lately they’ve lost some of that pizzazz. So have they put it back into the new Accord?

Erm… no, I wouldn’t go as far saying that. Although the light easy controls, responsive and accurate steering, and a chassis that’s generally more agile than its contemporaries, makes it mildly more entertaining that most cars in this class.

The V6 feels meaty and sounds good, and on paper should accelerate to 100kph in about six seconds. However neither the V6 saloon or V6 coupe that I drove felt that quick probably because they were virtually fresh out of the box and the engines were barely run-in.

Both came with paddles on the steering wheel and sports mode, but frankly you’ll rarely use them in this car, preferring to leave it in full auto which, to be fair, is where it seems happiest anyway. There’s enough go-force to instigate slightly unruly torque steer, which is surprising (most modern front-wheel drive mid-range saloons have banished this completely) and delightful at the same time.

Despite having a go at the four-cylinder earlier in this text for sticking with an outdated motor, it feels punchier, keener and less nose-heavy with fractionally more positive and eager turn-in and better response at the front. Sure it’s slower, we reckon a 0-100 of just over eight seconds, but in the real world, it doesn’t really feel that much slower than the V6 versions, and it’s considerably more economical. Again the proviso being that this engine had more clicks on the clock than the sixers, and felt nicely loosened up.

Even the transmission didn’t seem to miss that sixth gear too much, and despite having no paddles or sports mode, seemed eager to get on with the job.

2012 Honda Accord V6 Coupe

Verdict

So there you have it. The new 2013 Honda Accord is a lot like the previous Accord but better in pretty much every way. Your neighbours might not notice that you’ve upgraded to the new car, but you will – the quality, interior space, kit and drive have all improved.

Prices start at AED90k, but buy a decent spec version with all the goodies for easier and better resale – and also for that feel-good factor. The Coupe can be had either with a four-cylinder or the V6 in one trim level each, and it is undoubtedly one of the most practical two-doors available, plus it has a lot more flair than the humdrum saloon. However it’s traditionally a much slower seller, and there’s no real reason to forgo the extra doors – it’s certainly not any ‘sportier’ to drive.

The V6 is undoubtedly a creamier, lustier unit and makes for a desirable motor, but frankly speaking my recommendation would be to save yourself AED19k and go for a top spec 2.4 EX-Nav (AED117k) rather than the range-topping 3.5 Sport (AED136k). You won’t miss the extra power that much and you might actually enjoy the four-pots drive more, despite the lack of real ‘Earth Dreams’.

If you’re looking at the 3.5 Sport four-door in these pictures and thinking it looks rather tasty, you’re right, this particular car benefited from the front and rear lower spoilers and side skirts that come as a AED2600 (UAE price) option. The 18-inch wheels are standard on this particular car, and not currently available as an option. The bootlid spoiler is also standard, but can be had as an option for AE1080 (UAE price). So for AED3680 extra (about a thousand dollars), even the 2.4 can look as good as this, although it would ride on the 17-inch wheels.

So where’s that ‘but’ you sensed earlier? Well it’s been omnipresent throughout this review – the sense that Honda’s done exactly what it needed to in order to keep existing and new customers happy, no less, ‘but’ certainly no more.

I mean where’s the innovation? The buzz, the excitement, the infusion of race DNA snuck into the chassis/engine/steering when the bean-counters weren’t looking? That’s what engineers used to do at Honda. Where’s the X-factor?

2012 Honda Accord V6 saloonSpecs

Honda Accord 2.4-litre
How much?
4dr DX – AED89,999 ($24,500)
4dr LX Sunroof/Alloy wheels – AED98,999 ($26,980)
4dr EX – AED106,999 ($29,150)
4dr EX Navigation – AED116,999 ($31,880)
2dr Coupe EX – AED107,999 ($29,430)
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder, 173bhp @ 6200rpm, 166lb ft @ 4000rpm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 9L/100km (est)
Performance: 0-100kph 8.0 seconds, Top speed 190kph (est)
Weight: 1480kg (approx)

Honda Accord 3.5-litre V6
How much?
4dr EX – AED129,999 ($35,420)
4dr Sport – AED135,999 ($37,060)
2dr Coupe EX – AED130,999 ($35,700)
Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 276bhp @ 6200rpm, 250lb ft @ 4900rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 9.4L/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 6.5 seconds, Top speed 210kph (est)
Weight: 1600kg (approx)

Let us know what you think of the 2013 Honda Accord below

 

9 responses to “2013 Honda Accord Review”

  1. Sid says:

    I drove the V6 Coupe, and frankly, its the same. Earth Dreams technology? It makes me laugh when I try to say it. Almost nothing has changed, as expected, coz its a Honda. The dual screens on the dash work alright, the touchscreen can be a tad slow at times, but otherwise, its mostly the same car. The only thing that I do like about it is the engine note, which has changed from the previous generation Accord. Rev past 3500 rpm, and you’ll know what im talking about. Brand loyalty= check. New customers…hmm…..

  2. Sidharth says:

    I heard your radio show about the freezing navigation screen/ audio problem. Did they come out with a fix for that?

    • admin says:

      [Shahzad] Nope, never found out what the issue was there. It was very odd. Even more bizarre was the simple fact of experiencing a failure on a brand new Honda!

  3. I put the frozen screen down to one of two things…
    1. Pilot error (old man in a new car)
    2. Possibly the previous driver breaking it? (namely, Me)

    🙂

  4. Mohsin says:

    Well my brother has a 2009 2.4 accord and we are planning to get the range topping 3.5 v6 ! Only concern was that does the v6 really have that punch? Judging by your review, it doesn’t. Still going to go test drive it.

  5. Mohsin says:

    In response to my above comment, test drove the nissan maxima earlier today followed by the accord v6. To my surprise, the accord was way more punchy than the sluggish maxima. Really impressed. Will go for the 3.5 sport then 🙂

  6. hayat says:

    I have accord 3.5 sports (2013) and my bro with maxima 2011…
    we had a race but maxima is better in punch.

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