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Honda Accord All New for 2013

2013 Honda Accord

When an automaker redesigns a vehicle that is considered the linchpin of their lineup, much is at stake. A misstep can be disastrous and set the company back for years, so rarely will tremendous risks be taken. One such vehicle is the Honda Accord. The Accord has long been the midsize standard-bearer and top seller. Let’s see if they’ve got a hit on their hands.

The new Honda Accord, at first viewing, appears to be evolutionary in design. Indeed, to the untrained eye, it may look like a mild sheetmetal cleanup. But in fact, the new Accord is brand-new from the ground up. Despite the familiar appearance, the car’s length has shrunk by 3.5 inches, which has the dual effect of tidying up its visual proportion and reducing weight. The trimmer dimensions, along with new powertrain combinations, have improved combined gas mileage by 3 MPG in the most popular 4-cylinder models despite increases in horsepower and torque.

Two of Honda’s changes for the benefit of weight savings and economy may rankle the more enthusiastic Accord drivers. First, for the 4-cylinder variants, Honda has developed a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) to replace the more conventional automatic transmission. CVTs are prized for the fuel savings that their infinite gearing range provides, but some drivers bemoan their whiny driving characteristics. Second, the Accord has forgone its dual-wishbone front suspension in favor of a MacPherson strut setup. The MacPherson strut system is simpler, lighter and cheaper to produce, but is generally considered to lack the crisp handling of dual wishbone suspension. Upcoming test drives will tell if Honda has managed to mitigate this change.

Every automaker needs a catchy marketing moniker to tout the green-ness of their powerplants, like Mazda’s SkyAvtic, Ford’s EcoBoost, and Mercedes-Benz’s BlueTec. Honda has gone with the rather clunky Earth Dreams tag. While the name feels like something got lost in translation on its way across the Pacific, the technology is sound, with direct injection providing boosts in both power and fuel economy. Also on tap is an Accord Hybrid, and in 2014, a plug-in hybrid version.

After the savaging Honda received over the cheapness of the interior in the latest Civic, they took no such chances with the Accord. Expect more soft-touch surfaces and improved fit and finish. And despite shrinking in exterior dimensions, interior room has grown in key spots like rear legroom. Honda is also joining the high-tech infotainment parade with an 8-inch “Intelligent Multi-Information Display” dash screen, Bluetooth integration, and back-up camera all standard. Upgrades include the new HondaLink smartphone integration system, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, lane departure warning, and something Honda calls LaneWatch, which displays a wide-angle view of the passenger sides lanes.

The new Accord sedan debuts nationwide on September 19, with the coupe following on October 15. Look for more information at AutoBuying101.com when it becomes available.