Honda Accord cuts down on size, not satisfaction

  • Article by: BARRY SPYKER , Miami Herald
  • Updated: May 4, 2013 - 5:42 PM

The ninth-generation Accord remains good at what it’s nearly always done — being a roomy, comfortable and reliable family hauler.

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The 2013 Honda Accord, now in its ninth generation, is smaller and lighter than its predecessor.

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Carmakers have been on board for some time now with the bigger-is-better theory. Seems each new generation of a model these days brings boasts of longer, wider, taller, roomier.

Well, Honda has taken a different approach with the completely redesigned 2013 Accord. It’s smaller and lighter.

Have they lost their minds, you ask? It appears not. And, if you still believe bigger is better, know that the Accord is roomier inside and has more cubic feet of storage in the trunk.

It’s the ninth-generation Accord, and it remains good at what it’s nearly always done — being a roomy, comfortable and reliable family hauler. But then it went one better on the exterior styling by smoothing out the lines, sculpting in more curves. The front, including the headlights, and rear also were enhanced.

And Honda added a couple more trims: a Sport version, in an attempt to wake up younger folks to the Accord, and the Touring, for those seeking more extras and more refinement. More on that later.

For you Accord loyalists, know that Honda has retained everything you’ve loved: a smooth, quiet ride that gets you there rather economically. But driving enthusiasts haven’t been left out.

Most will go with the standard 2.4-liter inline-four engine, which is decently improved and generates 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. That’s better than last generation and, equipped with the CVT (continuously variable transmission), will get you to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. That ranks well with this class.

The Sport trim, equipped with a dual exhaust, squeezes out 8 more horses and some more torque.

Accord’s next engine is the 3.5-liter V6, which also has been upgraded and gets 278 hp and 252 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 improves to a quite impressive 6.1 seconds.

Perhaps more important to the Accord crowd: Mileage with the inline four and CVT is in the low-20s around town, low 30s on the highway. Slightly better with the 6-speed manual. With the V6, linked to a 6-speed automatic, you should get around 20 in town but a sweet 33 on the open road.

Honda has one of the best CVT’s on the road; it doesn’t whine or strain and feels pretty much like the 6-speed automatics.

Acceleration from a stop or for passing is more than adequate in the 4-cylinder and even better with the six. No problems with handling, as the Accord is well-balanced and offers no significant body roll on corners.

The electric-assist steering is lighter than I prefer, but it’s responsive and accurate.

From inside, Honda says improvements should make Accord even quieter — road noise is greatly reduced. And visibility remains excellent in all directions.

Seats are comfortable for long trips and offer decent headroom and legroom. Back-seat riders should have no complaints, either.

A nod of approval goes to the materials inside, with soft-touch surfaces that make this car feel more like a luxury car.

The center stack is chock full of easy-to-access information, and some models offer two screens. Strange but true. The top screen handles navigation and rear views for safer backup; The bottom screen is touch-sensitive and handles audio controls and things like phone operation.

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