2013 Honda Accord Touring HD Video Review

Honda Accord has always been a no-brainer family sedan that’s roomy, economical, reliable, even fun-to-drive.  It’s made Car and Driver’s 10 Best list every year since the sky has been blue.  But really?  Has it been resting on its laurels for the past few years?

2013 Honda Accord Touring Sedan

Yes, Accord is crazy popular but for what it’s worth, the eighth generation never worked for me.  Fussy sheetmetal looked like two different design teams worked on it.  The dark interior was cluttered with identical buttons.  Less expensive competitors offered features that weren’t even available on Accord.  Then there was the overall size that cast a big shadow, even at noon.

Generation nine takes care of most of that…  emphasis on most. It’s 3.5 inches shorter on the outside and a tiny bit more spacious inside.  While Honda is hoping to recapture Accord’s glory years, competitors have become very, very, good in the last three years. Especially strong these days are Altima, Fusion, Malibu, Optima, Passat, and Sonata.

What I’m Driving

Honda has dropped off a top line Touring model, going for $34,220 with destination.  It only comes loaded and includes LED projector headlamps and trendy LED daytime running lights that other Accords don’t get.  Exclusive radar assisted cruise control matches speeds down to 5-10 miles per hour.

2013 Honda Accord Touring Sedan

Touring is only offered with Honda’s port-injected 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower on tap (and 252 lb-ft @ 4900 rpm).  It can shut half the cylinders down for better fuel efficiency.  Most buyers will opt for the direct-injected 185 horse four-cylinder paired with a new continuously variable transmission but that combo is not in the press fleet yet.  Only the V6 gets a new six-speed automatic transmission.  Other Accords can be had with paddles shifters, Touring is denied.  A sport mode tightens up shift times and holds lower ratios longer.

With more torque at lower RPMs now, there’s a healthy amount of scoot with little torque steer (the tugging of the steering wheel under hard acceleration).  Standstill to 60 mph happens in around six seconds, excessive wheel spin on moist Seattle pavement keeps my figure a bit vague.  Transmission shifts are crisp and decisive.  The V6 fuel economy is EPA rated at 21 city, 34 highway and yes, it drinks regular gas.

2013 Honda Accord CAD

Quietly Improving

A consistent gripe with Accords of the past?  Road noise.  That’s addressed, due in part to standard Active Noise Control that creates a sound-canceling reverse waveform pumped out from the speakers.  Wind noise is nearly absent at realistic highway cruising speeds.  A standard feature owners may never realize is Active Sound Control.  It samples the exhaust note and using tech similar to Active Noise Reduction, eliminates the nasty sounds spewing from the tail pipe, leaving the melodious ones.  It must work, I like Accord’s engine note.

Accord gets a new MacPherson strut front suspension.  Don’t worry, it still handles athletically while banishing harshness.  There’s fun here for those who enjoy driving but it won’t alienate the comfort crowd.  Steering effort is on the light side and even with electric power steering some road feel remains.  The structure- built with more high strength steel this time around- is as solid as Lindsay Lohan’s bad girl reputation.

2013 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Sedan

Back to wheel slippage, Accord’s biggest handling limitation seems to be the tires.  There’s higher than average wheel spin at stoplights and they loose grip under very hard cornering.  Yes, this has something to do with the constant Northwest drizzle but not everything.  Daily commuters on dry pavement may not notice it.  I’d suggest different rubber for autocrossing enthusiasts but, uh, this is a family sedan.

Tech Talk

Accord has lane departure and forward collision warning that gives you a friendly beep and warning light if you’re not paying attention to your surroundings (FYI, the Touring adds a radar assist to the camera-only system used by the EX-L model).

2013 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Sedan

There’s also the much-advertised blind spot camera dubbed LaneWatch mounted on the passenger side mirror.  Basically, when signaling right, the camera’s view comes up on the eight-inch LCD screen with markers defining the rear bumper plus one and two car lengths.  The irony is that Accord’s large windows offer great visibility if drivers would simply turn and look.  Also, I find it a little annoying in urban driving since the view pops up every right turn signal.  FYI, It can be turned off.

Cleaning Up

Generation nine gets its design mojo back.  Conservatively handsome in the sober way Accord used to be, the front and rear now seem to be designed by the same team as the side.  Glad that concept has been grasped.  It’s not as daring as Sonata, Optima, or Fusion but not all buyers are extroverts. The cut line that runs through the door handles no longer looks like an upside-down wing surface.  It’s cleaner, trimmer, and more purposeful but retains a similar presence to the outgoing model.  Not a single person recognized it as the new Accord in my week with it.

2013 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Sedan

Honda has listened to the complaints of owners and auto writers about the hundreds of identical buttons… okay, more like dozens.  In short, they’ve cleaned up the instrument panel and it looks pretty good.  Now there are two screens.  A six-inch touch unit takes care of the sound system operation and switches to a keyboard to program the navi unit.  An eight-inch panel displays the back-up camera (with three selectable views) and a blizzard of other info like maps, phone info, and trip computer.  Yes, the familiar Honda navi knob can be turned, nudged and tapped to input addresses, but it’s tedious (and Honda’s voice recognition works poorly, at least with my golden tones).  It’s much easier to use the touchpad.  Some will like this set up, others won’t.  Like any user interface, spend time before buying so you understand what you’ll be living with.

Well Connected

Use a smart phone’s data plan and get Pandora streaming audio.  Incoming text messages can be read aloud by the system or displayed when stopped at a light.  Drivers can respond with six pre-programmed messages such as “I’m driving, and you know it would be insane for me to text you back while I’m operating 3,300 pounds of lethal steel, glass and plastic”.  Okay, that’s not one of them but my point has been made.

2013 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Sedan

Huzzah!  Honda finally offers keyless ignition!  Wide seats are nicely bolstered though skinny folks will rattle around some. Soft touch materials on the dash look good.  Silver trim all around improves the overall ambience, the faux brushed aluminum will fool no one.  The big miss is sparkly black plastic that surrounds the touch screen which looks like something my teen daughter would have brought home from Claire’s.  There are lots of storage nooks to stash things and if you like chocolate milk as much as me, a square carton fits very nicely in the cup holders.

Gripes?  I prefer the radio’s power button on the volume knob instead of up above it.  Accord still doesn’t offer cooled seats up front, heated seats for the back, or a panoramic sunroof.  It does offer great protection though.  Advanced airbags and a top score in the IIHS’s new “narrow offset” or “small overlap” crash test will help keep your family safe.  The latter is something Camry did poorly on if protection is a primary concern.

2013 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Sedan

Passengers and Cargo

Moving to the back seat, there’s plenty of room for three average sized adults.  A flat floor helps a lot.  There’s storage in the door panels, an adjustable air vent, pockets on both seats, and a folding armrest with cupholders.  Unfortunately friends (and more importantly, cranky iPad deprived kids) can’t charge electronics since there’s no power port.

The cargo hold is equally large.  In the famous TP trunk test Accord swallows up seven packs of the suitcase-sized bundles.  Pretty respectable.  The space is well trimmed, even the lid that gets a grab handle.  A space saver spare is nice to have, same with bag hooks.  Just watch the hinge arms, they can scrunch stuff when closing the lid.  The seat back folds flat but I’m dinging it because it doesn’t split.  Buy something long at IKEA and a third person is taking the bus home.  Not cool.

2013 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Sedan

In The End

The competition, especially Optima and Sonata can be less expensive than Accord but then you start weighing in on grey areas like different equipment each car does and doesn’t offer.  A base Accord with a six-speed manual transmission start at around $22,500 with standard Bluetooth, iPod integration back up cam, and alloy wheels.

Once again, Accord returns as one of the most formidable players in the family sedan segment.  In someways, Honda has gone back to the future to make Accord appealing again.  Just remember, all the players in the family sedan market are very, very good these days.  In many cases personal preference and brand loyalty will be the deciding factor.  You could just snap up an Accord and feel good about your purchase, but I strongly advise buyers to roll up their sleeves and do a lot of research and comparison.  Just make sure the 2013 Honda Accord is on the test drive list.

FULL GALLERY BELOW. BLUE CAR IS A TOURING MODEL, THE RED ONE AND INTERIOR SHOTS ARE AN EX-L MODEL. ALL STILL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY HONDA.

39 Comments

  1. balanced says:

    Hey Tom,

    Just watched your review on the 2013 Accord Touring for the second time, I am actually considering the Accord Sport with the 6-SPD manual. Do you happen to know if you will be sampling one of those soon? I would love to hear your opinion on it, such as how it handles and how the slightly bumped 4 cylinder feels.

    On a side note thank you for all of the great reviews that you provide, I enjoy checking for new ones weekly on my AppleTV.

    Thanks,
    Marc

    • TV says:

      Glad you like them Marc,

      I know there’s one in the press fleet but I’m scheduled up for the next month or so. You’ll probably have bought something by then.

      There are loads of good automotive writers out there, I suggest a quick Google search. You might check out the Mazda6 review I just posted as well. Sorry I can’t help further. TV

      • balanced says:

        Thanks for the quick reply, actually I am about 4 to 6 months out, so I might catch your review. Also per your continued advice, I am going to check out several vehicles in the same class and I did catch the Mazda6 review you did, and have since added it to my list.

        Thanks again,
        Marc

  2. mikeaustin says:

    Hi Tom,
    Awesome review!!, I see that you mention the LED headlights are not as bright as HID Xeons. Is there an auto industry rating system for headlight brightness? I know the Audi A6 LED headlights are supposedly brighter than HID’s.

    I want to know which car has mid size sedan has the brightest headlights?

    Thanks,
    Mike

    • TV says:

      Hi Mike,

      While I’m sure there is a standard to measure the intensity, i haven’t ever seen it listed in press info on a regular basis.

      The advantage of LED lighting is longevity, reduced power consumption and smaller size for easier packaging. It’s not so much a matter of brightness.

      There is a legal limit to how bright headlights can be in the US. The low beams range from 15,000 to 20,000 candela, high beams range from 20,000 to 75,000.

      • mikeaustin says:

        Thanks for the reply. Do you know which car has the brightest HID headlights?

        I’m 55 years old and quite often driving at night so visibility is very important to me.

        Thanks,
        Mike

        • TV says:

          I’m sorry but I don’t. Any car with HID or Xenon headlamps should make you happy. I have a Volvo XC70 with Xenons and they rock at night. My wife’s Soul is an Exclaim model with projection lights and they too are very good. Accord’s LEDs should be fine for you as well.

          My “duh” suggestion would be to test drive at dusk or night. That way you can see the car in the last bit of daylight but check out the headlamps and interior lighting.

          A hint, stay away from aftermarket headlamps that are tinted blue in color to simulate HID bulbs. From what I understand, the fakes are in a different color temperature spectrum and they aren’t as good as the standard bulbs when it comes to discerning details. Xenons appear to be blue but are actually in a spectrum that helps your eyes see better, the same as a flash unit on your camera.

  3. Quarkman says:

    Thinking about the Accord Touring, what did you think about the adaptive cruise control and radio audio quality? Do you think the Touring price is worth it over the V6 non touring models? Thanks

    • TV says:

      From an audiophile perspective I thought the sound system was an 7 on a 1 -10 scale ( I worked in a recording studio for a few years). It’s about par with the other high-end sound systems in the affordable mid-sized sedan class. My favorites are the high-end systems in VWs and Lincolns (the THX systems are awesome).

      The adaptive cruise works well in average highway traffic but I didn’t test it in full-on heavy traffic mode though. Sorry, that sort of slipped off my checklist.

      I have not driven the four cylinder model so I can’t help you there. Typically, they handle a little better because of the lighter front end. That said, the four has a CVT transmission so you’ll have to determine whether it lives up to your liking.

      Does this help?

  4. Ravi says:

    Hi Tom. Love your reviews. I am trying to pick between Accord Touring and Avalon. Would appreciate your pov … the pros and cons of each. Thanks.

  5. Javier86 says:

    Hey Steve how does this car specially the 4cyl is compared to the sonata, altima and fusion. And which out of all of them would you prefer.. also the V6 comparing to the Turbos

    • TV says:

      Did you mean Tom? I have not driven the Fusion yet, and the Altima review I’m working on is the V6. It’s all they had in the press fleet.

  6. tom m says:

    Hi Tom
    I wanted to get your opinion of these noise cancellation systems that are appearing in cars. I just bought a 2013 accord exl. The car is silent but I wonder how much is really from the the noise cancellation system. It would be interestion to do a test on the freeway and measure the decibels with the system on and off. Also I worry about how it will work in 40,000 miles after my teenagers have blown out the speakers!

    • TV says:

      Good question Tom,

      I know most about the Bose system in GM products but basically they work the same. The systems mostly work to counteract the low frequency boomy sounds that happen between 40Hz and 180Hz. In the GM system the sampling mics are above the door frame on the front driver and passenger sides so it “hears” same sounds the occupant would hear.

      While it doesn’t sound like much (no pun intended) a noise drop of about 3db with the system on, especially in the lower frequencies, really helps. How long the speaker will last against your teen is tough to say. If it were mine I’d say about ten minutes.

      Hope that helps, enjoy the car.

  7. Chucky says:

    Awesome review Tom!!! Just want to comment on the blind spot warning camera a.k.a “Lane Watch.” The reason they didn’t put a camera on the left side (driver’s side) is because they don’t want the driver looking on the display screen while merging on the left lane. The lane watch system only covers the driver’s blind spot but not the entire left side of the driver. But like you said in your review, turning your head to check your blind spot will not be an issue since Accord provides excellent visibility. Also, I wish Honda would offer a 60/40 split back seat. They didn’t offer 60/40 in the 8th generation. I wonder why. Tom, could you please do a review of 2013 Honda Civic when you get a chance. Thank you and Happy New Year! :)

    • TV says:

      Oh yeah,
      A camera on the driver’s side would be way too distracting. I just wanted viewers to know that there was only one cam. You can only imagine the replies if I had left that fact out…

  8. kode103 says:

    If the Accord got 60/40 split seats, I would buy it, hands down!

  9. BrunoT says:

    I watch a lot of reviews and I have to say yours are probably the best for real-world drivers, Tom. You’re not fixated on how it rotates through an apex, but you don’t ignore performance and handling like some do. Well done.

    At $34,000 the Accord becomes a near-lux sedan and for a little more there are better choices. A lower trim 4 cylinder will cost less but may lose a lot of the appeal though. Overall, it’s still an appliance. Great if you want that, but I prefer something with a little more character.

    • TV says:

      Wel, I think the reason Accord is appealing is that it isn’t an appliance the way some others are (or have been in the past). There’s some soul in this car. Is it a German sport sedan? Nope, but it’s not a washing machine either.

      Well equipped cars always start bumping up against the next higher level. That’s just a decision that buyers have to ask themselves- a higher end model with less features or a lower end car with all the bells and whistles. It’s not always clear cut, is it?

      Thanks for the kind words BrunoT!

      • hiptech says:

        There are other thing to consider too…
        - High end cars not only cost more to buy but to insure and repair as well.
        - They depreciate faster than mainstream models.
        - Premium models typically require premium fuel (Hybrids excepted).
        - Luxury models become prohibitively expensive to repair and maintain after the warranty is over.

        On the plus side…
        - High end models tend to have unique features not always available on lower models.
        - High end cars are usually styled more dramatically.
        - There is more cache to owning a premium brand.

  10. hiptech says:

    Happy New Year!

    After owning several generations of Accords (’89, ’93, ’00, ’04 TSX) I haven’t felt this happy about a new design in many years…

    That said, I have been very pleased to see some real improvements and no so pleased about some omissions.

    Happy:
    - As mentioned, much improved body style (especially over succeeding edition).
    - Normal size windows again, hope this a trend in eliminating “gun slits” as side glass.
    - P/B start, Bluetooth, etc along with some real innovative engineering like the side view camera, ambient noise reduction system.
    - Rear A/C vents (we live in Arizona) so this will be welcomed

    Not So Happy:
    - Still single panel rear folding seat-back, really Honda, even my TSX has this and that model is almost 10 years old…
    - Rear access through trunk when seat-back is folded has been shrinking to an almost unusable opening. Maybe it’s structural rigidity or side impact standards but I think Honda believes this to be the new ski-pass (which has also been eliminated).
    - Lack of paddle shifters on V6 models…
    - Models such as SE either lack desired features such as leather or the features from the SE should be made available on other models such as the seat, more powerful 4-cyl and dual exhausts.
    - Speaking of 4-cylinders, why no 4-cylinder for the top of the line touring. Just about everyone is offering 4′s on premium models even Honda! Just look at Honda Canada where the Touring is offered in both 6 & 4 cylinder variants!
    http://www.honda.ca/accord_sedan/specs
    - Interior door courtesy lamps unavailable on all but the Touring edition (really Honda!?). Car-makers still amaze me by how many items they continuously delete during each successive generation. Remember when door panels had carpet, under dash lights. seat track trim and fabric speaker grills?
    - Dash is still a little too busy looking but still an improvement over previous generation.

    While my list may look more pessimistic than optimistic I feel very happier with the new model and can only hope Honda mends its ways by addressing some of the shortcomings within the 6 year model cycle.

    I’d almost given up on the brand as I seriously believed they lost their way. My hope is Honda continues improving not only the Accord but their other models too…

    Thanks Tom very another great review!

    • TV says:

      Remind me to just let you write the review for the 10th generation, okay?

    • jj_accord says:

      @ hiptech

      Some of the models of the Canadian Accord also have heated rear seats as well. My guess they’re saving things for their mid cycle refresh.

      • hiptech says:

        @ jj_accord

        I hope you’re reading the tea leaves right and these options do start appearing in US market models soon…

        That said, Honda has a long standing tradition of offering cold weather features in Canadian models that didn’t always migrate to the US. But I will try to remain optimistic and take a wait and see attitude.

        BTW, nice catch on the Canadian model rear seat heaters, missed that one. Still, I’d much rather see air cooled seats at this point as several competitors do offer these.

  11. raghu4026 says:

    Hello Tom,

    Nice review as always. Can you comment on the road noise levels in comparison to Lexus ES 350 or MB E350. Just wanted to know how quiet the new accord is.

    Thanks,
    Raghu

    • TV says:

      The Lexus and MB are quieter. Accord is seems mid-pack in it’s segment, much better than it has been in the past. It’s a good mid-sized family sedan but it is not a luxury sedan.

  12. 68mlo says:

    Tom, regarding the interior noise levels of the Accord, have they truly improved? The last Accord I was in was a 2004 model (2.4L “LX”) and the road noise on the highway was worse than some economy cars.

    I’m liking the new 2013 Accord more and more with every review I see or read about it. I love the design, but then…I don’t believe every car has to be “dynamic” and have styling that is more “questionable” than “tasteful”. I also love the improved interior; that’s probably the biggest improvement right there. Thanks for the review!

  13. mx5er says:

    Have you driven it at night? And if so, how were the LED (not the LED DRL) headlights? Better than HID? The same? Or better than HID? Too bad they’re only available on the V6 Touring. Maybe in 2 or 3 years time, LED headlights will replace HID.

    I like the Sport model but you can’t get it with a sunroof, leather and keyless start.

    Glad Honda reigned in the exterior size. IMHO, it was getting out of control. I haven’t compared the dimensions but I’m guessing Honda didn’t want to make two Accords (TSX=European Accord) for the global market. So maybe this Accord will be a true global model. Then Acura will ax the TSX, with the ILX taking its place.

    • TV says:

      The LED headlamps looked much the same as any good halogen headlamp as far as illumination, maybe a little better. They are not as bright as HIDs.

      Primarily, LEDs are best used to reduce power consumption (great for electric cars). Since they are compact, they’re great for designers, who can create more dramatic designs and not worry as much about the bulk of a traditional lamp assembly.

      I agree with you about the size. I’m pretty sure the North American Accord will remain a separate mode though. Our Accord has been sold in Japan as the Inspire, so it’s not as if Honda does it just for us.

      • mx5er says:

        Almost forgot about the Inspire. Considering its size, I’m wondering if anybody in Japan is buying them at all. Maybe a low level Yakuza who isn’t ready to step up to a Mercedes S Class?

  14. Facepalm says:

    Maybe it’s my inner Virgo (September 11th) that enjoys your precisely executed reviews so much, lol. The world needs more Virgo-driven reviews.

    I’ll always take a level-headed method of reviewing over the flamboyant style meant to garner views as much as present the viewer with information on the reviewed subject. Thank you for the balanced reviews and your dedication to them. And I appreciate the insight into your approach; it’s nice to know what drives you (pun not intended) and what you strive to avoid. It helps me understand your reviews better. Thanks again.

    Regarding the 8th generation Accord, I seem to be the only person I know who likes its styling… Mainly the early 8th before the slight freshening. The sedan is alright, but the coupe always gets my attention when one drives by. I’m glad Honda at least chose to make the exterior appearances different rather than rid the sedan of two doors and call it a day. The 9th generation left me somewhat undecided when I saw the first screenshots of it, but it’s actually turned out to be a real looker in person. Styling is subjective, of course.

    Only a few days until I start checking up on blip.tv again to see if the next review is up, haha. I probably give that site a ton of hits.

    • Facepalm says:

      Whoops. I meant to reply directly to you, Tom.
      Eh, I’ll get it right next time.

    • TV says:

      And I loathe the design before the restyling. Different strokes, huh?

      I agree, the gen 8 coupe is better looking (I like the new version too) but I find it too large for a sporty two-door.

      Don’t bother checking blip until the weekend, okay? I’m closer to a 10 day turn around on the reviews these days.

      • Facepalm says:

        Well I go to blip all the time anyway, actually, as I’ve been watching your videos from the first one to the most recent. I’m on page 3 right now. But yeah, I figured there was roughly a ten-day period between new videos.

        Also, I wanted to ask this earlier: have you actually received complaints about the rear passenger foot/leg room shots and how you “block the view” while demonstrating how much space there is? I personally have no complaints about it; it’s almost like the TP test in that you can see how much room there is rather than just rattling off numbers but not showcasing the space being used. And I appreciate it when you mention foot room because that seems to be passed over by some car reviewers. It also helps that I am about 5’9″ as well, although my shoes aren’t size 11s, lol.

        Finally, unless Honda has a (really) good reason for not having the rear seats be split-folding, it’s a little ridiculous that they are STILL a single piece. I can do without ventilated seats and a panoramic glass roof, but split-folding seats (or lack of) can really affect practicality, whereas the other aforementioned features the Accord continues to lack are just luxury features (emphasis on “just”)… although ventilated seats might come in handy every now and then, depending on where you live.

  15. Facepalm says:

    I know you were trying to be polite with “I was never crazy about the outgoing generation,” but from the rest of the review it sounded like the 8th generation really left you cold, lol. I’ve only driven a seventh generation Accord (briefly) and that was my grandmother’s (haha), so I can’t really say for myself if the 8th was a dud or not. I respect your opinions on the 8th, of course, but it seemed odd to hear what seemed like strong feelings about a car coming from someone who excels at being a neutral (as well as glass half full) car reviewer.

    Still liked the review, as always. The Evil Twin segments keep getting better, too.

    • TV says:

      I wasn’t trying to be polite, I just plain wasn’t crazy about it. I understood its legacy and place in the market but the gen 8 car always left me flat, especially the exterior design. Uhg.

      Another thing, let’s put that glass-half-full thing into perspective. Unlike some reviewers I’m not interested in trash talk to make myself seem more discerning or even worse, entertaining. I’m trying to offer the very best balanced opinion of each and every car, so that shoppers feel like they’ve almost test driven the car with a guy who knows the ropes. It’s a delicate balance to give my opinion but still allow a viewer to keep their’s as well. I could be a lot more popular by showing more ‘tude but the Virgo in me enjoys a precisely executed review (with a little humor of course). It’s who I am and I have to stay true to that.