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regfootball

2013 Honda Accord Sport automatic CVT sedan

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Tested

2013 Honda Accord Sedan Sport 4 cylinder automatic CVT, MSRP right around 25 geezels.

In the interest of wanting to vet all the media gushing on the new Accord, and having sold cars who had CVT's and dealing with the public reaction daily as well as driving them myself....and as possibly thinking mid size sedan in the future......

I ended up in a shorter than i wanted test of a new 013 Accord. The previous gen Accord did not do much for me, and the combination of weird looks, cheap interior, and NVH and driving issues meant the car never interested me. And pretty much the press as a whole had begun to look away from Honda some as midsize class leader. Even the sales charts showed a slide for the golden child. What didn't help was the onslaught of amazing new entries from virtually every automaker in the market (including a shockingly competitive Passat from VW).

Honda has rightfully been accused of half assing it and losing their way the last few years and it really was likely true. The 2013 Accord is promised to be the first step back in the right direction to 'leadership' (by some's judgments) again.

The packaging of the 'new' Accord is pretty close to the same. Sizewise, and even looks wise.....at least in photos. But the impression is different once you see it in the flesh. The new Accord is much nicer inside and out than the last gen. Interior space is pretty much the same, it is still large and very space efficient. The trunk appears to be a bit short in height however. Decent looking car.

Getting inside, the interior changes are vast and welcome, and very successful. The mess of buttons in the center console are organized much better into tiers, and the large main screen helps greatly with information and to serve as the screen for the backup camera that is included! The radio I did not play with at all....but based on sight, the layout seems much better. This Accord had Honda's new bluetooth and audio systems package, which I did not try. The car has dual climate also. Don't forget the paddle shifters! for the CVT and also the "Eco" mode button which, according to sales person said gives you FIVE MORE MPG!!!!!!

I found the gauges to be very 3d and very large and readable. Most other controls were typical, and the new steering wheel arrangement is nice although it would take a few drives to get used to it. The tilt wheel bar is way too far down the dash. Seating position is good although the power seat is a bit lazy. Most dash and door materials are decent.....not expensive looking or soft even. But overall the quality of the interior is good. Not class leading, but much better than a Camry. The seat cloth is sort of cheap, as is the non leather brake stick. Sightlines out front were good, and the side and rear vision strikes a middle ground between cars with a bunch of glass like the Fusion, and hardly any glass, like the Malibu or say...a CC. Rear seat passengers are treated pretty well.

As I said earlier, the previous Accord IMHO was pretty overrated, and pretty much all the Hondas I seem to sample are afflicted with the same sins. NVH type stuff......Loud inside, too much engine noise (and not particularly refined sounding), and room for improvement in comfort, lack of solid feel, and rather weak feeling steering......yes, that is my take.

First off, the CVT. I have tried many and have sold vehicles with CVT. I have a good feel for how well a CVT can feel and perform. I have to admit, Honda has done a nice job here on the CVT part. Of course HOnda had so much luck with their 5 speed autos blowing up, and the rest of Japan has taken so much to CVT's it was inevitable for Honda to go that way. I did not even mess with the paddle shifter. The tranny here is well matched to the motor, and often times the behavior of the transmission is similar to a standard automatic. On an initial test drive, a lot of folks won't even know it's a CVT or that anything is different (considering how the sheeple just say yes to whatever Honda can put out). In fact the sales person never mentioned anything about a 'CVT'. I am sure they are coached to not say anything so as not to upset a Honda intender. Well, there is not much to worry over.....it works well and my gosh with just the four, this thing really scoots when you lay down the gas! There is not much rubber bandiness or lag time.

Honda builds a great lawn mower engine. I know, mine has one. And unfortunately the engine and noise coming from the hood of the 13 Accord sounds just like my lawn mower, or worse. What is the press thinking? The harmonics of the cabin noise are dreadful when you wind it up, even when just cruising. The noise level to too high. It's unacceptable. Some folks won't care because the 13 Accord may be 1dB quieter than the 94 civic they traded or the 98 Subaru they had. On top of the ruckus (Honda bike lovers will appreciate the pun) coming from the hood, the road noise is too high, the steering is lacking feel and quickness, the seat is a bit mushy, and many of the touch points in the car are hard. This car is not really a good road car. PLEASE drive a Malibu if you want a good road car. The Malibu is a much niver place for cruising. I did not catch the engine rpm of the Accord at high speed. I am betting its low because of the CVT. And when the car is on the boil, the CVT stigma of RPM's going sky high until speed catches up is not even the deal here (although the engine does rev quickly). The car is just too unrefined.

Mirrors are to small and cheap looking. Car feels too light on the road and like it's not as stout as it could be. The Passat is nicer on the road, even if it has that dreadful 5 cylinder and the hard plastic inside. Car does not have 'sport handling'...and otherwise is not terribly frisky or inspiring to drive.

Seriously, drive a Malibu people. Wait for the Mazda6, try a Passat in the meantime, and I would bet the Fusion and Altima should be driven as well. I would buy that Kizashi I sold to many for myself over the Accord in a heartbeat. Quieter, smoother, better seats, better road manners.

You would be getting a more refined car by buying a Cruze or a Focus.

Honda sheeple will like the car because little has changed of what Honda folks are used to. And Honda made some nice improvements. I just think the eyewash that the press puts over everyone and the history Honda has tends to blur reality. The Accord is potentially a very awesome car. At best, it's a pretty good car right now, with unfortunately a very few flaws which in my mind make the car one you should evaluate very carefully. The competition is too good to just lay it down for the H without checking out everything else. Until Honda puts some sound deadener in the car, gives the steering and ride a little makeover, and make the whole car feel a bit more solid and pleasing in a few spots inside I call it good, not great.

HIGHS

Value for price and resale

Improved styling

MPG

Very good almost best of the breed CVT

Roomy cabin

Overall very good packaging

Lots of features, lots of tech

Good sightlines, cabin is neither clautrophobic or wide open

Interior laid out nicely, kudos to Honda on the improvement there...

A few nice material finishes, like the silver console trim, and the plood on the dash

Lightning fast for the engine size... class leading quick.....great throttle response

LOWS

Lots of NVH problems

Engine sound not nice, and way too much of it, just unacceptable

Too much road noise

Steering feel insubstantial and a bit mushy and a little slow

Suspension jolts felt a little bit much in the cabin

Yup, even some engine vibration gets through to your ass more than it should

Seat cloth could be better, seats a bit shapeless and mushy

A few other areas inside feel a bit cheap, like the parking brake tree and some of the dash and doors

typical Honda trunk switch on the floor Bull$h!

Real truth is a Malibu is a much nicer road car, seriously people drive one of those if you drive a lot on the interstates.

SUMMARY

Truth is the car would get an A if the NVH issues were handled. They will sell boatloads of this car. And it has a lot of merit. But Honda has no interest in improving the NVH of their products. The last Accord, the Fit, the 12 Civic, all these Hondas I have tried and they all have the same issues. What is worse, the 13 Civic seems less abated than the others even, at least to me, today. Is it the direct injection? Until Honda fixes the NVH problem, it barely cracks a B. There are too many other good choices in this segment. If you are Honda sheeple, and can deal with the NVH problems, it is an A to you. I call a spade a spade, or a

B- in this case. Now you can feel justified in waiting for the Mazda6 too. Heck, the current Mazda6 CPO would be a more comfortable car.

Edited by regfootball

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It's kinda what I was thinking too...and your test pretty much confirmed it.

Makes me think the Mali might have a better chance than I first thought....

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I want to drive a Fusion, I am betting it drives better, however the Fusion looks pretty cheap inside in the lesser trims. This really makes me wonder how the Altima drives.

Edited by regfootball

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Having sold Acura's for nearly 2 years, which do very well in regards to NVH on most models, I remain perplexed by Honda vehicle "noise". Every single time I have ever had an Accord customer going into a TSX, TL or even the new smaller ILX (had a lady trade a 2010 Accord lease for an ILX), one of the first comments is "my Honda has this...roar...this car is so quiet?". My response, yes.

Regardless, Honda/Acura know how to make and tune an engine/transmission, and never have an issue there except for the exploding 5-spds from years back. My TSX is a bit noisy and the ride/handling could learn from my Regal, but the 2.4L/5-spd is a beast and even pushed, is almost too easy to get low 30's mpg's from without trying.

The Accord does look like before but no longer a gangly Cyclopes. The V6 sounds fun, but as in most sedans this size, big deal because everyone buys the 4-cyl anyway.

Honda people are Honda people loyally, true, without much debate. I can't say the same for Nissan, etc. H doesn't do everything perfectly...cough, NVH...but what they do, people enjoy and the "no issues" remains a hallmark. They're great cars even without the most spirit/polish you see in something like a Malibu people harp on for other reasons. Always something.

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roar may be somewhat correct, i call it shrill.

and don't get me wrong, it's not a quad 4 sound.

wanted to clarify......the CVT is not a contributor to the NVH problems. The CVT operation is transparent and very good.

Interiors wise, I should clarify / revise to say that its really good for the class, but it just had a few minor nitpicky material quality issues. The interior is probably what most buyers would say is better than the inside of a Malibu overall (in the lower cloth trims). I more pointed out a few interior flaws on the Accord interior because there is not much to really nit pick and everything else is really well done. But when you drive the Malibu and Fusion, the Malibu will be quieter inside etc. So overall impression, even if the Accord interior is nicer and larger, the Malibu has more solid seats and is quieter and feels smoother on the road.

I am very interested in seeing and driving the 13 altima soon, there are many of them out there already.

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Having sold Acura's for nearly 2 years, which do very well in regards to NVH on most models, I remain perplexed by Honda vehicle "noise". Every single time I have ever had an Accord customer going into a TSX, TL or even the new smaller ILX (had a lady trade a 2010 Accord lease for an ILX), one of the first comments is "my Honda has this...roar...this car is so quiet?". My response, yes.

Go from a Buick Verano Turbo to an Acura ILX Turbo and you'll reach for your ear plugs. Excessive road and engine noise is something that really jumps out at me when present in a car. The new Altima is another recent offender in this regard.

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Having sold Acura's for nearly 2 years, which do very well in regards to NVH on most models, I remain perplexed by Honda vehicle "noise". Every single time I have ever had an Accord customer going into a TSX, TL or even the new smaller ILX (had a lady trade a 2010 Accord lease for an ILX), one of the first comments is "my Honda has this...roar...this car is so quiet?". My response, yes.

Go from a Buick Verano Turbo to an Acura ILX Turbo and you'll reach for your ear plugs. Excessive road and engine noise is something that really jumps out at me when present in a car. The new Altima is another recent offender in this regard.

The ILX is actually quite quiet compared to other Honda models, the fellow Acura TSX included. The Verano is a different stratosphere of tomb silence.

Altima, interesting. Wonder why, weight savings a-la Honda that means sound insulation goes away?

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Lots of Japanese cars seems to be loud these days....the very cars getting praised for their 'weight loss'.

Remember, Honda was the company that got a recall on electrical wiring under the floor pan degrading due to road salt because there was next to nothing to protect it (I think that was what that Fit recall was about). Japan Inc does not want to put in stuff like sound insulation!!!!

Yet GM gets grilled for a loud vehicle which is why they have tomb quiet Veranos now. And also why the Verano is so heavy apparently. It's not all due to 'high strength steel'.

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Guest Kanaz

. The newest Malibu is seriously laking refinement when compared to the 4 cyl 2013 accord. I have put over 3000 miles on each car, all road conditions, with and without a full passenger compliment. Please be refined in your reviews, before you spew unintelligent rants!

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. The newest Malibu is seriously laking refinement when compared to the 4 cyl 2013 accord. I have put over 3000 miles on each car, all road conditions, with and without a full passenger compliment. Please be refined in your reviews, before you spew unintelligent rants!

Bull! The 2013 rental 2LT Malibu I drove for a week was considerably more refined than any Honda Civic or Accord I have every driven including the new one.

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I would agree that the Malibu pretty much hands the Accord it's ass on a platter....

We looked at a prev. gen Accord Coupe when we bought our MINI.....Cooper S with Sport exhaust and sport suspension was seriously quieter than the accord....

Verano is so much better it's like the Verano and Accord aren't even built on the same planet....

As reg has pointed out, a styling refresh and interior upgrade won't save the Accord...it'

s still lacking.

And agree on the Passat, VW got that one right!

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