The Honda Accord, like 2013 Honda Accord Touring V6 of this review, has been with us so long it’s become part of the scenery, like the Toyota Camry in many ways, that if it left us, we wouldn’t quite know what had changed but we’d know something was wrong. The Accord is Honda’s flagship sedan, arriving in 1976 and becoming one of the bestselling cars in America ever since. In 1982, it became the first Japanese nameplate car made in the United States, at Honda assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio. That facility still makes Accords, including our test vehicle.
With the 2013 Honda Accord, the model enters its ninth generation with an all new chassis/body as well as several new engines, and a new top-of-the-line Touring sedan. As before, the Accord is available as a four-door sedan and two-door coupe and a variety of trim levels in Honda’s philosophy of minimal options, just a lot of different trim packages, which for the sedan include LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EX-L V6 and new Touring. An Accord Plug-In Hybrid is offered as a 2014 model. (First drive review 2013 Honda Accord Sport sedan.)
Honda has dubbed its next-generation powertrains “Earth Dreams.” It sounds like a Cirque du Soliel show, but it represents new and improved engines and transmissions, including an all-new four cylinder and a substantially updated V-6, along with new transmissions for each. These powertrains will work their way across the Honda line as appropriate, but both are debuting in the 2013 Accord.
The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine for the 2013 Honda Accord has Honda’s first use of direct injection in North America. The new four, rated at 185 horsepower at 6400 rpm (189 hp in the coupe and Sport trim models), gains eight horses over its predecessor. The four can drive through an all-new six-speed manual transmission or a new continuously variable transmission that replaces the conventional five-speed automatic. The CVT has a wider range of ratios for more efficient operation. Fuel mileage takes a leap with the new arrangement, from 27/36 mpg city/highway with the CVT versus 23/34 mpg with last year’s five-speed auto. The new four cylinder with the new six-speed manual, however, gains only one mile per gallon, 24 vs. 23 mpg in the city, while highway stays the same at 34 mpg, suggesting most of the improvement comes from the transmission.
The new 2013 Honda Accord Touring we tested was powered by Honda’s V-6. For Earth Dreams status, the 3.5-liter engine intake and exhaust ports were revised, with intakes having a new “tumble port” design for improved combustion efficiency. On the other side of combustion, an integrated exhaust manifold cast into each cylinder head improves exhaust flow and optimizes the location of the close-coupled catalyst.
Honda engineers updated valve timing and Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC). For the Accord V-6 with the automatic transmission, the Variable Cylinder Management, Honda’s name for variable displacement (which is another way of saying “we turn off three of six cylinders at cruise for better fuel economy”), has a wider range of operation, kicking in more often. The four-cylinder operating mode was eliminated for 2013 models. It’s either all or three, reducing mechanical complexity with little if any change in fuel economy.
From the more-information-than-most-people-want-to-know file, the Accord’s V-6 comes with a new-generation 28-volt Active Control Engine Mount system. The ACM minimizes engine vibration as the variable cylinder management system switches cylinders on and off. Stepping up to 28-volt allows the increased operation in three cylinder mode, absorbing the shock when transferring from one mode to the other. We’ll bet you didn’t know the Accord has electric engine mounts.