The 2013 Honda Accord Touring, top-of-the line entry in the Japanese manufacturer’s thoroughly upgraded mid-sized sedan lineup, got me to thinking about what really constitutes a luxury car.
Now, I’m not trying to put the ninth generation Accord on the same pedestal with world-class heavyweights like the Mercedes-Benz S550 and its handful of competitors.
But, why is it less deserving of the title than, say, a Mercedes-Benz C Class or an Audi A4. These cars, which cost thousands of dollars more and may be a bit sportier than the Honda, but they certainly are not any better at coddling the passengers.
Surely, the Accord has enough high-tech gadgetry, safety equipment, ride quality, comfort and convenience accessories, back-seat room, cargo space and upscale cabin materials to qualify it as a luxury sedan in its own right.
As fuel efficiency and emission requirements tighten, cars will increasingly need to become smaller. But that doesn’t mean they need to be less civilized than the megabuck cruisers that hold sway as today’s true luxury cars.
The titans of civility will continue to reign, of course, but there no doubt will be fewer of them on the road, at least proportionately. And, as is the case with the Accord, true luxury will spread across a much wider, less expensive swath of the automotive landscape.
So, perhaps we can abandon “entry-level luxury” and similar monikers and simply acknowledge that true luxury cars are now available in various sizes and prices.
In truth, the Honda Accord Touring is not alone in providing a long list of amenities on what normally would be considered mere family cars. But, it is as good an example as I have yet found.
Consider this: The 2013 Honda Accord Touring comes one way — fully equipped. And that includes a navigation system with voice recognition and rear-view camera, leather-trimmed seating, 7-speaker sound system with touch screen, Bluetooth hands-free phone connection, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio (free for 3 months), Pandora Internet radio interface, auxiliary sound-system connectors, keyless entry and ignition, and heated front seats.
There’s one more thing of special note: Lane Watch. Flip on the right turn signal and a rear view of the passenger-side road shows up on the center-console screen. It’s great for knowing when it is safe to dart back into the slow lane. The camera can also be activated by pushing a button at the end of the turn-signal stalk to assist in parking.
The Accord Touring is powered by a smooth and quiet 3.5-liter V-6 engine that generates 278 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. The engine features cylinder deactivation, which seamlessly shuts off three cylinders when the car is traveling with a light engine load.