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2013 Honda Accord Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Honda Accord was new.


Performance: 7.4

Reviewers think the 2013 Accord’s handling is on the sporty side of the spectrum, and that the car is composed and smooth. Several test drivers say the electric steering is numb, but a couple of reviewers report that it gives good feedback. The new base four-cylinder engine has ample power, but critics say if you want a potent engine, the V6 will give you remarkably smooth acceleration. The new CVT garners high praise for its linear throttle response and many reviewers like how it maximizes performance and fuel economy.    

  • The lackluster steering will lose some Accord faithful, but the majority of shoppers will care more about the improved refinement and better gas mileage." -- Cars.com
  • "Accords have long been notable for their slightly more enthusiast-oriented driving dynamics and this latest model appears to continue that tradition." -- Left Lane News
  • "The 2013 Honda Accord V6 is quick and its powertrain is perfectly behaved, but it's not a sport sedan." -- Inside Line
  • "The four-cylinder is the sweetheart of the gas-only group. It feels quicker behind the wheel than expected and handles better." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The base 2013 Accord sedan has a 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission, though a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available. The four-cylinder Sport model offers slightly more horsepower at 189. Higher trims have a 278-horsepower V6, which is only available with a six-speed automatic. Coupe models offer the same engines and a similar powertrain lineup as the sedan, except the V6 model is available with a six-speed manual in addition to the six-speed automatic. EPA fuel economy ranges from 27/36 mpg city/highway for the four-cylinder model with the CVT to 18/28 mpg for V6 models with the manual transmission. The Accord has an ECON button drivers can push to maximize fuel efficiency.

Most auto critics say the new-for-2013 four-cylinder engine has sufficient power, and they think the V6 is impressively powerful and quick. The majority of test drivers like the manual transmission’s smooth, accurate shifts, though one notes that the clutch provides little feedback to the driver. The six-speed automatic transmission isn’t discussed by reviewers much, but they do talk about the new CVT, saying it’s one of the best on the market thanks to its linear power delivery.   

  • "CVTs are a wonderful compromise between efficiency, smoothness, and acceleration when programmed correctly, and the Accord's CVT is among the best." -- Automobile Magazine
  • The optional six-speed manual is likewise impressive, whether matched to the four-cylinder or the V-6. Shifts are short and crisp with a good mechanical feel and easy-to-find gates. The clutch, though, is completely numb with no identifiable engagement point. It seems to be spread out across the entire length of travel, and the result is that it's nearly impossible to make a harsh or jerky shift." -- Motor Trend
  • "Power comes on strong and buttery smooth with either engine, but we did notice a bit more thrum at idle than we expected with the 2.4-liter." -- Left Lane News
  • "After lunch, I got into a 4-cylinder Accord with a CVT. … It drove as you might expect. Eh." -- Yahoo Autos
  • "Toe into the accelerator, though, and the grunt is immediate and immersive. With the traction and stability control systems left on, the big sedan simply punches a hole in the atmosphere with no drama and practically no noise." -- Inside Line (EX-L V6)

Handling and Braking

The Accord has a new suspension for 2013, and test drivers say it’s competent and provides a smooth ride. The new electric power-assisted steering is disliked by several reviewers for being numb, though a couple say the steering is precise and well-weighted.

  • "While the electric steering in all the cars is totally numb, it's reasonably quick, linear, and nicely weighted. On four-cylinder cars, it's actually quite nice to pilot through the curves -- for a midsize sedan anyway." -- Motor Trend
  • "The steering is dramatically lighter at parking lot speeds, but effort builds naturally as cornering forces increase. Just about all of the on-center steering feel has been filtered out, but the nice weighting and path accuracy are quite good for this class of vehicle." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Alas, no Accord steers with much confidence. Honda swapped the last generation's hydraulic steering for more fuel-efficient electric power assist, so you no longer have to muscle the wheel around parking lots. But the numb feedback disappoints - especially on the highway, where the Accord needs more tending to keep on course. Electric power steering doesn't have to be this way." -- Cars.com
  • "The Accord uses a fixed suspension, but Honda revised it to deliver a better ride than the current car. The results were good, and I found it so smooth that it was often difficult to judge the car's speed without looking at the speedometer." -- CNET

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