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2013 Honda Accord: First Drive Page 3

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Instrument-panel design feels simplified and cleaned-up compared to the current car, and in the lower-cost models we felt a sense of the packaging charm of earlier Accord models. The base layout is superior, in our opinion, with the dual-screen layout you get in upper trim levels quite confusing, as between the two screens, one is touch screen and one uses the controller, but the controller below the lower screen is actually for the upper screen—and the two screens have different brightness settings. And the glittery black trim you get around the lower screen looks out of place and doesn't match the trim anywhere else inside.

You can indeed get a 2013 Honda Accord Coupe, and Honda put quite a lot of thought and design effort into it. While intentionally designing a more athletic package, engineers and designers managed to pack a little more cargo space and back-seat space than before; there's actually adult-size space back there, but getting into the space is difficult.

Especially considering the new packaging philosophy in the 2013 Accord, we had trouble making sense of why the Accord Sedan only has a one-piece folding backseat—no matter which trim. As a Honda official told us, is that none of the Accord's rivals offer it. But it is the sort of 'innovation' we'd like to see.

LaneWatch: Why hasn't this been done before?

As we drove onto a multi-lane highway, one of the most interesting and handy features proved to be the LaneWatch system, which only when you click the turn signal, displays on the screen a wide view alongside and farther back along the lane just to the right of the vehicle. It really is one of those features that, once you use it, you'll wonder how you lived without. Honda says it’s the first feature of its kind. Other available extras in the Accord include Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning. LED headlamps are also offered at the top of the lineup, and they're the first ever in a Honda, but daytime running lamps are included in all V-6 models and LED brake lights are fitted to EX-L and Touring models.

The 2013 Honda Accord Sedan will be offered in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, V6, and Touring trims, with the Coupe available in LX-S, EX, EX-L, and EX-L V6 models. Bluetooth, and a USB port are offered in all Accord models now, along with dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera system, the eight-inch i-MID info display. Among all of these, we tend to think that LX, Sport, and EX models are the best deal. Sport models in particular are new for 2013 and add a more upscale look—18-inch alloys, a dual exhaust, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, paddle-shifters (CVT), and a power driver's seat—for a relatively affordable price. To get the trick LaneWatch feature, you need to go for the EX (EX-L Coupes) or above, though otherwise the EX includes a moonroof, push-button start, and heated side mirrors. EX-L models are what you need to step up to for the V-6, or for HondaLink and Aha streaming Internet audio.

Prices range from $21,680, for the LX Sedan all the way up to $33,430 for the Accord Touring.

Honda has positioning the Accord in a way that will win over both repeat Accord owners as well as comparison shoppers on the test-drive. While it's taking a different path that stays away from overly swoopy styling and turbocharged engines, there's a lot of sophistication and appeal—and, quite simply, lots of evidence of the charming driving personality and technological prowess that Honda needs to tap into with all of its vehicles.


 
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