This latest Accord is 3.5 inches shorter bumper to bumper and 0.9 inch tighter at the wheelbase than its fleshy predecessor. Yet once again Honda conducts a master class in packaging. Against its porcine predecessor the 2013 car’s cabin dimensions vary hardly at all. The Accord still feels like one of the biggest cars in the segment with two roomy and extra-comfortable front buckets and a back bench you and two friends can stretch out on. Moreover the capacious trunk is even larger maximum volume having increased by over one cubic foot.
The overhauled DOHC 2.4-liter four falls under the somewhat nonsensical Earth Dreams marketing slogan; more important however is that it represents Honda’s first whack at gasoline direct injection for the North American market. Your only automatic alternative to the six-speed manual with this engine is a Honda-built continuously variable transmission (CVT) called the G-Design Shift (Honda’s committee for cutesy names has been working overtime).
The 2.4-liter is quieter at idle than some other direct-injection engines with their clattering high-pressure injectors particularly Hyundai’s. And the Honda likes to rev sounding healthy and full throated at its 6400-rpm power peak. But it’s the CVT’s tuning that makes the Accord feel fleet. The typical rubber-band delay has been minimized and the throttle responds curtly when you ask for acceleration (although sometimes with some audible transmission whine at high revs). In mountain snakers as well as on city streets the CVT works so efficiently that it all but disappears and you never notice the lack of a manual control. Of course we’d prefer the optional six-speed stick with its tightly spaced gates and short throws—but finally a belt-and-pulley transmission we can live with!
Somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of Accord buyers opt for a V-6 and for them the 3.5-liter goes up slightly in horsepower to 278. But the news with this engine is its lighter weight due to items such as plastic cam covers and work on the Variable Cylinder Management system that increases the time the engine runs on three cylinders. In motion the cylinder cutout is completely transparent and the V-6 does what it’s supposed to: provide more sophisticated and effortless propulsion.