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2013 Honda Accord Sport Verdict

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/15/2014 Ron Kiino, Motor Trend Staff
2013 Honda Accord Sport© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 Honda Accord Sport

When Honda announced it would offer a Sport variant as part of the ninth-generation Accord lineup, we were eager to get one for a long-term loan. Why? Well, after a couple generations of decidedly non-sporty Accords, the thought of a full year with a dedicated performance variant offering a high-output 189-hp 2.4-liter I-4, a dual exhaust, and 18-inch alloy wheels seemed too good to pass up. Luckily, Honda obliged, sending us a $24,980 example dressed in Obsidian Blue paint and equipped with the optional paddle-shift CVT (the standard six-speed manual variant runs $800 less), making the ninth-gen the first Accord to offer a continuously variable transmission.

2013 Honda Accord Sport© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 Honda Accord Sport

Shortly after surpassing its 600-mile break-in period, the Accord paid a visit to the test track, where it put down some commendable numbers. Armed with the so-called Earth Dreams direct-injected engine, which touts 4 more horsepower and 1 extra lb-ft (up to 182) compared to non-Sport I-4 Accords, our long-termer zipped from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and through the quarter mile in 15.8 at 90.8 mph. As I mentioned in a prior update, that 0-60 stat makes the Sport a tenth quicker than a 1998 Lexus GS300. Even better, it's 0.2 second quicker than our long-term 182-hp 2013 Nissan Altima SL and only 0.3 slower than our turbocharged 274-hp 2013 Kia Optima SXL. Better still, the Accord, EPA rated at 26/35/29 mpg city/highway/combined, returned observed fuel economy of 28.6 mpg, a healthy 1.4 mpg better than the 27.2 of the 27/38/31-rated Altima, and, in case you're wondering, markedly superior to the 22.8 of the 22/34/26-rated Optima.

2013 Honda Accord Sport© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 Honda Accord Sport

More than quick at the dragstrip and frugal at the gas pump, the Accord proved plenty able at the handling track. In our figure-eight test, the Sport, wearing 235/45R18 Michelin Primacy MXM4 all-season tires, clocked a time of 26.7 seconds and maximum lateral acceleration of 0.88 g. By comparison, the sporty 205-horsepower Honda Civic Si in this issue could only muster 26.9 seconds and 0.86 g, and that was with summer tires. Speaking of which, I tried two sets of summer tires on the Accord -- the Continental ContiSportContact3 and the Pirelli P Zero Nero GT— to see if I could improve handling, but neither could match the Michelins' lateral grip, though each bettered the 129-foot 60-0 braking number (116 and 109 feet, respectively).

Over its nearly 23,000 miles of service, the Accord Sport remained a reliable transporter, requiring not one unscheduled dealer visit. The only times I visited the dealer were when the Accord's Maintenance Minder system alerted me an impending service at 10,000 and 18,000 miles. Each instance necessitated an oil change, tire rotation, and full inspection, for a grand total of $209.42.

During my year with the sportiest of Accords, I found far more to praise than criticize. The ride struck a nice balance between comfort and sportiness, so the Accord felt competent whether cruising down the highway or tearing up the mountain. Ditto for the four-wheel disc brakes, whose reassuring pedal and solid bite always inspired confidence. The electric power steering served up nice linearity with a light heft that made maneuvering through parking lots and driveways a snap. The standard cloth seats were supportive, comfortable, and easy to clean, and the 10-way power adjustment for the driver chair proved a handy feature. Further, with a big, airy cabin that can easily swallow five adults, providing 9.1 cubic feet of additional volume compared to my previous Volkswagen Jetta GLI long-termer, not to mention a huge 15.8-cubic-foot trunk, the Accord never seemed unprepared for the rigors of daily life. Of course, the standard Bluetooth phone/audio, backup camera, cruise control, auto climate control, USB interface, and Pandora radio helped, too.

Nits? The lack of keyless entry, push-button start, satellite radio, and navigation, for starters. My advice to Accord product planners: Offer a $2000 Nav, Tech, and Sound package that incorporates them all – even at around $27,000, a so-equipped Sport would still be a steal. Other oversights and annoyances: no physical trunk-release button on the trunk lid; when I plugged in my iPhone via the USB prior to starting the car and then initiated Pandora audio, the display would show a song as playing but, alas, no sound (I had to unplug and then plug back in); and a CVT Sport mode that doesn't return to Sport auto after engaging Sport manual. (Unlike some other performance cars, if you engage manual mode and then hold the upshift paddle for a couple seconds, the transmission will return to Sport auto; not so in the Accord.)

My humble opinion remains unchanged after 13, enjoyable, trouble-free months with the Accord: The Mazda6 holds the edge in terms of driver engagement, but the Accord's bigger backseat and trunk make it the better family-hauler. This Sport is legitimate and its future long and bright. If it's not on your shopping list, it should be.

More on our long-term 2013 Honda Accord Sport:


Our Car
SERVICE LIFE13 mo / 22,856 mi
BASE PRICE$24,980
OPTIONSContinuously variable transmission ($800)
PRICE AS TESTED$24,980
AVG ECON/CO20.68 lb/mi
PROBLEM AREASNone
MAINTENANCE COST$209.42 (2-oil change, inspection; 1- tire rotation)
NORMAL-WEAR COST$0
3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*$13,739
RECALLSNone
*Automotive Lease Guide data


2013 Honda Accord Sport
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUTFront-engine, FWD
ENGINE TYPEI-4, aluminum block/head
VALVETRAINDOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT143.8 cu in/2356 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO11.1:1
POWER (SAE NET)189 hp @ 6400 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET)182 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm
REDLINE6800 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER17.6 lb/hp
TRANSMISSIONCont. variable auto
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO3.24:1/2.04:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REARStruts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO13.4:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK2.5
BRAKES, F;R11.5-in vented disc; 11.1-in disc, ABS
WHEELS8.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum
TIRES235/45R18 94V M+S Michelin Primacy MXM4
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE109.3 in
TRACK, F/R62.4/62.4 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT191.4 x 72.8 x 57.7 in
TURNING CIRCLE39.6 ft
CURB WEIGHT3328 lb
WEIGHT DIST., F/R60/40%
SEATING CAPACITY5
HEADROOM, F/R39.1/37.5 in
LEGROOM, F/R42.5/38.5 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R58.6/56.5 in
CARGO VOLUME15.8 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 3.0 sec
0-404.2
0-505.7
0-607.5
0-709.7
0-8012.3
0-9015.6
0-10019.3
PASSING, 45-65 MPH3.6
QUARTER MILE15.8 sec @ 90.8 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH129 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION0.88 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT26.7 sec @ 0.68 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH1700 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE$24,980
PRICE AS TESTED$24,980
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROLYes/yes
AIRBAGSFront, front side, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCEN/A
FUEL CAPACITY17.2 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON26/35/29 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY130/96 kW-hr/100 mi
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB0.66 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUELUnleaded regular

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