The all-new 2013 Honda Accord may very well be Honda’s last chance to turn around a slide that started in 2007. The last generation Accord, made from 2003 through 2007, was an interesting car. It was just about perfect in terms of width, length, and interior space. The V6 had an outstanding 3.0 liter engine with 244 HP. The car was easily capable of 0-60 sprints in a hair under 6 seconds. That made the V6 Accord the perfect “sleeper”, a car which is very sporty, but flies under the radar and does not attract unwanted attention. It had traction control, stability control, an excellent Nav. system featuring voice commands, a great dash layout and it was a handsome car. The 4-cylinder version was affordable and fun to drive. After 2007 Honda made the car bigger even though it was already pretty big, added about 50 more buttons to the dash to accomplish the same tasks it did without them, made the body both more unattractive and at the same time more distinctive, added cost, and a bigger but not faster engine, that returned the same fuel economy. Why?
Accord Fans Were Dissapointed in 2008
In the interest of full disclosure it should be noted that this author has owned more Hondas (new) than any other brand and considers himself a fan of the brand. That includes two Accords, and other models as well. Nobody feels worse when a manufacturer gets it wrong than a fan of the brand. From about 2003 to 2005, Honda had trouble with its 5 speed automatic transmissions. Accords and Acura TLs had full transmission failures at a rate that was so high Honda offered owners rebates, refunds, and extended warranties. The problem was fixed, but many owners moved on. When the current generation of Accords hit dealerships back around 2008 many Accord owners were dismayed by the new big-car look, and complex interior. Many moved on. Automotive fans started sending hate-mail to automotive publications that forgot to check if the Accord had changed for the better or worse and continued to put the Accord on “10 Best” and similar lists. The Accord had a mid-life crisis on its hands and divorce was imminent.
Design of the New 2013 Honda Accord Sedan
Today Honda showed us all the new 2013 Accord sedan. Earlier this year, during the new-car show season, Honda teased us all with pictures of the Accord Coupe, of which it sells about 12 a year. The coupe was never a problem, having its own 2-door styling. However, the Accord is a family car, not a bachelor’s chick magnet, and the four-door is what we have all been waiting for. In its press release today Honda spoke eloquently about the new design, but we will let it speak for itself. The rear of the new sedan does seem more interesting and less chunky. Nobody likes a chunky backside. Shown in the photo is a 2006 side-by-side with the new 2013. Comment below on which you think is better looking.
Honda Notes the 2013 Accord Is Shorter
Honda has had time to get this 2013 Accord sedan right and they think they have. Honda states that “The exterior lengths are noticeably shortened.” That is good news. Honda’s assistant vice president of product planning for American Honda, Vicki Poponi, says "This car is the most sculpted and the most dynamic Accord yet. Following Honda's long-held philosophy of 'man maximum, machine minimum,' the beautiful exterior evolved from a focus on interior space and the needs of the people inside it." Translated, that might mean “We made the last one too big. Our apologies.” Finally, no offense to Ms. Poponi, but were both the president of product planning, and also the vice president of product planning too busy to look up from their work to make a statement?
Honda has one more chance to prove it isn’t headed down the path to automotive blandness. The 2013 Honda Accord sedan will tell us all we need to know.
2006 photo by John Goreham. 2013 photo by Honda Media