2013 Honda Accord Sport

Honda has always had a knack for making the Accord not only a completely practical four door family car, but also for imbuing it with a dash of dynamic élan beyond most competitors. It is rewarding to enthusiasts yet doesn’t intimidate or exact penalties from those who could care less about on-the-limit handling or 0-60 times. The Sport model is perhaps the best example of this wonderful dual-nature.

The Sport is perhaps the best looking version of the Accord, with just a few giveaways as to its more potent nature, including sexy 18 inch polished wheels a bit of chrome splashed onto the exhaust and lower air intake, and a subtle rear deck spoiler. Its body’s styling is more cohesive than the disjointed last generation model, and the new model’s interior is also a step ahead, with a much cleaner looking center stack and simple, generally high quality surfaces and textures. While it doesn’t look as cutting-edge as the Ford Fusion and isn’t as richly finished as the Mazda6 or VW Passat, it is at least as habitable as the other American and Asian offerings.

Everything works intuitively and with the polished precision the company has long been known for offering to the mass market. Nothing has changed in that regard; the Accord is still any easy car to drive under normal conditions, and even this Sport model rides rough roads well, with little undue upset being passed on to occupants. Likewise road noise—long a Honda bugbear—is notable for being well suppressed over most surfaces.

The Sport’s 189hp 2.4-liter twin-cam four-cylinder engine revs with sewing machine smoothness and has a nicely wide torque band making for effortless progress. While outright thrust isn’t spectacular and acceleration is average (0-60 in 7.8 seconds according to MotorTrend), this is a rewarding Honda to push, especially as the road turns twisty.

Here the Accord reveals the other side of its dual nature, with excellent body control (including slightly less roll, pitch and dive than the class-leading Mazda6, reviewed here) and linear, direct steering. It shrinks around you in the way only truly well-developed driver’s cars can, and give you the confidence to push right to the edge of the envelope, at which point you find benign understeer, or even a bit of lift throttle-induced rotation if you get aggressive.

Honda has always been stringent about keeping the number of model variants and options to a minimum, and that could work against the Sport, as you can’t get navigation, satellite radio or leather. You can choose between a typically slick Honda six-speed manual, or one of the best continuously variable (CVT) automatic transmissions yet seen, with paddle shifters and a decent responsiveness. But it’s not a match for the Mazda’s Skyactiv six-speed automatic, and the 6 beats it in both acceleration and real-world fuel economy.

Yet for those who value the Honda name, known reliability, sense of robustness and excellent resale value, it is hard to argue against the Accord Sport as being one of the best midsize sedans on the market.

 

EPA ratings: 26/34; 29mpg combined

Price as tested: $25,305

Here is what Honda has to say about the Accord Sport.

 

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