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TheStreet Open House

Accord Makes Big Changes For 2013

ANN M. JOB

Honda's 2013 Accord sedan is handsomely restyled and re-engineered to be more fuel efficient and refined than its predecessor, and it offers more technology, including a standard rearview camera that's an option on major competing sedans.

In fact, the new top-level Accord Touring model comes with standard light-emitting diode headlamps similar to the ones on Audis. They are the first LED headlights on an Accord and give the Accord a luxe-tech look.

This top Accord also has a first-ever frontal collision warning system, and some Accords are available with a cloud-based HondaLink system that provides hands-free access to services, audio and information.

Consumer Reports predicts reliability of the five-seat 2013 Accord will be better than average.

Best of all, the new Accord sedan's starting retail prices of $22,470 with four-cylinder engine and manual transmission and $23,270 with continuously variable transmission (CVT) that a driver operates like an automatic are increased just $200 from the 2012 Accord starting prices.

Even without factoring in the new standard equipment, which includes dual-zone, automatic climate control and the 16-inch alloy wheels on base 2013 Accords, the pricing is aggressive for Honda.

The competing Toyota Camry, which has been the top U.S. seller in the segment for years, has a manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $22,850 for a 2012 four-cylinder model with automatic.

Yet, the base Camry doesn't have standard dual-zone, automatic climate control or standard rearview camera, and the base , 16-inch Camry wheels are steel with wheel covers.

Toyota has not officially released details of its 2013 Camry.

Meantime, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata, which doesn't have standard alloy wheels, rearview camera or standard dual-zone, automatic climate control on lower-trim models, has a starting retail price of $21,770 with automatic transmission.

With sales of more than 235,000 in calendar 2011, the Accord is Honda's biggest seller. But following the previous generation Accord that grew big, bland and cheap-feeling, the 2013 version is critical for Honda.

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