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Accord Makes Big Changes For 2013

There are both sedan and coupe Accords, with four-cylinder and V-6 gasoline engine offerings. Later in the model year, hybrid Accords are due.

The base, 2.4-liter, double overhead cam four cylinder with Honda's variable valve operation called i-VTEC is new and now is direct injected for sprightly performance.

It helps, too, that the 2013 Accord has been sized down just a bit â¿¿ it's 3.5 inches shorter in length than its predecessor, for example â¿¿ and thus has lost a few pounds.

Horsepower now is 185 or 189, depending on the Accord model, instead of the 177 from last year's four cylinder. The four cylinder's torque increased noticeably to 181 foot-pounds at 3,900 rpm in the base 2013 Accord from 161 foot-pounds at 4,300 rpm.

Despite the power improvements, the 2013 Accord has better fuel economy ratings, in part because the automatic has been dropped from four cylinder models and replaced by a CVT, which uses a wide power band, rather than pre-set gears, to optimize gasoline mileage.

A 2013 Accord with four cylinder and CVT is rated by the federal government at 27 miles per gallon in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway. This is up from 23/34 mpg from last year's four-cylinder Accord. The 278-horsepower, 3.5-liter, single overhead cam V-6 that was in the test Accord Touring sedan, however, was rated lower at 21/34 mpg and averaged 23.6 mpg in combined city/highway travel. The V-6 uses regular gasoline.

The V-6 now is mated to a six-speed automatic, rather than a five-speed, and it worked with smooth precision in the tester. A driver can shift gears without a clutch pedal for more spirited driving.

The new Accord sedan has graceful lines, but doesn't follow Hyundai's Sonata and Ford's Fusion coupe-like roofline.

As a result, seats can be fitted more upright, allowing the 2013 Accord's rear-seat legroom of 38.5 inches vs. the Sonata's 34.6 inches.

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