Honda offers a peek at '13 Accord
LOS ANGELES -- The redesigned 2013 Honda Accord that goes on sale this fall will be shorter and will get a new engine family and a continuously variable transmission -- huge changes for a car that has slipped against its mid-sized sedan rivals.
Honda released the first images of the production version of the Accord sedan and coupe last week but provided few new details about the models.
The two photos released show door sculpting and a rear-window kink at the C-pillar that resemble the styling of BMW's latest 3 series. But the front and rear fascias clearly signal a Honda.
The car's wheelbase will remain the same, but its overall length will shrink. Still, Honda says the 2013 Accord will offer more passenger and cargo room than the outgoing car.
Honda needs the Accord to be a hit. It used to be a solid No. 2 behind the Toyota Camry among cars in the United States. But the Nissan Altima is close on the Accord's heels, albeit with hefty fleet sales. And the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu have taken retail market share from Honda.
Meanwhile, Honda's interest-rate and lease incentives have soared as high as $4,500 per unit during the sell-down of the outgoing Accord, according to TrueCar.
Along with sportier styling, the 2013 Accord introduces new technology for Honda. The new Earth Dreams engines offer improved output and fuel economy and lower emissions. They have direct injection and double overhead cams.
The base engine will be a 2.4-liter inline-four with more than 181 hp and 177 pounds-feet of torque. That means a slight horsepower increase over the outgoing base model, but considerably more torque, with at least 10 percent better fuel economy, Honda engineers have said.
All four-cylinder versions of the Accord with an automatic transmission will have a CVT. The decision could prove to be a gamble because CVTs have not been widely accepted by American buyers and have had reliability problems in some vehicles.
But maybe the biggest question looming -- in an era of cost-cutting necessitated by the strong Japanese yen -- is what the Accord looks like inside. A repeat of the current Civic's overly plastic interior will not sit well with U.S. customers.
Honda did not release images of the 2013 Accord's interior, but Honda sources say the cabin is an improvement from the current generation.
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