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A redesign was in the works, which is typically a good thing for any vehicle. Oftentimes that means improvements, both interior and exterior.

For starters, the new 2013 Honda Accord is slightly smaller and lighter than previous models. That goes against Honda’s normal redesign playbook for its high-volume selling sedan/coupe.

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In previous revamping years, the Accord would typically be bigger, longer and heavier. More bulk was obviously not part of the latest redesign scheme.

What else is different regarding the ninth generation Accord? Honda also incorporated some interior refinements (better audio, improved dashboard) and convenience. It made some performance upgrades as well, delivering a new four-cylinder engine and updating the V6 offerings.

Making considerable changes is nothing new in this crowded field of midsize sedans. Many of the segment’s popular models have also initiated change this year or in 2012.

No longer is this just a two-horse race between the always reliable front-wheel drive Honda Accord and its Toyota counterpart, the Camry. These two practical, family-oriented sedans and coupes haven’t slipped in any area. In fact, they continue to improve.

2013 Honda Accord

  • Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 185 horsepower; 3.5-liter, V6, 278 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate range: 21-36 mpg
  • Price: $21,680 to $33,430
  • Warranty: 3years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 year/unlimited

While retaining its defining qualities – value, reliability, performance, passenger accommodations, resale capability – there’s no doubt the competition is inching up on the Accord. Despite the overall performance, some rivals can match it, and also provide similar ride quality. That’s not to besmirch the Accord or Camry; it just illustrates that the two Japanese automotive superpowers are no longer as dominant.

The list of legitimate rivals includes the Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, and Mazda 6.

Expect increased performance this year from all six Accord trims. Three of the models feature a beefed-up 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that generates 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The V6 Accords have a 3.5-liter engine that produces 278 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. The V6, which includes Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management cylinder, is quick, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds.

As mentioned above, there are some nice interior changes that result in an upgraded cockpit. Practically all the materials are high quality and the center stack has been redesigned with more bells and whistles. The Accord continues to provide impressive interior room and comfort, and the sedan trunk has grown 1 cubic foot larger (15.8 cubic feet).

The ride remains practically unchanged. The Accord delivers a refined ride that gives any driver an added feeling of confidence behind the wheel. The feel is almost sporty and there’s little apprehension when taking a corner a little faster than the speed limit. The braking is solid and the Accord has practically no noise issues.

The folks at Honda did a great job of making the already admirable Accord even better in 2013. The combination of appearance, performance, convenience and reliability will definitely keep the Accord remain at or near the top of this highly competitive segment.

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