2013 Accord coupe defines personal luxury (for new generation)

Ah, the personal luxury car. From Cadillac Eldorado to the Lincoln Mark Series, the notion of a large, comfortable coupe with robust power and luxury features was once a staple of American roads. As fuel prices rose, highways became more congested, and automakers moved to front-wheel drive platforms, these personal luxury behemoths began to disappear. Enter the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe, which finds a unique way to embody their values in a convincingly modern fashion. It picks up the mantle of the personal luxury car by combining a spacious interior with premium features and a robust powertrain.

Like its popular sedan, Accord’s Coupe underwent a redesign for the 2013 model year. Though the look may appear to be a mere update of the outgoing model, Honda has changed the car from top to bottom. For any aspiring car designers, that up-kick in the backside of the rear window is called a Hofmeister kink. It was first seen on the 1961 BMW 1500. On the 2013 Accord Coupe it contributes to an upscale presence.

While certain styling features say “luxury,” the bulbous rear wheel haunches and angular headlights betray the surprising performance within. While the base LX-S ($23,350), EX ($25,025), and EX-L ($28,070) come equipped with a 2.4-liter inline-4, our EX-LV6 test model ($32,350) was fitted with a 3.5-literV6. It puts out 287 horsepower, sent to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. Both engines are part of Honda’s new “Earth Dreams” family of engines; they incorporate variable valve timing, direct injection on the I-4, and cylinder deactivation technology on theV6.

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On the V6, 290 horsepower, a manual transmission and front-wheeldrive team up for surprising results. When combined with the very sensitive power-assisted steering, the car can be an unwieldy rocket ship in the wrong hands—and a capable sleeper in the right ones. On what side of that you find yourself is entirely up to you.

With the manual, fuel economy is also in your hands—literally. The EPA lists the Accord Coupe EX-LV6 with the manual at 18 miles per gallon city, 28 miles per gallon highway, though we experienced about 20.9 combined driving. That may be under the 22 combined MPG found by the EPA, but our findings are of the lead-footed persuasion.

For those seeking improved fuel economy, a 6-speed automatic is available on theV6, achieving 21 MPG city, and an impressive 31 MPG highway. The true fuel economy champion is the 2.4-liter. It delivers 24 city, 34 highway with the 6MT, and 26 city, 35 highway with the continuously variable transmission.

The Accord Coupe manages the daily grind with ease. The performance of theV6 will squeeze you out of any hairy predicament in traffic, while the available Rear Multi-View Camera system provides a full view toward the right blind spot of the car. With the flip of the starboard turn signal, the image appears on the Intelligent Multi-Information Display with distance markers to let you know if you have plenty of room or if that lane switch is going to be a tight one. That feature, combined with the rear view camera, makes owning a car that would be considered “large” for urban areas a little more manageable.

The main information display is accompanied by a central touch screen. The top screen is just for lookin’, and this screen is for touchin.’ At first, this may seem overwhelming and unnecessary, but consider one an augmented preset panel, and it begins to show its value. Rather than offering a plethora of buttons, the screen adapts to what you need from it at the moment. When entering an address into the navigation system, that screen changes to a QWERTY keyboard. It is far more efficient than attempting to use a rotary dial to enter an address.

The manner in which your phone connects to the Bluetooth system is also efficient. Depending on the phone, it only takes seconds to pair, and HandsFreeLink allows you to make a variety of voice controls. If you are one of those folks who just can’t look away from the phone while driving, the forward distance warning system will let you know if you are closing in on a stopped car too quickly. We’d prefer it if you kept your eyes on the road, but no one is perfect.

For the daily commute and occasional excitement, the Accord Coupe is close to a perfect mode of personal transportation. The price may seem a bit steep, but that factor is mitigated by what the EX-LV6 delivers and the car’s Honda pedigree, which means it’s expected to last well over a decade. It may be in a new form, but the personal luxury coupe lives as the Accord Coupe, and its future owners will be better for it.