At the 2013 Honda Accord Unveiling in Santa Barbara, I realized that I am really not an auto writer. I know. Our readers have known that for ages. But as I was grilled on social media by die-hard car journalists from the LA Times and highly technical publications, I realized that as a mom, my perspective is very unique and valid. I admit, though, that I dropped a few comments like “What is torque again?” (With a valleygirl accent and a hair twirl) just to get their shocked reactions. Snicker.
As a mom I look for vehicles with style and family-friendliness. The 2013 Accord comes in a plug-in hybrid, coupe or sedan versions. I drove them all, and also the manual transmission model. Wow. These things purred. Peppy, spirited and fun to drive, I think I may have to take a look at investing in Honda stock. Here’s what I loved about the new Accord.
1. Honda Link. I could go on and on. Honda Link is a cloud-based system that connects you (safely) to the web. Voice recognition, text messaging, audiobooks, digital music content, hand-picked radio stations, restaurant searches and Facebook audio feeds without having to mess with your mobile phone… perfect for kids and passengers. You really shouldn’t tweet and drive, BTW. And Honda is so safe they won’t even let you set up your Bluetooth or wireless texting sync when the car is moving.
2. The plug-in hybrid. Talk about quiet. And fast. It reminded me of driving my husband’s Jaguar. Seriously. (Except I kept forgetting the car was on and trying to restart). When it comes to recharging, Honda says the Accord plug-in can get a full recharge in an hour from a 240-volt charger.
3. Quiet. The interior is so quiet that you have to blast music so you don’t lull off to sleep. Great for babies. There are lots of reasons for the lack of interior noise – one is that the dashboard is only one piece so not as much wind gets in. The engine is coated in a sound-deafening shield-thingy too.
4. Similarly, there is little drag. The ‘sideburns’ of the car and exterior styling make it look fabulously sporty, but also improve the performance. The coupe is sportiest of all, of course, and offers parents with teens going off to University enough room in the back for visits home while helping them combat the empty-nest state with a huge amount of cool factor.
5. I can honestly say that I have never driven a car with a more responsive steering system. It made me a little dizzy, as I like to ‘bop to the music’ and tend to ‘steer’ to the beat. Another reason the auto writers were gaping at me. (And I was the only one driving in stilettos, of course).
6. Holy trunk room. We were joking that you could fit a couple of bodies in there. The trunk was easy to close with one hand if you had groceries, an infant or multiple Vuitton sachels in the other.
7. Lots of attention was paid to details such as where the stitching on the steering wheel falls as you grip it. The luxury-lover in me was pretty happy with the design elements.
8. The side mirrors could be on the space shuttle they are so technical. Not that a shuttle has side mirrors, but whatever.. To eliminate blind spots, Honda has developed a camera called LaneWatch™ that ‘sees’ into the next lane. The image flashes onto your 8 inch dashboard LCD screen so you are never blind. They’ve kind of fixed every frustration about driving, allowing you to have confidence in your ability and thereby be a safer driver. Pretty smart. If only Honda could make my hair look good when I don’t blowdry. And make all of the mirrors in the world make me look skinny. Ok. I digress.
9. There is an option to turn the Accord’s Lane Departure Warning sensor on or off. Once I figured it out, I was really impressed. And realized that I’m not a very good driver. Driving along I couldn’t figure out what was beeping at me. Every time I got too close to a line on either side without putting on my indicator signal, I thought there were birds in the car. Back to driving school for me. (Or maybe fewer riveting conversations with my drive partner Tanya Gordon).
10. The forward collision warning was incredible. And there is also a turbo-break thing that happens. When the car senses you breaking suddenly, it will put even more force into the brakes, ensuring you stop on a dime. (Which was incredibly fortunate when a distracted mom pulled over in a dangerous spot on the side of a vineyard road and her toddler ran into the street.) My heart is still racing.
11. Talking to the car was a blast. “XM Channel 72” and the sounds of Broadway filled the vehicle. Better still – it only recognizes one voice at a time so my kids wouldn’t be able to change the tunes to the Disney Channel every five minutes!
The 2.4-liter, 185 horsepower four-cylinder engine is rated at 27 MPG in city driving and 36 on the highway. For the V-6 engine, the highway rating is 34 MPG and city rating is 21 MPG. Pretty great – especially for a vehicle that handles beautifully and can go from zero to 60 MPH in a quick 5.6 seconds (Motor Trend).
Our take? Honda enthusiasts, Moms, kids and tech-lovers will snap it up. Fast. And we’d certainly want it as a push present.