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Test Drive: 2013 Honda Accord V6

Proof that you don’t have to sacrifice speed in a family sedan.

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Too often the family segment is filled with anonymous sedans that look (and feel) beige, no matter what color they’re painted. The new Honda Accord plays in that segment, but it’s not as monochromatic as you might think.

Even a quick spin in the 2013 Accord reveals it to be a machine infused with the lofty ambition of bringing joy to the driver. It starts with the engine—the baseline four cylinder hums contentedly and provides adequate power, but what makes it stand out is its penchant for revving toward the red line like a sports car. Opt for the 278-horsepower V6, and you’ll be ready to go toe-to-toe with more than a few of the cars you’ll see cruising down the freeway.

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Treat the Accord like a sports sedan, and it responds eagerly. Dive into a corner or a freeway on-ramp, and it feels secure, the tires grip, the suspension stays planted, and the car livens up. Drive it as if you have the family aboard, and the Accord’s machinery vanishes into the background. You won’t notice the V6 saving gas by running only three cylinders, nor will you notice the Active Noise Control working to hush the cabin.

Fractionally smaller than its predecessor, the new Accord is also tidier and more nimble. The change in dimensions is most obvious in the rear seat, which is slightly more intimate than before. From the front seat, the interior feels spacious and the visibility is vast.

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New for 2013 is Honda’s LaneWatch system. A camera mounted below the passenger side-view mirror surveys the blind spot and shows an image of the side of the car on the dashboard monitor whenever you turn on the right-turn signal. Other new features include LED headlights, a collision warning system, and direct fuel injection, which helps boost gas mileage to 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway for the four-cylinder CVT automatic model.

With a price range that starts at $22,470 and crests at more than $30,000 for a top-shelf V6, the Accord plays right in the heart of the fiercely competitive family- sedan segment.

However, while the competition is content to sell cars with all the charm of a microwave, Honda sells a family sedan with the character of a sports car.

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