Offering an early look at styling language that will define the next generation of its best-selling model line, the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept was the centerpiece of the automaker's presentation at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. However, its official reveal also included news that the 2013 Accord Coupe and Sedan models that go on sale this fall will feature three all-new powertrains - including a new plug-in hybrid variant -- and usher in a number of other innovations. In making the announcements, John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda, noted: "Marking the 30th anniversary of U.S. production, this new ninth-generation Accord will raise the bar again through a tour de force of new Honda powertrain and safety technologies, geared to ensure that Honda and the Accord continue to lead in fuel economy, safety and fun-to-drive performance."
As for its visual recast, the 2013 Accord Coupe Concept adds a new measure of styling drama to the mix while still maintaining unmistakable Honda family DNA. More finely honed lines are complemented by a new four-sided grille, bolder headlamp and foglamp treatments up front while more evocative side sculpting and 20-inch machine-finished five-spoke alloys add interest to the Coupe Concept's profile view. Out back, restyled taillamps work with a new decklid spoiler and a pair of large chrome exhausts to give this one-off an edgier look. If history is any guide, expect about 80 percent of the redo to make it to production.
While nowhere to be seen, Honda did confirm that unlike the 2013 Accord Coupe which will remain at its current size, the 2013 Accord Sedan will feature "a more compact exterior footprint," and have a shorter wheelbase and lower curb weight than the 2012 model. Despite its trimmer dimensions, Honda says cabin space in the four-door will not change, which also is the case for the Coupe.
Buyers of the 2013 Honda Accord will be able to choose between three very distinct powertrains. Base engine in both the Coupe and Sedan will be a new "Earth Dreams" 2.4-liter direct-injected i-VTEC four. Set to produce "more than 181 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque," it will be backed by a new continuously variable automatic transmission with Honda's "G-Design Shift" cooperative-control system and is expected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy numbers. Both Accord models will offer a reengineered 3.5-liter V6 as an option. It will have more power and torque than the current V6 and can be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a new six-speed automatic. This will be the first time a six-speed autoshifter has been available in an Accord Sedan. Choosing the automatic in either body style also will net Honda's Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology, a feature expected to help the six earn class-leading mpg numbers.
The ultimate mileage maker in the family will be the 2013 Accord Plug-in Hybrid, a sedan-only model set to launch next winter and feature the first use of Honda's new two-motor hybrid system that cycles seamlessly through pure-electric, hybrid and pure-gasoline modes to maximize driving efficiency and mpg. The gasoline engine - a 2.0-liter i-VTEC four that uses Atkinson Cycle timing - is backed by a continuously variable automatic transmission. On the electric side, a 161-horsepower motor handles propulsion duties as conditions warrant. Energized by a 6kWh lithium-ion battery pack, it can take the Accord Plug-in Hybrid to 62 mph in pure EV mode and let it travel 10-15 miles in the city. Honda says recharge times will be less than four hours using a standard 120V outlet and under 1.5 hours on a 240V line. Honda will break significant new ground on the technology front, as well. The 2013 Accord will be the first to offer the firm's LaneWatch blind-spot information system, and all models also will come with a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera and an Expanded View Driver's Mirror as new standards. Other universal features include Bluetooth, SMS text messaging, a color intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) and a Pandora Internet Radio interface.
This story was updated on January 10, 2012, with new information and photos released in conjunction with the world premiere of the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.