The 2013 Accord EX-L V6 coupe isn’t the Accord only your mother could love. Its 278hp, 3.5L six-cylinder engine blesses everyone with more torque than even the NSX ever did and pulls the 3,400lb sled through the quarter-mile about as fast as an engine-swapped hatchback, making sure it’s the one that you want-even if you aren’t a mother.
But this is no K-swapped hatchback. Honda’s ninth-generation Accord is more refined than some of that and yes it does so without putting on any more beef than last generation’s model. There’s always room for improvement, though, and when it comes to Honda’s latest Accord, that comes in the form of the company’s exclusive edition HFP package. HFP-Honda Factory Performance-picks up where the assembly line workers left off, offering subtle performance upgrades to Accord V6 buyers all underneath the watchful eye of Honda’s engineers and protected beneath the car’s original warranty.
The 2013 Accord’s HFP upgrades are arguably few, but they are thorough nonetheless. At its core lies a moderately reworked suspension that lowers the unibody exactly 15 mm by means of shorter and slightly stiffer coil springs and reworked dampers. The difference is marked, even though it doesn’t appear to be much. Better are both the car’s overall handling driver and balance confidence while on the limit, and drive Honda’s all-new HFP Accord to the limit we did. Ditching the factory-supplied all-season rubber for Continental Sport Contact tires, which aren’t contained in the kit, is partially to blame. The plus-sized 235/40R19 summer tires wrap themselves around 19-inch, 10-spoke aluminum wheels which feature what Honda refers to as aPlus it isn’t by any means as bad as the anti-MacPherson finger-pointers would have you believe. The components are lighter, and according to us, MacPherson strut or not, the 2013 coupe is about the best-handling Accord that we can remember driving, based on Honda. Hydro-compliance bushings reduce the typical movement associated with conventional rubber bushings, ensuring that suspension geometry remains consistent, and are generally responsible for the Accord’s reactive and predictable handling. Stronger and better reinforced attachment points for that suspension’s components are also evident. Also a number of things that allow you to want it, like a more noticeably rigid chassis, even though the effects are all sorts of items that would make your mother want this Accord, like improved crash performance. Up front, strut bars are standard on nearly every trim level, as are anti-sway bars at each end, the V6 coupe’s being the burliest of the clan: 19 mm up front and 16 mm in the rear. Overall steering and handling feel is also better because of an all-new power steering system. Unlike last year’s hydraulic rack, the latest electric motor assist reduces steering effort dramatically, yielding an improved feel and improved stability. The steering column itself is even larger in diameter, causing a stiffer configuration and an overall better, more confident sensibility.
The Accord’s weight is kept in check partly because of an all-new, lightweight subframe up front that cradles the engine, transmission, minimizing suspension together and that’s put together in a very unorthodox sort of way. Here, Honda uses friction-stir welding to attach aluminum to steel. Friction-stir welding changes all of that, although until recently, the idea of welding aluminum and steel together was nothing more than crazy talk. Instead of heating, melting, and ultimately joining metal like with traditional MIG- or TIG-welding processes, friction-stir welding softens the information into a clay-like state through mechanical pressure, allowing it to bond to one another. Engineers also made use of unprecedented higher-grade and higher-tensile steel, resulting in less chassis flex and less weight.
Of course, the Accord’s skin was also refreshed. Its rakish look lends itself to the V6 model’s performance but does not only look pretty. The coupe’s large lower radiator opening is aggressive-looking but functional. Which do nothing more than house some fog lights, even though the same cannot be said of its faux brake scoops. Elsewhere, low aerodynamic drag wasn’t forgotten. Engineers designed large front wheel arches that transition along the doors and then towards the rear fenders, directing airflow around the rear tires for reduced drag. When it comes to the coupe, all lines lead to the rear decklid. The Accord’s teardrop shape isn’t the sole thing helping improve aero. Near-flush windshield glass, carefully shaped A-pillars, flush-mounted windshield wipers, and a number of underbody covers all help orchestrate airflow appropriately. Every Accord features a pair of underbody deflectors in-front of and behind the engine and also at the rear wheels and trunk, but only V6 models are fitted with two additional covers, located underneath the driver-side and passenger-side floorboards. Ground clearance is also at least just before the rear wheels, creating a low-pressure realm that allows air to flow around the wheels instead of across them. Once again, HFP picks up where the assembly line left off, fitting the Accord by using a rear decklid spoiler in addition toside and front, and rear underbody spoilers that add to the car’s aggressive-looking nature and also improve aerodynamics, helping redirect airflow appropriately (albeit limited toconsidering the J-series engine’s already impressive power curve that’s evident from throttle tip-in up to its 6,200-rpm peak. Choose the six-speed manual model that’s limited to coupes and say goodbye to Honda’s two-stage Variable Cylinder Management system that cuts off ignition within selected cylinders when maximum power’s not needed for increased fuel economy. Speaking of earth loving, every Accord in Honda’s lineup now includes Eco Assist, which also yields moderately better fuel consumption at the expense of all 278 hp. Were we to truly try it, we’d have been delighted to tell you how well it works, but once Honda will give you 278 hp, you take every bit of it. Unlike the Accord’s latest four-cylinder engine, V6 models are not direct injected but do include a number of impressive features that make it the most powerful Accord engine ever but without sacrificing fuel efficiency or the ability to refuel using regular unleaded, despite the engine’s 10.5: 1 compression ratio. Redesigned, belt-driven SOHC cylinder heads with revised intake and exhaust ports and a remapped i-VTEC system allows all of this to happen. Honda’s tumble-port design along with the seemingly dreaded integrated exhaust manifold are both responsible for the 7hp jump in comparison to last year’s engine-a good thing, even considering the hindrance integrated exhaust manifolds place upon tuners. Honda also addressed engine cooling friction and issues coefficients internally. Just what the company identifies as a cooling control spacer is positioned within the engine’s water jacket, surrounding the cylinders, which allows for more consistent operating temperatures and tolerances. An all-new plateau-honing process is likewise applied to the cylinders, creating an unprecedented smooth finish, reduced friction, and the potential for increased engine longevity. Both the-stage machining operation uses two different grinding processes instead of thefor usage in the 2013. And that’s okay. The lightweight aluminum transaxle using its hollow gearshafts mated to your dual-mass flywheel and self-adjusting, compact clutch is perhaps the most effective-feeling gearbox to come from Honda ever-V6-compatible or otherwise not.
According to Honda, only 500 Accord HFP kits will probably be made, with retail pricing set to be $4,620, not including installation, introduced at the 2012 SEMA show and open to consumers as of mid-July, 2013. HFP’s additions are subtle yet purposeful and are only enough to make what many are claiming to be Honda’s best Accord ever even better.