By on May 8, 2012

A leaked spec sheet (from Temple of VTEC)  for the 2013 Honda Accord shows that manuals aren’t dead yet, but CVTs are also in – at least for 4 cylinder models.

The CVT will replace Honda’s automatic transmission for 4-cylinder Accords, while V6 cars will retain the option of a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The 6-speed manual will be offered on all 4-cylinder sedans save for the EX-L. V6 sedans will be available only with the automatic, while 4-cylinder and V6 coupes can be had with the stick shift. Those who want a two pedal coupe can choose from a 4-cylinder and a CVT or a V6 with the automatic.

Also available for 2013 is a “Sport” trim level on the sedan, which will ostensibly compete with the Toyota Camry SE. The Sport will be available with either a manual or CVT gearbox. V6 models have a cryptically named “TRG” package – perhaps it stands for “Touring”?

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68 Comments on “2013 Honda Accord Gets Sport Model, CVT For 4-Cylinders, 6-Speed Manual For Certain Trims...”


  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Are there any leaked pictures out there somewhere? I’m curious what he new sedans will look like.

    • 0 avatar
      PartsUnknown

      +1

      For a car as important as the Accord, and one that’s supposed to be in showrooms by this fall, the complete lack of pictures/teasers/camo’d test mules is weird.

      Heck, the new Fusion (which looks fantastic) was fully revealed months ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Well the 2005 to 2012 Impala slavishly aped the styling of that generation of Accord so maybe Honda will be preemptive and copy the styling of the 2013 Impala that is coming out. :)

  • avatar
    slance66

    Wondering myself. Not that they know anything, but an Acura dealer told me 1.5 years ago that the 2013 Accord would essentially be the Euro Accord/TSX. Whether true or not, I think they will downsize it.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      If that was the case then would would the TSX be? Just a badge engineered copy of the Euro and now American Accord?

      I am glad to see a Sport model and manual transmission making a comeback.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        If I remember right, the new Acura lineup will be the smaller ILX and the larger RLX, with no TSX anymore. So this could be a thing. I guess we’ll see.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Honda has already said that the new Accord will be shorter in length that the 8th generation. The second clue is Honda has tended to get two generations of Accord per basic platform design. The third clue is that Honda has introduced the 2013 Accord Coupe with similar dimensions to the 2012 Accord Coupe which suggests evolution of NA Accord platforms, not a move to the Euro Accord. I see two possible outcomes.

      1) The 2013 Honda Accord sedan shares the shorter wheelbase platform with the coupe.

      2) Honda reduces the front and rear overhangs, but retains wheelbase and interior size to match the Toyota Camry packaging.

      • 0 avatar
        TTACFanatic

        I was under the impression that the U.S. spec Accord will become the new Euro Accord/TSX not the other way around. Also the reason why the TSX is going away in the U.S. … no more “Euro” Accord to base it on and why have three cars based on the same platform … I mean this is Acura not Buick.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    That “TRG” designation will get the wagon afficionados all lathered up….

  • avatar
    loj

    “Touring” is a trim level on the Odyssey above EX-L, so they’re probably applying that to Accord now as well.

    Multispeed and dual-clutch automatics are advancing so quickly that I feel like a CVT is a bit of a copout. The “old” Honda would have delivered something trick like the Mazda Skyactiv transmission with a dual-clutch and a small torque converter. Given their durability and drivability issues, a CVT seems like a retrograde choice.

    I don’t want to damn the car before I’ve learned more about it, though. Maybe this new car will live up to Honda’s reputation for elegant design and engineering in a way their recent offerings have not…

    • 0 avatar
      ClementZ

      Apparently, these new Honda CVTs have been praised by journalists and reviewers.
      So I’ve heard.
      As far as reliability goes, Idk. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • avatar
    segfault

    TRG = Touring trim level. You can bet that the highly touted lane departure warning and forward collision warning will only be on the Touring trim level, which apparently isn’t available with the four cylinder engine. Note that those features are available on the four cylinder 2013 Altima.

  • avatar
    crackers

    Honda and CVT transmissions?

    /shudder!!/

    I have no confidence in the current leadership of Honda to institutionalize the lessons of past transmission failures so I think I’ll wait a few years before considering a new Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I just have no confidence in CVT transmissions.

      A metal belt running over two infinitely-variable cones to dispense rotation and torque to the drive wheels? No wonder the engine always sounds like you’re going 100mph while only doing 10mph.

      And then there is the abysmal track record of the CVT since it was introduced way back in the seventies. But let’s not go there. That’s been revisited way too often to be regurgitated once again.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        My friend has one in his Sentra and says that one day on the way to work he found himself going 100mph not realizing it since the drone never changes.

        A thing that always makes me cringe about his car/driving of the car is that he’ll back out of a space and drop it in drive before fully stopping. I know this is hard on conventional autos, but I wonder how much more/less stress is being place on a CVT.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        The opposite happened to a lady friend of ours in her Murano. One day the drone never changed but she kept going slower and slower on US70, even with the go-pedal fully depressed to the firewall.

        Nissan replaced the whole CVT transmission with a new one but she was reduced to bumming rides to work for a week.

        Right after the warranty expired, before going to work but while still at home, she went to drive off and the Murano with the second CVT in it just wouldn’t move, even when shifting through the settings.

        That was an end to her love affair with Murano and the CVT.

        My wife gave her a ride to a Jeep dealer in Albuquerque while letting her drive our Grand Cherokee all that distance, and the lady went home in 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.7 Limited 4X4 with the six-speed automatic in a gorgeous Deep Cherry Red with an all-black interior.

        That’s the end of her CVT story, a tale never to be repeated.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I seem to end up cheerleading CVTs a lot.

        One, Nissan and Audi (!) have proven CVTs. So does, oh, every single snowmobile. Yes, Nissan extended the warranty. No, the actual repair data doesn’t seem to bear out any serious problems unlike, say, Honda’s V6/5AT combo. Or Ford’s PowerShift, which do have demonstrable, statistically significant issues.

        GM and Honda can’t seem to make a reliable CVT. Fair’s fair, Honda had trouble with automatics transmissions as well, and had some issues with certain manuals (one of the Si’s, I think). So there’s reason to be a little concerned, here, but more about the “Honda” than about the “CVT” part.

        But yes, the droning is unusual. That said, you get used to it, so much so that the shift rev-bump in an automatic seems out of place.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        The open question about CVTs is whether they’re scalable. Sure, they worked ok in the Subaru Justy, the base model Audi A4, the Nissan Sentra, Nissan Altima snowmobiles and other low power, low torque applications. But what happens when you scale them up to higher torque applications moving heavier vehicles?

        FWIW, I drove a rental Altima with a CVT for 4 days and about 600 miles and found the transmission less objectionable in operation than Ford’s Powershift, based on my experience in a rental Focus.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Honda had trouble with total failures regarding one automatic – the 5-speed automatic installed in 1999-2003 models equipped with the V-6 engine.

        There was a problem with torque converters in the 2004-07 Odysseys, but that was solved with a software reflash.

        At this point, Honda automatics are not more troublesome than the automatics of any other manufacturer.

        Whether the new CVT has all of the bugs worked out remains to be seen. As the owner of a 2003 Accord EX four-cylinder with 174,000 miles who has not felt so much as a hiccup from the automatic, I certainly hope so.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        psar, there’s a place for CVTs in today’s world. I’m just not in favor of CVTs in cars or trucks.

        For one thing, people in general have a bad habit of overloading their vehicles, either by towing a trailer or exceeding passenger load capacity in the cabin. Happens all the time. CVTs do not hold up well when approaching their maximum load.

        I am fully aware of the centrifugal-clutch CVTs in snowmobiles since I own three of them and live in the high country of New Mexico where snowmobiles are the transportation mode of choice during the winter in ski-country.

        That said, CVTs in cars just have not proven as reliable as manual transmission or hydraulic automatics. The numbers prove that out since all the CVTs ever offered in cars are but a miniscule portion of the total transmissions cars come equipped with, since the beginning of automotive time. That may change in the future.

        In the future, as propulsion systems get better (electronics more effectively and efficiently managing throttle, engine, torque and speed responsiveness) we may see all of the auto manufacturers jump on the CVT bandwagon like they are now jumping on the EV and Hybrid bandwagon. But that doesn’t mean that either will be widely accepted as we can already see from Hybrids and EVs.

        At this time I think Honda is ill-advised to put CVTs in their vehicles because many Honda drivers have experienced some automatic transmision issues in the past that did not endear the Honda brand to them.

        With CVTs still going through growing pains, Honda does not need more negative press should the new CVTs fail in Honda’s cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      My wife was due for a turn-in of her 2009 Accord in October. Due to the fact that the whole new Accord was coming out in the fall, AND the CVT thing, AND due to the fact that they are practically throwing away 2012 Accords on leases (at least to returning lessees)….we went and re-upped early for a 2012 LX.

      Brand spankin’ new Accord LX $0 down $0 out of pocket, 1st payment made for 3 yrs. @ $225 per month out the door, with a 3 year unlimited warranty, oil changes and free car washes for the life of the car?

      Fuhgeddaboudit…..

    • 0 avatar
      ClementZ

      Past transmission failure?
      The only transmission from Honda that experienced widespread failure was the 5AT connected to V6 engines from 1998-2003.
      No Honda transmission has failed since…

      • 0 avatar

        Just checking, but this is a joke, right? If not, I highly encourage you to buy a ’98-’02 4cyl Accord with over 100k miles. Or an ’03-’05 CVT Civic Hybrid. Lemme know how they work out for you.

      • 0 avatar
        ClementZ

        PeteJayhawk – I owned a 1999 4cyl Accord, and got replaced it when it reached 155k miles. Not sure where you were trying to go with that.
        As for the Hybrid, Idk. The only problems I’ve read of are some slipping when the transmission is cold.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Question for everyone, I would like to hear your comments.

    Right now I am renting a Chevy Cruze with the 6 speed automatic.
    It shifts great and even knows when to hold or fold a gear. No hunting for what gear it should be in or continually downshifting & upshifting with minor engine load changes. This is probably the first automatic that I don’t feel I need to manually shift in daily driving situations. (Although I have run it up & down manually on some curvy roads for fun! Handles good too!) So some GM love.

    Now I have rented a few older Saturn Vues with the CVT transmission. It was one of the worse drivetrain combinations I have ever experienced. It always felt like I was driving a car with a slipping transmission. So some GM hate.

    So the question:
    What is the real advantage of a CVT transmission in a modern daily driven vehicle over a nice 6 speed automatic?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “What is the real advantage of a CVT transmission in a modern daily driven vehicle over a nice 6 speed automatic?”

      To more closely match driving needs to the efficiency of the engine.

      A manual or a hydraulic automatic has different ranges of efficiency in each gear but they do not always match the most efficient power band of the engine.

      With a CVT the needs of the load are satisfied by continuously varying the drive belt to keep the engine in its most efficient power band. That alone should improve mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      To perhaps answer your question, I would imagine a small bump in city fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The Saturn VUE CVT trannies were utter, total and complete CRAP. I would not rate CVT performance based on your Saturn VUE experience.

      The company that does CVT the best is Nissan – which is meant as a backhanded complement.

      The advantage of a CVT over a well programmed 6-speed automatic? Smooth shifting and maybe a couple MPG boost.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      >What is the real advantage of a CVT transmission in a modern daily driven vehicle over a nice 6 speed automatic?

      Potentially weight and complexity. The more gears you add to a transmission, the longer and more complex it gets. That said, some of the early CVT’s had a lot of fraction losses.

      The real gain you get with a CVT is in pairing it with a modern electronic throttle. The computer can keep the engine operating outside of part-throttle better when it has control over the transmission ratios. Ie, you can be WOT (reduced pumping losses) at cruising or acceleration, the only difference is the gear ratio. All modern throttle controls do this to some extent….there’s no longer a direct 1:1 relationship between how far you press down the gas pedal and how far the throttle physically opens.

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    “The CVT will replace Honda’s automatic transmission for 4-cylinder Accords”

    There goes Honda right down the drain…

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      We just bought a 2012 CRV in response to the threat of CVT and DI rollouts in various models next year. I also just saw that Accord sales are through the roof this month. Are other Honda buyers thinking about long term durability? Honda could be falling on its sword in this effort to match features with car companies that have never built durable goods.

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        No way will they switch the current CR-V to a CVT, not until the Full Model Changeover in 4-6 years.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        It could depend on sales relative to the new Escape next year. I’ve been told Automobile magazine just gave the CR-V a scathing review for not containing any bleeding edge technology and it seems like Honda is thin-skinned towards bad reviews considering their rush to change the Civic in spite of strong sales.

      • 0 avatar

        The CR-V may not have any bleeding edge technology but show a potential customer the knee-high load floor and the one touch folding seats and you’ve probably won over a lot of stroller-lugging families.

    • 0 avatar
      ShoogyBee

      Just wait until Honda replaces the hydraulic power steering with an electric system. I have a feeling that it’s bound to happen for 2013, and based on my underwhelming test drive of a 2012 Civic EX and the critical reviews of the Acura TSX’s steering, it’ll probably be a disappointment.

      • 0 avatar
        ClementZ

        Most manufacturers are doing it, since electric systems are generally lighter.
        Porsche and BMW, marques both praised for steering feel have both replaced hydraulics with electrics.

  • avatar
    swilliams41

    But can they make them QUIET?!?!?!?!?!

    That has kept me from buying Honda’s the last few years. I owned 2 Odysseys and 2 Accords, I say never again until they are as quiet or quieter than comparable Toyota’s, (which I do not own). I doubt that will happen though because Honda buyers seem not to care about that.

    • 0 avatar
      ckgs

      This is my problem with Honda and Acura cars as well. They just don’t seem to be able to keep the road noise down.

      • 0 avatar
        ShoogyBee

        Agreed. I’m two years into a three-year lease on my 2010 Accord LX sedan, and the road noise gets on my nerves as well. It’s especially noisy on grooved concrete freeways. Fortunately we don’t have too many of those here in the Milwaukee area, aside from a one-mile stretch here and there.

    • 0 avatar
      ClementZ

      Idk.
      Lots of people seem to complain about the noise.
      I own an 05 manual 4cyl Accord.
      And while it’s certainly louder inside than other cars I’ve driven (notably on the highway)
      It isn’t loud to the point of being unbearable or very annoying IMO.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    CVT transmissions are gonna increase the sale of manuals whenever they’re available

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      No. No, they’re not.

      I wish as much as the next guy that manuals were more eminently available, but when a CVT or conventional automatic can equal a manual’s mileage and performance and economies of scale negate the cost advantage, there’s no point.

      Nissan has had CVTs across the board and it hasn’t really dented sales. Quite the opposite, really.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      Availability is the problem. I was very interested in an I4 manual Accord coupe a year and a half ago but found out that they only exist on paper. Not a single dealer in the entire state of Colorado had one in stock, on order, or was willing/able to order one from the factory at sticker price. I doubt that manual Accords in any flavor will be more available in 2013.

      I often think that the demand for manuals is under represented across all brands simply due to lack of availability. The average car buyer isn’t going to jump through hoops to find a manual but if readily available I’d bet many would save the thousand or so bucks and row their own gears. The perception that manuals are more efficient and durable persists even if the former is no longer universally true.

      • 0 avatar
        PartsUnknown

        Depends on where you live apparently. I’m in Massachusetts and when I bought a 2010 Accord sedan 5spd manual a couple of years ago, the dealer had two in stock and there were over 30 manual sedans available within a 20 mile radius at other dealers. Easy peasy.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        If you’re willing to do sticker price, can’t you just build and order one on honda.com?

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        @onyxtape – Unfortunately not, at least not when I attempted to do so. I was told that Honda doesn’t do special orders and that the dealer has no say in what inventory they received from Honda. I’m not sure how much of this is true but I have to assume it is since I received a similar story from the 3 or 4 dealers I spoke to. Maybe special ordering a low-profit, base model Accord coupe paid for with cash simply wasn’t worth the hassle to them. Oh well, Mazda was happy to take my money in the end.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        azmtbkr81 I guess they lied to you… my 2011 Accord was built to spec and delivered to the dealership. I picked it up with 2 miles on the odometer… what it took for the salesman to go down and fill it up with gas. Took a few weeks of great anticipation, but so well worth it.

        Sounds more to me like the dealers were being the typical jerks that they are. They didn’t deserve your business anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        please559

        kvndoom–i’m willing to bet the “specs” that were made especially for you from the factory fall within a specific trim level….and i can assure you that your salesman did not fill up the gas tank.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The 2013 Civic refresh and 2013 Accord launch is possibly the most important in Honda’s history in North America.

    They cannot deliver “more of the same” as they are getting passed up on all sides. The Accord will need to get lighter, its moved too far away from its roots. No fan of CVTs – thanks CAFE.

  • avatar
    Marko

    I hope the seats are comfortable this time. Also, Honda has been using CVTs in its hybrids since the first Insight (as opposed to Toyota’s more efficient planetary gears). How have those CVTs held up?

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Actually, the 1996-2000 Civic HX had a CVT. I don’t think they sold that many of those, though. To those who hate on CVTs, some CVTs are better than others. Nissan had some hiccups with their first gen units in early Muranos. My 2009 Altima has the second gen unit and I love it. The 2013 Altima has a third gen unit which is supposed to be even better.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Honda’s CVTs, from the Insight onward, have not been great. That said, their hybrids haven’t done well in terms of battery life, either.

      Honda seems to have a real problem with doing things it’s own way. The problematic V6/5AT combo? That’s a Honda unit, not ZF, GM, Aisin or what-have-you. The hybrids? They have to cleave their own path, rather than accept that, well, Toyota was right.

      They’re actually rather like GM in their arrogance.

      (disclosure: I own a Fit, and I really like it, but Honda strikes me as a company where single voices of important people get perhaps too much sway)

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It’s kind of a pity that you cannot get the manual and V6 in a four-door. I personally despise two-door coupes and it would be nice to have the option.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    ZZZZzzzz… wake me when the actual cars show up, and I’ll take a look. I don’t believe anything Honda says anymore, and I doubt they have the right DNA to choose new destinations or to get there even if they wanted to.

    The Fit is the only nifty car they make, and their mistakes have been huge and bone-stupid. For a Honda owner like myself that’s such a sad outcome. I agree with “crackers” above that, in view of Honda’s sorry record regarding automatic transmissions, I don’t want to be beta-testing any of their new products.

    • 0 avatar
      ClementZ

      Sorry record?
      Honda has had ONE transmission failure (the 5AT of 1998-2003 paired with V6 engines)that was supposedly repaired under warranty.
      Name me a manufacturer that has NEVER experienced a transmission failure of some sort.
      They haven’t had a failure since then either.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I lament the lack of a manual EX-L sedan or coupe with 4-cylinder. That option died after MY2009. I really don’t see my next new car being a Honda. True shame, since I really love my Accord.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I have driven several Subaru Legacies with the CVT. Not my cup of tea, but … I was badmouthing the CVT at the dealer last week, and was sternly told that they have had ZERO problems.

    Forgot about it until I read the comments to this post. Then I googled “subaru cvt problems”. Well, if there are any, it seems to be a secret. Maybe Subaru actually makes a good one from the reliability POV, even if it’s a downer to drive.

  • avatar
    autobahner44

    The acronym DILIGAF springs to mind…

  • avatar
    car follower

    I find it hard to believe that Honda would go to a CVT on the Accord. I have heard more negatives about these transmissions than I’ve heard good. The auto journalist’s (experts in their own right) say it’s like driving a car with a manual transmission that has a clutch thats slipping. The engine rpm goes up and then the chain or belt adjusts itself in the pulley’s. Then as you reach your desired speed the engine slows down. Also these CVT’s are referred to rubber band transmissions. It would be good to hear from the owners of Nissan cars that have CVT’s
    I read somewhere that Honda is going to embrace direct injection for 2013 on some of their engines…any comments.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Honda automatics have sucked forever, a CVT can’t possibly be worse.

    I have the sneaking suspicion the CVT will be the least of this car’s problems. If recent history is a guide, the new Accord will look just like the last Accord, save for an uglier grille and taillights. The interior will be chintzy and ergonomically-challenged. However, it will sell in spite of this and all thrashing it will get from the print rags. This will irritate the domestic fanboys to no end and I will laugh.

    I do wonder how much longer this trend is going to continue with Honda products before the company gets a clue. I agree with what psarhjinian said above: Honda is almost GM-like in their arrogance and complete lack of self-awareness. We all know how well things worked out for the General…

    • 0 avatar
      ClementZ

      >Sucked forever.
      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
      Honda’s 5AT of 1998-2003 paired V6 was their ONLY widespread transmission failure.
      One gen of transmissions is not forever.
      >Recent history.
      The 8th gen Accord was nothing like the 7th gen. The 7th gen was nothing like the 6th gen. And so on and so forth.
      You are attacking the sedan’s appearance before even seeing it.
      And that sir, is ignorant.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    FromaBuick6, Honda and Acura cars have the highest resale value of all brands. GM cars have some of the lowest resale values. Does this mean anything to you. I don’t currently own a Honda or Acura, but I have had very good luck with all that I have owned. As far as Honda automatic transmissions sucking, there have been more than a few GM automatic transmissions that dropped dead early and often. Personally, I owned an Acura Legend from 1990 till 2006, with no transmission problems and damn few problems of any kind. My experiences with GM trash ranging from a 1955 Chevvy to a 1983 Chevvy insure that no GM product will ever darken my driveway again.

  • avatar
    MikeySoft

    Whatever TRG stands for, you can not get NAV or NAV comes standard with TRG.


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