By on December 21, 2012

“So, which is the better car, the new Honda Accord or the new Ford Fusion?” By now, anyone known to friends and family as a “car guy” has been asked this question at least a few times. Let’s ask it again.


The exterior designers at Honda and Ford clearly had different goals. Honda wanted to avoid turning potential customers off. Ford sought to turn them on. Mission accomplished in both cases by cribbing from storied European marques. Would you prefer a handsome German or a sexy Brit? Inside, Ford took fewer risks, and Honda fewer still. The Fusion’s interior is finished a little nicer, but the Accord’s is also far better than the oft-lambasted 2012 Civic’s.

From the driver seat you can see out of the Honda more easily, thanks to larger, more upright windows. The Accord also has a standard rearview camera. On the Fusion, one attends the optional MyFord Touch UI. Accords EX and up have a second camera that provides a view of the passenger side blind spot at any speed (via a handy button on the end of the turn signal stalk). When you can actually see what’s back there, there’s no need for the Fusion’s optional blind spot warning system.

On paper, the Ford has a couple more inches of total legroom. But this is because Dearborn cheated the specs. In reality, though I personally find the Fusion’s rear seat more comfortably positioned and shaped, there’s a noticeably more room inside the less swoopy Accord (if still less than inside a VW Passat). Trunk space is about even. Your stuff should fit in either.

Both companies have taken risks with their powertrains in pursuit of better EPA scores. Ford augments a smaller (178-horspower 1.6- vs. 189-horsepower 2.4-liter) four-cylinder engine with direct injection and a turbocharger. Honda pairs its first direct-injected “Earth Dreams” engine with a continuously-variable transmission (CVT). Many driving enthusiasts will summarily reject a car with a CVT. Well, largely due to this transmission (with an assist from a curb weight that’s about 150 pounds lower) the new Accord easily outperforms the new Ford. The new CVT not only avoids the “rubber banding” typical of the breed, but (much unlike Ford’s conventional six-speed automatic) provides the sort of slop-free connection often only available with a manual transmission. With the “Sport” model, paddles can be used to swiftly shift among seven fixed ratios. The Ford’s transmission can also be manually shifted, but it’s far less responsive or smooth.

The Ford’s smaller four fails to pay fuel economy dividends. It does a bit better than the Accord on the highway, 36 vs. 35 mpg, but considerably worse in the city, 23 vs. 26. (The paddle-free Accord goes a mile farther per gallon in both tests.) The Honda’s engine often feels like its straining considerably less, with an especially plump midrange, so real-world numbers could easily differ more than these test scores do. Overall, the Honda performs so well with the four that few people will feel the need for the available, largely carryover 278-horsepower V6 (finally paired with a six-speed automatic). With the Ford, on the other hand, a case could easily be made for its top mill, a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four.

The tables turn, for some of us at least, when the road curves. The Accord chassis manages well enough, but even in slightly tighter Sport form there’s some float, feel-free steering, plow when hustled (though with a later onset than in the non-Sport), and little fun to be had. The Fusion’s suspension feels much more tightly damped and its steering feels more connected to the front tires’ contact patches. Unlike the Accord it begs to be pushed. At this point you’ll also discover much more effective bolstering in the Ford’s driver seat. (Honda reserves a well-bolstered seat for the Accord Coupe.)

Which car rides best depends on whether you prefer to float (relatively) softly over bumps or dispatch them in a tight, controlled fashion. The new Accord suffers from less road noise than its predecessor, but the Ford is quieter still. Overall the Fusion sounds and feels like a more expensive car.

In a switch from past years the Ford actually is a more expensive car, but not by enough to matter. A Honda Accord Sport lists for $24,980. A Ford Fusion SE with the Appearance Package lists for $25,745. Adjust for remaining feature differences using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool and the difference is under $500. If you’d prefer a manual, you can deduct $800 from the Honda’s price but nothing from the Ford’s, widening the gap.

Comparison tests generally favor well-rounded cars by summing scores in a wide range of attributes. Doing especially well in one or two areas can’t compensate for middling scores in others. In such tests, the Honda Accord will win. It bests the Ford in most categories. But in the areas that connect emotionally, how a car looks and how it feels, the Ford can be much more satisfying. Which car is better for you? It depends on whether you want a car that makes a lot of sense or one you’ll love to look at and drive.

Curtis Evans of Urse Honda in Bridgeport, WV, provided the Accord. He can be reached at 304-629-4178.

Ford provided the Fusion at a drive event along with a light lunch.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.

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162 Comments on “Comparison review: 2013 Honda Accord Sport vs. 2013 Ford Fusion SE...”


  • avatar
    BigMeats

    “one you’ll love to look at and drive”

    Without access to a time machine, that’s not happening.

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    Is the Fusion missing an engine cover in that picture? The engine bay looks like a big mess compared to the Accord.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    ” If you’d prefer a manual, you can deduct $800 from the Honda’s price but nothing from the Ford’s…”

    Good luck finding one on a dealer’s lot. Let me know when you do.

    • 0 avatar

      Which are you looking for? A nationwide search on autotrader finds over 400 manual 2013 Accords, but only 15 manual Fusions, some of which are likely erroneous entries.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        400? Nationwide? That’s a bit more than one per million in population. So, I could expect there to be about five scattered around the Houston area.

        • 0 avatar
          Mambo

          You guys have to realize that it’s early in the 2013 distribution.

          I work at a dealership and just sold a 2013 Accord Sport 6-speed, and it really was a neat car that did beg to be pushed – the manual transmission just changes the car. Granted, we don’t have roads to really challenge the suspension around here, but that’s the second manual 2013 Accord we’ve sold since January – one a Sport, and the other one was either an LX or EX. If I could afford one, I’d buy one myself, then sort out further suspension modifications in the future (which would make it handle better, but with a rougher-than-stock-Accord ride).

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I actually found a manual Accord sport at my local dealer. There were two Accord Sport models in silver and I went back and forth comparing the window stickers. Couldn’t figure out why one of them cost more money because everything seemed identical. Then I noticed that the cheaper one was a manual and was shocked that such a thing was actually sitting in front of me. So they are out there.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    In this segment, these two and the Passat are the ones I’d choose from. I love the way the Fusion looks, but man, the center stack’s radio and HVAC button arrays are ugly and cheap looking.

    • 0 avatar

      I see this in the photos I took, but somehow didn’t have the same impression in person.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        That’s because your blatant pro-Ford bias is showing up, yet again, MK.

        The Honda’s interior looks positively upscale compared to the disparate, messy and cheap-brightwork laden Ford dash, but you blame everything that’s a demerit for the Ford on “the camera lens” lately.

      • 0 avatar

        DeadWeight you keep amazing me. All you saw are photos and you keep making far fetching statements and go around blaming people. I would say you have pro-Honda bias how about that? I drove real life Fusion and its cabin actually looks and feel high quality and more elegant than overwrought and tasteless Accords IMO. If you prefer Accord for whatever reason – good – go and buy one. But do not insult reviewer who actually took time and effort to go and make side by side comparison and share his findings with us just because it contradicts your preconceived opinion.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          Your authority seems limited to the Fusion, therefore you really don’t have any.

          Consumer Reports certainly didn’t think the Fusion was well put together. They also found it slow and thirsty in addition to being poorly assembled. The Fusion was ranked well below the Accord.

          The reviewer also failed to note the Accord’s rear camera in the original review, since altered.

          Time and effort? That glaring omission would be impossible in a cursory review much less a thorough review. Deadweight was dead on. Your lack of insight is what’s amazing here.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Those are upgraded somewhat if you get the infamous touchscreen, of course.

  • avatar
    rodface

    From the angle in the second-to-last photo, the Accord could not be more of a dead ringer for the Hyundai Genesis sedan.

    http://images.gtcarlot.com/gtgallery/photo.php?id=29770450

  • avatar
    mike978

    Mike – thanks for posting this because it is a car comparison I wanted to see. Would you conclusion change a little if both had been manual’s and hence both more connected to the driver?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think so. The CVT with paddles is surprisingly good. My issue with the Accord was primarily with the steering, and a little with the suspension as well. Some reviewers have reported feedback through the Accord’s steering, but it was totally not there for me.

      I should note that, since I was able to test drive the Accord in West Virginia (a big thanks once again to Urse Honda in Bridgeport), I was able to push it harder I could have in Suburban Detroit. I actually drove two of them, an EX-L and a Sport. The Sport’s suspension was a little firmer and its tires were grippier, but the car’s basic character remained the same. It’s a very pleasant car, but not an engaging one.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    On style alone, I’d marginally take the Ford, but from the side, Fusions are looking like a ten-year-old Focus (which I hated) stretched-out, and while I admire the simple grille work, it needs a center bar to bring it all together. I sure like Ford’s dash design much better – nice curves with sharp corners, nice; Honda’s dash looks blobby.

    The Accord – well, it appears they FINALLY got rid of those awful dog-bone exterior door handles which look absolutely hideous in chrome. I can’t tell from the photos – I’ll have to see one up close, but I also hope Honda removed or corrected the goofy little angles and bulges the previous Accord had which made it look like a BMW gone wrong.

    I would have to say the Accord will get the nod in CR and the marketplace. I get the impression Ford is confused and has questionable quality in some areas – I can’t qualify this, just a perception, and hope I’m wrong, whereas Honda has the reliability history to win out, odd styling notwithstanding.

    • 0 avatar

      The Fusion’s midsection also appears distended to me in light colors and with multi-spoke wheels. But in darker colors with five-spoke rims it works for me.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      I checked out a new Fusion a few weeks back when I was sorely disappointed with the new Focus.

      It’s a good looking car, but HUGE. I sat in it and I felt like the edge of the hood and the bumper were a football fields length away from me.

      I’ll be checking out the 2013 Civic this weekend, and will see how my impressions of the 2013 Accord stack up against the Fusion.

      I really wish cars would start downsizing.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The biggest size related issue with the Focus (I’m not speaking of the problems with its transmission nor other reliability issues) is the tiny back seat. It’s small even by subcompact car standards, let alone compact car standards.

        In fact, even though the Focus sedan is larger on the exterior than almost all competing compact sedans, I can’t honestly think of any competitors that have a rear seat with less leg room than the Focus (they may exist, but I am unaware of which ones they would be).

  • avatar
    dabradler

    Ford should make a Fusion coup to compete with the Accord coup V6, I’d totally drive a Fusion coup with a mustang motor in it.

  • avatar
    segfault

    “the Accord has a camera as standard equipment that provides a view of the right blind spot at any speed (via a handy button on the end of the turn signal stalk).”

    It’s standard only on EX trim level and higher, not on the Sport model as tested.

    I drove the 2013 Accord EX-L V6 and found the steering feel to be lacking. Also, the six-speed automatic was slow to kick down. They made a lot of compromises to get the V6 to achieve 34 MPG highway. I might be interested in a Sport V6 model with wider tires, hydraulic power steering, and more aggressive transmission programming if it were offered.

    • 0 avatar

      Quite correct, will fix this. I drove both an EX-L and Sport. This morning when getting the photos together, went to the EX-L folder because that’s where I had the Lanewatch photo, also noticed one for the rearview monitor and thought, “I should add a sentence about that feature.” Update: still got it backwards. Now truly fixed. Lesson learned: when you drive 2+ different versions of the same car, be more careful about which has which features.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Why does the Fusion think it’s the year 2000?

    I think the Fusion might have the edge in the materials department. I rode in a 2011 Accord just yesterday, and I was not impressed at all with any of the panels or buttons on the inside. My 11 year old car has much nicer buttons, and a more appealing dash layout.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Both a very timely and good review about the two new mid-size contenders the industry is talking about the most. The Fusion looks by far the more expensive but I’ll have to wait until TrueDelta has reliability numbers before considering it.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Actually the Fusion was just rated as the best overall car (in its class) in an independent crash test study (they actually failed the camry, Accord rated as ok), sent in a link to the suggestion box so that perhaps TTAC would do an article on it but I guess that isn’t going to happen.

    I don’t think Ford has lost its way, I think they just pushed the envelope so hard that it led to hiccups (which they openly/aggressively address rather than past practices of trying to hide them), but Ford has become a globally integrated, technological and design leading mainstream automaker, that makes money on product merit, not discounted marketshare crap, which is what Honda used to be.

    Back to the camry failing the crash testing, if it had been the fusion or a GM product, would there have been an editorial on american death traps?

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “Back to the camry failing the crash testing, if it had been the fusion or a GM product, would there have been an editorial on american death traps?”

      Not a word about this on TTAC, yet…I’m waiting.

    • 0 avatar
      Charliej

      rnc, if you will read the report, the Camry failed one part of a five part crash test sequence. The Camry is rated as a top safety pick, not a top safety pick-plus, as are some other cars, including the Honda. I have never owned a Toyota, and probably never will, but they are good, safe cars.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      You got it assbackwards. The Accord was rated tops, the Fusion just ok.

    • 0 avatar
      Phil Ossifer

      rnc did you have to ask? GM / Ford would made Network nightly news, special edition from Consumer Distorts, cover story in Motor trend etc… had they got a fail

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I also test drove both vehicles and bought the Accord Sport six speed as a consequence.

    I agree with most reviewers that the Accord interior is much richer looking and the back seat more spacious. On the back roads here in Connecticut it tracks as if on rails. I wouldn’t doubt that the Accord’s superior wheels and tires make it handle better too.

    C/R is reporting 40 mpg highway, which is what I’m getting with the “eco” setting. In the real world I’ll wager the Honda easily achieves better mileage than the Ford.

    I wonder if Ford’s faux Aston look with its compromised outward vision is really attractive to the market. The bunker look is old.

    I’ve read reports that the Accord is the fastest selling new Honda model in its history. I wouldn’t doubt it. As for the Fusion, could this overpriced Ford be a reprise of 1996 Taurus MKII? Perhaps.

    >>A rearview camera for use only when backing up is optional (with the MyFord Touch UI) in the Fusion, and is offered in the Accord only in the EX and up, where it’s standard.<<

    btw, the backup camera is standard in all Accords and kinda hard to miss. This is the first review I've read that did so.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Interesting what you have said about the Accord. I can see why it is selling well, I think it is a conservatively styled, but graceful car. I had heard mixed reports on its handling, certainly vs the Fusion. I am glad Honda has three models with manual transmissions (Toyota could learn from that with the Camry).
      As for price, I think actual transaction prices for the Fusion will be below the Honda because Ford were already offering $1000 cashback even before the car was launched. I think that was crazy, why not just drop MSRP by $1000 but no-one will ever pay near MSRP with if even before a brand new car is launched there is money back, imagine what it will be towards the end of the first model year probably upto $2000 like the, cheaper, Focus was.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        mike978 has it correct. The two words that are rarely brought up in comparison reviews, but can make the difference when it’s a close call between a domestic and foreign nameplate (esp. Toyota and Honda) are ‘street price’. Domestics quickly start piling money on the hood to move the metal, while foreign marques are quite loath to do the same.

        So, while the new Fusion’s MSRP might be a tad pricier than the Accord’s, when it comes time to buy, the Ford will invariably end up actually being much, much cheaper. That can make a big difference as to which car gets the sale.

        With that said, the Accord still seems like a pretty nice ride, too, particularly considering the new car gremlins that tend to plague new domestic introductions. I’d feel much more secure in a new model Honda than a new model Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The actual selling price of an Accord will be much, much more than a Fusion? Where do you get this stuff from?

        Go to cars.com for beginners and do a search on the volume Accord, which is the LX. A well equipped LX sells pretty much for 22k all day long.

        I’m fairly confident one can get into a manual equipped Accord sedan that’s anything but a stripper for around 20k. They’re already there right now on dealer lots, and production hasn’t been going on that long on the 2013s.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          “Where do you get this stuff from?” – History. Ford typically discounts much more, both at a dealer level with dealers selling at or below invoice and at a manufacturer level with large discounts.

          I must admit I am surprised in March 2013 that the Accord is selling around invoice pricing. But Honda have not put any money on the hood – unlike Ford which has $1500.

          Just checked on Edmunds :

          Fusion 2.5 SE with appearance pack – MSRP of $25610 and selling price of $22562
          Accord 2.4 Sport – MSRP of $24980 and selling price of $23144.
          So you have the Ford starting $600 higher and ending up $600 cheaper (a switch of $1200).

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      Don’t know what reviews you’re reading but I don’t remember anyone noting the Accord’s interior as “richer-looking” than the Ford’s. To me they look pretty equivalent in quality, though I prefer the Fusion’s cockpit-like dash to the Accord’s more SUV-like setup.

      Both the Accord Sport and Fusion SE with Appearance Package have 18-inch wheels, though I’m not sure what tires the Fusion has. The Fusion and Accord are both generally agreed to have very good handling, though I think the Fusion gets the nod in this area from what I can gather (Michael certainly seemed to prefer the Ford in this area).

      The Accord will likely get better mileage in the real world and definitely has a roomier rear seat. It’s more practical, but the Fusion, to my eyes anyway, is more emotionally appealing. It sounds though like you had your mind made up from the beginning, and I seem to recall some hostility to Ford in general in your other posts so that’s not too surprising. (This is also the first time I’ve heard the 1996 Taurus used as a comparison to the success of this car…unless there are a bunch more recalls it looks more likely to be a repeat of 1986 if anything).

      Putting biases aside, the reality is more likely that they’re BOTH nice cars.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>Don’t know what reviews you’re reading but I don’t remember anyone noting the Accord’s interior as “richer-looking” than the Ford’s. <<

        I've read plenty that score the Honda superior in interior packaging and quality:

        "And the Fusion put up a fight, with numerous engine options, plenty of tech and some of the best fuel economy numbers in its class. Two of the segment leaders, when compared head-to-head, the Honda came out
        on top,
        with a more polished interior, a more engaging (and more comfortable) ride, not to mention superior real world
        fuel economy in our tests. And while the simplicity of its tech features won’t wow you like the glossy MyFord Touch, they won’t enrage you either. Overall, the Honda just packs more value."
        http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/12/2013-autoguide-car-of-the-year-nominee-honda-accord.html

        Cheap Ford: "For one thing, this is a conspicuously spacious sedan, with a truly palatial back seat and unparalleled airiness all around. "Very roomy," writes Martinez. "Most of the materials have an Acura-quality feel;
        well above the cheap plastics in the Chevy and the Ford." The seats are splendid, with a
        richness and plushness rare for this class. Climb aboard, and right away you know you're riding
        in something special"

        Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1212_2012_2013_midsize_sedan_comparison/viewall.html#ixzz2GBC1nJJw

        All 3 NYTimes reviewers pick the Accord,
        leave Fusion off list:
        "And in a year that brought several revamped midsize sedans, including the Chevy Malibu,
        Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima, the most impressive entry was the 2013 Honda Accord, a
        selection of all three critics."
        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/automobiles/critics-picks-great-performances-without-guilt.html?_r=0

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Autoguide didn’t seem to mention anything regarding interior quality; their “polished” comment sounded more directed towards MyFordTouch versus Honda’s easier-to-use system (which is fair).

        Motor Trend’s a bit of a joke, IMO, but their only criticism of the Fusion’s materials/fit came from one editor in an offhand comment. Otherwise, they said the Fusion had “high-quality, soft-touch materials” and fantastic seats.

        NYTimes mentioned nothing about the interior quality, so I don’t know why you brought that up (apart from your obvious bias).

  • avatar
    zeg

    I may be wrong here but I believe the backup camera on the Accord is standard on all trim levels. The blind spot camera is only available on the EX.

  • avatar
    zeg

    In the interior shot of the Fusion’s rear seat, the driver’s headrest seems to be forward way more than necessary. I couldn’t drive with a headrest in that position.

  • avatar

    As the driver of a Murano, I’ll just say that Nissan could definitely learn a thing or two about how to build CVTs from Honda. It always freaks me out when I pass someone on the interstate and then let off of the gas…and the Murano’s still doing 90 mph for another two or three seconds.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    This was a pretty objective review, IMO, Michael.

    However, it’d be nice if (and not just within your reviews, but others, as well) you would delve more deeply into technical and practical issue relating to the suspensions of each of these cars.

    I realize you addressed ride quality and handling, but as is so often the case in these reviews, the very important issue of ride characteristics over different surfaces and types of road is given scant attention.

    This is especially true in the case of the Accord, as Honda has now abandoned its long used double wishbone front suspension (and gone with the ubiquitous MacPherson strut setup), which used to be a defining characteristic of the Accord, especially within its segment, and there are a lot of conflicting reviews and opinions elsewhere as to how this has affected ride quality and handling, as well as whether the overall net benefits of abandoning the dwb front suspension have yielded results that justify this decision (from the consumer’s point of view).

    Thanks for doing a thorough job of covering the bases on the Accord’s CVT. I’ve yet to drive a CVT equipped sedan that I liked, and based on your detailed description here, the Accord might possibly hold potential as being the first one that will satisfy me.

    • 0 avatar
      kenzter

      Isn’t the GTI, one of the best handling FWD cars around, MacPherson strut? I would think the diminished ride quality and handling of the Accord has more to with with cheapening of the other bits, or perhaps going after the Avalon crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      My understanding was that double-wishbones were replaced to make the cabin quieter – apparently it is easier to isolate the suspension from the car if it is a MacPherson strut setup. With double-wishbones, a sub-frame (adding to cost and complexity) must be isolated from the car to obtain lower noise levels.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        I’ve also read that double-wishbones allow for a lower hood line, and that struts give the front occupants more leg room.

        Michael Karesh, nice review as always. Hope the Mazda 6 is on your list.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    This might be somewhat off topic, but it biased my reading of this review to such an extent that perhaps it is worth mentioning. Simply put, the ownership experience.

    I currently have a 2012 Accord EX sedan, my forth Honda since 1996 – all from the same dealership, which is the only Honda dealership within 200 mile of me. I got off on the wrong foot with this car (LITERALLY) from the first day. The car was behaving in such an odd manner that I waited a week because I thought I might be imagining things. I finally took it back to the dealership and was basically told by the service adviser that I was nuts…with much drama, in front of several customers. I knew there was something amiss so I read the owner’s manual from cover-to-cover. Nothing even gave a hint of the situation. I finally reached out to the internet and got the answer from a commenter on a Honda board. The car has what Honda calls “Brake Priority Logic”. Any pressure on the brake overrides the gas. This only seems to be an issue for people who brake with their left foot. I called Honda and they FINALLY confirmed that my car was so equipped. I learned to brake with my right foot (which I should have been doing all long) and the problem was solved. I found another situation on the net where the owner of a new Honda was having the same problem. The service adviser at his dealership didn’t know the answer but, took it upon himself to contact Honda and figure out what was going on. Why is Honda so secretive about this feature?

    My point? This experience totally turned me off regarding my new Accord, and Honda in general. I know this is totally irrational, but it’s often the simple things that ruin relationships. I hate the car and that’s sad because while it IS boring as Hell, and cheaply made in areas, it’s basically OK and has been reliable. In business, every part and person in the equation is important. In this case, one pot-bellied, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging moron tainted the entire process for me. I get upset now when someone compliments the brand of car I personally own.

    HONDA SUCKS!*

    *Full disclosure. It’s only been eight months so perhaps I will get over it. :)

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      Doug,
      You had an awful situation at the dealership, when the employee embarrassed you, rather than explain to you this new safety feature, meant to keep you safe from unintended acceleration.

      I am sorry this happened to you, and hope that you will understand that the actions of one individual at a car dealership aren’t representative of Honda Motor or the vehicles they assemble.

      I wish you many years of happy ownership with your Acord.

    • 0 avatar
      1998redwagon

      doug-g,

      i too brake w/my left foot whenever i drive an auto (not often). can you describe a scenario where you have both the accelerator and brake applied at the same time? i.e. when exactly would the ‘brake priority logic’ come into play?

      thanks

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        Based on his very vague information, I’m betting his car was randomly “cutting out” while he was driving, whenever he let his left foot sag and depress the brake pedal. Which means that, for years, he’s been driving around randomly flashing brake lights, or leaving them on for miles.

      • 0 avatar
        doug-g

        @1998redwagon

        This “safety feature” nearly got myself and passengers I care very much about into THREE serious accidents within the first couple days of ownership. Once when I was merging into traffic and twice while making left-hand turns against traffic. If you have pressure on the brake pedal (I’m not sure how much)the “Brake Priority Logic” is activated. Also if you quickly let off the brake and apply gas, there is a split-second lag time. In either case, you simply don’t move. If you think unintended acceleration is a frightening thought, you need to lock horns with NO acceleration with traffic coming at you. The solution was simply getting used to braking with my right foot. I have NO idea WHY I always braked with my left foot. Maybe it was because I drove manual transmission cars for so long and thought my left foot had to be doing something.

        What exasperated the situation is that it was like nothing I had ever experienced with a car before. The only thing I could relate it to was the transmission possibly slipping. What’s worse, there is NOTHING in the owner’s manual regarding this “safety feature”. And unless it has changed, NOTHING on any official Honda site. Then you go to the dealership and get the treatment I received in front of a waiting room full of customers! The service adviser almost threw the keys at me and said, “you just need to drive that car! GET OUT THERE AND DRIVE IT!” Really GREAT advise! You have a car that you’ve nearly been in THREE serious accidents in and his solution is to “GET OUT THERE AND DRIVE IT!” I had to go to the internet and, luckily, find a commenter who knew what was happening. I can appreciate automakers taking action to prevent unintended acceleration, but why don’t they mention it in the owner’s manual or someplace? Honda lists every other brake feature in the brochure!

        Another commenter here kindly answered me and explained that the actions of one employee aren’t representative of Honda. Sadly, HE is Honda’s representative to ME. You have a long-time customer who they only see when I buy a car and get it service – I don’t go in complaining of every squeak and rattle – who comes to them with a serious issue and I’m treated like that! You’d think they would take you seriously and help you.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      This “brake priority logic” is intended to fix situations like the (in)famous Toyota unintended acceleration problem. Look forward to all cars having this feature.
      Here are some more “features” that protect us from “incorrect” operation.
      “Apply brake to shift from Park” (see Audi and 60 Minutes TV show)
      “tire pressure monitors” (see Ford Explorer and low recommended tire pressures by Ford using poorly specified Firestone tires)

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      That’s a safety feature on most all new models.

      We all have our own habits but the only time I put my left foot on a brake pedal is when I go to start my wife’s 12 Accord EXL or a rental car… Just can’t get used to an auto. I’m sorry your experienced has been soured but hopefully the car will make up for it over the years. I’m on my 3rd Honda since 90 and have had 1 Subie (which shows me Japanese cars are not built to the same quality).

    • 0 avatar
      Stumpaster

      Your local Walmart or path mark store offers remedial driving lessons. Yeah, you, with the brake light going off as you are hogging the left lane doing 45.

      • 0 avatar
        doug-g

        @Stumpaster Thanks for the info. I really don’t shop Walmart so I was not aware they offer this service. Since you’re an authority on Walmart, I take it you’re either under-employed or on welfare*. I hope you overcome your hardships and find happiness this Holiday season. It can’t be easy and I feel for you.

        *Stereotyping and sarcasm expressed and implied.

        • 0 avatar
          james80

          doug your comment is very offensive to those hard working employees from walmart. no need to be so A.hole.

          FYI, i don’t see how u can relate stumpasters’s comments to him being an employee there.

          anyways, since the “Honda” is just a disappointment due to your little experience with 1 dealership and holding such a negative baby emotional on it, do yourself and your family a favor and get rid of your Honda. so that way you won’t get so ‘upset”

          Referencing from :

          ” I get upset now when someone compliments the brand of car I personally own.”

  • avatar

    This is exactly the comparo I wanted to see, and leads me to the conclusion I’d already devised – I just need to drive them both. I will be interested to see how the new Mazda6 compares next spring, which is when we’ll be in the market.

    • 0 avatar
      jvbeattie

      Chairman Kaga – you’ll drive them (like me) and could still be undecided. Honda ergonomics and standard features are better, Fusion much more fun and engaging to drive. I keep flip-flopping. I test drove the Fusion twice -SE 2.5 and 1.6. Test drove 4cyl accord twice EX auto and LX manual. Whatever I decide, it will be a manual, but I still haven’t made a decision. Also Fusion with MT is special order only.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    @Steve65

    “Based on his very vague information, I’m betting his car was randomly “cutting out” while he was driving, whenever he let his left foot sag and depress the brake pedal. Which means that, for years, he’s been driving around randomly flashing brake lights, or leaving them on for miles.”

    Don’t bet on “vague information”.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      If you’re driving around pressing the gas and brake pedals simultaneously, the problem is operator error, not design and features.

      So, let’s hear some specifics about how this is Honda’s problem, and not your bad driving habits.

      • 0 avatar
        doug-g

        Steve, you need to read things before you jump in with your $.02. I clearly stated that this was caused by my having been a left-footed braker. The issue is that this feature effects people who brake with their left foot. I was having issues with the car, sought help and received none. Once I knew I had this “feature”, and what was causing the problems, I adjusted my driving habits. I’m 56 and have never had an accident, so my driving habits must not be that bad.

        On a side note, have you ever considered applying to my Honda dealership as a service adviser? You seem to have the qualifications: you offer no valuable assistance just smart-a$$ed answers.

      • 0 avatar

        Steve’s comment seems indicative of Honda’s semi-official stance on certain flaws and defects: “it’s not the car, it’s you.” Combine this with crappy customer service and it’s no wonder more customers haven’t defected elsewhere.

        Personally, I’d find a feature that completely cuts off any throttle input if you happen to left-foot brake to be pretty dangerous. I can only imagine how troublesome this would be in about…say…10 years time.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        Still haven’t seen an explanation of why you were pressing on the brake pedal while accelerating out into traffic. Absent that, I’m going to stick with my conclusion of “lazily resting the foot on the brake pedal, and randomly pressing it for no good reason.”

        I left-foot brake all the time. And when I’m not braking, I keep my foot on the floor or dead pedal where it belongs. Your problem wasn’t caused by “left foot braking”. It was caused by applying both pedals at the same time. No amount of ranting will make those two things equivalent.

        People blaming car makers for the consequences of their own bad judgement and lazy habits are exactly WHY we have stupid interventionist crap like shift interlocks, clutch pedal lockouts, and programming that cuts the throttle when you press both pedals at once.

      • 0 avatar

        When driving car with AT I also brake with my left foot in certain situations – it simply allows more control over the car.

      • 0 avatar
        james80

        I agree with you steve. He just doesn’t understand the safety of the car is. he needs to learn how to drive like a normal human being would drive. even my 15 year old can drive a normal way, and now hitting the gas and brake paddle at the same time.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Which is better in 2012, a 2002 Accord or 2002 Fusion?

  • avatar
    sckid213

    Thanks for the really good review. Styling-wise, this car should have been the Accord that came out in ’08.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    How was the light lunch?

  • avatar
    rhears

    Ford has been skewered for their infotainment system; I have not read about the new Honda system. Did you have time to delve into each system for ease of use and functionality?

  • avatar

    I’m keeping my [08] civic. Great engine, not terribly powerful but VERY responsive, agile handling, firm suspension. On the downside, numb steering.

    The Ford looks like you’d feel as if you were looking out of portholes. I hate that. My Civic is not great on that score, and it bugs me, but the Fusion looks like it’ would be worse.

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    Michael, how would you compare the ride in the 2013 Accord to the previous models? I have an ’07 that’s a touch firm, but if the ’13 is slightly softer, I could deal with the lighter steering.

    These two cars seem pretty closely matched. Two large strikes against the Fusion for me would be reliability concerns of MFT and the new engine and the performance of the engine/transmission vs. the Accord. But it looks slightly better on the outside in darker colors and seems to handle a little better. And for the Accord, the loss of sportiness could be an issue, especially if the ride hasn’t changed much.

    I’ll definitely have to test drive both.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Based on engine durability and resale value, I pick the Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      otaku

      Isn’t the whole “Earth Dreams” 4-cyl a completely new engine? If so, how can you be sure about durability until people have owned them for a few years?

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Judged on numerous junk Honda 5 speed automatic transmissions I have encountered in Accords and Odysseys, I would wait a few model years before jumping into something Honda has no experience and track record with in there new CVT. The same goes for the Fusion.

  • avatar

    Thanks for a great review Michael! A question, in city driving, does the tighter Ford susension get old quickly or is it comfortable enough?

    Depending on that, and how the interior looked to me in person (because I agree that in the pics it looks quite bad), the Ford would be a no brainer for me. The Honda, nah thanks I pass. Boring to look at inside and out and a car that hates to get pushed…Not for me!

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      You want a car that hates being pushed? Drive a Camry. Granted it’s a bit old, but when the wife and I were shopping cars circa 2006, we were down to the Camry and the Accord( the all new Fusion then did not impress us at all). Besides being treated poorly by the Toyota dealer, the Camry of that era did not like being pushed at all. And we’re comparing LX Accord to LE Camry, nothing special.

      You could beat on the Accord and it didn’t seem to mind. The softness of the Camry combined with the coarseness of its engine and dimwitted transmission made it ugly to drive hard. The Accords chassis had more grip than you’d expect, let down by the low grip of the touring Michelins. The engine felt stronger than it’s 166hp rating and only became rough near the redline. And I could get 32 mpg out of it at 75-80 mph on the PA turnpike. The only downfall to me was the brakes weren’t strong enough and the noisy cabin.

      Not the most exciting car, but not the most boring in its class either. I’m curious to drive an Accord with a CVT to compare it to my Altima. I’d probably still go with an Accord over the Ford, but the gap is much narrower now. Others have mentioned the new Mazda 6. That would make for another tough choice.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey gearhead77! Thanks for the input. I too have driven (quite a lot) a Fusion of that vintage and was not greatly impressed either. It felt cramped, a bit lethargic, but was quiet and comfortable. This Fusion seems a different beast.

        Alas, Camries and Accords are not plentiful in my tropical paradise (Brazil). Comparing the Fusion with the Jetta (the 2.0) – the only other car in this category that I’ve driven extensively – I’d have to go with the Fusion.

        Scratch that, I wouldn’t take either. To me the price jump from, say a Logan or Cobalt, doesn’t permit me to say I’d take either. In Brazil, cars like Fusion, Accord et al are luxury cars. I’d take the Brazilian version of the Fusion or Accord (the aforementioned Logan or Cobalt) and call it a day.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        How the Camry is still selling in such droves just goes to show how most buyers could care less about a fun to drive car that handles with anything special about it. Proof is in how many LE plastic hub cap Camry 4 cylinders that are being driven by blue hair old ladies hogging up the left lane going 45 in a 55.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll have to get back to you on the city driving in the Fusion. It felt okay to me the day I drove it, but I’m getting another one for a week in February. I have had a Focus for a week, though, and while some people find its ride too firm I thought it was excellent, tight without being at all harsh.

      gearhead: the current Camry is significantly less mushy than the previous one, and even with the previous one the SE was much firmer than the others (even a bit harsh, in fact).

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks Michael, I’ll wait anxiously. Though you’ll probably confirm your impression. Though a whole different beast, the Ford Ka I own has a suspension that can be described as you have for the Focus. It is harsher than, say, a Fiat, but it never bothers me like a VW usually does.

        Seems like we value pretty much the same things in cars Michael, though I suspect you’re a touch more hardcore than me (based on our previous discussions on 500 and Mazda2).

        Thanks again.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      There are plenty of good reviews on other websites, I noted some above.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    @Steve65. You haven’t seen an explanation because you don’t read. As I stated, there can be a lag if the gas is applied quickly after releasing the brake. In the three situations I encountered, I had given the car gas, had to brake quickly and then gave the car gas again.

    Lacking further evidence, I really think you live in Burlington, NC, and own a white Chevy pickup that currently needs four new tires and tie rods.

    • 0 avatar
      BigMeats

      @doug-g
      The experience you suffered with the service manager was outrageous on so many levels. I am 100% on your side with this. Personally, I’d turn this into a cold, rational jihad to work Honda’s customer service channels and try to get rid of him. 20 years ago I wouldn’t have been cold or rational.
      And you can’t be the only one this slob has insulted & abused.

      100+ years of global vehicle convention has taught us all that when you depress an accelerator, the throttle responds… *immediately*. That’s one hell of a conditioned response for Honda to blithely tamper with AND NOT TELL ANYBODY.

      You have to take a piece out of this asshole service manager for your own dignity and peace of mind. Outrageous.

      • 0 avatar
        doug-g

        I found my post on the Honda Forum where I was trying to get this sorted out: http://www.driveaccord.net/forums/showthread.php?s=a9ee21c21a3f9c10a03b40ff8ba13af7&t=70976 and another one where an Odyssey driver discusses his experience: http://answers.edmunds.com/question-Why-isn-t-the-2011-Honda-Odyssey-Brake-Priority-Logic-in-the-owners-manual–142255.aspx What a difference “service” makes. I don’t know what I would have done had the internet not been available.

        The funny thing is that it only took me a week to get used to braking with my right foot and I like it better. Too bad the situation was handled so poorly. Even the NHTSBA estimates that 10% of drivers brake with their left foot so perhaps automakers should be more open about this feature.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Forget Fusion SE. The way to have it is Titanium with AWD and the 2.0T engine. That way it can go head to head with the A4.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The EcoBoost 2.0 is my favorite engine in the Ford lineup right now (well, the EcoBoost 3.5 probably ties for first place).

      It has more power than anyone could ever need for a car the Fusion’s size, it’s quick to respond, has virtually no lag, and a great big fat torque curve.

      The EcoBoost 1.6 is pretty good if you don’t have a heavy foot. Performance-wise it feels much better than the 2.5, with a lot more low-end, but even more importantly for many drivers, it’s quieter. The extra low-end torque from the turbo makes it so that you don’t have to rev it as high to get going, so there is greatly reduced engine noise.

      It’s had a big of a rocky start due to the recalls for fuel hoses, freeze plugs, and most recently engine control software, but I’d take it in a heartbeat over the 2.5 I4 in any vehicle. I’d personally love to see the EB 1.6 be offered as an upgrade in the Focus (or even standard on Titanium models) and see the 2.5 I4 be dropped from the Fusion and Escape.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Too bad the Honda 3.5 V6 will not only blow away the 240 Hp EB in the Fusion in acceleration but also sound quieter and better doing so and get 3 better highway MPG in the process. I am still not convinced that tiny over pressured 4 bangers with greater complexity are really the answer right now.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      The SE 2.0 EcoBoost seems like the best deal in the lineup. Compared to a 1.6 SE Appearance Package (2.0 gets that package standard) it’s only $1,000 more, which is a very reasonable amount for the extra power. You also get to avoid MyFordTouch, which I personally still don’t trust.

      Though I do wish Ford would do away with the 2.5 entirely and put the 1.6T in the Fusion S…THEN we’d be talking value. Same goes for the Escape.

      • 0 avatar

        I drove the Escape with both the 2.5 and 1.6T, and didn’t feel the performance difference was large. The latter is no doubt a much more expensive engine to produce. To make it standard in the lowest trim level, Ford would have to raise the price. Standard isn’t the same as free.

        The Fusion I’ll be driving in February is the 2.0 SE, so we will find out if it hits a sweet spot. I don’t know whether or not it’ll have MFT. I kind of hope not, to see how hard it is to sort out the Euro button array.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        On the Escape the big difference is the sound (or lack thereof) of the engine between the 2.5 and the EB 1.6.

        In the 2.5 you have to rev the engine a lot higher to get things moving, and because of that there is more engine noise in the passenger compartment. The 1.6 makes more torque and at a lower RPM and thus doesn’t need to be revved as high as the 2.5, and because of that doesn’t let as much engine noise in.

        Aside from performance oriented vehicles most owners don’t want to hear the engine, at least in my experience. The biggest complaint I heard about the old Escape with the 2.5 I4 was that the engine was too audible while accelerating. Minimizing the engine sound does a lot to make a vehicle feel more high quality for a lot of people.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Michael…

    Excellent review! In fact, this type of analysis and reporting should be used as a role model by the writers of two dominant car magazines who insist on turning every comparison into a win/loss “race” by subjective “scores” that can’t even be reproduced, and are often different from one another by less than 0.5%.

    The “race” concept is the problem: buyers rarely get one car over another because it “won” with positives over others that lost with negatives: they usually buy a car because its merits, as rated by them, are preferred more than the merits of others being considered. Heck, back in 1980′s, I knew a lady pastor who was delighted with her Chevy Chevette, kept it forever, and it caused her no trouble, —- yet Honda and Toyota were ruling the “official” roost. I am sure your readers can tell similar stories.

    As you can see, I don’t believe the value of a vehicle to any given driver can be determined by one final number. Historically, in my driving career (50 years now), I have always chosen the “underdog vehicle”, and have been plenty satisfied with every one. And nowadays, as someone once noted, there are no really bad brands out there any more (although any individual car can still be a lemon). Again, good work!

    —————–

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I have seen only a couple 13 Fusions on the road … like about 3. I spend my time on the east and west coasts. But, I have seen an uncountable number of 13 Accords. It appears east and west coast people are flat out rejecting the over-priced and over-styled Fusions that are helping Ford score a near last place reliability score in CR and JDPowers. Then, there is that back seat in the 13 Fusion that is a disaster. Being slightly taller than 6 foot, I find that back seat unusable. And, we have engine fires.

    And, as I read yet another review that seems to avoid these real issues, I categorize this as nothing more than a Ford ad.

    I guess people of this country should learn this is the best we can expect to get from an auto industry that is being propped up by the Obama administration. What a JOKE on the taxpayers of this country.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      Jimmyy, I’ve heard much the same thing about Michael being in the secret employ of the American automobile industry. I’m amazed that others aren’t aware of this. It smacks of conspiracy, no question. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, don’t you think?

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        I would say that any publication taking ad money from the auto industry can not be trusted, especially a publication from the Detroit area. This leaves Consumer Reports as the only trustable source.

        And, as far as this article, it appears it failed to mention the 1.6L motor catching fire from overheating conditions. This appears to be a real safety issue.

        The, there is the handling story. Where are the skid pad numbers? For example, I keep hearing how the C-Max vastly out handles the Prius V. But, I have seen skid pad numbers that are nearly identical. Makes me wonder what the skid pad numbers are in this compare? Is the Ford handling story just another story being pushed by publications that accept Detroit ad money? Show me the numbers.

      • 0 avatar

        Nice one, Jeff. Just baiting jimmyy? I read so much insane stuff meant to be taken literally these days that it’s becoming hard to distinguish sarcasm.

        Anyway, I paid my mortgage with the big Ford check I received for writing this blog entry:

        http://www.truedelta.com/blog/?p=1022

        Jimmyy,

        Recalls are often based on something happening in one or two cases out of thousands or even tends of thousands of vehicles. Cars weren’t commonly catching fire.

        The Fusion is far too new to have any impact on reliability scores.

        Finally, TrueDelta noted that Ford’s quality was slipping long before CR or JD Power did:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/ford-quality-is-job-one-again/

        See the links in the intro of above article for even earlier reports.

        Not that I expect the facts to matter to you.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Michael, I’m not sure if you’ve seen the particular article, so I’m putting it out there with specificity in good faith, so you can look it up if you wish, and opine what you may wish to about it.

        In the December 2012 edition of Consumer Reports, they show Ford at a precipitous drop in reliability, and an indexed -226%, worse than any other manufacturer they track, with the sole exception of Jaguar.

        That’s a dramatic development, and it’s likely to result in a whole lot more black marks for Ford when CR updates its complete reliability rankings.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        CR has had a vendetta against any Ford outfitted with the MFT system since it was released. They recently started dragging GM through the mud over the CUE system.

        CR is stuck in the past when it comes to what they believe automotive interface systems should be. The original release of MFT did have plenty of bugs, but it’s many times better at this point. CR still finds a way to complain about it every chance they get.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        So you’re claiming that Consumer Reports is “out to get” or otherwise predetermined to specifically hold out Ford for criticism, for some ulterior motive?

        The reliability crash that Consumer Reports is remarking upon regarding Ford vehicles isn’t in any way limited to MFT. There are going to be a plethora of black circles for the lack of reliability of motors, transmissions, and other major components.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        @NulloModo – CR is stuck in the past when it comes to what they believe automotive interface systems should be.

        CR explains its thinking:

        “Every time Consumer Reports complains about an overly complicated vehicle control system, like Cadillac’s CUE or MyFord/MyLincoln Touch, we hear critics call us Luddites who hate all touch screens. But that misses a rather big point. It isn’t the technology that’s the problem, but rather how well it’s implemented.”

        Full article here:
        http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2012/12/cadillacs-cue-proves-complicated-controls-are-all-about-the-implementation.html

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Deadweight –

        I don’t think CR is out to get Ford in particular, as I mentioned they’re calling out GM as well, and it’s likely that Toyota and Honda will fall under their crosshairs in the future as they begin to further integrate touch interfaces.

        WRT reliability, there’s a difference between recalls and reliability. Aside from the initial PowerShift issues in the Fiesta the transmission has been very solid in terms of holding up, the recalls and TSBs have been to make the shifts feel more similar to a traditional automatic. That’s not a reliability problem. With the 1.6 EB the recalls have been due to manufacturing defects (the fuel hose and freeze plugs) or corner case error handling (the most recent recall to reflash the engine computer to make it handle the loss of coolant pressure in a better way) that effected safety, not reliability. There’s no reason to assume that a Focus with the PowerShift or a Fusion with the EB 1.6 won’t run for 100,000 or more trouble free miles.

        WheelMcCoy -

        CR’s initial review and criticism of MFT made it blatantly clear that they never took the time to learn how to use the system. They were babbling on about how it takes so many button presses to do this or that, when if they’d bothered to actually read the manual or have the proper use demonstrated they would have realized they could have done the same thing with a single voice command or a couple presses on a physical steering-wheel button.

        There were legitimate reasons to criticize the initial deployment of MFT, but CR decided to Focus on problems that were due to their own failure to learn how to operate the system properly instead.

        FWIW the system has evolved quite a bit beyond just the basic software. Many of the recently refreshed or launched vehicles now have physical temperature, fan speed, and audio control knobs and buttons in addition to the touch screen and steering wheel controls.

      • 0 avatar

        Deadweight,

        CR updated their reliability stats in October, as they always do. If a survey respondent reports something as a problem, they count it. I can’t recall when CR first slammed Ford for MFT–was it before last April, when the most recent survey was conducted? If so, this could have affected responses.

        TrueDelta has a much more rigid definition of a problem: it has to be something that was fixed through something other than a free software upgrade. There are some minuses to this approach, but it removes a lot of subjectivity from the results. No only do we get rid of the noise that comes from letting each respondent determine based on their own personal criteria what should count as a “serious problem,” but we can be certain that not only did the owner feel there was a problem but a mechanic confirmed the problem and was able to do something to make the problem go away. So there was almost certainly a problem.

        We haven’t been counting free software upgrades because they’re quick, have become quite common, and the line between a fix and an upgrade can get quite blurry. For better or worse, this will have the effect of letting Ford off the hook for MFT shortcomings.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        NulloMondo, I hear that story all the time. That the problem with the Ford My Touch is people do not know how to use it. But, I also see the other side of the story. For example, look at what Motor Trend just said about the Taurus with this system:

        “There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the car itself, but I’m putting it down here because MyFord Touch froze up on me while I was trying to switch audio sources and wouldn’t reset until the car power-cycled once I parked it at my destination, which happened to be some 45 miles away. Merely turning it off then back on, on the side of the freeway didn’t do the trick. As a result, I had limited controls over the audio, no ability to control the climate control, and no navigation during the whole drive.”

        This comment was by Motor Trend’s Kirill Ougarov, Production Manager.

        What I find alarming is “no ability to control the climate control … during the whole drive.”

        I find this a huge issue. I wonder if this includes no defrost … if so, that would be very dangerous and NHTSA should be all over that.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “TrueDelta has a much more rigid definition of a problem: it has to be something that was fixed through something other than a free software upgrade.”

        The word you’re looking for isn’t rigid, it is arbitrary. Problems that compromise functionality and require dealer visits to rectify are every bit as real when the solution is a software upgrade. This is a serious black mark against TrueDelta.

      • 0 avatar

        “This is a serious black mark against TrueDelta”

        Wow, that is really scary! How people even able to drive German cars – they are utterly unreliable according to your criteria. Get real – who cares about SW updates if car is fun to drive and is superior as a car to more boring but “reliable” options on the market.

    • 0 avatar

      jimmyy, what the heck Obama has to do with Ford Fusion? I am not Obama supporter by any means but to blame him for all the evil in the world? Besides Ford did not get any help from Government. Bush or whoever would do exactly same thing with some political variations. Do you really have a death wish for American industry to collapse and repeat of Great Depression? Of course if current spending trend continues economy will collapse anyway as soon as interest rates rise. At least it did not collapse yet but it certainly would in 2008 if auto industry or financial system were not saved by Government.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Mike, I don’t know about baiting, but it was certainly meant tongue-in-cheek. These days, there’s so much loopy commentary and hyperbole, I sometimes can’t resist a little tweak in response. Not that you need defending.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Nissan doesn’t build CVT’s and likely not Honda either – Jatco. Can’t say I’m thrilled by these two boorish picks. Remember our little hurrah about eighties electronics? I’m wondering if these fad small displacements aren’t the new death knell for a 20 year ride..?

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Jatco is owned by Nissan. Subaru always used Jatco auto internals but with different cases for AWD — their CVT looks different from the usual Jatco, but is probably made by them. Mazda used to be Jatco, but their new SkyActiv auto seems more like the one in the FR-S, quick lockup after first gear (talking about internals, because obviously one is transverse FWD, the other RWD).

      Toyota owns Aisin, so always uses them, and sells to Hyundai, who also buys ZF.

      I’d lay a bet that the Honda makes its own CVT. They’ve hardly ever used other make trannys, Aisin in the S2000. All the fuss about the 5 speed auto in Odysseys came from their obdurateness in believing too much in their own engineering infallibility. On the other hand, this new Accord CVT may be the bees knees judging from M. Karesh’s comments above. Let’s hope it’s reliable.

      • 0 avatar

        It looks like Mitsubishi also has a piece of JATCO:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jatco

        On paper JATCO is an independent company, though Nissan certainly controls it.

        Toyota only owns 30% of Aisin, but this is somehow enough for a
        “controlling interest” in Japan. Ford did the same with Mazda before divesting.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        I should have remembered the announcements a year ago from Honda. They have spent $220 million on their two powertrain plants in Ohio to make the CVT for the Accord. They make all the bits themselves, which is quite different from getting an outside supplier to deliver a package on a crate to the assembly line JIT. Typical Honda independence from everyone else which can be great if everything goes smoothly and to plan.

        Honda also has DCT transmissions on smaller cars like the Fit overseas, so they make all four types: manual, planetary torque converter, DCT and CVT. Only Mercedes matches this, plus even more variations as well, like an electromagnetic clutch (replacing the torque converter) planetary.

        The usual plan these days is for a car company to “design” their transmission and get a supplier to make it for them. There is a website called dctfacts.com, which advocates DCTs (as if there aren’t enough fake lobby groups around these days). The site is run by Lubrizol, the prime lubricant supplier for DCTs. Good articles though.

        As for the new Honda engines, Honda themselves on their various corporate websites, talk about plumping up their torque curves at lower rpm. They now have the highest NA torque per liter of any make, period, at 78.5 lb-ft per liter. The 2.4l you drove doesn’t have the engine running on the Atkinson cycle on the normal VTEC cam lobe like their smaller DI engines, so one can expect even better economy in future iterations. Plus, they have addressed the crankcase ventilation problem DI engines have that causes sludge.

        Honda tends to keep announcements low key, but they do say their number one priority is to make the most efficient gasoline engines possible, and not by a little bit compared to anyone else. That seems to be their new prime goal, and I would not bet against them. Their new 1.6 liter turbo diesel engine is probably the best as well — it’s certainly lightweight and produces 120 hp and 222 lb-ft.

        I like the feel of turbo gasoline engines, but I certainly wouldn’t pick that method if fuel economy was the real goal. Ford thinks otherwise. It will be fun to see which approach triumphs as we go forward.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    A decent re-do of the Civic (ok, except for the dash), a knock-out Accord, a best-selling CR-V….

    Has Honda found the path again?

    Discuss.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      Sadly, no. Honda has not found the path again.

      The new redesigned for 2013 Honda Civic is even more atrocious looking in real life than in pictures. The wheels on it look like really bad aftermarket rims a 20 year old GI living in the barracks would think are cool.

      Could it just be my imagination? But I seem to recall a time when Hondas were just a magical place to be. If I only knew in the early 90s what I know now. I would have bought a brand new last year of the CRX and kept that car forever.

      I believe once the founder passed away, Honda lost their vision.

    • 0 avatar
      Offbeat Oddity

      Quite possibly. The new Accord’s design is quite classy (classier than most other midsizers, imo), and the interior materials and overall packaging remind me of older Hondas. If I were in the market, it’d be my number one pick. The CRV is a bit bland for my taste, but the packaging is impressive, and it pretty much nails what its target audience wants. As for the Civic, I think we’ll have to wait for the next generation to find out, but I think Honda has it in them to make it great.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Like ‘em both but wouldn’t buy either, not for a long while. I have real concerns about the long term reliability of turbo engines and CVT transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      zeg

      I have to agree with your opinion on turbo’s and CVT’s, especially turbos on small engines like the 3 cylinder Ford is putting in the Fiesta. I can’t see that lasting 15 years without some serious repairs but maybe I am wrong. I do not believe you can even rebuild a CVT.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        You can rebuild them, if the parts are available. Most manufacturers don’t sell individual parts and still have the units on exchange programs. They let remanufacturing centers rebuild them instead of shop techs.

  • avatar
    jvbeattie

    I have a 2003 accord LX with manual transmission. I will be replacing it in the next few months with another manual transmission midsizer and reading all the reviews the obvious choice would be the 2013 Accord. I have test driven the Fusion twice (2.5 and 1.6 SE – both Autos) and I have test driven The Accord 4 times (2 Accord EX Autos, 1 Accord LX manual, and 1 Accord Sport Manual). As you might have guessed, I can’t make up my mind – I guess I keep hoping I will find something I really like about the Accord, but I can’t. It’s sad because it does everything good, but from purely a driving standpoint – the fusion is far superior (and I don’t believe this to be a subjective statement). On the freeway, the cabin felt almost completely silent in the fusion, with just a tiny wind noise – I suspect from the driver side mirror. As far as features for the price go, the Accord wins that battle.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Accord wins another comparo, Fusion is 3rd and Altima is 4th:
      http://www.autos.ca/car-comparisons/comparison-test-best-family-sedans/

      • 0 avatar

        You have to take these comparisons tests with a grain of salt. In reviewers own admission in http://www.autos.ca/car-comparisons/comparison-test-best-family-sedans/:

        “We had decidedly high expectations of the 2013 Ford Fusion in this comparison because, well, we love it. It’s gorgeous and sporty and is the car many of us here at Autos.ca would actually buy. But that’s not how these comparisons work. We evaluate these cars on a range of qualities we believe are important to consumers in this segment, and it’s impossible to overlook certain weaknesses once we objectively evaluate a car against its competitors.”

        Of course if you are an average family guy who enjoy driving minivans, SUVs and etc – Camry and Accord are the perfect cars if you want car. But if you want affordable FWD equivalent of BMW – Fusion Titanium is it. Or you can buy Audi if you are ready to spend BMW-comparable money on FWD car and have enough funds to tolerate prices associated with maintenance of European luxury car.

  • avatar
    jvbeattie

    thornmark : I just read it ( http://www.autos.ca/car-comparisons/comparison-test-best-family-sedans/ ). Read it again carefully. The fusion appears to be the best driving car and what looks to be the car the testers would buy.

    quote “This is the driver’s car of the bunch, sweeping the Fun to Drive, Handling, Steering, and Brake feel categories, and almost matching the Accord in Comfort, not to mention dominating in Exterior Styling and emotional appeal that is through the roof. Toss the Fusion into a corner and you’ll come out grinning thanks to its responsive chassis and well-sorted steering.”

    Their reasoning for 3rd place… “As much as we like it, we can acknowledge that it performs best in those categories that we subjectively prioritize (driving dynamics, looks), yet it has a ways to go when it comes to appealing to the masses looking for a practical, reliable, transportation for the family. In some ways, it just looks too good for people to believe it is actually a fairly practical car.”

    People have a hard time taking the fusion seriously as a “family car”.

    To me, it’s all about – 1. Safety 2. driving experience/comfort 3. Fuel efficiency. Obviously they need to fit the kids in comfortably and safely and all these cars do that (with possible exception of Camry – per latest offset crash tests).

    The “Camry” and “Accord” are family sedan household names, so fusion has an uphill battle no matter how good it is. But if I owned the Fusion, Accord and Camry – I’d be reaching for the Fusion’s keys most if not all the time. Sad thing is I will probably end up getting an accord since Fusion with Manual trans. is special order only, so if I can’t get a deal on a Fusion order – MT Accord it is.

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    The Fusion and the Accord usually score pretty closely to each other in comparison tests, which is interesting since their approaches are so different, as are their flaws-the one referenced above is no different. The efficiency, refinement, and performance of the 1.6 EcoBoost and transmission seems to be the main con with the Ford (and a pro for the Accord) while the Accord doesn’t seem to handle as well as the Ford and may be viewed as less exciting.

    I’d definitely wait for the Mazda6 before I made any purchasing decisions. I’m hearing great things about the powertrain and handling, and the styling is pretty sleek. It seems like it has potential to be a class leader.

  • avatar
    jvbeattie

    Thank you Michael for helping in my decision. Finally, after months of wavering and flip-flopping I decided on my (MT) family sedan. I test drove two automatic accord EXs, a stick LX, a stick Sport and a Fusion 4 times (once a 2.5 the other 3 drives were the 1.6L). I was unable to test drive the Fusion in a stick because they are special order only.
    I decided to order a Fusion SE w/ 6 speed manual. I kept wanting to drive the Ford, it was much more fun for me. The Accord seemed to do everything right, but the urge to drive it just wasn’t there. If I were to make my decision on value and features or interior – I would have chosen the Accord. It just came down to the driving experience. The Fusion should arrive in about 10-12 weeks as Ford needs to build it. Can’t wait!

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      JV somewhat off topic but since so few of us order a car vs buying off the lot ( as I have always done) do you get any type of deal on ordering exactly what you want. I am talking price not features, thanks for the reply. FWIW I would buy the accord ex ( had 5 of them from a 98 to a 2006 auto) and they were the type of car that I thought got better the longer you drove them. before that I had 5 Turi ( co cars ) and well they were ok they were just that. Bases on that I now drive a Jetta sports wagon TDI so go figure. ( the 2011 accord has far to many buttons for me ditto the fusion 5 door hatch I looked at)

      • 0 avatar
        jvbeattie

        Seth, It was somewhat tough to find a deal, as most dealers want to get rid of what is on their lot. I went to about 4 dealers and each was trying to get me into an automatic. When they knew it was going to be a special order they seemed happy to let me leave without ordering the car, like “Well, let us know what you want and then we’ll talk about ordering it” but they knew what I wanted. When I emailed them exactly what I wanted, the quotes were mostly MSRP or a little less. I ended up going a little further out of area and was able to find a very helpful woman who was able to order the car that I wanted for invoice – current incentive. I was happy, so I ordered it. I probably could have gotten a better deal for a car on the lot, so I probably just paid a little more to have a manual transmission. All well, From what I hear, it should be worth it – otherwise it will be an expensive test drive if I can’t get my deposit back.

      • 0 avatar
        jvbeattie

        oh, and “FWIW I would buy the accord ex” is what I thought after sitting in both the Accord and Fusion. You need to drive both. Being use to the jetta tdi and German driving “feel” you may find yourself leaning toward a Fusion.

  • avatar
    jvbeattie

    Michael, Can you tell us which car you would buy if it was your $25,000 to spend on a family sedan? I feel like auto journalists for publications like MT and C&D etc… consider themselves above average car enthusiasts, which they are. But, in choosing the #1 family sedan do they take a step back from the drive place more emphasis on everything BUT driving dynamics? Say something like “Oh, but I think the average Father or Mother will like this, use this feature, or have a harder time getting a suitcase in the trunk because the opening is smaller (That was the funniest negative remark of the Fusion that I read). I thought Honda’s “Lane watch” and push button start on EX was cool, but I think the novelty of this will wear off pretty quick – road noise and driving dynamics make more of an impression on me.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    JV, Thanks for the info, before I really do not think I could sit in the ford and look at the dash all day but I did not drive one so maybe I should. I have to think the Honda would hold it’s value better though.

  • avatar
    wmba

    A different take on the 2013 Honda Accord. Long.

    I’m looking at replacing my 2008 Subaru Legacy GT 5EAT. Being the car nut that I am it’s been a frustrating few years looking at the steadily more beige vehicles everybody is turning out at the reasonable price level, so no BMWs or Audis for me.

    The LGT is not worn out, just 90k km. There’s nothing wrong with it, everything works. But the concern I have is that I can find nothing decent to replace it, so I’m on a constant lookout to try to find a decent replacement for when the time comes to chuck it away. I love cars in general, and that adds to the problem, because I find something interesting in any car I drive. Nevertheless, cars are not as “quirky” as they used to be, and they seem to be blending towards a norm of bland and less interest to me.

    What have I driven so far? Fiat 500 Abarth, an absolute blast to drive, but quirky instrument panel and small size relegates it to the role of 2nd car. I don’t want a second car.

    Subaru BRZ. Now driven 3 different ones. Have to stand back and be objective here. All three Subies I’ve owned have felt like more expensive cars “tinned” up a bit to allow cheap production. I owned 5 Audis over a 20 year period before the Subarus, that’s my reference, and they were all unreliable.

    The BRZ is different. It feels like a cheap car, designed as a cheap car. It’s main attributes to me are what feels like an incredibly strong chassis and good handling. The rest is just plain cheap, with the auto being nicer to drive than the manual, another Subie trait. The engine is very noisy and raspy. Long term potential love quotient – low.

    Ford Focus is nice in manual trans form. If I had to get a car to tide me over for a while in my dither, this would be it. Maybe. It is a Ford, and cynically assembled. Read on.

    Have driven Elantra, Elantra GT and Sonata. Nope. Something about Hyundai just doesn’t gell for me, and it’s the handling/ride, and poor structure of the Elantra. No Genesis coupe to try, imagine that (as potential customers have to, apparently).

    VW Golf TDI wagon, not bad for grandpa, but it’s a VW. I owned 5 unreliable Audis so, no Vdubs.

    A new Subaru? The Legacy is novocain with a cheap, cheap interior. How did they turn my car into into a giant bubble? The Subie manual is truck like, the CVT just awful. The Impreza and Crosstrek, ugh, even worse. And they sell well. My fellow drivers, you’re ….. I don’t know, groan.

    The new Fusion looks like a small bus to me, as do the new Accord and Mazda6. Too big compared to sedans a decade ago, but nobody makes a right sized car at a reasonable price these days, or I’d try a Cadillac ATS.

    Nissan Altima? Cannot stand to even look at it. The ultimate drone. Chev Malibu, new Impala? How does dropping a vinyl carcass on the dash appeal to anyone with taste? The Camry interior is so cynically bad that like the Chevs, I’m not interested in even asking for a test drive.

    So it’s Accord, Mazda6 and Fusion to test. And maybe, horrors, a Verano turbo.

    They finally had an Accord Sport 6MT for me to sample yesterday. While the salesman droned on through his 10 minute canned speech, I poked and prodded under hood, inside and trunk. It is very well made, no question. The interior materials are, however, one notch lower than the 08 LGT, but assembled more precisely. I liked the driver’s seat, got myself settled very quickly with tilt/telesope wheel, mirror adjustment, etc. No strangeness, a welcome trait. You are at home immediately, but this thing is big.

    I’ve had automatics for 15 years. The Accord 6MT is a doddle to drive, easy and pleasureable. At low revs the car picks up speed readily.

    However, rev it up a bit, and the engine is an aural assault. It’s been decades since I heard such 4 cylinder thrum. Startled me, quite frankly. NOT EVEN CLOSE to the quietness of the LGT’s flat four turbo. Ten times as loud, probably 7 or 8 db. A bit of a downer. The salesman said I shouldn’t rev it like that. What? 5K rpm in the “Sport” model? Right. Sure, with a 6800 rpm redline? Plenty of oomph, though, without being startling.

    Then there’s the ride. Made me feel like Mr. Bobblehead even on what I regard as good pavement. A constant unsettled bobbing motion, reminiscent of the 1985 Accord I drove a lot for work back then, which used to make me happy to hop back in my Audi Coupe at the end of the day.

    Anyway, I told the salesperson the ride was unsettled compared to my car. It didn’t worsen much on bad roads, though. Is this the float reviewers comment on? It makes the car seem like a cork bobbing on waves, all the time. Strange.

    Bend it into a side street at elevated speed. Front end runs a bit wide on 18 inch wheels. Oh, now I remember understeer. Went back afterwards in the LGT, no probs, and it’s still on snow tires, plus it’s always prodding you to ahem, do something illegal, sly grin.

    The saving grace of the Accord for me was the incredibly slick manual, and the quickly at ease controllability. It seems to shrink in size on the move, which is good.

    Afterwards, went over to a pal with a 2009 Civic SR 5 speed he’s just got. He let me drive it. MUCH quieter engine, better ride, great shifter, and no guts at all. Hmmm.

    Well, if I had to get a car to tide me over, I’d now get this Accord over the Focus. Same price, for goodness sake for an LX. No contest. But an automatic Accord? No way, I’d be joining the beige, blob mass of anodyne drivers in anodyne cars, just bobbing along listenin’ to tunes, mind out of gear driving home to eat thawed out frozen pre-cooked meals.

    Mazda6 and Fusion next, but they do cost more. My old LGT just flays the Accord in ride and handling and quietness, and when you boot it, plain gets rolling quickly right now. The search continues.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You might want to work on your grammar and word usage in your review, before attempting to impress with copious adjectives used to little effect.

      It took two pages for you to say you don’t want a boring car. We get it. Your unstartling startling sound of the Accord’s engine drone was too anodyne for a frozen thawed-out frozen meal.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    wmba, you were just born too late. In the late fifties and early sixties, you could find plenty of cars with “character”. “Character” mainly meant that the car having it was highly flawed. But, you could get everything from a two cylinder two stroke powered car, up to a huge US V8 poswered car. What they almost all had in common, was poor brakes and suspension, having to be worked on at least once a year, and tires that would not last ten thousand miles. Some might consider cars that just run, with minimal maintenance, for hundreds of thousands of miles, boring. Not me, I remember cars that were completely worn out at fifty thousand miles. I remember what a blow out feels like. I have helped a friend patch his gas tank after the exhaust pipe fell onto the pavement and punctured the tank. I like character as much as anyone, but for a car that I have to depend on for daily transport, give me boring.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      You’re preaching to an old timer, charliej. I started driving, illegally, at 14, in 1962 in a ’60 Plymouth Fury Golden Commando, back roads only. I dug up more gravel than most, until the pushbuttons for the Powerflite fell inside the dash due to my need for manual control. Oops!

      I spent my spare time till ’63 hanging round a service station half a mile from home. Height’s Esso. Changed a few plugs, gapped a few points, greased a pile of fittings. I know what those cars were like. Remember two ply rayon tires, as well. Had flats, yup, more these days than then. More nails and gyproc screws laying round in the city.

      Could name any car just from a quick glance. Had the bore and stroke of every engine memorized.

      Cars lasted more than 50,000 miles mechanically, c’mon. Some, like 57 and 58 Chrysler products, dissolved in rust after just two winters. Our English Fords did almost double that here in Nova Scotia, and they were 4 cylinder cars.

      The guy who owned the ’60 Fury went nuts and bought a Citroen DS19. That was amazing blastong down gravel roads. What bumps?

      So, you see, when I say cars are less interesting today, it is the absence of quirks that make them bland. If you like bland, why are you here on an enthusiast website? Seriously, now. To replace lack of quirks, I like performance.

      • 0 avatar
        Charliej

        wmba, you are just a couple of years junior to me. My grandfather taught me to drive in a 49 Chevrolet pickup. I had a lot of those cars with character. First a 59 Borgward Isabella sedan. Then a 57 Chevrolet. The first car that I got to pick out was a Mini. Everyone loves Minis, they were proof that you did not need horsepower to have fun. Then a 55 Chevrolet, then a Mini Cooper. More horsepower made for more fun in that car. For the first ten years of married life, I went through more cars than I can remember. All well used, of course. As for the question of why I am on this site, I like cars. Cars that are boring to some, are not boring to me. If I want performance, I will ride a motorcycle. The lack of cars with character in the US is bad. Where I live, there are Renaults, Peugeots, Seats, Citroens, Fiat vans, Ford Transit vans, Renault Espace vans. At the local Walmart, I see Mercedes A and B class cars parked. There are no Kias here, and if you want a Hyundai, you have to buy it from the Dodge dealer. There are also Volkswagen Beetles everywhere here. Also, ten million Chinese scooters and motorcycles. Mexico is a car watchers paradise. When I need another car, which may be a long time as I only drive an average of five miles a day, I will be looking at something with “character”.


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