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by Tim Beissmann

Honda has released the first official images of the 2013 Honda Accord, revealing a new mid-sized sedan that is shorter and lighter than before and features new a new drivetrain family.

The revamped ninth-generation Accord has been designed to go head-to-head with the world’s popular medium cars, directly targeting the Toyota Camry, Hyundai i45, Ford Mondeo and Mazda6 with its more compact proportions and the promise of improved fuel economy.

The new Honda Accord sedan will be roughly 70mm shorter than before, which Honda says makes it easier to park and creates a “sportier driving character”, while smarter interior packaging means there is actually more passenger space in the cabin and more room for luggage in the boot.

Launching in the US in the coming months, Honda Australia says the new Accord sedan will arrive in local showrooms in mid-2013. The North America-only Honda Accord Coupe, also revealed overnight, will not be sold here.

The exterior styling represents an evolution from the Japanese brand’s current design language, but remains conservative and familiar with simple, rectangular lines and an understated grille, headlights and tail-lights.

The Accord will feature the first generation of the brand’s ‘Earth Dreams’ engine family, designed to offer improved performance, reduced consumption and lower emissions.

US industry journal Automotive News reports the base engine will be a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with around 135kW of power and 240Nm of torque. The four-cylinder engine will be teamed exclusively with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Honda has also redesigned the car’s 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, setting its sights on becoming the class leader in efficiency while also offering more power than before (the current model produces 202kW/339Nm). The engine will come with the option of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

Honda Australia’s Melissa Cross confirmed the local Accord line-up would continue to include both four- and six-cylinder engine options when the new model arrives next year.

A plug-in hybrid powertrain will also be added to the international line-up sometime after the initial launch, and is believed to be a chance for our market further down the track.

LED daytime running lights, headlights and tail-lights will be available depending on the trim level and market, while Honda has previously confirmed the new Accord will also be available with forward collision warning technology, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a reversing camera.

Despite new car’s tighter dimensions, Cross said Honda Australia still plans to market the new Accord as a large car, taking on our traditional family sedans, the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.

Accord sales have declined rapidly this year, plummeting 83 per cent to just 266 year-to-date. Sales have picked up since May, however, after Honda Australia slashed prices across the range by up to $4300, offering the entry-level Accord VTi for $29,990 driveaway




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