An Almost-There Debut for the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe

Introduced Tuesday, Jan. 10: Honda Accord coupe concept.

What is it? Honda says this is the “first official glimpse” of the 2013 Accord coupe’s styling and technology. In Honda fashion, the automaker fell short of saying that the concept was indeed the ’13 coupe. Dimensionally similar to the current Accord coupe, it wears wheels, tires and trim that probably would be considered excessively flashly for the production car.

Is it real? Like the Acura RDX and ILX before it, the coupe is about as real as a concept gets from Honda before we see it in showrooms.

What they said: After a challenging year plagued by earthquake-related production delays in Japan, a poorly received Civic and numerous recalls of its products in America, Honda is anxious to get back on track. The new Accord will be an important part of the rebuilding process.

“Many of our competitors picked up a lap or two while we were in the pits,” said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president. “We’re here to serve notice to the competition that Honda is again firing on all cylinders.”

What they didn’t say: A mildly refreshed but stronger Toyota Camry is on sale, and a new Ford Fusion had its world debut on Monday. Add to these the entries from from Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen and Chevrolet, and competition in the midsize segment is as fierce as it’s ever been.

What makes it tick? The 2013 Accord coupe and sedan will be available with one of three new so-called Earth Dreams powertrains, including a two-motor plug-in hybrid system. The standard engine will be a 2.4-liter, direct-injected 4-cylinder producing 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A revised version of the brand’s venerable 3.5-liter V-6 will be available as well. Though horsepower and torque figures were not offered, the V-6 was said to be more powerful than the current, 271-horsepower power plant. The new V-6 will be available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, and the 4-cylinder with the 6-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic.

How much, how soon? The production version of the almost-there concept is expected to arrive in showrooms this fall, at a price in line with the Accord’s current range of roughly $22,000 to $32,000, though the plug-in’s pricing is a wild card.

How’s it look? A curving roofline extends nearly to the end of the rear deck. A side line begins at the front wheel well and races up toward the tail. The headlights and parking lights are elaborately bejeweled and would be unlikely candidates for production. Over all, this is a trim and stylish coupe, if not a bona fide head-turner.

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