2013 Honda Accord EX-L V6 vs. 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL Track Test

Which Midsize Family Sedan Takes It on the Track


  • 2013 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Picture

    2013 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Picture

    2013 Honda Accord EX-L V6. | September 11, 2012

7 Photos

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "IL Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

The 2013 Honda Accord has a monumental task ahead of it. The past few years have not been kind to Honda and this eighth and newest iteration of the Accord needs to prove to the American public that Honda is focused on building capable, high-quality cars again.

It also needs to sell in big numbers, and the first vehicle it needs to leapfrog is the Nissan Altima.

For 2013 the Nissan Altima got a full redesign. The already athletic Altima shed 80 pounds and got Nissan's next-generation CVT that allows for better acceleration and improved fuel economy.

The Altima has always been the driver's choice in the midsize sedan segment, but can the 2013 Honda Accord EX-L V6 with less weight, a six-speed automatic, a new front suspension and 7 more horsepower pull off an upset?

  2013 Honda Accord 2013 Nissan Altima
0-30 (sec.): 2.5 2.8
0-45 (sec.): 4.1 4.3
0-60 (sec.): 6.1 6.2
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 5.7 5.9
0-75 (sec.): 8.6 8.6
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 14.3 @ 98.1 14.4 @ 100.1
30-0 (ft): 33 28
60-0 (ft): 128 114
Skid Pad Lateral Accel (g): 0.82 0.86
Slalom: 63.5 66.6

Vehicle: 2013 Honda Accord EX-L V6

Date: 8-28-2012
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $32,860 (as tested)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, port-injected V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,471/212
Redline (rpm): 6,750
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 278 @ 6,200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 252 @ 4,900
Brake Type (front): 11.5-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): 11.1-inch solid disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 215/55R17 94V
Tire Size (rear): 215/55R17 94V
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Primacy MxM4
Tire Type: All-season, low rolling resistance
As-Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,531

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.5 (2.7 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.1 (4.3 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.1 (6.3 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.7 (5.9 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 8.6 (8.8 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.3 @ 98.1 (14.4 @ 98.2 w/ TC on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 33
60-0 (ft): 128

Handling
Slalom (mph): 63.5 (62.7 w/TC off)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.82 (0.81 w/TC on)
Db @ Idle: 39.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 74.4
Db @ 70-mph Cruise: 61.9
RPM @ 70: 2,000

Comments:

Acceleration: Effective traction control and pretty darned quick upshifts — even in default Drive and whack the throttle to the floor. I only managed to beat this by a couple tenths with Trac off and modest pedal overlap. Upshifts are smooth and quick, right at redline. Unlike a droning Nissan VQ V6, this V6 sounds pretty snarly, sophisticated and sporty.

Braking: More dive than I had expected, and as with most Hondas, the first stop is much shorter than the remaining runs. After that first, optimal stop, normal distance-creep and a little bit of odor, but no smoke or loss of pedal pressure.

Handling:

Skid pad: Tires limit the car's ability here, too. It mattered little if ESC was on or off, as the tires began to howl (loudly) at essentially the same limit. Steering heft is on the light side, but it still manages to relay information well. It's very precise and doesn't scream "EPS." It's electric-assist steering, but done right.

Slalom: The Accord feels much faster in the slalom than it actually is, and as has been the case for some time now, its tires cannot cash the check written by its otherwise willing chassis. It's fun and willing, and there's even a tendency to oversteer with ESC shut off. And while that's all fun stuff, it's not the fastest way through. Best run was slow in/fast out, saving the slide for the exit gate. ESC is loud, but quick-acting and not a total buzzkill. It quickly does its corrections and then goes away.

Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL

Date: 5-01-2012
Driver: Mike Monticello
Price: $32,620 (as tested)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: CVT
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, port-injected V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,498/213
Redline (rpm): 6,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 270 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 258 @ 4,400
Brake Type (front): 11.7-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): 11.5-inch solid disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 235/45R18 (94V)
Tire Size (rear): 235/45R18 (94V)
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: SP Sport
Tire Type: All-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,358

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.8 (2.8 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.3 (4.3 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.2 (6.2 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.9 (5.8 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 8.6 (8.6 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.4 @ 100.1 (14.3 @ 99.8 w/ TC on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 114

Handling
Slalom (mph): 66.6 (64.0 w/TC off)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.86 (0.86 w/TC on)
Db @ Idle: 38.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 72.4
Db @ 70-mph Cruise: 60.6
RPM @ 70: 1,750

Comments:

Acceleration: Was difficult to match the original ESC-on run. The extra wheelspin with traction control turned off seemed to freak the system out, causing it to hesitate slightly at 3,200 rpm. But this Altima is quick, with an instant surge of power off the line, then almost immediately pegging the tach at 6,800 rpm. The normal Drive transmission mode proved quicker than D Sport or Manual. "Manual" shifting is via steering-column-mounted paddles.

Braking: Firm pedal with short travel. Not too much nosedive and only a tiny bit of side-to-side squirm. Distances got a bit longer throughout. First stop was 115 feet. Shortest was second stop at 114 feet. Longest was seventh (and final) stop at 123 feet.

Handling:

Skid pad: Very willing to alter line with drop-throttle, which was entertaining. It felt like the Active Understeer Control was cutting in during ESC-on runs, braking the inside front wheel. The throttle was also cut slightly with ESC on, but right foot control was still required, as the amount of intervention wasn't overly intrusive.

Slalom: Responsive steering with good feedback. Well-damped suspension, decent grip from the tires. Ran the CVT in "3rd gear" in Manual mode, which was nice to have the ability to hold the rpm at a certain level. ESC cannot be fully defeated, but its limits in "Off" mode are pretty high and only really a factor when powering out at slalom exit.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

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