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Old 10-13-2012, 06:13 PM
westcoast westcoast is offline
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Sports vs EX-L plus First Drive Review

I just wanted to do this right after I got back from my first test drives while its fresh and new. I will rely on this forum when I make my final decision on my next new car. So please provide your feedback and thanks for reading.


I'm looking into replacing my current car. I've had a Nissan 350z for the last ten years. I'm about to turn 30 and ready to buy a house and start a family. I just got back from the dealership about an hour ago where I test drove the 13' Accord for the first time. I spend about 2 hours at the dealership test driving a 4cyl CVT and a V6 both in EX-L trims. I also got to sit in the showroom EX model. Here are my observations:

Game changers that I found out today that I didn't know before seeing the car in person:
  1. The Sports edition while 4cyl, has dual exhaust pipes just like the V6. I like this a lot. For the rear to me is the worst part of the new Accord. However the dual exhaust setup looks way better. For the rear bumper is the same for both the dual or single exhausts. While the rear bumper doesn't look like a pipe is missing in the 4cyl version; you can tell the symmetrical look of the dual exhaust was built for the rear bumper and I like it alot.
  2. Models without the center touch screen, or basically anything that is not a EX-L, the aux input in located below the radio turn knob. Similar to the Toyota Sienna, the 3.5mm jack is covered by a rubber stop, and it is located awkwardly. The aux input is 15 inches above and to the right of the audio device tray. So if you can imagine when you have a device plugged into the aux input and have it sitting in the tray area the cord will be in the way of many of the button and especially for 6MT drivers, it will be very annoying.

  3. I haven't seen too many large trunks recently, but the Accord has a huge one. I'm ~260lb 6' 4'' and two of me can fit in there no problem.
  4. The wheels on the LX version look better than the EX or EX-L models. However, the best looking wheels care the 18s on the Sports edition.


Interior:
Coming from an 03 350z, this Accord is definitely a welcome change. First of all, all the buttons, knobs, and switches are all very high quality. This quality and feel extends to the sunglass holder above the rear view mirror, compartment above the usb port, shift knob, and all door trimmings where your knee or elbow can touch. The leather wrapped steering wheel is very nice to hold and feels very Acura. The seats were very very comfortable. I feel like I can drive hours without any aches to my neck or back. The leather was very good so good that I may consider the EX-L, even though I sweared that I would never get leather again. My only gripe with leather seats is that I live in Southern California, where the heated seats will not get much use. I'm disappointed that the Accord doesn't come with cooled seats as well.

There are some downfalls to the interior however. The last Accord that my family owned was a 1994 2dr LX 4cyl auto. While that tiny little thing only came in 127hp and a cassette deck, the interior feel was better. The "feel" of the materials, not the function or looks of these materials can feel cheap and just plain lack of attention to these details. The horn / driver airbag cover is made of a hard plastic that is somehow even worse than my 03 350z. Also the base plastic, meaning anything that is not covered in leather or padding is very disappointing in that it feels just like the new Civics. It is just hard and thin, like most cheap plastic materials.

This is true for every 13 Accord. While this feels like Honda is cutting corners, I can easily overlook this because I can see Honda's vision. Every where I should be touching is nice and refined, it is only the places that I wouldn't touch anyways that are rough to feel. If this material is able to last a long time then its well worth the change.




The drive:
I first drove the 4cyl CVT EX-L. I must agree with youtube reviews in that the CVT transmission pairs very well with the iVtech engine. Just like most economy Japanese cars, you have to rev the heck out of it to get full power, this engine requires a trip up to the 5k+ rpm range to go onto a steep on ramp. The 0-80mph experience is very pleasant, the ride is very nice and while the engine noise is very noticeable, it is racey not droning like my girlfriend's 06 Corolla S. While driving around I noticed the MPG gauge in the middle of the MPH gauge, I like it very much, very BMW like. I also got to use the Econ button for a brief moment. I've driven my brother's Prius and when you turn on the Econ button the car nearly drops down to a crawl off the line. However in the Accord it seemed like the system is very forgiving, even with the Econ button on, the car was able to get off the line very well. The sales person claims this button saves 3MPG, for me this system is nice to have but seems like a little bit of a gimmick, when the difference is only about 10%. I feel I can just drive slower and get the same results.

13' Accord Sedan V6 EX-L Test Drive:
Coming from a 350z the V6 in the Accord is very much comparable in terms of peak power. I believe the V6 can keep up with my Z in a straight line just fine. However, I am not a fan of the torque steer. For me this V6's power delivery is a little too much for a FWD car.

The way I think of it, the sheer size and weight of this vehicle and any family sedan limits its ability to enter a corner at high speeds, so sedans require high HP to exit corners. With the V6 I am not confident in its ability to plant all that power down. The Vtech in this V6 comes just like most Hondas, which means the power is peaky and the sudden charge in power is what will create torque steer every time. The laws of physics wants the weight to shift to the rear wheels during acceleration but the power is going to the front ones. The V6 is definitely very powerful and the it really put a big smile on my face the first time I let it rip. However after driving both cars today I have decided to get a 4cyl Accord.

At this point I can pretty much say I'm going to be a owner of a 13 Accord Sedan before the end of October. However I still have one last decision to make.

EX-L or Sports edition. The touch screen on the EX-L is very nice, mainly because of my gripe about the AUX input jack on the non EX-L models makes it on the top of my list right now. However the Dual exhaust and no moonroof option on the Sports edition is what I would prefer. Also the Sports Edition have very nice cloth seats which I prefer over the leather seats.
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:44 PM
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Well written review, pics were nice.
I have a 08 exl v6 and will be getting a 13 of the same.
You're right about torque steer. I also drive a Porsche Cayman S, and when you put the power down, it's easy steering, as compared to a FWD with the HP of the V6 in the Accord.
Good luck with your choice.
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:03 AM
buff1 buff1 is offline
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Did you have any problem with fitting in the driver's seat at your size? I'm 6'2" 210 and I have to put the driver's seat all the way back. Admittedly, I am rather long-legged. My initial impressions of the seats in my Sport were favorable in my test drive. Now that I've driven it a few hundred miles, I'm not as impressed- but only with the seats. Bottom seat cushion needs to extend a little further and there is a noticable lack of firm side bolstering for any type of sporty driving. You'll be bracing yourself against the door and the center tunnel for any spirited cornering. I actually like the cloth seat material on my Sport though. Oh I should add that the sound out of the audio system does need a little help.

Other than that, I have no regrets on my decision to get the Sport. Only thing I kind of wanted from the EX was the push button start and keyless entry but I'll get over it. As I've gotten older (last decade or so) I've been buying the upper trim models with all the bells and whistles because, well, I could. I came to the conclusion that I don't use/need all that fancy crap so for me the Sport fits the bill almost to a T. And I do have nice Pandora radio integration on my Sport. I was really interested in trying the 6 speed manual but my wife will also be driving this car and frankly, this CVT is damn impressive.

I'm not drinking the Honda kool-aid like I was 20 years ago and had left Honda a few years ago for the direction they had gone in design/engineering. I feel like this new Accord gets back to Honda's philosophy of cars engineered for functionality, simplicity, affordability, hopefully reliability (time will tell), and mechanically satisfying to drive.

Oh, and the econ button is effective. It dulls the throttle response and I find that it doesn't bother me when I'm just tooling around in a relaxed manner. I never thought I'd be saying this but this car really makes me want to maximize my fuel economy. But then when I'm feeling wreckless and irresponsible, I slide her into "S" and get with it! Best of both worlds.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:29 AM
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I was really interested in trying the 6 speed manual but my wife will also be driving this car and frankly, this CVT is damn impressive.
Tell me more about the CVT. What impresses you about it?
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:38 AM
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westcoast,

I'm glad you made this post. I am in the same position as you. I test drove the i4 ex-l and the v6 ex-l, expecting to like the v6 more, but left the test drives preferring the i4.

The v6 felt slightly hesitant and jerky when I floored it, as it downshifted and accelerated--perhaps a combination of shifting gears and torque steer. I was at 140 km/h before I knew it and it felt solid as a vault while there, however, for day to day city and highway driving, I think the i4 will feel more responsive and smooth. The cvt was impressive and felt more responsive than the v6 auto. (It was also quieter than the 2013 Altima cvt, which I test drove the same afternoon. The Altima cvt made a fluttering noise.) The Accord i4 when floored revved high but sounded good and while not as fast as its v6 counterpart, it seemed quick enough. That it is lighter appears to help.

Having decided on the i4, I need to pick between the sport and i4 ex-l as well and definitely need to test drive the sport next, preferably back to back with the i4 ex-l.

For those that have driven the sport, I would appreciate feedback:

1. How does ride quality compare between sport and ex-l? I have heard the lower profile tires (p235/45 r18 versus p215/55 r17) make it louder and harsher riding? westcoast, having come from the 350z, you would probably not mind this aspect, for the benefit of increased control/cornering, etc., but I am not sure for myself yet.

2. How useful and fun are the paddle shifters? I have not read any feedback on them yet on the various forums or review articles.

Thanks,
Boom Chaka
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:13 AM
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You should probably test drive the Sport before making a decision. Based on various reports, it is different in terms of ride quality and road noise.

Regarding the interior, I like the materials used on top of the dash and the faux brushed metal in the middle. The top portion is rubberized and relatively soft, in the off chance you put your hand there. More importantly, it is a little tacky; you can throw a phone or something on there and as long as you're not making a lot of sharp turns it'll stay there. The brushed metal part is hard but I like the look of it. To each of his own I guess.

Regarding the bottom part, it's very hard, but after a few years with a Pilot I am glad it is. The Pilot is awash in the same hard plastic; the entire dashboard is made of it and a lot of the back cabin is made of it. Initially I didn't like it, but after a few years of abuse by kids and a dog, I've realized that this stuff is very durable and very easy to clean. My dog's claws (a 70 lb German Shepherd) don't leave marks and the endless list of crap my kids fling in the car wipe off easily. So the bottom portion of the dash, which appears to be the same material, should be pretty tough and is the part of the dash that is most likely to be abused.

One thing about the EX-L to consider is HondaLink. Aha is comparable to Pandora, so you're not missing out on much initially. But since HondaLink is driven by the app on your phone, not the car, it's possible that Honda will add additional features and content. It's anyone's guess as to whether they'll do this, but the EX-L will be slightly more future-proof in the off-chance they do.

I'm also a big fan of the touch screen. My Pilot has the same dials and buttons as the non-touch screen models (just in a different configuration) and navigation through menus is kind of a pain. It takes a while to scroll through menus with the dial and select stuff. Honda could fix this by making better menu trees, but it's clearly not a top priority for them. The touchscreen lets you bypass at least some of those things and allows you to select some things pretty quickly.
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:54 AM
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Nice review. I'll add that the Ex-L 4 is very responsive and light feeling. THE easiest car to drive I have ever experienced.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by westcoast View Post
EX-L or Sports edition. The touch screen on the EX-L is very nice, mainly because of my gripe about the AUX input jack on the non EX-L models makes it on the top of my list right now. However the Dual exhaust and no moonroof option on the Sports edition is what I would prefer. Also the Sports Edition have very nice cloth seats which I prefer over the leather seats.
Good review. Thanks.

I think Honda should have made a manual version of the EX-L, and a version of EX-L without the leather (used to be EX). Now, difference between EX-L and EX is more than just leather seats and seat heaters.

You'll need to decide how important are the safety features in the EX-L to you versus the looks / cloth seat / price difference in the sport trim. Personally, I'll go for EX-L because of the safety stuff and leather. I like the looks of leather. Either way, I don't think you can go wrong.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:34 AM
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Good review. Thanks.

I think Honda should have made a manual version of the EX-L, and a version of EX-L without the leather (used to be EX). Now, difference between EX-L and EX is more than just leather seats and seat heaters.

You'll need to decide how important are the safety features in the EX-L to you versus the looks / cloth seat / price difference in the sport trim. Personally, I'll go for EX-L because of the safety stuff and leather. I like the looks of leather. Either way, I don't think you can go wrong.
I think they should have made an EX-L Sport version. Can't please everybody I suppose.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:58 AM
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Nice to see you all like my review. Just like I did with my Z my plan is to keep my next car for 10 years, that's why I do a lot of research before picking up another car. I'm back for a brief update.
I talked to people around me about buying the Accord. All of them agreed it is a good buy. However I went through a brief moment of lapse where I wanted to go for something with even more room. Like a wagon type. Being able to carry big things from furniture stores will be a big plus when I buy a house in the new few months.


One co worker just got a 2012 Passat and offered to let me take it around the block. The interior is more classy than the 9th gen Accord, however, there are several shortcomings in his 2.5 SE model. The interior on the Passat was nice, on the surface it looked more refined than the 9th gen, and I considered the TDI model briefly, however the drive shun me away. The brakes of the Passat is definitely quirky to say the least. The first couple of inches of travel, the brake feel is very nice, very German. However the last two inches of the brake pedal makes the car suddenly jolt to a stop.

I also went to Lexus to take a look at the CT200h and HS250. The CT200h is way too small for someone like me, 6'4'', and while the trunk may be able to fit larger boxes and tables, but in sheer volume I think the Accord is pretty much equal, and because the Accord is longer I think I can fit even more stuff in the Accord when its seats folded down than in the CT200. The Lexus' have a very nice interiors. The HS250 is definitely a contender being larger than the CT and gets better mileage in the city vs the Accord. However the HS250 looks and feels like something I'd buy when I'm about to retire. Or in another 20 years I'd get the HS for my daughter when she goes to college. In conclusion, the Accord is my pick and I'm sticking to it.

I found a buyer for my Z and within 10 days he will be picking the car up. I have also made a decision to go against the Sports model for two reasons. First, I spent a lot of time in the last 10 years online searching and figuring out how to improve every part of my Z to where I became obsessed about my car. However I was young and did a lot of things the hard way, not the smart way. I've now come to realize one thing. It is better to buy the car with everything you want from the factory. The time and money on aftermarket parts is 9 times out of 10 not worth it in the long run. Money is not even the worst thing about it. It is the countless hours of time spent trying to perfect the car. While I had the time while I was in my early 20s. I will no longer be available for those types of shenanigans. I want to buy a car with everything I could even think about having. Second, the Sports trim advantages really diminish when I'm buying a CVT. I know the paddle shifters are cool, but if I really want sporty I'm going for a standard transmission for sure.


With that being said, I've officially decided. Not only am I getting the EX-L, I'm getting it with Navi. A dealership near me gave me a very legitimate price over email and I will be going in today to talk about financing. Thank you all for reading and look forward to hearing from you and sharing my experience after I take one home.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:24 AM
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on the cvt model, i'm assuming the L means low gear, but what is the S?
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by westcoast View Post
I just wanted to do this right after I got back from my first test drives while its fresh and new. I will rely on this forum when I make my final decision on my next new car. So please provide your feedback and thanks for reading.


I'm looking into replacing my current car. I've had a Nissan 350z for the last ten years. I'm about to turn 30 and ready to buy a house and start a family. I just got back from the dealership about an hour ago where I test drove the 13' Accord for the first time. I spend about 2 hours at the dealership test driving a 4cyl CVT and a V6 both in EX-L trims. I also got to sit in the showroom EX model. Here are my observations:

Game changers that I found out today that I didn't know before seeing the car in person:
  1. The Sports edition while 4cyl, has dual exhaust pipes just like the V6. I like this a lot. For the rear to me is the worst part of the new Accord. However the dual exhaust setup looks way better. For the rear bumper is the same for both the dual or single exhausts. While the rear bumper doesn't look like a pipe is missing in the 4cyl version; you can tell the symmetrical look of the dual exhaust was built for the rear bumper and I like it alot.
  2. Models without the center touch screen, or basically anything that is not a EX-L, the aux input in located below the radio turn knob. Similar to the Toyota Sienna, the 3.5mm jack is covered by a rubber stop, and it is located awkwardly. The aux input is 15 inches above and to the right of the audio device tray. So if you can imagine when you have a device plugged into the aux input and have it sitting in the tray area the cord will be in the way of many of the button and especially for 6MT drivers, it will be very annoying.

  3. I haven't seen too many large trunks recently, but the Accord has a huge one. I'm ~260lb 6' 4'' and two of me can fit in there no problem.
  4. The wheels on the LX version look better than the EX or EX-L models. However, the best looking wheels care the 18s on the Sports edition.


Interior:
Coming from an 03 350z, this Accord is definitely a welcome change. First of all, all the buttons, knobs, and switches are all very high quality. This quality and feel extends to the sunglass holder above the rear view mirror, compartment above the usb port, shift knob, and all door trimmings where your knee or elbow can touch. The leather wrapped steering wheel is very nice to hold and feels very Acura. The seats were very very comfortable. I feel like I can drive hours without any aches to my neck or back. The leather was very good so good that I may consider the EX-L, even though I sweared that I would never get leather again. My only gripe with leather seats is that I live in Southern California, where the heated seats will not get much use. I'm disappointed that the Accord doesn't come with cooled seats as well.

There are some downfalls to the interior however. The last Accord that my family owned was a 1994 2dr LX 4cyl auto. While that tiny little thing only came in 127hp and a cassette deck, the interior feel was better. The "feel" of the materials, not the function or looks of these materials can feel cheap and just plain lack of attention to these details. The horn / driver airbag cover is made of a hard plastic that is somehow even worse than my 03 350z. Also the base plastic, meaning anything that is not covered in leather or padding is very disappointing in that it feels just like the new Civics. It is just hard and thin, like most cheap plastic materials.

This is true for every 13 Accord. While this feels like Honda is cutting corners, I can easily overlook this because I can see Honda's vision. Every where I should be touching is nice and refined, it is only the places that I wouldn't touch anyways that are rough to feel. If this material is able to last a long time then its well worth the change.




The drive:
I first drove the 4cyl CVT EX-L. I must agree with youtube reviews in that the CVT transmission pairs very well with the iVtech engine. Just like most economy Japanese cars, you have to rev the heck out of it to get full power, this engine requires a trip up to the 5k+ rpm range to go onto a steep on ramp. The 0-80mph experience is very pleasant, the ride is very nice and while the engine noise is very noticeable, it is racey not droning like my girlfriend's 06 Corolla S. While driving around I noticed the MPG gauge in the middle of the MPH gauge, I like it very much, very BMW like. I also got to use the Econ button for a brief moment. I've driven my brother's Prius and when you turn on the Econ button the car nearly drops down to a crawl off the line. However in the Accord it seemed like the system is very forgiving, even with the Econ button on, the car was able to get off the line very well. The sales person claims this button saves 3MPG, for me this system is nice to have but seems like a little bit of a gimmick, when the difference is only about 10%. I feel I can just drive slower and get the same results.

13' Accord Sedan V6 EX-L Test Drive:
Coming from a 350z the V6 in the Accord is very much comparable in terms of peak power. I believe the V6 can keep up with my Z in a straight line just fine. However, I am not a fan of the torque steer. For me this V6's power delivery is a little too much for a FWD car.

The way I think of it, the sheer size and weight of this vehicle and any family sedan limits its ability to enter a corner at high speeds, so sedans require high HP to exit corners. With the V6 I am not confident in its ability to plant all that power down. The Vtech in this V6 comes just like most Hondas, which means the power is peaky and the sudden charge in power is what will create torque steer every time. The laws of physics wants the weight to shift to the rear wheels during acceleration but the power is going to the front ones. The V6 is definitely very powerful and the it really put a big smile on my face the first time I let it rip. However after driving both cars today I have decided to get a 4cyl Accord.

At this point I can pretty much say I'm going to be a owner of a 13 Accord Sedan before the end of October. However I still have one last decision to make.

EX-L or Sports edition. The touch screen on the EX-L is very nice, mainly because of my gripe about the AUX input jack on the non EX-L models makes it on the top of my list right now. However the Dual exhaust and no moonroof option on the Sports edition is what I would prefer. Also the Sports Edition have very nice cloth seats which I prefer over the leather seats.
I test drove both the EX-L and the Touring V6. I was very curious about the CVT having test driven both the Nissan Altima I4 and V6. My impression was not that great.

The accord CVT is much better though. But, I reckon that it would need getting used to. I also felt the increase in Torque. But, in stop and go traffic in city driving I found the car to be hesitant maybe bcoz of the Torque lockup? This is where I have found the Camry to be so smooth. Did you notice that?

In fact, the new Accord V6 is a bit similar to the Camry V6. I do prefer the V6 and Honda has always been about revving the engine something which you do not get with the CVT transmission.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:32 AM
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on the cvt model, i'm assuming the L means low gear, but what is the S?
Sport.

S raises RPMs by about 1000 (at least when I am cruising at about 1700 RPM, could be more depending on speed and throttle position) and the throttle is much more responsive.

Sport is the polar opposite of Eco where RPMs are kept to a minimum and throttle response is reduced (Eco is an electronic mode not selected in the gear selector like sport is).
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 8thsedan View Post
on the cvt model, i'm assuming the L means low gear, but what is the S?
S is, as you may have guessed, Sport mode. It keeps the revs somewhat higher than in D, which is useful for quicker starts from a stop, faster engine response on curvy roads (works VERY nicely for this!) and it also provides additional engine braking for mountain road driving.

On the Sport model, S gives nearly full control of the "shifting" by the paddle shifters, though it will upshift automatically when you get close to redline. You can also force a shift with the paddle shifters at will when in D, though the transmission will go back into full automatic mode at the first opportunity.

My description of what happens in the Sport model is based on what I've read in the OM... I haven't driven one, just my own EX-L.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by II Kings 9:20 View Post
Sport.

S raises RPMs by about 1000 (at least when I am cruising at about 1700 RPM, could be more depending on speed and throttle position) and the throttle is much more responsive.

Sport is the polar opposite of Eco where RPMs are kept to a minimum and throttle response is reduced (Eco is an electronic mode not selected in the gear selector like sport is).
Curious. What happens if you have ECO on, then put it in S mode for a second, then back into D. Maybe to pass a car then continue back in ECO mode. Does that work? Or do you have to turn ECO off, then goto S mode or just put the peddle down while D etc.
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2013 'Hemie' Accord Touring V6 - Canadian
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