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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've had my '13 Accord now for 3,000 miles (4 months of ownership). First off, it's the nicest car I've ever owned in terms of features. It's my first car with a leather interior, heated seats, the LaneWatch system, FCW, LDW, smart entry system, push button start, rearview camera, etc. I really, really like all of those things and I feel almost like I'm driving a luxury car when I drive this thing.

That being said, I have to say that the handling on my '03 Accord (that I sold when I bought the '13) seems better. It's not that the handling on the '13 is bad. In fact, I'd say for a family sedan the handling is above average. But it just doesn't seem as precise as the handling on the '03.

In normal city/highway driving, I couldn't be happier with how the car handles. The steering feels perfectly weighted to me and the car goes exactly where I want to put it every time. There's nothing vague about it at all and the amount of road feedback is just right. That's during "normal" driving.

The problem is when I get onto a curvy, twisty road and I want to throw the car into the corners the handling is just not there for me. And I'm not talking about being aggressive. Maybe I shouldn't use the word "throw". Full disclaimer: I've been driving for nearly 30 years and I've only had one ticket (making a U-turn in front of a no U-turn sign in 1987). I've never even had a speeding ticket. What I'm talking about is going into a corner about 8-10 MPH over the speed limit (no more than 10 over, that's my limit and I think part of the reason I've never gotten a speeding ticket).

Anyway, going just 8-10 over into the corners and I just don't feel the road under me like I did with my '03 Accord. It kind of feels like the car is floating a bit and I'm not quite sure what the wheels are going to do. It's nothing like you're losing control of the car or anything...it's just a floaty, spongy, empty sort of feeling that I never got with my '03 Accord.

The '03 Accord was an incredibly well-handling car. I could feel every square inch of the road underneath me and that car absolutely instilled a sense of confidence in me every time I drove it. I knew exactly what the limits of that car were in all types of weather (rain, snow, day, night). It felt almost like an extension of my body...the handling was that good.

The big differences between the two cars in terms of their suspension that I'm aware of are this:

'03 Accord: Double wishbone front suspension and Michelin MXV4 Energy tires.

'13 Accord: Struts in the front and Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires.

Do you think these two factors are why the handling feels differently to me? I know for sure that I'm going to go back to Michelin's once the Goodyears wear out and, hopefully, that will help some. But I know the struts are there to stay, unfortunately. And I know I can put 18" wheels on it, change the springs, and do other mods like that. But, after paying $26K for this car the last thing I want to do is put even more money into it.

What's funny is that Porsche and BMW, which make some of the best handling cars in the world, use struts up front just like Honda. But I know there's a lot more involved with their handling and suspension systems than just front struts.

Anyway, just an observation I have after 3,000 miles of driving. Like I said, all-in-all I'm very happy with this car. I just wish it were a little sportier and better handling in the twisties. It doesn't handle poorly on roads like that...it's just that it doesn't handle as well as the 11 year-old Accord that I traded in with 97K miles on it.

At the end of the day, the Accord is a family sedan that is trying to be a little sporty. And, in that regard, I have to say it succeeded quite well. It's not a sports sedan, it's a family sedan...so, maybe I shouldn't complain.

Any suggestions on how I could improve the handling would be appreciated. Could something as simple as going back to the Michelins do the trick? Or am I really going to have to do something like the HFP package that's going to cost thousands of dollars?
 

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Tires suck (fuel max) and small sway bars = Understeer & body roll. Change those on your 9th gen and it's a new machine... add springs/coilovers and your in another league. The 9th gen chassis itself is a whole lot more rigid than my 04' EX-L i owned.
 

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I think the real culprit is the tires. My 2000 Accord came with MXV4 tires and they were very sticky and hugged the road but the soft rubber wore out in less than 30,000 miles. I switched over to BF Goodrich tires which last longer and I gave up a little handling for better tire mileage. I would start with the tires before I would mess around with the suspension parts. I think my coupe has Michelin tires and handles pretty well.

BTW the sedan has a front stabilizer bar17mm and rear 14mm. The Coupe is 18mm front and 16mm in the rear.
 

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In my opinion, it's not the front struts that are an issue. It's that the rear sway bar is very small. During the initial weight transfer at corner entry, you overload tha sway bar and get a lot of body roll at the rear, which unsettles the entire car. It unloads again and you get that wallowing feel. Even my car with coilovers and performance tires still has a bit of that feel left. A sway bar upgrade is in my future, I'm just waiting for Progress to get them back in stock. And the tires certainly don't help either.
 

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Size matters....

All valid points- tires and sway bar, but:

Have you ever parked your 9th Gen next to a 7th Gen? It's HUGE in comparison.
 

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Size matters....

All valid points- tires and sway bar, but:

Have you ever parked your 9th Gen next to a 7th Gen? It's HUGE in comparison.
Good point. 2" longer wheelbase, 200lbs more weight, and higher center of gravity all don't play in the new accords favor. Like I said though, the 9th gen chassis is much more ridged making up for some of that and it responds even better to suspension modifications.
 

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I traded a '07 Civic EX for my '13 Sport 6m. I totally agree with OP, stock handling and steering feedback was pretty numb. At 2k miles I replaced stock springs with H&R, huge improvement. Feels great while still being comfortable. I compared stock springs to H&R while they were both out, stock spring was so flimsy compared to H&R. Car feels completely different. Now I don't miss my Civic anymore.
 

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Double wishbone and bigger sway bars. Probably the 2 biggest difference on the 7th gen. I have performance tires on my 7th gen also and you "throw" that baby into a curve and there is virtually no sway and the tires grab like a mother.

I would guess the endlinks also factor in. Because of the MacPherson front strut, the endlink is like 10 inches long compared to maybe 4 inches on the 7th gen.
 

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Sounds like the OP and I have similar driving styles. The performance in the corners has been the one thing that's disappointed me about the car's driving characteristics, although I'd be more disappointed if I still lived in the mountains. Coming from a '97 Camry, it feels weird to say that my old car was better in the corners, but it was. Of course, it was also considerably smaller.

This reminds me, I need to read through the suspension and sway bar threads. I'm not one to put a bunch of mods on my car, but it sounds like a few hundred dollars spent in the right places can turn this car into a different animal in the curves. I'll probably get some bigger sway bars and may also look at other suspension components once I, well, learn a thing or two about suspension. I have a foggy idea of how it works, but don't know nearly enough to be comfortable taking things apart.

Also, once the factory tires wear out, I'll probably look into upgrading from the LX wheels, although I probably would only move up to 17s (the reason I got an LX and not a Sport was because I didn't want 18s). That's more because the amount of rubber on the 16s looks imbalanced on such a large car, but hopefully there'd be some slight cornering improvements as well.
 

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The OP's EXL CVT has the smaller swaybars, from what I recall from other threads. The V6 upgrade gets the larger swaybars - are people upgrading those as well? My feeling with the V6 is that the car is reasonably rigid, actually, but I haven't driven very sporty cars.
 

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The OP's EXL CVT has the smaller swaybars, from what I recall from other threads. The V6 upgrade gets the larger swaybars - are people upgrading those as well? My feeling with the V6 is that the car is reasonably rigid, actually, but I haven't driven very sporty cars.
:thumbsdow
V6 has over 200lbs more on the wrong end of the car creating more understeer and less reactive steering. The larger sway bars Honda put on there are to try to help with some of that extra wieght but dont do much. This was the main reason i went for the 4cyl over the 6cyl after long test drives in each, a very noticable difference in handling between the two due to weight alone.
 

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steve: I think the biggest issue might be the change to electric steering starting in 2013, compared to hydraulic for all previous Accords.

That change was made to improve mpg. But now the "steering feel" (what little is left) is based on computer algorithms rather than on a more direct mechanical system.
 

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Sway bars, spring rates, tires, excess weight, steering feel, height – these are all symptoms of a problem. The problem is that Honda doesn’t want the car to handle that well. This is by choice! Honda knows how to tune a suspension as well as anyone. Honda wants a car for the masses – something comfy that sells in big numbers.

Old Honda had a different mission. Old Honda’s priority was to design a car that drove well. New Honda’s priority is to design a car that sells well. In this case that means conflicting goals. When old Honda tuned their suspension they skewed it more toward control, which implied a firmness that “enough” drivers did not appreciate. Honda probably didn’t like losing sales to the Camry. Now, new Honda has tuned their suspension more for comfort, which implies a sacrifice in sharp handling. Honda still builds an amazing car! But this just shows how the car industry evolves with time. The masses rule.
 

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The OP's EXL CVT has the smaller swaybars, from what I recall from other threads. The V6 upgrade gets the larger swaybars - are people upgrading those as well? My feeling with the V6 is that the car is reasonably rigid, actually, but I haven't driven very sporty cars.
I upgraded the rear sway on mine and am happy that I did. It made for a noticeable handling difference. The car handles better at the speeds I drive it at and seems more stable with quick maneuvers & under heavy acceleration. It's no sports car but it's pretty good for what it is with the right upgrades.

I think the I4 would benefit from bigger sways but it might increase ride harshness. It should certainly make it quicker around a turn if not in a straight line.
 

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Sway bars, spring rates, tires, excess weight, steering feel, height – these are all symptoms of a problem. The problem is that Honda doesn’t want the car to handle that well. This is by choice! Honda knows how to tune a suspension as well as anyone. Honda wants a car for the masses – something comfy that sells in big numbers.

Old Honda had a different mission. Old Honda’s priority was to design a car that drove well. New Honda’s priority is to design a car that sells well. In this case that means conflicting goals. When old Honda tuned their suspension they skewed it more toward control, which implied a firmness that “enough” drivers did not appreciate. Honda probably didn’t like losing sales to the Camry. Now, new Honda has tuned their suspension more for comfort, which implies a sacrifice in sharp handling. Honda still builds an amazing car! But this just shows how the car industry evolves with time. The masses rule.
A very interesting observation. However, an Accord handles better than a Camry, I think. My first generation Accord was really a compact car. As time went on the Accord became a midsize car and then a full size car which appeals to a different kind of driver. I would be interested in test driving the new Civic coupe and comparing it to my Accord Coupe for handling differences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Everybody!

I really appreciate all of the helpful observations and comments. It sounds like there are a number of different factors for why the handling is different:

Tires
Smaller Sway Bars on the '13
'13 is larger, heavier, and longer than the '03
'13 has electric steering vs. hydraulic steering on the '03
'13 has struts in the front vs. double wishbone on the '03
Honda has designed the '13 more for the masses (softer ride) than for driving enthusiasts (firmer, better handling ride)

I think the first thing I'll do is go back to Michelin tires as soon as the Goodyears wear out. If that doesn't help enough, I'll look into getting larger sway bars. If that doesn't work, I'll look into some different springs.

It doesn't look like there's any feasible way to get rid of the struts and electric steering so I'll just have to hope the other mods will make a big enough difference (without making the ride quality too stiff or uncomfortable).

Thanks again to everybody for your comments...I really do appreciate it! :thmsup:
 

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A very interesting observation. However, an Accord handles better than a Camry, I think. My first generation Accord was really a compact car. As time went on the Accord became a midsize car and then a full size car which appeals to a different kind of driver. I would be interested in test driving the new Civic coupe and comparing it to my Accord Coupe for handling differences.
Flyboy, I totally agree about the Camry. Hondas handle better. But they are still a little soft because that is what the majority of American drivers prefer. It’s just smart business to give the customer what it wants.

But Honda has not lost its soul, so to speak. That is evidenced by the fact that Honda has a factory performance division (HFP) that makes an excellent sport suspension. Honda is still committed to making a driver’s car for those who prefer it. (Honda couldn’t let all that racing knowledge go to waste!) Customers must just take an added step to get it and spend a little more money.
 

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steve88,
I made the same observation when I got my '13 in December 2012. I noticed how different the new car felt going around curves, but especially when I was at a high speed on the highway. My '03 was dead steady, it went where you pointed it, the '13 seems to need more correction. My cars are direct comparison both V6, so as stated earlier, I guess there are a number of reasons for the different driving feel, not just double wishbone to struts...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
steve88,
I made the same observation when I got my '13 in December 2012. I noticed how different the new car felt going around curves, but especially when I was at a high speed on the highway. My '03 was dead steady, it went where you pointed it, the '13 seems to need more correction. My cars are direct comparison both V6, so as stated earlier, I guess there are a number of reasons for the different driving feel, not just double wishbone to struts...
Yeh, there is definitely more to it than just the tires and the struts. The only place I notice it is while cornering. At highway speeds, the handling feels great to me whether driving in a straight line or on a gradual bend or curve. It's when I get onto a country road and want to have a little fun where I notice it the most. It doesn't handle poorly but it definitely has more body roll and vagueness in the corners when compared to my '03 Accord (which had virtually no body roll whatsoever). I could feel every nook and cranny on the road in my '03 and felt incredibly confident with that car's handling abilities.

I'm going to do my tires first, then possibly sway bars, then possibly springs.

Question...is it possible to do just the suspension portion of the HFP package? I really don't care about the spoiler, front, back, or side air dams. But I would definitely be interested in just doing the wheels and suspension since it would be a little less than the entire HFP package.

Thanks again for all of the super helpful advice!
 
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